I wrote this for my karate blog back in January 2015. Can you perceive the life applications beyond the martial art context?
“Life is available only in the present moment. If you abandon the present moment you cannot live the moments of your daily life deeply.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
The student sat before the teacher, shocked, listening but questioning every word he heard and every sentiment he felt. What? Wait… No way… Why…why me, he wondered.
The perceptive master, though smiling inwardly, his face remained deadpan, stoic. Because he’d been right here himself as a younger man, he knew exactly what his student was thinking, and what he was feeling.
Say…say something. Say something, he pleaded inwardly, his eyes locked and staring across the table at the old man before him. Something…anything! “Sensei, I…” he said, his lips reluctantly parting to let just two words pass. He paused for a moment in hopes of organizing his random thoughts into some sort of coherent sentence. “I… Why?” he finally whispered, his tone quiet and unassuming. Seeing the welcoming glint in the old man’s eyes and sensing his warmth and welcoming openness encouraged him to press on, so he breathed deep, leaned in, and let it all out. “Sensei, thank you, but…you’ve given me so much, taught me so, so much through the years… I can’t even…I mean…but this? Why…? Why me?”
The elderly teacher relished another bite of pie and enjoyed an unhurried sip of hot tea. Then he nodded once and said, “Because you showed up.”
Huh? “Because I…? But so did many others… And most of them are…way more skilled then me.”
Peering deeply into his puzzled pupil’s eyes, the vibrant old man tilted forward and, nodding in agreement, said, “Perhaps. Yes. But you showed up. Some came and went, but you kept showing up. You showed up when it wasn’t convenient, or the training wasn’t exciting. You showed up on cold days, hot days, busy days, and even some holidays. Sure, a few trained more often than you, some were more talented, gifted, stronger, more intelligent, more outspoken and outgoing. They all came, but they all didn’t show up. They may have attended all of my classes, but they were hardly ever present. You showed up. You were fully present, ready to learn, and willing to grow and evolve; you showed up every time you came to class, and in this, and because of this, you have far exceeded them all.”
Warm tears coated the grateful student’s eyes, and a spoonful of pie helped soothe the lump forming in his throat. His teacher smiled at him, and he smiled back, and together, they savored the moment.
Be that guy.
Be that girl.
Be present in your own life first, and “show up” every time you come to the dojo.
So many of the deep parts of life are truly about simply “showing up”…