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Lions Roar : March 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2009 77 about it when I’ve been about to do some- thing reckless just to save a little time. In my virginal, pre-ass-chew state, I was thick-headedly oblivious to the danger, my mind racing past that minor detail. Now, like a guard dog’s bite, the ass-chew snaps me out of it and back to sensibility. Perhaps the highway policeman didn’t need to be quite so demeaning. I don’t ad- vocate, for example, the complete strip- ping down of the dignity of military re- cruits. If one obliterates their self-worth, it seems possible that they may not value the lives of others. That may well be the point, but it shouldn’t be. My Lai and Oradour should tell us that. In my case, though, I greatly appreci- ated that ass-chew. It was compassionate. I didn’t have to pay a ticket. In fact, there was no lasting punishment. Only instant, utter, and complete rehabilitation—with a sense of humor, I might add. I am ever grateful. It’s just possible that policeman has saved my life on a few occasions more, when his ass-chew reverberated at the right moment. In many of the would-be traditions of the New Age, and in distorted versions of ancient traditions, there is a fear of nega- tivity and sharpness, of anything that is cutting, of the utterance of “no.” Affirma- tion is often not only the cornerstone but the be-all and end-all. Perhaps the fear stems from the obvi- ous abusiveness and violence that nega- tivity can develop into. But if our reluc- tance leads us to imagine that we can fos- ter an enlightened world free of bound- aries and sharp edges, our Pollyannaish efforts are doomed to failure. A world where silent dogs have no teeth and roses have no thorns is a dream born of fear. One of the cardinal virtues of many spir- itual traditions is ahimsa, Sanskrit for “not- harming.” The a means “no.” Sometimes we have to express it to prevent a broader harm taking place. We often ask people in uniforms to help us do that job. We may re- sent them for it, but they save our lives, and sometimes they give their own doing it. even in the storybook world of Babar, there is a general, and I bet he has to give a good ass-chew every now and then. — NOVeMBeR, 1998 ♦ G������� E�������� �� ��� F������� �� P��������� ��� S����������� Kait is passionate about integrating Buddhism and women’s psychology into psychotherapy to help clients through the bereavement process. After earning her Psychology PhD, she received an important grant to expand her work and teach her techniques to local and international agencies. “ITP changed my life and now I am helping to improve the lives of others suffering from grief and loss.” I�������� �� T������������ P��������� 1069 E��� M����� C�����, P��� A��� CA 94303 [��] 650.493.4430 [�����]