Sunday, November 20, 2016

Constructive Assertiveness (New)

You have the right to your actions
but never to your action's fruits.
Act for the action sake,
and do not be attached to inaction.  
Self-possessed, resolute, act,
without thought of results,
open to success and failure
(Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita)

There is violence wherever we look. True, we rarely beat each other up in bar fights any more, but for every loving act that we experience there is unfortunately a mean, underhanded or fearful act waiting for us as well. When we look a little closer, we will certainly find this aggression and fear in us as well. So what do we do with it? We are taught to be nice, helpful, kind and generous. What do we do with the tension if deep down inside we want to do the opposite? Well, do something productive with this tension. Go out and do yard work, create something at work, let off some steam in the gym. Dive into the busyness of life, it is designed to get all the stuff out in the open and encourage you to progress with the help of constructive assertiveness. The journey towards wholeness is assured once you realize that every challenge comes with the outlet attached that advances you on your spiritual path.

I had my awakening in the battle field of life. I spent my career working as a strategist in the ups and downs of financial markets, and one day had the same breakdown moment as Arjun in the Bhagavad Gita, when he found himself in a battle he didn't want to fight. I hated the ugliness of the business, the meanness, the lack of tact. Yet, at the same time, I observed the competitiveness in me, the passive aggressiveness, the hunger for admiration. "What is the alternative", I thought to myself, "to sit on the couch at home and to scheme how I could make a name for myself in the spiritual community?" So just like Lord Krishna told Arjun to do his job whether he liked it or not a few thousand years ago, I felt that life called me to get it just done with. Use the work environment I am in to get all the negative energy out of the system without accumulating new one. And if I got a little money, fame and admiration in the process, then at least I no longer feel the need to "make it" in the spiritual community as well.

GOD is kind, when a traveler struggles, SHE sends the support system to make it work. My co-author and friend Su Zhen spent years together with me exploring what really lies beneath the surface. We have a beautiful book to show for it in "The Dance of the TAO" (forthcoming). For me personally, I had to learn to open up to my feelings whereas before I had been entirely mind-driven. I also had to teach myself to become more assertive in my business interactions without violating the balance of the WAY. Lastly, my work encouraged and helped me to channel my hurt, frustration and aggression into my projects at hand, as I opened up to the directions of the WAY. When GOD tells you that all demons are of your own making, you simply stop shadow  boxing.

For every frustration there is your personal mission that allows us to get what we aspire while being able to let go of what no longer serves us. I would be so bold to say that whatever life throws at us is simply perfect from a soul development perspective. Our mission has been carefully chosen for us to get all the monsters out of the closet. All the negative energy gets recycled that way, old karma gets used up while no new karma gets accumulated. When we submit to meanness we will only boost the demons in the closets. When we express violence rather than love we will be asked to choose again. But if we focus only on the interaction at hand, when we creatively react to the demands of the moment, when we embrace constructive assertiveness, we have learned everything there is to know. Constructive assertiveness is not in conflict with love at all. Embrace it like I learned to.

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