Something on Ahisma...

At this retreat, my teacher gave the following 3 Steps for Addressing Violence:

1. Physically remove yourself from the spot. Run, move, shut the door, or hang up the phone. Just leave until the emotional heat dissipates (if ever.) Okay, no problem. I can run faster, farther than most people, even while carrying my kids. I’ve learned to remove myself from the escalation before its tipping point (and can continue to improve there.)
2. If you can’t leave and they persist, then speak your truth and try to reach the heart of divinity which is within every person. Appeal to their divine nature. I’ve studied conflict resolution techniques, such as “Verbal Judo” among others, but this was something deeper. You actually have to give a shit, and reach across the void - through the fog of your frustration or fear - and call to the greatness within an individual who has temporarily “lost it.”
3. If they follow you, insisting on your persecution, get angry. Anger is healthier than sadness, because it takes corrective action. The gentle folk laughed uncomfortably at this guidance, but my mouth was hanging open, as if suddenly I had a place in this peaceful society. If a deer comes and eats your garden, you can’t reason with it; you pick up a stick and threaten it. Though… for me, this begged the question, what if the deer calls your bluff. (Okay, so maybe not a deer, but you know what I mean.)
Then, came the answer. Though addressing the massive crowd of students, she looked over at me, as if she knew how this problem vexed me. She offered the story of Krishna appearing to Arjuna on the battlefield…. written in the Mahabharata.

Arjuna, a fighter and leader, on the very day of his people facing annihilation by an invading army, decided to become a monk to avoid violence. Lord Krishna appeared to Arjuna, not because he was spiritually developed enough to deserve it, but strictly from having the compassion for the impending massacre of Arjuna’s people. Krishna told Arjuna that his duty to protect the innocent overrides any offense to his spiritual aspirations, “Remember the divinity within each of us and fight!” My mouth dropped.

You see, it was this part that had plagued me. Was it more enlightened to visit violence upon those who persisted in persecuting the innocent, or on removing yourself completely from the violence altogether? I had been offered an answer.

Again, perhaps you’re more enlightened than I was. But for me, in this wisdom my fighter and my yogi were finally wed:

4. If persecutors do not cease hostilities even when threatened, your duty to protect the innocent from harm overrides any spiritual aspirations of personal non-violence.

I’m not suggesting this imperative applies to you. I am a fighter, trained by some of the brightest and best coaches in the world. Furthermore, I’m a great coach as well, able to trick even the most stubborn student into greater depths of mastery. If I’ve exhausted all other options of peace, and imminent jeopardy looms upon innocents, then even if harming others repulses me, I’m morally obligated to do so (until such a time that those hostiles cease their aggressive advance.)

I must be courageous enough to face the specters which may come from causing harm to others, if urgent necessity demands. But better me than someone without my training and experience. Better that I do this than the gentle folk who don’t have my training and aptitude, and better that I do this than the aggressive folk who lack the restraint and mastery to use the most minimal force necessary to find a cessation to the hostilities. Keeping God in my heart, compassion for even those lost in the fog and friction of violence, I’ve learned my duty to fight when circumstances leave no option. And I can do so knowing that I can look in my teacher’s eyes without the oppressive yoke of self-deprecating guilt. Certainly not pride, but definitely not guilt.

Taken from Scott Sonnon's RMAX website:


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