To protect us in Iraq, the Army deployed different tactics. Short term protection came in the form of body armor and high walls.
Medium term came in the form of quick response teams to protect the areas right outside the walls.
Long term came in the form of good chow and entertainment.
The point here is that while death was always in your face there were many tactics deployed to keep it at bay.
The point of this weeks post is the same thing, only instead of dealing with death knocking at your door, you're looking at death sitting across from you at the poker table.
You know death is going to win in the long run, but as a smart player you deploy particular tactics to stay in the game as long as possible.
There is no right way slow play death, but this weeks stanza has some suggestions.
To slow play death you need to know when to be strong, when to be flexible, when to be like water and when to be empty.
Now I can't tell you what these will mean for you, but I can give you examples of what they have meant to me.
So back in Iraq I had to be strong every time things got nasty. I knew I had to be strong to protect myself, but also the team.
I also had to be flexible. As Psyops we ended up attached to lots of different platoons and each had their own tactical troop procedures.
With my chain of command and other Officers I had to deal with I had to be like water, in other words, just go with the flow. Sometimes the Officers I dealt with were.......frustrating. But they were part of the team and I needed to interact with them effectively.
Empty is a word commonly used in the meditation community to denote indifference to a specific outcome. The idea being that if you don't have a particular set of expectations you will easily blend with any outcome.
I was empty towards the outcome of the Iraq war during the time I was down range because I felt that if I attached my happiness to how well the war effort was coming along, I'd spend more time upset than not.
Now, like I've said a thousand times before, it's a bit easier to be this way down range because death, or the fear of death, is a motivating force. Back home that force is less powerful because for many of us, death may be years, if not decades away.
I figure it like this, I know death is going to win in the end, but in the meantime I'm going to win steady, take a few big pots, but most of all enjoy the fact that I am still playing.
This post was guided by the 59th stanza of the Art of Peace, a book written by Morihei Ueshiba
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Thrive as a civilian.