The Scott Shaw Blog Be Positive

Why Bother Doing That AKA Do You Really Want a Girl Like That?

There’s this tendency in the martial arts, particularly among advanced practitioners, to demonstrate how bad ass they are by breaking things. Whether this is boards, bricks, ice, whatever… Many a martial artist will set up this whole demonstration, pretend to get all mentally ready, and then BAM break the whatever.  Or, maybe not. I have witnessed a lot of people fail at their breaks and break their hand, arm, foot, or whatever instead. But, even for the people who are really good at that level of demonstration, I have always questioned, “Why bother?”
It is kind of like when Bob Wall’s character, in probably the greatest marital art movie ever made, Enter the Dragon, takes out a board and breaks it in front of Bruce Lee, just before their match, as an apparent technique of intimidation, and Bruce Lee’s character says, “Boards don’t hit back.”
But, more than that… I remember speaking to this one first-generation Korean teacher, decades ago now, who used to break boards and bricks at demonstrations all the time. He told me that he could no longer even hold a pen in his hand and write for more than a few moments due to all the damage he had done to his hand. Was it worth it?
Mostly, I have always felt that kind of thing was just Show-Off Stuff. I mean, why bother doing that? What does it really prove? Is it worth it to mess up your body simply to show off?
In the afternoons sometimes, if I have a little time on my hands, I will take a walk to this neighborhood park. You know, get out and get some aerobic exercise. Today, I was on my way out of the park, and I noticed this girl who had just arrived. She stood there on this slight hill, overlooking the ocean in the distance, and ceremoniously did the prayer hand thing. She then raised her one leg in yoga posture style, as if she was about to do some kind of asana. This, while wearing her Doc Martin boots. It made me smile.
It made me think back to my youth. I had met this girl at the Sufi Dances. I was like sixteen and she was in her early twenties. She didn’t have any place to stay. I don’t know how you show up in a city like L.A., with no money, no car or anything, and not have a place to stay? Anyway, me being the young spiritual neophyte that I was, I invited her to stay at my apartment. She ended up staying there quite a while until my mother finally got fed-up and kicked her out by giving her the money to take the bus back to Canada. Or course, there was all that young infatuation kind of stuff on my part, and I believe hers. But, that’s a whole other story and not the point. I took her to this place out in Chatsworth. It’s this great rock mountain landscape. Charlie Manson and his crew used to hang out there back in the day. Anyway, we get there. I lead her up the mountain. At the summit, she looks out onto the horizon, and does the same thing as that previous, aforementioned girl. She goes into this whole pseudo spiritual, prayer hand ritual thing. …I don’t know, maybe that girl today was her daughter or something. Happy
The point being, then as now, all I saw was showmanship. It was Show-Off Stuff. What does it mean? What does it prove?
This is the thing about life, so many people want you to look at them. They want you to think that they are a Some-Thing. They want to prove that they know more and are somehow better than you. …That they have something to teach you. But, are they better than you? Do they have anything to teach you? In my mind, if an individual behaves in this fashion, all they are is locked in ego, not truth. From this, no matter what they can do, no matter what a spectacle they make of themselves, are they really the person you want to turn to for knowledge and a direction of Be-ing?
If you have to prove to anyone what you are by doing something, then you are never the true essence of what you are attempting to represent.
As I was walking home today, all of a sudden, it became very quiet. You know, one of those times when you are on a street but there are no cars around or anything. I began to hear the wind blowing through the leaves on these two very large trees. I’ve walked by those trees a hundred times but never heard that sound. It was just so special. So pure. I stood there for a moment, just appreciating the beautiful music those leaves were making. I could have listened to them for a very long time. Pure meditation. But then, as always seems to be the case in life, I could hear an approaching car. As it got closer I could see it was actually a trash truck. And, even though I do appreciate the great service they provide, they’re loud, it totally killed my moment.
But, in those moments of silence, when the wind through the trees can be heard, that is the true essence of life. You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to take any action. You don’t need to get into a stance, break a board, or even make prayer hands. All you have to do is be present in the moment and listen. In those pure places of all-ness, that is where you become a part of the true essence of life. You don’t need to do anything. You just need to be.
Don’t seek to be seen as a something. Become nothing. That is where nirvana is found.