Fortunately or unfortunately as it may be, I am in the process of getting a job that will take me away from regular teaching of the martial arts, and has been keeping me away from blogging here over the last month. I have high hopes for the job which is similar in function to being a Sensei to martial arts students, but it instead involves another arena.
Having said that, I will be getting back to the dojo here and there and teaching intermittently. This past week I had that luxury. The class spent the last few months working on first quadrant (i.e. self stuff), and I felt it would be nice to move to another perspective, that of the Lower Left (LL) quadrant which looks at “you and I”, or “we”. What does the world look like from the perspective of “us”? When you think of things in terms of how they feel to your group, family, nation, or planet, they look different compared to what may go through your head when you are concentrating solely on your internals. It gets more complicated when you realize that you are, even now, a member of many “we” entities: your family, your poker group, your gym class, your school, your coworkers, and so on. How are they all different? How do you contribute to them and how does each member contribute?
A martial arts class is a great laboratory for playing with the “we”. For one thing, a martial arts class is a “we”. However, each night of training is different. Different people show up. Each person that shows up changes the “we”. With certain people in the room, there is a certain feeling, vibe, or energy. When those people do not show up that night, that vibe is different. What you are sensing there is the different versions of the “we”. Each person changes the whole.
Depending on whom your sparring partner or uke is, it also feels different. Ever fall into a beautiful harmonious rhythm with someone only to be completely unable to do the technique at all with another partner? We use that discomfort to increase our skill. However, it’s also good to recognize that you feel that way because you are constructing a different “we” entity with that new partner, and that it will change with the next one.
In class, I explained as we went through the exercises that the broader your “we” and the more “we” entities you can track in your mind, the broader your world view and the broader your stage of development as a person. We see cases all the time in society and life where people have insular “we” entities. “If you aren’t a member of my family, screw you!” “If you are not a citizen of my country, screw you!” “If you are not a member of my religion, screw you!” Part of what I use the martial arts to teach my students is that the object is to *increase* the number of “we” entities you can acknowledge and even be a part of as a member. We are after all members of the same planetary biomass. So ultimately, there is a “we” that we all share. On a broader level, we are all pieces of the same Consciousness as well. It goes deep. How broad a “we” can you accept and look at?