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My Fight For the Joy of Being Defenseless by Chris Cade

We’ve all heard of stories of Mahatma Ghandi and non-violence, and Jesus advising us to turn the other cheek when struck, but how does that relate to us every day?

I’ve struggled with that very question, especially having been an advocate for “eye for an eye” for many years. It made sense to me that if somebody set a home ablaze, that their home would in turn be torched, and I didn’t understand what was meant by “an eye for an eye makes the world blind.” That just seemed like spiritual nonsense to me.

So often in my life I’ve thought about the “fight.” Not so much in a literal sense with my fists, but rather, on a mental level. The experiences of my youth led me to want to right the wrongs, particularly those wrongs against me, and as mentioned before I saw “eye for an eye” as a means for equal and fair justice. I would “fight” when I’d flip off or honk at another driver who cut me off, when a friend or family member “wronged” me and I felt the need to set them straight or just to be “right” about something. And I definitely “fought” (politely, mind you) when somebody cut in front of me in line.

And while an eye for an eye may deter in some cases, it’s the stark opposite of what historically non-violent leaders like Jesus and Gandhi had in mind; this challenged me even more.

As time has passed, I’ve felt less resonance with “eye for an eye” but for a while still didn’t understand how to experientially learn a differing perspective. Something that really helped bring it together for me is the following quote from Vernon Howard’s book, “Esoteric Mind Power.”

“Have no fear in not knowing what to do about a problem. Fear activates its negative relatives of impulsiveness, ego-protection, and an anxious craving for security.

“Instead, let the mind be still. Never think of fighting, for an answer won by fighting will soon require another answer and another fight.

“The problem exists because of an agitated mind, so when the mind rests from its own agitation, there is no problem at all.”

After reading the above passage, it finally clicked for me. I particularly resonated with the phrase that I bolded, yet I never thought of it that way. Another way to look at this is how some people say “the best defense is a good offense.” However, as I became more in tune with feeling my presence, I began to see that if I feel the need to defend then I will attract into my life people who want to offend. Therefore, if I become defenseless, then the reverse is true and I will continue to attract people of similar nature more and more over time.

Now, I feel more and more compassion than ever before, and I have noticed that there are less situations in my life that I have felt inclined to “defend” or “fight” against. I used to smash spiders when I found them in my home, and now I get a piece of paper and a cup to trap them, then release them outside. Now I eat a strictly vegetarian diet only because I know I wouldn’t kill an animal to eat it, and I don’t feel comfortable having other people kill the animals on my behalf.

If you had asked me a few years ago if I ever thought I might feel this depth of compassion for other beings, I’d have thought your wheels were spinning but the hamster was dead. :)

I now understand what it mean to turn the other cheek when struck, and why an act of compassion has the potential to be much more influential and transforming than an act of violence in like kind. Even then, I cannot say I am certain that I am yet at that place of presence where I would simply turn another cheek and take a beating like Ghandi and his followers, but I do now understand how to have compassion for all people, including those who have hurt or will hurt myself and others. To put it as concisely as possible, I’ve learned this:

Fighting does not bring us closer to our goals, but rather separates us from them.

This awareness has brought a greater amount of joy to my life than I could have ever imagined. Progressively I’m realizing, and truly and deeply understanding, that it really is my choice how I respond to situations, and that no amount of “fighting” or negative response will change the truth of the situation… the truth that there is only one common element in all experiences in my life – me.

I am the only person I can change, so when I fight against others, whether I realize and feel it or not, I’m actually fighting against myself.


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7 Responses to “My Fight For the Joy of Being Defenseless by Chris Cade”

  1. Lorraine says:

    I’ve been operating from a similar perspective – I just look at it a little differently. My belief is that if I react to the negativity or aggression being shown to me by acting similarly, not only am I not any better than the behaviour of which I disapprove, but I am allowing myself to be controlled by others. Instead, I choose to act from what I believe to be my being, regardless of the actions of others. So if it is that I believe that I should demonstrate love and respect for all of life, and I would offer kindness and compassion, then it should not matter how you treat me. My only concern is how I treat you. At the end of the day, you have to answer for your behaviour and I answer for mine.

