The Universal Teachings of a Grandmaster 1


It’s a Lifetime Course

“I have only come here seeking knowledge, things they could not teach me of in college.”

-The Police

I stood at the door of a mysterious room. What lay on the other side, I had been seeking my whole life. It cracked open and the basement light hit my eyes. I began my journey with one step, down a very steep staircase. After seven steps I stopped and sat down. I was looking at a musty old boiler room, filled with sweaty students in “black pajama like” uniforms and an unusual patch. I watched as two combatants punched, kicked, jumped,  parried, and tumbled with the frivolity and spontaneity of kittens in the fiercest apex of play. I fell into a sacred hypnotism as I watched this living display of wordless poetry. I was watching the grace, fluidity, and struggle of people who were searching for something pure, while casting off the darker forces that lurked in their hearts. And there was a presence? There were no words to describe it, no way to understand it in that moment. Yet. it filled the room. I heard a still small voice whisper in my heart. “This is it!”

After the class, the students circled around the Grandmaster for tea. He glanced up at me. I was still perched at the top of the stairs like a frightened hawk. I looked in his eyes and saw a universe in his smile. I relaxed and made my way down to the foot of the stairs. I could see some light or energy dancing around him. It was like he was on open conduit of something from beyond this realm. Yet, at the same time he was totally down to earth, humble, and charming. We all erupted in laughter time and time again as he spun tales of wisdom like a magician with a wand. At one point he turned and looked me directly in the eyes and said. “It’s a lifetime course.”

I closed my eyes. I could hear my heart beating. I realized it would not be beating forever. In me was life. I had  better start living. I had not been sure what I wanted to do with my life. To be honest I had been set on destroying it. I was twenty years old and was robotically planning to go to college. I was following the lifeless company line. Get an education, get a good job, settle down, have some kids, buy a house, acquire a lot of stuff, try to be remembered for something, anything. Then retire and get ready to die. Death is appalling and unbearable if one never lives. I decided at that moment to cash in all my lukewarm chips and follow this new fire that had been instantly lit. I was falling in love. I would keep falling. I would make this strange basement temple, the art of Kung Fu and it’s universal wisdom, my University, And I would make this rebel Shaolin Priest my teacher and guide. It was a radical idea, but I was born for the radical.

Here I am almost 40 years later looking in the rear view mirror. My beloved teacher, a Grandmaster of Shaolin Kung Fu and teacher of the Universal School of Self just recently extended his journey beyond this lifetime.  I am still here and for me the lifetime course continues.

What have I learned?.

I have learned that a lifetime course is purified and lifted by a desire to be true yourself one day at a time.

I have learned that if I bring focus, commitment, and passion, to what is right in front of me, my destiny will fall into place, naturally.

I have learned that though the past is gone, it is always available to be mined for insight, understanding, wisdom, and beauty.

I have learned that if I look into the vast possibility of the future, it will bring with it a ray of hope and a wider spectrum of choice.

I have learned that when I awaken true desire from within my own heart, the freedom of having just one choice emerges.

I have learned that every horizon gained, leads to a new horizon.

I have learned that it is never too late to begin, for this day is the first day of the rest of your life!

My teacher would often say giggling, “I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, I’m still learning and growing!” He said this well into his 80’s.

That night, many years ago, I started following my own heart. I began writing my own story. Before that, the story had been writing me.

Today is the perfect day to begin a new chapter, one word, one sentence, one paragraph at a time! Will you pick up the pen that only you and a power greater than yourself can hold  and begin anew…. writing your unique and inspirational story in the book of life?

Dream like your gonna live forever. Live like your gonna die today!

-James Dean

Love. be happy! (The Grandmaster)

Peace, Si Gong










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