Under the Heavens, There is But One Family

In an interview, Sijo Bruce Lee was once asked a question about his thoughts on racism.

“Basically, human traits are the same everywhere.  I don’t want this to sound like ‘As Confucius say’, but under the sky, under the heavens, there is but one family.”

When I meditate on this, I feel hopeful as well as ashamed.  I think about how many times in my life I have treated others without the same understanding and benefit of the doubt I give my own family.  I don’t know about your family, but if it is anything like mine, there is plenty of love and plenty of drama.  But even the drama is built on a basis of love and shared experience.  We don’t argue with each other the way we do with outsiders.  My sister had the privilege to call me a dork growing up, but the minute someone else teased me or tried to bully me, she went after them.  She knew how to throw a jiktek before I ever started training in Jeet Kune Do.

In our doucoeng, or the place we practice Jeet Kune Do, we have people from all walks of life, politics, religions, and ethnic groups.  The Christian works on boxing drills with the atheist, while the Muslim and the Jew are practicing open guard defense on the ground.  Black and white take turns holding pads for each other, while the liberal and conservative set aside political differences in order to help each other improve their clinch.  Under the roof of the douceong, there is but one family, united by our common goal of following the Way of the Intercepting Fist.

What if we took that attitude off the mat and into each interaction throughout our day?

Human traits are the same everywhere.  How often have I let the differences get in the way of the similarities?  How many potential friendships have I ruined through not giving someone the benefit of the doubt?  How many times have I written someone off because I assumed the worst?  How many times have I not offered someone the same forgiveness I would offer a member of my family, or that a family member would offer me?  How many times have I judged someone not on the content of their character, but on the basis of their skin, their nationality, their religion, or their political views?  My desire is that I begin to see those similarities more often than I let the differences divide me from someone else.  When I see that I am doing that, I want to shift my view to be more in line the mentality that Sijo speaks of.

I am committed to practicing Jeet Kune Do both on and off the mat, so that in my daily life as well as in training, I am practicing seeing everyone I interact with as a member of my family.  When I meditate at the end of the day, I will review one of my interactions for five minutes and consider how I treated that person.  Did I treat this person as family or did I other them?  How can I improve my interactions tomorrow?

What will you do this week to help you realize that under the heavens, there is but one family?



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