Here’s a story for those of you craving a clear understanding of yourself and what you truly want to accomplish in life.
Many years ago… (This is always the way such stories begin.)
A new and highly enthused student starting studying with a Master.
There were classes six days a week, early morning and evening, and the new student came to each and every class. He commented at least once that he wished classes were held seven days a week, so he could learn even more.
The Master often talked about the importance of students modeling ALL of his behaviors, rather than trying to figure out intellectually how he moved when performing his art.
“Pay attention to my posture when I’m sitting or standing, my tone of voice, my breathing, the quality of my eyes, the way I smile, and when I don’t. All of this and much much more goes into making up who I am and how I perform my art.”
Everyone always dutifully nodded their head “Yes” when the Master spoke such words, but few students attempted to follow his advice. Why this is, I’m still not sure. I’m guessing the average person fails to understand how the Master and his art are one. That the Master does not start and stop his performance.
Twice a year the Master hosted a dinner party at a local restaurant. All of his students were invited and told they could bring their family members and friends as long as they reserved in advance. The new and enthusiastic student said he was going to invite many people because he wanted them to know how great the Master was, and how fantastic it was to study his art. The Master nodded and said that would be fine.
I found it interesting at the time that the student didn’t stop to consider how much it would cost the Master to host so many people. After all, with dinner and drinks, the bill would surely not be cheap. The student’s “enthusiasm” led me to wonder if he was perhaps not more interested in showing off his newly acquired persona, than he was in introducing people to his teacher.
On the evening of the party, the Master arrived early so he could greet his guests. All were graciously received with a bow and soon the festivities began. As was usual, after finding out a bit about his guests, the Master launched into some stories. Storytelling being an art he was well known for.
The moment there was a lull in the conversation the new student spoke.
“Please Master, tell us what has led you to perform with such magnificence.”
The Master farted loudly, muttered “Excuse me” and then launched into a short irreverent reply. The new student and his friends looked shocked.
Someone else asked a question about a particular technique, and the Master let out a healthy belch before answering.
It didn’t take but ten minutes of such activity for the new student and all but one of his entourage to leave in a huff.
Once the room quieted back down the Master turned to the one lone new visitor, smiled warmly, and asked why he had chosen to stay.
The gentleman smiled back, farted loudly, and without muttering an excuse told the Master he was enthralled to be in the company of such a fine teacher.
“Ah,” the Master said, “So wonderful to meet someone who has a sincere interest in learning! Please don’t hesitate to visit my dojo some day, and if you’re ever having a party, I’ll be happy to attend.”
Til this day, I wonder what happened to the student who had brought his many friends. He never attended another class.