Of the many classes that I take each week, one of the more challenging is the martial art of gongfu with an emphasis on spirituality and the ways that it can be applied to relationships. We learn how to be present in relation to others, to look into each other’s eyes and bow before sparring and how to consciously pick up our partners off the floor and bow to honor and seal the experience. I have applied what I am learning in discussions with family, friends, grandchildren, neighbors and service people.
Once in awhile I ask myself what I am doing in that class. Learning how to take down a man younger than my children and how to dust myself off after hitting the mat from a woman half my size? Seriously?
Today was one of those days. I was particularly inept at the exercise and I had nothing to contribute to the discussion. I felt like everyone else got it except me. My bravado was shaken and my concept of myself as a warrior felt like a fragile veneer. It was cracking and I had no glue to hold it together. Then I looked around the room. I was certainly not the best in the class, but I wasn’t the worst either.
I realized that judging myself in relation to the other students had no value. It didn’t matter how good I was or would ever be. That is a fallacy in our understanding of the value of experiences. Just showing up and being open to learning is enough. That’s how it is with everything. We need to show up and try and not waste energy on judgments that divert our attention from being real. We can’t be the best at everything. Giving up that need is a step toward accessing the deep, rooted power of the true warrior within.