An interesting thing happened during my last trip to the grocery store…
Actually, it wasn’t interesting at all. Nor was it unique. It was yet another example of hateful, selfish egos lashing out at anyone who made a truthful observation that somebody wasn’t trying hard enough.
While standing in line waiting to pay for my groceries, a pair of children stood behind, screaming like banshees. Their screams were long, loud and shrill, and I had heard them screaming during my entire trip elsewhere in the store. I saw that the father had no concern whatsoever that his children were behaving like animals, so I did what a peaceful Warrior does. I walked up to him and calmly said “Can you please tell your children to stop screaming?”
And that, my friends, is more than the selfish human ego can handle. It jumps to conclusions and blows things out of proportion. It assumes much nastier, vile accusations are being made. He looked at me with shock and anger and said, “They’re children!”
Before you give too much benefit of the doubt, let me clarify that these were not diaper wearing toddlers. They could both fully speak and understand English. I responded, calmly mind you, “You need to open your eyes and ears, brother, and notice the effect it’s having on others.”
“What effect?!” he angrily said.
“Would you believe me if I told you?” I asked him.
That was all he could handle, and since my intention in such situations is always to make an observation rather than instigate a physical altercation, I walked away. You can’t get blood from a stone, and you can’t get intelligence from a lazy imbecile.
Another gentleman disapproved of me speaking up, and reiterated the first man’s defense: “They’re just kids, man!”
The problem with this argument, and I’ve heard it time and time again, is that I know children who are perfectly well behaved. In fact there were a few other children right there in the store who weren’t screaming at the top of their lungs. The common thing with all of these kids is that their parents took the time to teach them about politeness, consideration, empathy and respect. They were reprimanded. They were taught that they aren’t the only people on this planet, that they can have fun but it shouldn’t be at the expense of others around them. As they say, “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” and these screaming children most certainly behaved like spoiled brats.
Guess what this man’s response was? As I said earlier, you can’t get blood from a stone. He resorted to behavior I grew tired of back on the playground. After telling him, “We’re done talking,” he quickly laughed and childishly said, “Then who are you talking to?” Later, on my way to my car, he said I was ‘crazy’…mind you the whole time I never once raised my voice or came off angry. Crazy to many in this world is simply anyone with the audacity to speak up and disagree. He also said I was “Just like those guys who shoot up schools!” and asked if I had a gun in my car, trying to incite me. Would you have been infuriated by this accusation? I wasn’t. The words of Socrates from Way of the Peaceful Warrior simply echoed in my head; “A Warrior acts, only a fool reacts.” To have any emotional response to such a statement would have made me a fool. No fool can make a true Warrior act like a fool.
The point of this story isn’t to rally you on and inspire you to speak up against laziness, selfishness and ignorance. It’s simply to make you aware of the reaction you’ll receive if you choose to not stand by silently. The second man said to me, “It’s just the way society is!” as if it was hopeless, and even ‘crazy’ to try to change the way things are.
As a Warrior, I’m not out to change the world. There’s no point. It’s an impossible task. The problem is too widespread and it would be merely bailing water with a bucket out of a sinking ocean liner. Look at the ignorance you’re up against, You’ll almost never change a person’s mind. You’ll just draw their hatred and scorn. But it’s not because you’re wrong, it’s because they hate themselves. Lazy people, selfish people, and cowardly people KNOW they’re all those things, and it makes them feel small and insignificant when they see someone aspire and even succeed in overcoming those common human cancers.
Warriors don’t change the world. They just refuse to let the world change them, and they refuse to stand by silently and tolerate acts of selfishness and lack of empathy. No, you’re not going to change minds. But despite how much they smile condescendingly or even laugh, you’ve placed a splinter in their mind that they won’t be able to pull out very easily. No matter how much bravado is shown on an ignorant person’s part, when they’re alone and there’s no one left to posture for, the truth will haunt them.
Do I feel haunted by any of their accusations or ‘observations’? Not at all, because during these kinds of altercations, I have my eyes and ears open. I listen to tone watch posture and read facial expressions. I’m disconnected, I don’t take anything personally and I’m merely an observer once the initial statement is made. And all I observed tonight was wounded egos lashing out, and wounded egos lying to survive.
I guess the bottom line is if you ever work hard enough and long enough that you get to a point where you can control your emotions and not allow another person to control them for you, the payoff is that you’ll be regarded as “crazy.” You’ll be an alien, an anomaly, a walking contradiction. There will be no golden trophy or bouquet of roses. They’ll hate you, try to hurt you and want nothing more than for you to sink to their level.
So having said that, who still wants to bring that upon themselves and consider themselves a Warrior among normals?
After witnessing tonight’s show of selfishness and utter lack of accountability, count me in as a Warrior ’till death…and maybe even beyond.