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  2. Ray Moon says:

    I would love to agree with you both, Chris and Lorraine, but I cannot do more than agree to keep trying. While I do agree whole-heartedly, spiritually, and emotionally, I must react to death or injurious type threats against my physical person and the persons of my family and friends. I do not argue at all, but neither do I always agree. I do try to listen and hear all of what a person means in what he says.BUT I will kill to protect what’s mine and alive in the event there is an eminent and immediate threat to life. If I have a chance ti talk, I will always do so, and try to convince the person of his rights and responsibilities to life on Earth and in the Cosmos. But I will kill
    if it becomes necessary. I haven’t quite stopped eating meat yet, but am very close. I almost never feel the need for it and I am never hungry for it. Still something in makes me feel as though it is needed in my body for some reason, and I reluctantly partake and feel
    physically, better, but not mentally better. There’s some sorrow there and I never hunt or fish anymore because of it. I don’t know why I can’t yet be like you, but I’m not fighting it. I have a life to live and some time to think and maybe I’ll give it all up soon and become as you wish everyone to be. That said, I think it will happen when everyone else becomes as you and there is no more threat ever. I am willing! Very willing, and when there is no need to protect those of whom I have charge I will naturally have become as you and realize it. I wish for it to come soon. I pray for it to come soon, and so, with all the love I can be, I bid you, good day!
    Ray Moon

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  3. Anna says:

    Interesting reading.
    Ray you do not need to feel less than, just because you have not reached the conclusion, opinion etc of Chris. The order of life is that we are all unique souls. We are all unique physical beings with unique physiology. Some body types are fish eaters, some meat, some vegetarian and some a combination of two or more of the above. This depends on our Ancestry and therefore you can be highly spiritual, kind and forgiving and still eat meat.
    While one would passionately prefer NOT to kill an animal, person etc. indeed do everything in ones power not to do so there occur times when it is highly necessary for survival. THIS IS A FUNDAMENTAL REALITY unless of course one does not wish to survive, which is the individuals choice.
    However the turning of the other cheek or and eye for an eye, is relevant with regard to anger, blame etc.
    As indeed each person is entirely responsible for, – and can only change their self.

    A very wise teacher once said. “Give your anger to the sky, or the earth, it will transmute it for the highest good of all. However give your anger to another living thing and it will come back to you tenfold” This teaching has been invaluable in walking life as it gives us clear choices with knowledge of the consequences of our actions and REACTIONS.
    Blessings Anna

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  4. Leila says:

    Great article Chris, thanks. I agree with you that a still mind has amazing power in the face of most things. It can stop agitation from passing from one person to another and make everything calm again. There are some situations that are harder than others to remain calm in but it seems to me that as long as I make some progress in remaining calm then I’m doing OK.

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  5. james says:

    there is a battle in its own trying to keep the mind pure and free from negative influences, an uphill battle where the peak is not in sight, but i have read, once we do get there it will be well worth the effort.
    this is a message for Ray, once you become a vegetarian you will soon realise how putrid meat smells when you sense it cooking,it is bad real bad.
    Peace and light James

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  6. Ray Martin says:

    When I was 11 years old in the fifties, my parents moved us from Tennesse to Detroit, Michigan. I grew up in the area of the Detroit riot of 1967. I was a white boy with a southern accent. As such I was challeged and had to fight black kids almost everyday I went to school. The tried to rob me, and 2 or 3 would jump me at a time. they stole my bike. I had to fight. I had to take a stand. Turning the other cheek got it slapped also. Once I took a stand, the attacks fell off to almost nothing. I got tired of turning the other cheek. I was never looking for trouble. It was the fartherest thing from my mind. I had never had to face anything like that before, and probably you never had to either. So don’t be telling me that it works in all situations. Even with all that I call any man my friend, no matter his color, if he calls me a friend. You are mostly talking about spiritual things. I get it,but if a man takes my eye out, I will damn sure do everything I can to take his. Roosevelt said “Walk softly, but carry a big stick”. Was it Eisenhower who coined “Peace through strenght”?
    I smoked whe I was a young man, and I thank God I had the sense to quite. Now Cigaretts stink to me. Somday when I have quite eating meat altogehter, it will probably stink to me also.

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  7. Steven Codekas says:

    Killing is to be avoided as is all violence yet there remains the stark realities of Hitler, Stalin, Alexander, Genghis Khan, Mao Se-Tung, Ho Chi Min, Napoleon, various popes and mullahs and so many others who killed with joy and loved people who would not or could not fight back. All graveyards are filled with peaceful people.
    The road is long but the music never ends. We have to keep trying one day and one step at a time.
    As for what you eat, check your teeth. You are an omnivore, not an hervbivore or carnivore. But eat whatever works for you. I advise avoiding drive-thru burritos though! ;)

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