Sifu Brown teaches meditation. One day one of his students asked him: “Why don’t we have ranks in meditation? Why don’t we make it a contest to see who can meditate longest?”
Sifu hit him with a stick!
Actually Sifu didn’t hit him (I just thought it would have been cool). But I’m sure Sifu THOUGHT about hitting him.
But that’s what we do. We take a practice designed to lead to enlightenment and turn it into a competition.
It would be like turning prayer into competition. “Look at me; I prayed more times than you this week. God probably loves me more!”
I’ve heard people say: “Prayer is talking to God. Meditation is listening.”
But they never tell you who you’re listening to.
Meditate for only a few minutes and the devil speaks to you.
He’s pretty easy to hear if you know what to listen for.
Any time you try something new he speaks. Learn to paint. Write a poem. Give money to the poor.
You’ll hear him!
In martial arts we call his voice the ego.
The ego tells you aren’t good enough. It discourages you when you create. The ego embarrasses you, shames you, tells you you’re wasting your time. Wasting your money.
The ego wants you to quit.
Mostly the ego wants you to go back to being just like everyone else. Sit down. Don’t stand out. Stay in line.
The ego is a liar. The ego tries to convince you you are less than enough. You’ve got to prove you are worthy. You’ve got to beat someone else to be loved. That’s why the ego LOVES competition.
It takes your mind off of who you really are.
The ego knows you are already a Master. You are already God's gift to the world. You are a gift that no one has ever seen before or will ever see again.
Competition blinds you to your greatness. Competition makes you think there is someone between you and your goals. It convinces you you’ve got hunt down the witch and bring back the broom. Then you get to the good stuff.
There is no witch. There is no broom. You’ve already got the good stuff.
Just don’t look behind the curtain.
When I was in elementary school we had an art class. They made us all make the same ASHTRAY. (I know UNBELIEVABLE right? - The levels of craziness in that project boggle the mind!)
We all had to compete with each other for grades based on who best followed directions. Our ashtray needed to look just like the one in the picture.
I wanted to make something else.
I took some clay home and made a naked lady.
My Mom found the naked lady. She told me I was being led by the devil! Nothing further could have been from the truth.
I smooshed down my naked lady. I turned her into the creepy ashtray. Got a good grade.
The devil was happy.
When you create you take the blinders off. You see the whole field. You render competition meaningless.
When you create you make your own rules. You always win. You are the only one in the game.
The purpose of martial arts is the elimination of ego. That’s what all arts do. They teach you to create and in the creation you discover your true power.
Instead, here in the West we’ve turned martial arts into a sport. A competition. A competition against others with strict rules. A place where people can go make the ego bigger. A place where they can build better ashtrays.
I prefer naked ladies.
Students sometimes ask me why we don’t compete in tournaments.
I want to hit them with a stick.
But I DO think about it!