The Strength of a Calm Mind

Imagine a strong warrior. He has no weakness. His attacks are well chosen and executed with purpose. There is no chinks in his armor, no weakness in his defense. He doesn’t panic in difficult situations. He is calm and does what is necessary.

In ancient times, the strength of a city was determined by the strength of its walls. If the enemy could penetrate the walls, they could invade the city and plunder its wealth. Protection came from the wall. The stronger the walls, the greater the protection.

A city breached and left defenseless are those who do not control their temper. –Proverbs 25:28

It is hard to think clearly when you are angry. Anger is like a bad drug that impairs your ability to make good decisions. Allowing your anger to control you weakens your defenses. It allows your enemies, whatever/whoever they may be, to penetrate your walls. Once the damage is done, it is difficult to recover. Repairing broken walls is no easy chore.

With a calm mind, our ability to make good decisions improve. Not making irrational decisions means no reparations have to be made. We can always move forward without any damage control impeding our progress. We can be like the strong warrior who moves with precision and strength.

The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength. –Marcus Aurelius

Prone to anger? Find a way to control it. If possible, step away from the source of the problem and observe it like an outsider. Often, it is a misguided perception of the issue that allows our anger to form. Rather than react in anger, we can detach from the situation and figure out how to correct it. This is strength.

Meditation: On Pride

I know I need to meditate more. Yesterday was day one. Ten minutes in the morning before leaving for the gym to meet a client. 10 minutes again sitting in the car before walking into work. Later that evening, I lost my focus and subsequently lost my temper. Now I am on the second day, and it needs to be better than the first.

I set the timer for 15 minutes. It is dark outside as I sit in my car in the parking lot. 15 minutes to meditate and then 5 minutes to walk into work. I close my eyes and sit. I try to center myself, but something is missing. Oh yes, my breath. In. Out. Why did I get angry last night? I should have known better. I should not have fell into the trap. In. Out. Pride. It was my pride. My pride was injured. It wanted to retaliate. My pride is me. Not some separate embodiment acting of its volition. My pride. My ego. I own it. No one else is to blame. Blaming others is the easy path. The wrong path.

My thoughts begin to drift. I think about work, about the things I need to do today. Something is not right. My breath. Focus on my breath. In. Out. Back to pride. Back to anger. How do I eliminate it? How do I become stronger? This pride, my pride, is a weakness. When it is in control, I am more prone to anger. Anger is bad. It leads me down the wrong path. It leads to stupid and rash decisions. It leads to thoughtlessness. Chaos.

What will I do this weekend? What will I read? Write? This is not the time to let the mind wander. Concentrate on the breath. Breathe in. Take in the oxygen, the life. Exhale the breath. Expel the pride. Like the Om, expel the pride. When the anger comes, the walls crumble. My defenses are weakened. A city unprotected. My walls are my strength. My protection.

In. Out. Courage. It takes courage to be strong. It takes courage to overlook a perceived offense. It takes courage to not retaliate. Courage, not pride. With courage is strength. Pride is weakness. Anger is weakness.

In. Out. The timer goes off. My mind is now focused on courage. My prayer is to have the strength to be courageous. The strength to put away pride and anger. One last breath in and then exhale. It is time to walk to work.

A city breached and left defenseless are those who do not control their temper. –Proverbs 25:28

Your Best Personal Defense

When are you most vulnerable to attack?

I spend much of my time trying to prepare my personal defenses. I want to actively put myself into position where a personal attack against me is not possible.That means I need to be physically strong, mentally strong, and of course spiritually strong. Compromising your character is out of the question. Your name, which is your most valuable asset, has to be impregnable.

When am I my weakest? When am I most easily attacked? When does the enemy, all those outside influences seeking to do you harm, have the greatest opportunity to strike. The enemy attacks when your mind is at it weakest.

Marcus Aurelius said, “You have power of your mind – not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.” You are weakest, when you lose control over your mind. When are you susceptible to losing that control? It is when you are angry. It is hard to be angry and think straight. It is hard to make rational decisions in anger. This is when you are at your weakest. This is when you are vulnerable to attack. Remember your character is on the line. Your name is on the line. Hold the line! Do not become a victim of your own stupidity.

My son:

A city breached and left defenseless are those who do not control their temper. -Proverbs 25:28