Think, Speak, Make your own decisions.
“Hey, hey, you, you, get off of my cloud!”
-The Rolling Stones
I quickly recognized that our Grandmaster was a source of wisdom unlike any other I had encountered in this world. This is not to say he was perfect. Part of his wisdom was in allowing himself the freedom to make mistakes. I soon learned that he was willing to extend this same freedom to others.
When I started my “lifetime course” in this modern-day Shaolin Temple, my demons were hot on my trail. I was screwing up left and right. Once I got up the courage I asked our Grandmaster if I could get some “advice”. He invited me to his kitchen table and I laid out my problem. He would lurch into a monolithic cosmic monologue, that was fascinating, humorous, and filled with lessons. When he paused long enough for a breath, I would try to steer the conversation back to my problem. He would just take off again and spin circles around the universe with the nimble dexterity of a well experienced eagle in joyous flight. I would eventually sit back and enjoy the show and his outta-the-box eccentric teaching style. As we got to the point where he was leading me to the door, I would remember my question and say “Wait, you never told me what I should do? You never gave me any advice?” He would smile and say “I’m not going to. If I tell you what to do and I’m right, you will never get the credit for your own decision. And if I tell you what to do and I’m wrong, you will blame me. Think, speak, make your own decisions!” He would laugh as he closed the door.
As I went home I realized that though he never told me what to do, his seemingly impromptu verbal riffs created a smorgasbord of sagacity. His guidance was for me to learn to guide myself. His advice was to be my own advisor. His wisdom pointed me back to the source of my own. His mastery awakened the master that was living in me. He gave me the greatest gift, the gift of being true to myself and trusting my own thinking and decision making.
In the years since I have reflected how much our personal relationships are stained with the mythology of love and friendship being rooted in telling the other person what they should do or how they should live. A person starts a new diet and in addition to bragging about how great they feel, they begin attacking your food choices, under the cover of friendly advice. It doesn’t take long to lose your appetite, for the friendship! You start a new relationship and your friends circle around like vultures to advise you on strategy. The relationship ends quickly because you never had the guts to trust your own instincts. Parents give or withhold love depending on how well their children are carrying out their predetermined plans for their lives. Thus, you lose your freedom to live for yourself, make your own choices, and learn from your own mistakes. But this is called love? We are all so busy guiding each other’s lives that our communities are filled with people who don’t know how to guide their own.
What a world we would live in if people could trust themselves and their own inner wisdom and guidance. What if we learned to let our lives inspire, encourage, and uplift one another. What if we shared our point of view and experiences without insisting on being right. What if we all respected each other’s right to live our lives as a unique reflection of who we individually are and allowed life and experience to be our greatest teachers?
“When true inner authority is awakened, we will throw off the shackles of all outer authority.”
“Yesterday we obeyed Kings and bent our necks before Emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.”
“Think, speak, make you own decisions.”