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The Art of Swordlessness

swordlessness

“If you have attained mastery of swordlessness, you will never lack for a sword. The opponent’s sword is your sword.” – Yagyū Munenori, 1571 – May 11, 1646

Often the application of power is not the solution to our problems nor displays of strength and prowess the proper path to what we seek. When I was young I tried very hard to appear better than I was, reasoning that folks would like me less if they knew all my faults. While I’m all for improving oneself, the unfortunate result of my youthful awkward attempts at perfection was that I ended up hiding the real me and not letting others in close. Later in life, I learned the value of laying down my sword (intended only for righteous self-defense but all too often scaring others away) and doffing my armor as well and becoming comfortable in my flawed humanity, with where I was in my spiritual journey, putting my faith in the resilience of my spirit rather than in the thickness of my emotional walls.

To he who has a hammer (power), everything tends to be seen as a nail and if the hammer does not work, all too often the “solution” is “What we need here is a bigger hammer.”

I am not advocating naïve trust nor that the lamb lie down with the lion; I am saying begin softly and in good faith, assume good intent, extend trust and an open hand whenever possible, seek first to understand then to be understood, focus on removing restraining forces before you attempt to increase driving forces.

Closing Quotes:

“A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” – Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends & Influence People

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” – Matthew 26:52

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.  Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (p. 67)

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

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