The school which I attended from the age of 11 to the age of 18, in addition to being one of the most prestigious boarding schools in Great Britain (I won't enter into that particular subject here), was also a military training and grooming academy for the British Armed Forces. One afternoon per week was dedicated to things of this nature. By the age of 16, I was well trained in marching, shooting, camouflage, communications etc. and had developed an aversion to certain aspects of this ritual and decided to exaggerate the effects of a knee injury in the hope of being allowed to leave the cadet force. This would have allowed me to spend an afternoon a week doing social service of some kind, such as visiting the elderly in old person's homes, something which I considered favourable to marching drills and other such activities.
My ruse was easily seen through by the officer in charge and he assigned me to the Stores and the Armoury where the firearms, ammunition and other equipment was kept. I will mention that this officer knew me quite well and had been keeping an eye on me for several years due to my competence at certain activities and saw potential for me in a particular branch of the British Army in the future. As it turned out, his foresight changed my relation and taught me many things. Responsibility, discipline of maintaining the order of the stores, checking valuable items in and out, bookkeeping, etc. After a short time, I was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and given the specific detail of taking care of the firearms, mostly rifles and semi-automatic weapons. This part of the job I enjoyed greatly, caring for the guns, stripping and cleaning them, signing them in and out, and making sure they were all in good working order so they did not jam or backfire, as most of the time we used live ammunition in the shooting range, occasionally using blanks on drills and military maneuvers.
At the age of 17 I was entered into the scholarship programme for the Royal Marines, an elite division of the British Armed Forces, and accepted into their officer training programme. However, I declined the offer and chose a different path, much to my father's disappointment.
In our lives, the majority of us do not have much contact with guns, rifles, etc., and there is a fear and resentment of them in many circles and cases. Me, I respect them and their power to protect and to destroy. I was taught this, and a natural love of precision drew me to enjoy shooting as a boy and young man. I do not find firearms scare me, but I do find some people scare me, or induce fear in me, maybe I should say. There has only been one occasion in my adult life when a firearm has been turned on me; and in this moment I was scared, but not of the weapon (a pistol) itself, but of the deranged mind and actions of the person holding it to my face. (I have just realized there was one other occasion, back in my early 20's when a certain man wanted to become the manager of my band and I said no; but it's the same result; I was not afraid of his shotgun but of his irrationality, the kind that tries to dominate by force or threat in order to submit another to their will. This, for me, is the true weapon that repulses, harms and kills, maybe not the body, but certainly the spirit).
This leads me nicely to my point in all this reminiscing. Our words and emotions become the battleground on which life can be fought, between certain individuals at least. Mismanaged emotions destroy lives, relations, relationships, many things; they birth scenarios that are beyond comprehension. No matter how 'conscious' we believe ourselves to be, or how 'good' we think we are, if our emotions regularly overflow and cause harm to another, we are more dangerous than any firearm. If this is combined with a desire - however unconscious - to control, dominate, manipulate another into doing what we want, we are using fear and violence as our weapons. Coercion and threat are staple tactics of the dominant paradigm, and sadly so ingrained in the collective psyche that many who believe themselves to be liberated of these are simply in denial of their own operating system. Conversely, flattery and exaggerated behavior is also a part of this very same system.
The most dangerous weapon in this world, it would seem, would be the emotions and how they are used. Take, for instance, a 'love' relationship that comes with so many conditions that is cannot be truly called love. "I love you, but I am going to control you, bully you and belittle you" is not love; and in many cases is justified by the excuse that "I am doing it for your own good". This is not only a degrading form of abuse; it is also an exhibition of narcissistic behavior and a superiority complex in operation. In this case, it is also an abuse of language, as love (without inverted commas) is never violent, superior, never conditional nor controlling. Our emotions - and the language we use - say a lot, but generally it is in our behavior in relation to these that the essence can be found.
Someone once justified an extremely violent and unpleasant outburst directed at me by saying, "Spirit told me to do this". I don’t believe for one second that they made that up, in their own warped version of reality or mind; but the whole incident, the outburst and all that preceded it, was manufactured within their ocean of emotions. Instead of choosing a healthy way to express what they believed they needed, or what they believed they wanted to express, they chose anger, manipulation, non-sense, and defamation, plus several other tactics and mental inventions of what I was supposed to have done. Even if I had done something of the nature of what they accused me of, then this still would not have been the way to go about resolving or expressing this in an adult manner. All in all, an emotional bomb was ready and primed to explode at the right opportunity.
