Thursday, November 22, 2012

Relighting My Candle

Someone wrote an appreciation of my TJ teacher better than I could since she's known him much longer and her writing is thoughtful and articulate.  To avoid click tracking back to my blog, here it is via .  I found and read the article before attending the LD weekend workshop and it helped put me in the right frame of mind to learn, be open, and not get distracted despite the weird happenings in the midst of it that I blogged about earlier.  What she writes about my teacher are things that I could feel after being his student for less than three months.

When I started taking TJ from this teacher in June, I was in the worst emotional state of my life, not directly because of suffering from illness, but because I had seen so much evil, evil people come out to take advantage of sick people, and the evil side of people come out (more) to abuse people when they're down literally.  Maybe I was naive to have expected the opposite or at least neutral.  There were the intentional quacks and the "accidental" quacks.  But mainly, having one really bad friend in my life.  I'm not talking about "normal" bad friend, but serious psycho, personality disorder.  I won't go into those details here since this post is supposed to be about being thankful for my teacher.

Several people in the class have a real shine or sparkle in their eyes.  I had lost that, it was scary to look in the mirror, and wondered if I would ever get it back.  B sometimes wears a purple hoodie with LOVE in big letters across the front.  From the beginning, when they talked to me and smiled, it was like slowly relighting my candle.  Different teachers attract different kinds of people to their classes and I hadn't experienced this with my other two TJ teachers.  Teacher would tease his students, lovingly.  Sometimes we use the word "care" for these situations, but I'm going to say it's a kind of love.

He smiles a lot and sometimes I have to notice in the eyes, the talking, and body language that the person is filled with love.  Despite the weird incidents which are still weird, I have to imagine that a person who emanates this kind of love must have a very loving relationship and family.

There's a picture on his Web site which struck me when I first saw it.  It is of him in his younger days, probably about my current age, squatting side by side with his sifu.  I was in awe of the feeling of a deep love emanating from his eyes and gentle expression.

Last Wednesday after class, Teacher was talking about how his sifu "beat the crap out of" one of his other students.  Something about how this student didn't understand why he got beat up and Teacher never did.  Supposedly, Teacher would be there just sipping his tea, watching his TJ brothers get beat up.  "He never understand... me, I just go up and say, Sifu, I love you."  I didn't understand what he was talking about either.  I wasn't even sure I was supposed to be there for that conversation.  "...jealous... when he saw in the book, Sifu had written, 'To my most beloved student, T...'"

So I think my eyes were not imagining things when I saw the love emanating from the photo earlier.

I'm not sure what he meant by that story, but at the monthly XJ review class two Sundays ago, I finally remembered to ask K what she meant by "symbolic teacher" in her article about Teacher's teaching, linked above.  She said the symbolic teacher is like the highest teacher, encompassing all of the martial arts teachings, and is represented in all teachers.  There is also a symbolic teacher in each student as they learn to teach themselves.

I don't know but I started to think that the symbolic teacher was teaching me about love, teaching me to love again, encompassing all the love in the world, and represented in the teachers and students.  That the most important thing for me learning TJ may be not "TJ" per se but love.  Something about Teacher and his classes has put the sparkle back into my eyes and is giving me my spirit back.