(this was done by myself)
Life is strange, you know? Full of coincidences, of parallels, of intersecting ideas.
Carl Gustav Jung used to call the intersubjective or philosophically objective connection between seemingly meaningful coincidences: Synchonicities, a hypothetical noncausal principle. Like so many things, he stole it from Buddhist thought. In Tibetan Buddhism, when there're these kinds of coincidences, we say tendrel. It just means “interdependence”, but we’re trying to say that there is a particular interdependence that is meaningful for us.
Why I am going in this direction?
Remember, about six months back, when we tried to explain why a Guru is the foundation for the Path and why, if you try to jump from one system to the next, without someone to guide you and without doing the grind, you won’t advance in the Path?
If you do not remember, here’s the article: https://www.tantricsorcery.com/post/freud-and-milarepa-a-functional-approach-to-gurudom
Because in this context I try to approach teaching based on my experiences, I made the post with a boxing analogy. Why? Because I amateur boxed a lot in my youth. Because even though I’m old and slow, I still very much enjoy wrapping my hands, getting the gloves on and doing a couple of rounds with my kids. Before you run to child-services, remember my kids are tall, athletic teenagers who have been training for years. I count myself lucky if I can last a couple of rounds without being knocked out or just blacking out from the effort.
So, I’ve tried to use my experience to transmit the importance of sticking with someone as your Guru through the analogy of boxing. But one thing that I didn’t expect is the gift Lama Sherab sent me on Friday.
He sent me the “Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson” podcast.
You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/@HotboxinwithMikeTyson
Now, the part which I’m going to be focusing is the part where UFC Bantamweight Women’s Champion Julianna Peña joins. It starts here: https://youtu.be/3uqT7TwAZ98?t=2601
I’ve transcribed it here. As always with the art and the content, the transcription is mine, so errors are almost a certainty. But I think I get the gist of it:
Julianna Peña One thing that I found interesting about myself and watching your career is that you had a Cus D’Amato that he was with you from the very beginning. I have that with my head coach Rick Liddell we’ve been together 13 years, he taught me how to throw my very first punch. And like, I think that that’s really cool. Like, I consider him like my Cus. You know? Mike Tyson What people need mentors, right? That’s what’s lacking. Mentor respectable mentors. If you have a mentor, that’s even mentor, you will be evil, but you have a mentor backing you’re gonna be with you too. And it’s all about support, and there’ll be good support, there’s gonna be bad support. Julianna Peña How do you feel about like gym jumpers, for example, like people that think that they gotta go to this place or this place to find the secret answer? Mike Tyson I think they’re prostitutes Yeah, right. Gym jumper has no loyalty. Oh, pick up nobody because they do it. That’s just what they call. That’s just what they call them. I didn’t invent the name, right. It’s just what they call right now. They just they call them hoes. (…) Julianna Peña I won the championship. I played in London. Doing when people used to think a lot, I would hear this in the beginning of my career. They gotta go to Thailand. So if they go to Thailand, they’re gonna get really good. And then they go to Thailand and they come back to the United States. They get knocked the eff out. And it’s like, it wasn’t Thailand. It wasn’t Thailand. It was you. Mike Tyson Yeah, yeah. It was all about my belief. Fighting is all about how you think about yourself about what form of dignity, what form of self love you have. It’s all about that. And self-love and Persona, spirit. But that’s what it is. It’s just what human beings do.
And it is amazing. While I wasn’t using Iron Mike’s language, he’s being more honest than myself here. And not only that, but he’s going over a lot of the same points I am making while being a boxing legend.
This, for me, makes perfect sense. People like Mike Tyson and Julianna Peña are actually champions. People who went all the way. If we’re using the analogy in the opposite direction that I used in my article, these are the people who would have climbed to the summit of spirituality.
And you know what is the key to them?
Constancy. Loyalty. Integrity. Dignity.
Having a Mentor/Guru and being loyal to them.
Taking responsibility for your development.
Grinding. Grinding until you have the perfect edge.
This, for me, it’s true in fighting (be it boxing, MMA or whatever other form) and in the spiritual path. Of course, I’m not the first one to point it out. So many people compared it to a warrior’s journey. Takuan Soho, Padmasambhava, Bodhidharma. But to hear such legends as Tyson and Peña confirm the path is that way, inspires me.
So, I put it to you.
Want to be an internet tough guy? Go everywhere, with yourself as the only authority. Do what you feel like. Nobody can order you around. Make up a style made of stolen things and enjoy it.
But do you actually want to become a champ? Do what Mike Tyson and Julianna Peña did. What Milarepa and Padmasambhava did. Find a Guru. Devote yourself to him or her. And grind, grind until you become enlightened. Accept ownership of your situation, instead of thinking that it is the Guru or the system, and grind.
You can cheat, and cheat yourself. Or you can make your word your bond and become a champ.
It’s your choice.