I witness this a lot, the emotional responses to certain stimuli, real - or more often than not - imagined. It's an interesting theme for me at the moment, as I respect the emotions, both mine and those of others, and their power to destroy; just as I respect firearms. I find it more difficult however, to respect those who do not respect their own emotions or how they impact the lives of others. In the same way we have to learn to take care of a firearm, e.g. learn what it is, how it works, how to clean it etc., we have to learn this with our emotions as well. Our emotions are not our weapons, nor should they be in control of us; they are our responsibility, and by acknowledging and respecting their power, it is our responsibility to ensure that they do not become weapons that hurt those we claim to love, or those who are kind enough to share a part of our lives. A major part of this comes down to blame; how we blame others. In any case, the majority of emotional outburst directly effect those closest to us by default, and violence creates fear. In no way do I imagine or expect to live in a world in which emotions do not exist, but I do imagine and expect a world in which adults have taken the responsibility to manage their emotions in a healthy and productive way.
I once had a very close friend who was in a relationship with an extremely 'emotional' woman. Whenever his partner would become angry (usually with him), hostile and manipulative, he would struggle until her mood swung back (more often than not to the other end of the spectrum). When he tried to bring balance and peace into their relationship, she would excuse her behavior on "being a woman", or "being a wild woman", and it being her right to be emotional. She would turn on him and blame him for not "being man enough" to handle her and her emotions, but the truth was that he was man enough; she was the one who could not handle her emotions. In the end, she broke his spirit and despite his love for her, he chose to leave her, tired of living in an emotional hell and living in ever-increasing fear of the next unexpected tantrum, the next outburst prompted by what happened only in her mind, things that were, inevitably, his fault, and her right to express in whatever way she desired: exhausted by having to placate and appease her every whim and a little bit broken himself, in my opinion, by being told what to do and who he had to be. It took him quite a long time to even see that is was not his fault for not being "man enough" for her, to see that she did not truly respect him or their relationship. All in all, he was emotionally drained and abused. I suppose, in relation to firearms, he was wounded; not fatally, but he needed a long time to recover from the trauma of this relationship. The sad fact was that I witnessed these outbursts from time to time when I would be visiting with them, I saw and heard how she would barrage him with her emotional wrath, and when he tried to calm her down, or talk sense to her, she would become even more angry, as if it were her right to do so, as she was a woman, and he was a man, therefore guilty of trying to repress her femininity. This was ridiculous to see and hear, as it had nothing to do with masculine or feminine, solely to do with the mind and emotions, whether male or female. But I have also had this card used against me, and heard and seen it in other relations too...I think it's time to rewrite this story and stop using excuses.
I think that if we look for it, we can always find some justification for our behavior and our emotional responses on the outside, it is pretty easy to do; in the lives of others, or in our past. I know many people who cannot break the pattern of blaming everyone else but themselves for everything that happens in their lives, and consequently, their emotional world. And if we look hard enough, we will always find that excuse which justifies our behavior, without ever having to take responsibility for our own emotional health and well-being. While attached to these stories in an unhealthy way we will perpetuate the loop inside of us and outside of us, never freeing ourselves, and convincing ourselves that we are already free. Instead of creating healthy emotional patterns we will reinforce the unhealthy ones, excusing ourselves of taking the responsibility by saying, "It's who I am, accept me, or else" (this in itself being a direct threat). We will deny ourselves the potential for change and the creation of a healthy relationship with ourselves and others in the process. Toxic emotions and toxic behavior go hand in hand, and it's not hard to see why; but today, more often than not, the most toxic behaviors are excused and the most toxic people barely recognize that they are toxic or that there could be another way.
I insist, there will always be another way, and that way lies in our emotional world and how we use our emotions, how we choose to experience them and express them; how we turn a negative emotion into a positive one, often with something as simple as a shift in perception of point of view.
For the past few months I have been researching Narcicisstic Personality Disorder, and recently read an article that states that amongst other traits, a sense of superiority is exhibited (which usually involves talking other people down or trying to submit others to your point of view by threat, manipulation, confusion, and also with a lack of empathy, the ability to put ourselves in the shoes or position of another, to be able to see from another person's point of view. This is the dominant system encapsulated in human form, a design in which judgement and violence are rife. It is interesting to note how many supposedly "spiritual" people are still violent to those with whom them share their lives. So, you want to be vegan and avoid cruelty to animals, but are incapable of being consistently pleasant to humans, this is just spiritual bypassing and hypocrisy of the most childish disorder, its' also playing on the illusion of the lie of how you want to be seen, not representing who you truly are. I am not talking of the narcissism that obsesses how many "likes" we get on Facebook, or is constantly shouting, "look at me" from Instagram; this is small change in this area, I am speaking of the narcissism that dominates others by never having to look inside, take responsibility and understand that there is a better way to relate.
In my mind and heart, there is nothing more sad than when emotions or love become weapons of war between people. Even in a standard "couple" relationship there exist 2 separate people, 2 separate beings, and each has the right to their own thoughts and lives, their own perspective and when one forcibly tries to bully another into action or agreement that goes against their will, this is nothing more than a lack of understanding and respect for another being. I see this sometimes in the "spiritual" world too; especially among self-appointed "spiritual teachers". Likewise, each of us has the responsibility to our own emotions, of ensuring that they do not become weapons to be used (and never apologized or taken responsibility for) against the other or another, and especially that our partners and friends do not become the dumping ground for all our emotional garbage or habitual negativity. I know people who believe themselves to be highly evolved beings who are always belittling others and putting all their emotional shit onto the people closest to them. It's also interesting to note in these cases how often the support characters change, and how they never live up to the high standards of the evolved ones, who then have nothing but bad things to say about their past helpers, partners, associates, family members, etc., you get the point, it is always the other who is at fault, always the other who is unstable.
