Verbal instructions are necessary to lead one through the correct gate and onto the correct path, while mastery of the art comes from one’s incessant self-cultivation. -From “The Chant of the 13 Postures”
This calls to mind the path I have taken thus far through my life. I have always been drawn to people who have been teachers and mentors to me. I’m drawn to certain people who I want to talk with and learn from, people who I look up to and respect a great deal. I actually tend to be my best when I have someone in my life who is fulfilling that role – teaching me and challenging me. Otherwise, I generally have little to no sense of direction and tend to feel like I’m spinning my wheels.
I have a need to constantly learn and strive to become better. I walk with these people until I feel that I can no longer learn anything from them, and then I leave to walk my path, and search out the next teacher. I’m not really sure what this says about me. Maybe it’s simply part of my nature.
I remember in the 1990s, when Kung Fu: The Legend Continues was airing. I watched it religiously. The action was good, but it was the spiritual part that really got my interest. The character of Caine was a true master, an ideal teacher. I used to have a notebook where I wrote down some of the pearls of wisdom that were said during the show. I wish I still had it, there was some really good stuff in there to meditate on and learn from.
This was a large part of why I enjoyed Ruby’s classes so much. I had a teacher again. I like to think that I made the most of the opportunity, and that I didn’t waste it. There was so much to learn from him, and the universe only gave me about two years before he passed from this world. I’m still learning from him though, in a way. I have not had a teacher since him, because he truly was a once-in-a-lifetime teacher.
I miss him. While I had him, that was the verbal instruction part. Now that he’s gone, I’ve passed into the incessant self-cultivation part. It’s all up to me now.