How’s this for a training question to ponder: “who” are you when you step onto the mat?
The way I walk into the dojo is potentially how I will practice in class. What I will bring onto the mat. Am I still the same person that navigated my non-training day? Do I observe myself becoming a “character” or playing a role after I changed into my gi? Do I believe that I’m “not” something or “lack” something (that I “am” or “have”)? Am I even here or off somewhere else? And of course the big daddy of them all: Am I connected?
If left unattended, my mind seems to naturally transition from one state to another. Maybe languish in one state for a long period, or maybe ecstatically rock and roll in between. Sound familiar? The great masters tell us that the only remedy is to become aware of your states and then non-judgmentally and compassionately observe yourself. Just observe. No other actions. To just let go of resisting that it is a paradox. Right action comes from a right state of being. Right state of being comes from right thoughts. Sure, piece of spiritual cake. Cultivate acceptance. Cultivate awareness.
These individual journeys are beautiful, wild and bumpy rides. I think they become all the more beautiful, bumpy and exciting when you combine a dojo full of people (who, I imagine are all experiencing their own special “something”), agree to practice, and then throw. That’s when the real fun begins. Your “something” meets with my “something” and then, hopefully, we become alert because anything is possible. What a special way the mat has of revealing both our true and transitory nature and then amplify it.
Following along these same lines, consider this idea; “What is it like to train with me?” Can you imagine what type of experience it is for others to train with you? What would “I” feel like? I wonder if I would look forward to bowing into myself. Or would I cringe. Probably both.
Training is direct communication. The psycho-emotional level that we connect on the mat is surprisingly honest whether the mind wants it to be or not. Soul speak. I’m naked. You’re naked. I’ve agreed. You’ve agreed. Individual energies coming together with the intension to fully penetrate and stir the pot. These are ripe conditions for some juicy conversation.
Yet, at times, I see in the dojo a room full of people who are all talking over each other, but with only an occasional conversation occurring. She’s too loud; he’s too soft. I just don’t understand where he’s coming from. He talks nonstop without ever pausing for an opening. She tries to anticipate every word before it leaves your lips. He talks so fast and then doesn’t listen when you talk. He looks bored. She has nothing to say. He used way more than he needed to get his point across.
So for me it comes back to connection. How can I be fully committed to the conversation and to really meet someone on the mat. To do that, I have to step out of my mind, accept, be open, and then train. Like the perfect cut, its felt not thought. I’ve grown and learned deeply about myself through my training with everyone. Those elusive moments of real connection are like major revelations. I seek them. I can’t help but feel delight and joy when they happen.
It’s my intension, to the best of my abilities and my present level of awareness, to fully try and meet you in the dojo. Come meet me. Hi, my name is Eric. I want to get to know you. I want to be known. Come train with me on the mat. Let’s work on what’s being shown and maybe we can have a good conversation.