No matter who or what we believe ourselves to be, or can convince others we are; if our emotions habitually, regularly and consistently overflow with anger, violence, negativity, hatred, jealousy, and are targeted at others, often innocent, then we are not that....we are living in an illusion of who and what we are. It doesn’t matter if you are an ascended master from the Pleadies if you treat other humans as garbage and with little or no respect. The proof is in the pudding, in the behavior we exhibit, the responsibility we take and the effort we make not to cause havoc and harm or destroy that which is beautiful in our lives by thoughts, words, and deeds related to our unstable emotional relations and expressions.
It is easier to excuse a child or an adolescent for adolescent behavior and poor emotional understanding than it is to excuse an adult. And rightly so, the benefit of years is that we have had the time to work on them, to understand them, to understand that we are NOT our emotions, and to see how it is our own responsibility to know how to use and choose them wisely. This is a good word to use, choose, for there is always a choice to express and manifest beautiful emotions as opposed to toxic ones, to learn how to bring harmony to our own lives by harmonizing our emotions. If we take into consideration the effect that they have on those we are closest to, those that love us enough to excuse our inadequacies and inconsistencies, then surely it is our obligation to work on these aspects of ourselves, if not for ourselves, then for the benefit of the others we claim to love.
It seems simple from this point of view, no? I do not want my best friends and closest companions to become hurt by my poor management of my emotions, I want to live in peace and in beauty, both with myself and with others, and all my relations, and the best way I know how is to strip and clean my emotions, as I would those rifles I took care of so many years ago, getting to know every part of them; then to put them back together and wisely choose to never point them at another human being again.
AFTERWORD: This is in no way intended to be a commentary on women or men, or to re-enforce stereotypes, simply an observation of what I have experienced and witnessed in my life.
All humans, irrespective of gender have a repsonsibility to understand and manage their emotions and emotional world in a way that does not cause harm or damage, especially to those we say we love. And, yet, somewhere in the mix there is a cultural stereotype that says that women have a right to be emotional, and men to be unemotional. This is, as I mention, ridiculous to say the least, as we are beings deeply connected to our emotions, and we all contain the masculine and the feminine. I acknowledge that over the years a certain bias has taken hold, and that the feminine has been dispempowered by the masculine, but again, I pray for balance in that equation once again, that we learn to treat each other and ourselves with the respect and dignity that we deserve. There are as many men who mismanage their emotions as there are women, the emotions are not the property of any gender, of which there are several, not only two. In this misunderstanding we disavow the diversity of life as it manifests in human form, over-simplifying things to polarity and duality.
In many cultures there exists a very real respect for the diversity of gender, and this (even when it is not seen or acknowledged) we can see around us every day if we open our eyes. We no longer need to be locked into traditional gender roles, nor assumptions of who or what we - and others - are, simply becuase of the way we look, or the way we were born.
For many years, I lived in Asian countries which recognise - since time immemorial - the place of non-traditional gender roles within society, and rather than ostracisisng them, they embraced them and gave them a prominent place within the societal structure. I truly believe we can live in a world that embraces equality in every aspect, that denies the power of one perception to rule over another, that is tolerant of diversity in all of its forms, in which there is no prejudice or bias based on genitalia, that does not place greater worth upon one whilst stripping another of thier inherent beauty, nobility, and divinity.
I do not wish to enforce, or live in a world that empowers one gender over another, or dispempowers another as a reaction to centuries of gender imbalance, or the actions of our forefathers (or foremothers). There is too much generalisation in this world, too many opinions and words that are spoken that are not questioned and thought before being issued. Every individual has the right to be treated as an individual, standing on their own merits; to make great assumptions and generalisations demeans and belittles each and every one of us. Whose words are we speaking? Whose thoughts are we passing on?
This is our sovereign right, and ours alone to take care of, to nurture, to create.
We live in a world that is constantly evolving, in which the world and its stories are being rewritten by the way that we interrelate and evaluate our surroundings. There is power to the word, power to the story, and yes, the feminine has been disempowered by the masculine, in the bigger picture; but the react back and attack is not the way. Both sides were disempowered during this time, both sides suffered, and today we need not suffer for those mistakes or oversights. In balance and harmony, we are able to come to terms with the miracle that is in us, that makes us up. Yes, some are women and some are men, and biologically we are different, but this should not be an excuse for behaviour or an outlook that does not question who and how we are and how we relate to ourselves and others.