Wait A Minute, Is This An Insult?
Many years ago a friend and teacher of mine turned to me said, “You have a warrior’s nature. In eastern philosophical terms, using the planets as a metaphor and indicator of human experience, you have much Mars in your nature.” I gave her a big, unself-conscious grin being proud that she had noticed my strength, the power of my personality. In response, she pursed her lips and looked pointedly down at the books and notes in front of us.
“What?” I said. “What? Tell me.” Looking back up at me with a rueful smile, she hesitated, and then said, “Have you ever read any ancient eastern poems about the grahas [planets]?”
“No,” I told her, starting to feel wary of where this conversation was going.
Then my teacher smiled brightly, turned to face me more fully, and said, “Well, then let me share some advice that as given to Mars in a famous poem…..Put down your bloody sword and build something.” As the statement hung in the air between us, she looked back down at the books and notes, still smiling.
Images raced across my mind at lightning speed: me as a small child screaming in rage because my parents destroyed my favorite hiding place, me punching and fighting, people’s faces contorted in fear as I bore down upon them with harsh words. Awash with shame in that moment, I had to admit to myself, in the environment of my teacher’s watchful tutelage, that I had bloodied my sword over and over again in my life at the expense of others’ peace of mind and feeling of safety.
Shame. Oh, such a painful and necessary teacher at some points! A teacher to be tightly clasped to one’s bosom while one makes a fervent, desperate prayer to never earn her company again.
Lips quivering and voice hitching, I echoed my teacher, “Put down your bloody sword and build something. I can do… that…I can…”
I looked away, closed my eyes, and sighed. Then, with eyes still closed, I clearly annunciated, “I can embrace my Martian nature, my warrior’s nature, but channel that energy, those impulses, to serve. To serve others. Right?”
I glanced back over at my teacher, who was smiling at me gently, eyes sparkling, “Yes, Unmani. Yes, you can.”
And I’ve never looked back, except to be in awe of the power of eastern philosophy. Imagine, that one quote, that one teaching, traveled through eons of time, from Asia to the New World, to land smack in the midst of a conversation between a teacher and her student in a living room in Napa, California in 2007.
Call To Action
That quote, that teaching, that teacher profoundly changed my life. For years after that conversation, when I would start to feel angry, I would think, “Build something, build something, build something.” And it would help me re-focus the energy of my response into one consistent with my deepest values. To be love. To contribute to this world in a positive way. To do everything in my power to build, not destroy. To give people the freedom to be themselves, safely with my support. To not force others to bend to my will.
Likewise, if you have a strong Martian influence on your personality, or have suffered through rage, temper, fighting, please don’t dwell on your past behavior or focus on how you expressed your natural impulses in the past. Instead, please consider this ancient wisdom teaching echoing throughout time and space into your life at this moment: Put down your bloody sword and build something. It’s a call for you to face forward, pick up a heavy load, and build something. Answer the call.
If you don’t have a strong Martian influence on your personality, or you have a life in which you channeled your strong Martian energy in positive directions from the get-go, please take this moment to re-commit to the values this teaching represents.
The Way of the Peaceful Warrior
- Listen to others, with an open mind, even when you don’t agree with them,
- Understand that some people, motivated by desperate existential fear manifesting as anger, will lash out blindly, bloodying their sword on anyone or anything seen as a threat,
- Create space for everyone to contribute their views and participate in conversation,
- Forgive others who are suffering in the throes of confusion, fear, and darkness,
- Use your strength to protect others’ freedom of choice, and
- Have all of your actions motivated by the brotherhood of love.
In gratitude to all my teachers. O, Peace, Peace, Peace.
Unmani Saraswati, JD, LLM (tax) became the Chief Happiness Mentor of Bliss Revealed after a successful seventeen year career as a divorce mediator-attorney and law professor. A lifelong student of how to how to have a vibrant experience of life, she earned her credential as a Certified Massage Therapist from the Institute of Conscious Bodywork in 1997 and graduated from Trika Institute’s Seven-Year Tantrik Yoga Study Group Program in 2010. As a Chief Happiness Mentor, Unmani draws on her ongoing study of ancient wisdom concepts and life-skills, nineteen years of daily mediation practice, and her work supporting thousands of clients to bring out their best selves in the midst of crisis through mindfulness and education. She teaches the self-paced online program My Bliss Path™ and live streams with subscribing members of the Blissverse Locals community. Also, check out her free videos and blogs. To find out more about Unmani’s mission for everyone to have a Healthy Body, Strong Mind, and Happy Heart go to: https://linktr.ee/blissrevealed