In the last week of August 2011, a week after my 36th birthday, I was given a business card by a man I respected after hobbling into his cafe with an injured back. He said to me with a wink "Paul, give this man a call, he will set you on the right path. He is masterful".
How presumptuous of this man to think I wasn't on the right path. I had it going on, I had my finger on the proverbial pulse of life, at this time all you'd need do is ask me and I would have willingly told you so.
That afternoon I made a phone call that would see my life take the most unexpected turn. After arriving at this man's home, I was greeted at the door by a man of incredible presence. I'd known many men with a presence, however the presence I'd known was born of fear masquerading as fearlessness.
The mixture of calm certainty and gentle strength was puzzling to me and unlike anything I'd experienced before. He set to work on my back and the conversation quickly moved to that of the pugilistic arts and that of swordsmanship. Being a third generation boxer my mind was blown by this man's knowledge of early pugilism and the combative arts...and many, many truths of the nature of the world and all whom walked upon it.
In this moment I knew this was a man unlike any I'd known. "Please take me on as a student, I must learn what you know" I exclaimed
This man said nothing, in silence he kept working on me for what felt like an eternity before softly saying:
"We can meet for a tea at some stage soon".
For the next year we would meet and I would listen and my frustration and impatience grew. What I now understand is that I had almost a year of simply learning how to listen before this man would ask for a commitment to become a student.
First, I was masterfully guided through the path of building foundation. A two year journey to the edges and depths of all that I've known and not known, being destroyed and reborn, over, and over, and over again. To culminate in being literally brought to my knees by the crop that was born of the seed of lack, dysfunction, anger, violence and dishonour from the life I'd previously known. I had to control people and things because I had no control over my internal world.
And yet, this man's poise, grace and benevolence was masterful, he taught me the power in reduction, the beauty in simplicity and balance through living from principle.
I once thought I knew what love was, this man grew me up out of the immature ideology of conditions, expectations and control of what I believed love was, and walked me powerfully into the experience of the deepest and richest love of who and what I am, that I for one, never knew was possible in this lifetime.
This man led me to myself to live in power.
This man led me from weakness in all things.
This man exampled to me the only discipline, self-discipline.
This man has taught me of love through being unconditional.
This man has taught me the path of beauty through his gentle strength.
This man I owe my life.
This man is Magister.