In the movie Kung Fu Panda 2, Master Shifu tells Kung Fu Master Po that he needs to reach another frontier: inner peace. This opens up questions for Master Po. While pondering his existence, Master Po is called to fight a pack of wolves. In the midst of fighting the wolves he has flashbacks of his mother. With his energies diverted thinking about the past, he loses his personal power and the wolves escape. For greater self-awareness, Po begins a search for answers. Po asks the goose who found him when he was an infant in a crate of radishes and adopted him, “Where did I come from?” The goose was unable to provide satisfactory answers, so Po digs deeper and begins to ask himself: Who am I?
Intensely bothered by the lack of a resolution to his existential questions, Po is unable to concentrate. He loses battle after battle and consequently the faith of the other Kung Fu warriors whom he leads. The truth is known by Lord Shen, a peacock and evil ruler, who deceptively told Po that his parents had abandoned him. Unaccepting of Lord Shen’s story, Po continued his quest.
Guided by a soothsayer back to his past, Po learns the truth: that his parents did not abandon him, but rather sacrificed their lives to save his. This news strengthened Po’s heart. Returning to himself and a place of inner peace, Po attempts to convince Lord Shen to let go of his own unpleasant past. Shen refused to embrace self-empowerment and enlightenment. The driving forces of unforgiveness, bitterness, and jealousy compelled Shen to continue his ambitious pursuit to destroy Po.
During an attack of Shen’s furious rage, Po uses a kung fu technique that redirects Shen’s negative energy back to himself. Shen inadvertently cuts the rope releasing the last cannon ball—killing himself. Po, however, resumed authentically living his brand as the Dragon Master.
Since the beginning of time humanity has struggled with the questions: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? What is my purpose? What are my values? What makes me happy? What happens to me after I leave here? As we examine cultures and their political climates, societies struggle with these same questions. Most often the answers change as we grow, develop, and evolve. What I find interesting is that we frequently end up where we start, leading me to believe that we know the answers, but choose to explore our options, which is, perhaps, required for our growth.
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