Welcome to our next installment on the warrior philosophy of "Thick Face, Black Heart" (TFBH) and what it can do for YOU. If you've just stumbled on this post, please go back to the two previous posts and READ THEM FIRST. Otherwise, you'll get lost in a matter of seconds ;-)
Practicing TFBH clarifies everything in your life. TFBH means living in the world of the DEFINITE. Once you become very definite about your lifestyle - about your diet, your exercise, your responsibilities towards others at home, at work and in general, something miraculous happens...
GREAT CLARITY ENSUES:
One of the defining characteristics of the mentality of most people in our culture is its lack of definiteness and direction. We're a deeply conflicted people who create deeply conflicted lives.
Once you DECIDE to adopt a definite manner of life - meaning you stick to your lifestyle even when others attack you or, more importantly, when you yourself "feel like" caving in - then the next step is this:
Decide who you really are and what you stand for. Ask yourself these questions:
1. What are my highest values as a person?
2. What moral standards do I refuse to compromise on?
3. When have I been asked to go along passively with something unjust or to live with a lie? Have I become "politically correct" (in other words, a pathological liar)?
4. When have I actually gone along with a lie?
5. If I could contribute just ONE good thing to the world in my lifetime, what would it be? And what am I willing to do about it?
6. What infuriates me? What will I absolutely not tolerate?
Yes, contrary to what you might think, righteous anger is not an evil. The ancient Christian tradition considers it a protective force implanted within you by your Creator. If you see evil and injustice done to others and that doesn't infuriate you, then you've got a real problem. Not that you should lose control of yourself; simply that you should feel impelled to take action.
As many of you know, my jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church has suffered a debilitating financial scandal and a generalized leadership crisis over the past couple of years. At one point the lies became too much for me and I spoke out. And I took the criticism that comes from the spineless and unprincipled who fear nothing quite so much as rocking the boat. That's an example of "thick face". However, many who did speak out and continue to do so have suffered for it much more than I did, and they deserve great respect for doing so.
Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. are perfect examples of people who felt compelled to speak out. They saw injustice and got REALLY ANGRY about it. However, they were able to channel the force of their righteous anger into great moral principles and to achieve victories once thought completely impossible.
REFUSING OTHER PEOPLE'S DEFINITIONS FOR YOUR LIFE
My family has a dear friend who's over 90 years old right now. He was a best friend to my father for over half a century. Lately he's become a bit obsessed with telling my children how off-track they are with respect to their educations and career choices. They need to become doctors, lawyers or dentists, he says, because those are the people who make the real money.
Well, that kind of career advice is understandable from a post-war immigrant, but it really lost its validity after the sixties.
Likewise, you'll find all kinds of well-meaning people trying to define your life for you. Some of them may be success "gurus" telling you success is measured in dollars. Some may be family members who think you should go to university because the previous three generations of your family did.
One thing you can be sure of: if you are definite about your lifestyle - adopting a "thick face" in that department - and if you're increasingly definite about who you are and what you stand for, you'll become more and more CLEAR about what you want to contribute. And when that's the case, you WILL find all kinds of people putting obstacles in your way.
The great thing about practicing TFBH is that once you become very clear and definite about the little things in life, you'll get CRYSTAL CLARITY surprisingly fast on the larger issues, including what some would call your "major definite purpose" in life.
Try it. Don't believe me; see for yourself! "Thick Face" and "Black Heart" are the essence of the world's ancient spiritual traditions and of the Warrior's way of life worldwide. And the best course on the Warrior's Way of Life I know is this:
Next time, I'll finally explain to you what "Black Heart" means - it doesn't mean what you're probably thinking it means... ;-)
~ Dr. Symeon Rodger