“Our carapace is necessary because it keeps out a lot of pain; it ensures we’re not overwhelmed by what is wounding in the world. But it can also make us feel fake. It can make us feel numb and strangely out of touch with ourselves. As a result, there are few things that feel headier than being able to cast it off. There are few things that feel better than being able to reconnect with aspects of our being that have been forcefully suppressed. There is, in short, something enormously vitalizing about being able to trust that someone will not recoil when we disclose the face beneath the mask.”

“Those who manage to sustain passion over time know how to arrest the steady advance of triteness. They know how to insert ideals into the composition of their lives.”

— both quotes above — by Mari Ruti

Today I set my computer aside and opened my notebook to the early morning sunlight. Like the sage and philosopher, I needed this quiet interval in order to recover from the intruding thoughts of daily interactions.

I observed today how my pet poodle is able to draw near the neighbor’s dog without arousing its defenses. My dog puts on an inoffensive air. His movements are light and puppy like. However, whenever I attempt to get near the aforementioned creature, it bares its menacing teeth and growls at me with antagonistic eyes.

I wish I could interact with others without having those defenses aroused. Being around people taxes my energy. All warmth and charm disipate from my body. With great effort I control my emotions, but they run deep on the inside. Indeed, those of us who suffer from a more sensitive temperament have an especially difficult time finding serenity and lowering our guard.

In such times I wonder what it would be like to be disconnected from the Amygdala Gland –that tiny apparatus in the brain that is responsible for all my anxiety and irritability. What would it be like to be able to face each day with the composure of the warrior — to learn the art of emotional judo?

*

I recall the soothing delight of retreating to the nurturing and mysterious world of the TV series, “Kung Fu”. I could not tell you the names of the main characters, yet its impact I could not deny to this day.

As I watched David Carradine play the role of a noble young monk, it kindled in me a burning passion towards the acquisition of a similar spiritual quest. Movie makers know how empowering it is to inject in the human heart the sense of self-mastery. It doesn’t matter how much adversity, threats or danger, composure defies all the sensible instincts of self-preservation.

Perhaps we may never demonstrate the heroic achievement of an ancient oriental warrior, yet, we can all experience the quiet transcendence of the unsung hero. In the obscure realm of human experience, there are still many giants to be slain.

Advertisements