A Jedi Master Always Shows Up

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New York, New York, USA.

I keep saying this but time flies. I hope that things will slow down a bit in Hong Kong. Not that I hope that I have nothing to do (don’t get me wrong Universe, I hope to do A LOT of work there!) but that my life will be a bit more structured and I find more time to write.

It is quite late and I am sitting at the kitchen table of my host Josie, here in Brooklyn. My body is sore from my first two boxing classes with my trainer and new hero Darryl. Darryl is a Jedi Master in disguise. I missed that soreness. And it is great but humbling to receive teaching from Darryl. Although I have boxed twice a week for a period of about four years in Amsterdam I have found that I know nothing about boxing. I feel like a complete beginner.

I call Darryl a Jedi Master in disguise because he says all these spiritual things, probably without knowing how ‘zen’ it is what he says. “Don’t think! Feel!” “Feel what punch you want to throw” “Only throw the punch when you feel it” He points at the stomach area when he says that, suggesting that the wisdom does not come from the mind but from the heart or the gut. Many spiritual teachers would agree. Apart from that he is humble, wholehearted, and generous with his teachings and compassionate enough to hurt you if that will help you understand. His wisdom is available 6 days per week for less than 10 bucks per private class. I had only 2 classes and I admire that guy already. I assume he is a father figure for many punks, young and old.

I once heard a guy speak about his first meditation teacher. He told me how important that guy was in his life. He said “Kees (the teacher, A.P.) was always there”. There is something very powerful about showing up just always. Darryl is, I assume, always there. If he doesn’t show up in the gym there is something wrong. It is a strong example of discipline and service. In spiritual teaching there is an emphasis on developing awareness or presence. Somebody who is present is with his mind in the here and now and not wandering elsewhere. Somebody who is physically and internally present is reassuring, inspiring and humbling. I don’t know if Darryl has a meditation practice but I can assure you he will let you know that he noticed when you don’t pay attention for half a second. You will receive a very firm slap in the face to wake you up, not unlike the old zen masters.

I love seeing the Buddha in people around me. We all have Buddha nature and I assume a well-trained eye can see it in all of us. I might not see 100% Buddhas around me 100% of the time but I do see a lot of goodness and beauty that might stay under the radar of others. Somebody who is very dear to me explained me why she never gives up on people. Her story resembles mine: there was an absent father. I also don’t like to give up on people; I don’t want to do to others what has hurt me so profoundly. So the pattern might come from trying to avoid inflicting pain on others and finding approval for that ‘good behavior’ of not hurting others as an attempt to justify being loved. Quite constricting. But I also found that when we come from a place of profound love, from basic goodness, we truly don’t want to give up on anyone or anything. That is reflected in the quote in the ticker tape: The essence of warriorship, or the essence of human bravery, is to never give up on anyone or anything. When my friend said practically the same I got goose bumbs. Because I know that – consciously or subconsciously – her Buddha Nature is speaking. Not just to me but possibly to her too. This is another reason why we should pay attention to the words that come out of our mouth, sometimes the higher self is speaking without the small self noticing. For exactly the same reason I love training with Darryl.

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