At the end of Part I: “IT”, my state of Being had returned to “normal” and I was facing my attacker. The total Peace of mind I had just experienced ended and all of my training was flooding my mind as I sized up my opponent. By god, he had hit my car, tried to flee, attacked me from behind, so now he was going to pay dearly. My adrenaline was rushing as I switched quickly from left lead to right lead back and forth visualizing my arsenal in search of the proper first-strike to begin destroying this fool. He was just THERE in front of me, bleeding like a stuck pig, left hand covering his face as blood poured from everywhere, right hand limp at his side, and a frightened look in his eyes. I had barely hit the guy! Everything I knew was designed to maim and kill but I wanted to teach him a lesson. The only thing less than that short little punch was a finger-flick to his eyes to temporarily blind him. I was really ANGRY and wanted to put some hurt on this guy!! I kept hitting a wall. Nothing! I had nothing smaller left and no reason to continue. The more I looked at him, this feeling of emptiness began to fill my gut, my Center, until it engulfed me. What to do??
The next thing I knew, a well-dressed man got between us, looking me in the eyes, his hands on my shoulders, as he worked to calm me down. He had seen everything, knew I had been attacked, but also knew the fight was over. He was concerned that the cops would be by any minute and knew that I would rather not spend Christmas Eve in jail. I quickly came to my senses and calmed down. Ironically, I actually said Merry Christmas to my bloody attacker as I left.
Now, I was confused and scared too. Scared of this Power I now possessed. I went to see my Sensei as soon as possible. I was so confused. I never wanted to fight again. I was afraid I would kill someone next time. I had felt that man’s pain too and it hurt. What was going on? I was training and instructing 4 hours every week night after work so as soon possible I ask to speak with my Sensei in private. He ran a very disciplined and traditional school. He was a little shorter than me but hard as nails and powerful. Highly skilled, faster than sound, so it seemed, and had come straight off of the fighting circuit to start this school. He sat down behind his desk as I sat across from him. I explained everything, except about “IT” because whatever “THAT” was, was just too much to deal with then. I told him how I was attacked, the damage I had done with basically nothing, and about my fears. His response surprised me. He had this bewildered look on his face as he leaned back in his chair in deep contemplation. He was kind of shaking his head as he leaned up to speak. He said, “Tom, I can’t believe you already learned the Lesson of the Dragon. It takes most people many years, if not a lifetime, before they get it. Most Westerners stay the Tiger and believe the martial arts are all about fighting and hurting people. Those few who move on to learn the Lesson of the Dragon gain Compassion, the true essence of the martial arts. This is exactly what you have done.”
The true Warrior is Always the Dragon and will only fight to save someone’s life and limb, including his, but does only what is absolutely necessary to neutralize the situation. The Tiger, on the other hand, has no Compassion and, therefore, no limits. They never realize that you learn martial arts so that you never need to fight. I was very blessed to have gained the Compassion of the Dragon and, hopefully, would never need to use my skills on the street again. I later realized that I had become so Centered, so Calm, and so confident that no one could anger me. This extreme confidence created an aura around me that seemed to repel conflicts. I had learned to win my battles without ever striking a blow. The sign of a true Warrior!
Now I will explain “IT” and then it’s connection with The Lesson of the Dragon. The latter was far easier to understand than the experience of a state of Being somewhat outside of time and space – the state of Being One with “IT”. When the archery student finally hit the bulls eye, he was really not responsible for this feat. His Zen Master made this very clear. He told him that “IT” hit the intended target. Whether the student understood this experience or not is unclear. However, when the student became so frustrated at missing every time, he finally gave up and Quit Trying. He then became relaxed, clear-minded, and Just Did It! I will always remember when Nike came up with their advertizing slogan, “Just Do It”. I about fell out of my chair the first time I heard it. It was brilliant! So simple, so true, yet, as profound a statement as possible. This Ego we developed eons ago has been becoming a bigger nuisance ever since it appeared. This “I”, “me”, “self”, et al thinks it is somehow in control of everything but it is actually the “opposing player” in this “game” called life. The Ego has created a separate “reality” in which this Ego is who we are and this “reality” is The Reality.. This is the greatest con-job of all time! But wait, our Ego created time too! Wow, we never had a chance! But, then again, we do not have to let it keep messing up Paradise.*
The true Reality is still here and we get quick glimpses of this Reality fairly often. Sadly, only a relative few of us ever notice it’s significance. We have all experienced very brief moments of this perfection. Say, after hitting a pool shot, batting a ball, throwing horseshoes, shooting a basketball, or letting an arrow fly effortlessly towards it’s target. We Know it is not going to miss whatever the Intended goal is. This Knowing is instantaneous – before thought, before emotion, even before Ego. We “feel” it in our gut, our Center, or Tan Tien. Since the Ego was not involved, this action was untainted and, therefore, must be Perfect. You see, Reality is Perfect. “We” never left Paradise! All of the problems, all of the pain and suffering, All Evil, is of the Ego’s creation by misperceiving Reality and reacting to this illusion. Bypass the Ego and everything is Absolute Perfection! And more…
In this natural State of Being without the infinite amount of problems and Evils created by the Ego, All is Love. When I experienced and actually observed my actions within this Perfect state before Ego, every move was exactly right and exactly the least amount of force necessary to stop the attack. There was nothing I could have done to him that was less destructive so my action was also the most Compassionate possible. “IT’ changed my life to one of Compassion and I never needed to use my skills on the street again. I quickly learned the Compassion of the Dragon and many years later I came to understand what “IT” is. “IT” is our True Nature and Being “IT” is our purpose here. We must rediscover Reality to escape this “illusion” filled with unconscionable pain, suffering, and Evil so we will All Be One with the Peace, Love, and Joy of our True Nature.
* None of us ever left the Paradise described in the Christian mythological story of the Garden of Eden. The “Tree of Knowledge” represented the emerging Ego and the “eating of the fruit” represented the initial separation from the Perfection of One, our True Nature, into this “illusion” of Duality created by this new Ego.