Thursday, November 25, 2004

Honorable Self-defense

Security is not a matter of locks and bars, but a question of inner tranquillity. Still, as mystics, we try to let wisdom and reason be our guides, together with compassion for all, including crooks. It is never an easy task.

It is hoped that you have, therefore, some reasonable form of selfdefense. The first piece of advice for a peaceful warrior is, "Never be far away from a defensive weapon." This "weapon" can be a lamp, a broom, a toaster. Certainly, it is the height of pure ignorance to respond like the wimpy women in the movies, beating impotently on the chest of a maniac, and screaming and crying. Clearly, the cosmos wants you to empower yourself. You should practice using, say, a broom as a weapon, until you are faster and more clever than can be imagined. (This practical program of selfdefense doubles as an excellent exercise-program

Not that you want to fight. You and I both know that that is certainly not so. One of the basic principles of the "kung fu" arts, so abused in this country (here discussing the genuine and deep philosophies of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu) is, "Never engage in offensive violence, and severely restrict the place of defensive violence."

My favorite example of "defensive violence" is the sweet, good-natured bumblebee, who can easily scare the hell out of a large man! In their everyday lives, bumblebees are quiet and quite inoffensive critters. Contrary to myth and urban legends, a healthy, normal bumblebee will not attack; her stinger is only defensive. (I owe a debt of honor to the bumblebee Spirit, but that's another story.)

Another kung fu principle is this: When a man attacks you, at that very moment, he loses all his rights, even the right to be treated with kindness and respect. When you are attacked, that is nature's signal to go into "animal" or purely "defense" mode. But, as a human being, you have intelligence not possessed by animals; you need to use your brain to increase your power in any way that you consider honorable. So, the first thing that you need to do is to increase your personal power by finding a "weapon"-- a footstool, coatrack, or whatever is handy. Just remember that, at the moment of attack, anything that you must do is okay.

A lamp or even a saucepan might be good as a "weapon" in an emergency. But any weapon is only as good and useful as the hands of the person holding it. And those hands are only as useful as the mind that controls them. This is why "defense-mode" is like an altered state of consciousness in which the usual formalities and inhibitions must be entirely droppped. During a violent confrontation with an attacker, you must call upon your totem or "ally," your Power animalspirit, for aid. During that time, your human qualms and hesitation might be deadly for you. Again, a maxim of defense: If you have to think, it is already too late.

Of course, we all agree that the person of wisdom tries to lead a life of perfect ahimsa, "noninjury" or "harmlessness." We never want to hurt any living thing, under any circumstance. Offensive violence (attack) is out of the question!

Still, there is a viable place in the Way of Love for purely defensive violence. If it is a matter of hurting or allowing the self to be hurt, you must keep in mind the principle of Love for the self. In cosmic balance, there is no reasonable justification whatsoever for the premise that you should allow yourself to be hurt, and not the attacker. In fact, if he were hurt, it could well be seen as "instant karma."

With those crucial principles all firmly in mind, please remember that this article is written only out of a sense of Love-- Love for all. Still, it is not written to "parentize" anyone. I've absolutely no interest in being a "daddy" for any other adult. I do not want to tell anyone what to do.

The purpose of this article is to share, not to set forth the "law of God," writtten in tablets of stone. Just consider it, please, as friendly advice based on fifty years on this planet-- this time-- and centuries before.

No comments: