Welcoming being on the battlefield, no matter the booby traps and other foul play

Mar 25, 2016 Welcoming being on the battlefield, no matter the booby traps and other foul play

Yesterday I blogged that dwelling on a perceived sh*tstorm on the horizon threatens to miss opportunities for victory.

Potential sh*tstorms constantly abound. We can plan a dream vacation, only to have a snowstorm threaten to cancel the vacation, a loutish airplane passenger sitting next to us, the paradise island’s last remaining hotel room a cesspool of toilet leaks from the floor above, the tourist traps trying to gouge tourists for more money than being billed to locals, and restaurants seating patrons in racist fashion and trying to pass off rotting food.

Or we can simply change planes or destinations, change our airplane seat, change islands, and leave the price-gouging tourist traps and bigoted and rotting food-serving restaurants. Of course, making such external changes is not necessarily going to solve everything, because the next weather snafu awaits, the next loutish airplane passenger is perfecting his obnoxiousness, the next hotel room will one day be destined for urgent repair, and the next restaurant might become a racist and putrid theater of the absurd.

Duality holds back one’s strength, stagnates one’s efforts to accomplish in this brief life, and narrows one’s life focus. In this magnificently infinite universe, sh*tstorms will always be present in one way or another. Letting the possibility and actuality of sh*tstorms drag us down guarantees being dragged down during our entire stay on this planet.

Damn, I love this scene from Gladiator, where Maximus would never have prevailed in such an uneven match had he for one moment gotten upset about the unfairness in the battle. Instead, he accepted the unfairness as part of the then-current state of affairs, and still prevailed, and shoved it in the emperor’s face by not finishing off his opponent despite the emperor’s pointing his thumb down.

This non-dualistic approach will not come from reading self-help books and attending self-help retreats, as much as some of those books and retreats rise above the snake-oil salesmanship of so many of them. Only through daily practice will we achieve.


  • Leighton Wells
    Posted at 16:27h, 25 March Reply

    I agree. Too many people are caught up in learning about getting better, instead of just getting better. Dedicate yourself to a positive duty, job, or goal and you will be a better person

  • john iorio
    Posted at 18:26h, 11 January Reply

    Well, as they say in A,A. : “life on life’s terms”…or in the courtroom, accordingly….this scene is a bit much for a pacifist like me, but it does make the point. I would hope that our justice system never devolves to this type of physicality ….i can see how this would apply, at least the part where Max lets his opponent live.

    • Jon Katz
      Posted at 14:12h, 18 January Reply

      Thanks for commenting, John. Courthouse battle often is far from pretty. I take this in better stride through my taijiquan practice.

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