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Lions Roar : September 2018
This isn’t just about how the subject is spoken to but also the content of what is said. Not only do I say “please, sir” when asking the subject to comply and “thank you, sir” when they do, but I also explain what’s happening. So, after I’ve secured a restraining lock on the subject, I then initiate walking the client away by saying, “Sir, please relax. I’m now going to escort you back to your room and wait with you for the doctor to see you.” As the sub- ject complies and begins walking, I add, “Thank you for cooperating, sir. I truly appreciate your help.” On the walk back to the subject’s room, I try to further put the subject at ease with supportive conversation like, “Don’t worry, sir. Everyone is here to help you. Everything will be alright.” And while in reality everything in that per- son’s life is not alright, a well-intentioned and skillful use of force to stop violence makes sure for that moment, at least, it isn’t made worse. ♦ To be honest, just because I was able to deal with this situation and others like it with calm professionalism doesn’t mean it was easy. When someone is acting out and you have to physically intervene, it’s hard not to take it personally. The trick is to avoid trying. During an altercation—just as I do in meditation—I bring my focus back to my breath to keep from being swept away and getting lost in a narrative that’s rooted in what I think about my experience. I bring my atten- tion repeatedly back to the protocol I’m directed to follow, and this keeps every- one, including the threatening subject, safe. This protocol, much like Buddhist practice, directs me to treat the subject with kindness, respect, and dignity. This is accomplished by using non-injurious tactics to control the conflict, while at the same time using a sedate, nonthreaten- ing tone and polite language to calm the subject. hand under it. Then I pulled him off the doctor. Usually at this point I could hold a patient still so that a nurse could inject him with medication, but this 5-foot-3- inch, 130-pound ex-special forces guy was no joke! Although his IV had ripped out of his arm and there was blood everywhere, I was only able to restrain him enough to give my backup time to arrive. In the end, it took three of us to get him into restraints. After that, he was medicated and whisked up to the lock- down psychiatric ward. Several weeks later, I was sitting at my ER post when I saw the guy walk down the hall toward me, smiling and look- ing great. He offered me his hand to shake and, as I shook it, his expression got serious. “I’m so sorry I caused you any problems,” he said. “I hope you’re okay. I deeply apologize for my actions.” I accepted his apology and watched him walk out to the street and out of view. Half Retreat December 26-29th, 2018 Full Retreat Dec. 26th, 2018 - Jan 1st, 2019 At the Garrison Institute, NY year end retreat village zendo village zendo A Zen Temple in the Heart of Manhattan Daily Meditation, Workshops and Retreats Abbot Roshi Enkyo O’Hara 588 Broadway, Suite 1108 New York City villagezendo.org villagezendo.org LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2018 20 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE