I started studying the philosophy of Bruce Lee at age 9 and his teachings have a greater influence in how I live daily to this day than any other source of wisdom recognized widely. Here’s why.
That single statement of encouragement to surpass the teacher by embracing the individual one is and becoming a master of one and one alone. Bruce’s teachings had nothing to do with mastering martial arts in the form of kung fu but using kung fu as a tool to master oneself. If one has a style or pattern one creates weaknesses that can be exploited. A mold can be chipped at until it is broken.
Following this thought process forces one to rely on ones inner strength and ones ability to rely on one alone in order to become the individual. One who conforms to other styles and other patterns seeks to fit a mold and will be broken and exploited repeatedly through life.
Bruce sought to teach you to master yourself and see the strength you already possess within to push you forward to accomplish anything your set you mind to. When unified in mind, body and spirit one is unstoppable and invincible in the face of any opposition. One becomes both the immovable object and the unstoppable force.
One masters oneself to become this. To master oneself is to understand oneself in total honesty and to apply work to the areas one desires to turn into skills to provide for one’s life.
Bruce often spoke of being honest in everything he did down to throwing an honest punch. To allow that punch to be an honest expression of self in action. Anything less than total honesty distorts one’s projection and one will never reveal the strength within oneself.
Be like the nature of water is the most famous of all Bruce Lee quotes and here’s how I applied the Master’s lesson to master myself.
Water takes many forms. Forget about how it forms to the cup for a few.
Water cuts through mountains to create streams.
Glaciers cut through mountain ranges.
An ocean is in constant motion in many directions.
A river only flows one way.
A cloud provides rain over large areas.
A lake is fed by other sources.
A pond relies on the rains.
Ice must melt to form the streams.
Streams must come together to form a river.
Rivers pour into the oceans.
A fog obscures the view however allows all to pass through.
The ocean separates land from land though they are all still connected under the depths of the seas.
The seas, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams exist upon the earth and soak in to feed the life that relies upon it to live.
Be like the nature of the water that is needed in the situation one finds oneself in based on the individual one is and is working to become. When one has mastered oneself one takes any form needed to continue growth and shared growth when in the company of other ones. Be like the nature of water but first understand all that water is in nature.
One’s life is one’s life work.
One who does not work on oneself does not work on one’s life. One who does not work on oneself will never master oneself. The greatest idea in the world without action applied remains only an idea.
One will never understand knowledge until it is applied and only then will one find if the knowledge proves true or false. Not all knowledge is true and only in application can one find the wisdom to understand the difference.
Bruce said “Simplicity is the key to brilliance.” Here’s why.
One only seeks to complicate to hold power over other ones. One makes things complex to create a false sense of superiority. The true gift of intellect and a brilliant mind is to simplify so many may understand with ease. One who seeks wield influence and control others will make it complex. Only in designing the complexity can one demand conformity.
This was the fight that Bruce had with the Kung Fu masters of his day. His teaching no form made their teachings invalid. That was the core of the issue. They feared losing their hold on what they deemed to be sacred and secret only for them to judge who is worthy.
Bruce fought against centuries of teachings.
Bruce fought against his ancestors.
Bruce fought for humanity to break of us of antiquated things and teach us how to live as more evolved beings.
That is what inspires my life daily and inspires me when shit happens and I need a reminder of what it takes to be a Master.