Thursday, August 09, 2018

The Jump Instructor

The legend was that in the mountains in the east, there lived a great instructor.  The legend said that he was able to train and teach students to jump from one mountain to another.

S was a great athlete but in recent times had developed a limp.  Instead of trusting and following medical advice that was frequently given to him, he still wanted to become the best jumper in the world.  Doctors had told him that his limp was because of his reckless jumping on hard rocks during his youth.  He was advised to undertake moderate exercise, massage his ankle, and eat a good diet, but S thought such advice to be pedestrian.  S wanted a doctor or an instructor who would somehow cure his pain in such a way that eating a good diet became second nature to him.  He did not think that just changing the diet was the cure.  For S it was merely treating the symptoms, and he wanted the cure to go much deeper.

So one day, S decided to go to the legendary instructor in the mountains and to become his student.

The instructor was happy to get a new student.  The instructor disregarded his particular story, and quickly gave him his standard booklet on exercise and do's and dont's.  The do's and dont's contained similar advice as what the doctors had suggested, but the exercise was very different.  The exercise involved not massaging and treating the limp, but focusing one's gaze on the moon at night.

S tried hard to follow the practice, but gazing at the moon incessantly was boring and somewhat unnatural.  During his gazing, he became drowsy and used to fall asleep.  The instructor told S that such drowsiness was natural but that he should persevere.  Eventually he would be able to jump across mountains.  S saw the other students around him also gazing at the moon, and many told him of a great athlete in some far-off-land who had, after sufficient gazing, been able to jump across the mountain.

S stayed with the instructor for many years and gazed for hours at the moon.  His limp became somewhat less painful but whenever he tried to test his jump, the limp returned.  S was frustrated but when he saw others diligently and faithfully persevere in their gazing, he blamed his own impatience and indiscipline.  After all, he still wasn't able to gaze all night.

At the tenth year anniversary of his apprenticeship, S went to the instructor and told him that there had been some improvement and asked him when S would be able to really jump across the mountain.  The instructor handed him the same booklet, now in its fifteenth edition, and asked him to just follow the practice.  The instructor did not think S's situation required some adjustment to the practice, or another exercise than moon-gazing.

It was rumored that the instructor was able to jump the mountain himself, but that he wasn't a show-off so nobody had seen him do it.

After twenty years of practice - and the instructor was now dead - S had started blaming himself.  He was a bad student.  His indiscipline and drowsiness were to blame.

Crestfallen, S returned to his home in the valley, and told all his friends about the instructor.  He bought and gave them a copy of his holy booklet and the exercises and the pictures of legendary jumpers in it.

The booklet was now in its fiftieth edition.

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