I remember this story that, unfortunately I can’t recall where I read it, but it stuck with me over the years. It goes something like this…
A man was working on a construction sight when he fell from a few stories and landed onto an area where rebar was exposed, thus empaling himself, as well as taking significant impact.
Needles to say, he had to be rushed to a hospital. While being admitted and, understandably in a great deal of pain, he was asked, “are you allergic to anything?”. He answered, “yeah, gravity!”
Now this guy had rebar piercing his body and sustained multiple injuries, yet here he is cracking jokes before going into surgery.
The story then goes on to say that days after his fall, this man continued to laugh and crack jokes during his recovery and rehab sessions. His care takers where just so amazed by this.
Finally someone asked him, “how is you have such an upbeat attitude when something so awful happened to you?”
His answer was, “I can’t control what happens to me, but I can control how I respond to it”.
I feel that, even having the awareness that we have a choice in how we are going to let our environment effect our state of being, is a high form of self-mastery.
Even more sophisticated is the understanding that our reactions to events in our immediate environment are almost completely subconscious! It’s a program that’s running in the background and we’re rarely aware of it.
Now I know this may get me into trouble and that I’m “blaming the victim” or something along those lines. That is not at all what I am saying.
But what many people have shown us is an ability to respond to tragedy and get beyond their "victim" status and internalize an "empowered" state of being!
I’ve become more and more aware of this and I continually work to consciously choose higher forms of thinking and feeling such as compassion and appreciation, when I could easily fall into lower forms of thinking such resentment, judgment, jealously, and victimhood. But I don’t always succeed. It’s an ongoing process and I still consider myself a white belt in the area.
We choose all day, every day, how we are going to let something external to us affect our internal reality. I believe training can help with this. Staying grounded and having more belief in yourself can make it a bit easier see a bigger picture and not take things so personally or to feel like a victim.
But it is something that takes continual practice and sometimes you feel like you’re just starting over. Much like martial arts!
What is "Area 12"?
Our Kali system has 12 areas of knowledge. Areas 1-11 are all different aspects of physical combat.