BY URVIL JAMES VILLARUEL
Dec. 4, 2015, Toronto, ON - Martial Arts - true martial arts - is a journey of inner power. It’s about finding your self and mastering your self to the point of not thinking, but knowing what you are capable of. Pushing your self far beyond your own perceived limitations and coming into a state of knowing that you are truly in control of the ‘me’, the ‘my’, and the ‘I’. It's about mastering the egoic self.
While on this journey, I have come to know my self. Getting to knowing the peaks, the valleys and the limitations of my own human-ness; unlocking the limitless potential hidden within.
A true martial artist is a self-ish person. They take in every instance as a chance to strengthen themselves; every obstacle presented to them as merely an opportunity in disguise. Every interaction; every association; every thought; every word; ever act - the entirety of their own self belief. Martial Arts is completely and totally centered around 'the self.'
Now, that isn’t to be mistaken for being a bad thing. No, we must first each focus on the self in order to master the self. Mastering the egoic self. The self that says ‘I can’ or ‘I cannot.' For, in martial arts, there is no thinking, there is only doing. 'Do - or do not - there is no try.'
Today, I had the pleasure of witnessing and assisting in a black belt test. I watched and gifted energy to those around me in order to help build up their own inner-resources of power; to strengthen their accomplishment of what they had initially thought was impossible. Everyone - everyone - who walks into martial arts doesn’t believe that they can. They merely think that they can. They come in because they want to know. They want to test the limitations of their own potential. And those that make it to the very end will indeed come to know; come to know the totality of their own inner strength --- their true infinite potential.
To my amazement, I witnessed on as one student had nearly quit, a mere 30-minutes before the end of a 6-hour long test. Carefully, watchfully, the Grand Master brought them back to a state of knowing, of self belief. A sense of coming to know their true inner power hidden deep within. That is the mark of a true master. Someone who builds you up in order to come to know your true infinite potential. Knowing, believing, and sensing, full well your true capabilities. Even when you don’t see them in yourself.
I've almost quit. Three times. Not only on the test, but in getting to the test. 12-hour days, non-stop pushing. 5, sometime 6, days a week during back-to-back summer camps and regular classes. I have pushed far beyond the limits of what I thought I knew, into what I have come to know. There’s an age-old saying that goes ‘when you’re in hell, just keep on running.’ And that’s what we did. Bringing me back each time, my friend, who helped push me into, not what I thought, but what I knew. That I could do it.
So, tread lightly on those that you judge. Our greatest suffering is the one that we have not yet overcome - and for those in that test today, that was their greatest suffering. Their epiphany of the self. Realizing one’s own inner power.
But where does one go after having come to know the self; the capabilities; the potential; the peak? Do we just simply continue climbing? Where is the limit if the limit is infinite --- each top of the mountain bringing forth an even greater mountain?
Your mind is that limit. Your mind is the origin of the self. And so, I began my journey from self-ish-ness into self-less-ness. No mind. No problem.
You can never out-think thinking mind. There is no end or cessation to its hunger. All that there is left to do is to relieve yourself of thinking mind and enter into a state of no-mind. That is the true path of yoga.
Yoga is the practice of coming to know the Self, through the self. Pushing beyond what you think you know into what you are. From thinking; to knowing; to being. That is the completed journey of the self, through the forms of yoga and martial arts, into the Self. A duality. Separate in its non-separateness. Finding formlessness through the form. One plus One becoming Two in Oneness. A continuous and living paradox --- for life is littered with them. A lesson learned from Life Cosmic, for our being is truly cosmic.
Know thy Self and know the self. Anyone who believes that they have mastered the self should push into coming to know the Self. For, in knowing the Self, there is nothing left to master; only to be witnessed, allowed and accepted.
If energy-centered martial arts is the journey of inner power, then conscious-centered yoga would be the journey of self-liberation into the practice of Self-realization. For, once you have realized the limitlessness of the Self (that you are truly everyone and everything), then what aren’t you? You just are.
They say that the mark of a good life is for it to be fully understood. Thus, in order to fully understand it, one must first go on the journey of knowing the self, until they are liberated into realizing the Self. No judgements, no attachments, nothing left to do or see. The only thing left is to just simply be.
This is the journey of self-ish-ness into the practice of self-less-ness. In order to become truly self-less, one must first learn to become completely and totally self-ish. Through and with an awakened sense of consciousness.