A Dream Life Indeed
Going on 72, at this stage of my life and career, I am happy to say I am accomplishing what was most motivating and stirring to me as a child. I was driven by two quests. One – I wanted to know how to handle cruel, brutal, and dangerous bullies and victimizers in order to do my part to bring more peace, joy, and kindness into the world. Two – I longed to understand the big beyond-understanding spiritual questions that have haunted humanity since time immemorial – what makes a life meaningful, why is there evil in the world, where do we go after life?
I was so fortunate. Stepping stone by stepping stone, for over 50 years, I studied the martial arts and developed what for me were the breakthrough answers for how to take down vicious and hate filled enemies of peace, gentleness, and goodwill. Based on the Togakure Ryu ninja Soto Tonko no Kata, the highest levels of my To-Shin Do offer ways to approach dealing with violence in an age when adversaries had reached new levels of cruelty, and court judgements regarding self defense had reached the extremes of abject nonsensicality.
I was so blessed. Chasing around the world for over 50 years, I pursued the great spiritual traditions of antiquity and found what for me were the leads to grasping the answers to the timeless questions of how to live a life of depth and purpose. A strange amalgam of truly understanding the point of Tibetan Vajrakilaya practice and pursuit of the Japanese approach of Shugendo brought me to an understanding that half (or more?) of our troubles in life come from the inside out.
At this point in my career of searching for truth and verifying it by teaching others, I have attained the “exciting peace” of fulfillment, contentment, and exhilaration. That certainly does not imply that I am done, that I have all the answers, that I have finished my exploration. I am sure more tests and discoveries lie ahead of me, both elevating and heartbreaking. But life has brought me to a place of deep meaning and understanding. I have been on the right 2-fold track for my entire adult life. I am doing what I set out to do, so many decades ago.
At this stage, after so many battles won (and a few lost) I can see the important value of having a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing. There are ever more new things to realize. There are so many attachments to let go of. Newer bigger answers will require a bigger mind to handle. Attachments – such as the need to be right, the urgency to own something or someone, to win at all costs, to be seen by others as superior – are chains that pull us down.
This open mindedness can admittedly seem confusing to my friends. They may expect me to be firmly definitive in how I run my programs and seminars. They may assume I have figured it all out, I’ve covered all the bases, and know exactly what and how to present to folks. They may be frustrated that I ask more questions of people than give answers. I want to know what people want to know. You tell me. What would be most helpful and relieving? What would you prefer, when it comes to learning, earning belt ranks, and earning titles in our spiritual organization? Do you want us to be tougher, or more encouraging? Should we be more geared to what you need, as opposed to what you want? Do you want us broader, or narrower, more historical, or more applicable to today?
I have had a great trip for my life. I am so lucky to be fulfilling the dreams of my childhood. I can say I have never worked a day in my life; I have enjoyed daily pursuing my passions. I have ended up with the career of my dreams, the friends of my dreams, married to my dream girl for 41 years, blessed by the children and grandchildren of my dreams, live in the house of my dreams, drive the cars of my dreams, travel to the places I once only dreamed of. And certainly, granted, that could all be gone tomorrow. But I am enjoying these things today.
Only one thing left now. How do I get a bigger audience of people tuned in to enjoying this path alongside me?
How can I help more people help more people make the world a more beautiful place?
You tell me.