Dec 20, 2015 Vital intelligence and improved power can be sifted out from another’s yelling
When another person is yelling at us, our first instinct may be to fight the yelling, to avoid getting wounded and to avoid looking weak to the yeller, others within earshot or both.
Once the seeming subject of the yelling reaches equanimity and solid grounding, the subject can start to sift out vital intelligence and power from the yelling. Yelling comes from anger, hate, or effort to scare. Anger and hate are rooted in fear. Scare tactics can be reduced to paper tigers. Fear is weakening. Therefore, the listener can distinguish the fear from any hollow or possibly dangerous threats.
I recently bumped into a probation officer who, of all people, pointed out that we are all in this global life together. I asked what he thought about ISIS members’ involvement in that equation, and he wisely responded that even ISIS members are together on the planed with us, and that we need to be conversing with each other. That officer is right, of course, so long as we take a page from Bodhisattva Never Despise, and keep the necessary distance not to be wounded as we dialogue with physically dangerous people.
Charles Francis makes a good point that plenty of difficult people feel invisible and not listened to. If we listen deeply to them, that very listening presence might get them on the path to better balance, even if they falter and regress along the way.
The late Terry Dobson put the matter particularly powerfully. Terry tried drawing an Aikido battle-justifying foul from a violently angry drunk man on a subway, but with perfect timing an old man joyously proclaimed “Hey!” to the drunk man, convinced the angry man to sit beside him, and proceeded to neutralize the drunk man with understanding, delight, compassion and love.
We all are connected. We use scalpels and medicine to rid our bodies of ailments when less invasive efforts do not work, but we do so to heal ourselves and return ourselves to harmony, not to destroy ourselves. Similarly with those presenting themselves as dangers, it is folly to invite damage from them rather than to work to neutralize their threat, but also misguided to dehumanize and ignore them, which can feed into their anger and feeling of disconnect and isolation. We need to engage them, just as a taijiquan sensing hands player must at once engage with the opponent and himself not so much in an effort to best the opponent but in an effort to become more powerfully connected with the miracle of living, being, and breathing.