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Polite Conversation in Warrior Mode

"Gan" is an interesting quality to consider in terms of warrior spirit. A translation I like is "awareness," requiring a general alertness as well as a generalized focus that encompasses 360 degrees. With regard to a particular individual, the focal point is the throat, not the eyes, and even with that there is a nearly simultaneous combination with glancing about the broader terrain.

Yet try carrying on a conversation with someone while in warrior mode. Maybe I need to work at it better, but I donít easily get away with eye-to-throat contact with someone who really wants to engage with me. As my eyes move away, I hope subtly, to peruse the broader terrain, my conversation partner (yes, maybe my wife) may ask whether Iím looking for better company. Those close to me, and even those not so close, often demand full attention.

Even when not in the company of close friends and relatives, what about the simple joy of contemplation? Sometimes we need to become distracted, to get lost in personal reflection. I wonder how introspective the classical warrior was, or is. Perhaps only in a physical location that he considered himself completely safe could he let his guard down, become intimate with others, lose himself in thought.


And so I end up, as usual, in a contradiction - Yin and Yang. Opposites co-existing. The warrior must co-exist with the dreamer. Ready to fight, but also to love. We must be able to bare our souls, penetrate the souls of others, yet when necessity arises, to become cold as steel and see only matter and motion.


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