“The way of cowardice is to embed ourselves in a cocoon, in which we perpetuate our habitual patterns. When we are constantly re-creating our basic patterns of behavior and thought, we never have to leap into fresh air or onto fresh ground dealing with darkness. By darkness, we mean enclosing ourselves in a familiar world in which we can hide or go to sleep experiencing our own fear, we create a cocoon to shield ourselves from the vision of the Great Eastern Sun. We prefer to hide in our personal jungles and caves. When we hide from the world in this way, we feel secure. We may think that we have quieted our fear, but we are actually making ourselves numb with fear. We surround ourselves with our own familiar thoughts so that nothing sharp or painful can touch us. We are so afraid of our own fear that we deaden our hearts.” – Chögyam Trungpa, Shambhala
In “Hitting the Reset Button, Part 1 of 2”, we took a snapshot of the importance of capturing negative thoughts and limiting their intensity and duration, self-control, self-reflection, knowing your “Y”, and understanding. In this final part of the discussion, we will cover the importance of judiciousness & intelligence and composure & courage.
Since releasing, “Hitting the Reset Button, Part 1 of 2” a couple of months ago in July, I have been put to the test in terms of having the discipline to consistently “hit the reset button” in the midst of difficult situations. It is through these trials, like those (1,980,000 and counting) prior, that I have been able to reflect upon and examine each experience in order to extract the contents that will enable me to add value to myself and others. So let’s dive in to these last 4 tenets beginning with Judiciousness & Intelligence.
Judiciousness & Intelligence
“Neither effort nor intelligence is enough when wise choice is lacking.” – Baltasar Gracián, A Pocket Mirror for Heroes
Exercising proper judgement or being judicious in all of life’s circumstances is equally everyone’s responsibility. More often than not, it is our improper judgment(s) that lead us to our or others negative responses and circumstances. Understanding plays such an incredible role in our judgement and its application that it is terribly important for us to acknowledge the need to listen before we speak, analyze before we act, understand before we judge and empathize before we criticize.
“Some compete with their better selves to reach their best (great victory of perfection!); others simply yield to their worst.” – Baltasar Gracián, A Pocket Mirror for Heroes
Intelligence helps us better distinguish what is true from what is false, in other words, it sharpens our awareness. It also provides to us the ability to interpret others true intentions and motives more quickly and accurately. When paired with judiciousness, intelligence stands on its shoulders as you would a giants in order to see which danger approaches and tailor your attack accordingly.
In order to keep ourselves focused in reality, we must learn to open our eyes. When things get tough, we have a tendency to narrow our focus on the difficulty at hand or form a “cocoon” that feels safe but in all actuality, the cocoon is constantly being attacked. It is in these times when we feel ourselves wrapping up that we must take a second to breathe and exercise both judiciousness & intelligence and establish a clear vision based in truth and reality. “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” – Helen Keller
Composure & Courage
“A great deal of chaos in the world occurs because people don’t appreciate themselves. Having never developed sympathy or gentleness toward themselves, they cannot experience harmony or peace within themselves, and therefore, what they project to others is also inharmonious and confused.” – Chögyam Trungpa, Shambhala
- The quote above should reasonably illustrate why it is terribly important to be disciplined enough to be composed and in control of yourself. Often times we allow other people to control our emotions, thoughts and actions (even though it’s impossible) because we choose to or maybe even because it feels good at the moment. What we are actually doing is allowing others words or behaviors to drag us down to their level and behave and think in a way that is out of the norm. In other words, you end up “playing down to the competition” and more often than not, it’s not because you lack mental toughness and/or self-control but you lack the courage to exercise it/them. Your fight or flight response activates and you just roll with the punches and eventually you get knocked down. This is why having composure is such a tremendous attribute. To use good judgement and intelligence, you must be composed and in the right state of mind to make the best decisions, especially when it counts the most. Once you gain composure and accurately diagnose the circumstance you’re in, you can pick yourself up off the mat and fight back.
“For a valiant man no sword is too short: when he takes a step forward, it grows long enough, and what it lacks in steel is supplied by courage.” – Baltasar Gracián, A Pocket Mirror for Heroes
- Developing positive habits and the discipline to “hit the reset button” requires courage. And it takes a person of great courage to be able to deliver consistently and deliberately in the midst of hardships, relying on faith and truth. To rid ourselves of the stressors and negative feelings we have to develop ourselves, our understandings and our communities/environments; understanding that to liberate the world we must have the courage to liberate ourselves. “In order to establish an enlightened society for others, we need to discover what inherently we have to offer the world.” – Chögyam Trungpa, Shambhala
Have the courage of Don Quixote. “Are there any enchantments that can prevail against true courage? Enchanters may deprive me of good fortune, but of spirit and courage, never!”
Don’t give in to your moods. “No reasons can move those who do not reason at all…”– Baltasar Gracián, A Pocket Mirror for Heroes
Don’t put your foot in your mouth! Don’t be quick to speak.
Face the Music! Play your favorites.
Exercise the demons: Sweat them, don’t let them sweat you!
Read… Between the Lines… Around the Lines… Whatever it takes! Just fill your mind with some sort of personal development, self-improvement, religious or philosophical readings.
Fight the Power: Your mind is strong, thankfully it is under your control… Or could be.
Focus on the outcome or objective.
Don’t stay on revenge thinking too long… Cut it off immediately!