Master Oogway’s Wisdom
Our household is in full-on Kung Fu Panda mode right now. Don’t tell my son’s school teachers or principal, please! It’s a peace-loving Montessori school, and Kung Fu definitely wouldn’t go over well on that playground. But, he’s a boy who is about to turn five years old, and I’m his Dad. And I believe he needs to learn about being peaceful, as well as being a warrior. After all, Ecclesiastes still says, “There is a time for war, and a time for peace.” But I digress.
Back to Jack Black and the crew on Kung Fu Panda. Great show – thoroughly enjoyed it! Being set in China, it is obvious to me that much of the wisdom shared by the sage in the story, Master Oogway the venerable turtle who discovered/invented Kung Fu, is based on Buddhist philosophy. This may make some of you really squeamish. Here I am, this Christian counselor, referencing Buddhist wisdom. If you need to click away at this point at get some fresh air, go for it. I’ll never know, nor would I be upset if I did. Anyway, there are several moments where Oogway offers these great one-liners of wisdom to his protege, Shifu, who is on his way to becoming the grand master. One line in particular struck me as a profound truth.
Oogway has just shared with Shifu the vision he has had that Tai Lung, the most dangerous and feared Kung Fu warrior in all the land, will escape from his ultimate maximum security prison and return to try and seize the secret to limitless power. Shifu is horrified and frightened, and he immediately turns to his servant and tells him to send word to the one-inmate prison that they should double the guards and everthing else. Tai Lung must not be allowed to escape! As the servant, a crane, flies away in a flutter to deliver the urgent message, Master Oogway slowly turns to Shifu and offers this quiet, yet thunderous, statement,
“One often meets his destiny on the path he takes to avoid it.”
So true! I have seen countless situations in my life, my friends’ and family members’ lives, and my clients’ lives when this very dynamic played out with ironic precision. For example:
– I am so afraid you might cheat on me, so I will hover and interrogate to ensure your fidelity, which frustrates you so much that you slowly pull away from me emotionally and end up going to someone else for intimacy and security.
– I love my child so much that I just can’t bear to see her/him get hurt, so I will protect my child as much as I possibly can, even shielding the child from the painful consequences of his/her own foolish choices, which trains my growing child to become either highly irresponsible or highly thin-skinned, both of which ultimately lead to much greater suffering than she/he would have experienced from those smaller consequences along the way.
– I am so afraid of being rejected for who I am that I will run to the false intimacy of pornography where I get all gratification and no rejection, which then creates huge problems in my marriage or serious relationship, and may even lead my wife or girlfriend to “reject me” because of my emotional/visual infidelity of choosing safe images over her real self.
– I am so afraid of being rejected for who I am that I will constantly badger my spouse with questions and comments designed to elicit reassurance of love, which so burdens and taxes my spouse with the persistent effort of trying to fill my needy, leaking love-tank, that he/she finally quits offering affirmation and may ultimately quit being around me.
Master Oogway would make a great therapist, in my humble opinion. “One often meets his destiny on the path he takes to avoid it.” And, not to spoil the plotline for you, but turns out Oogway is on the money with his pronouncement. Right on, wise turtle!