Revised for quicker reading)
The only holiday gift I can give you all this year is some information that comes from real-time, life and death combat and trauma inducing events. This information was vastly expensive. I am glad to have paid my part of the price.
However, I am not glad for many of my friends who have died paying it for me, nor my friends who still struggle with their own demons and ghosts. May we all be free.
Close Quarters Emotional Combat Training 101:
The Piero Method, Pt.1.
Ten tips for surviving and coming out a scrape a whole, happy human.
Short form and long form.
1: A question contains much more information than the answer it evokes.
2: A leadership position means you are beholden to to everyone.
3: Research before you judge or join anything, always.
4: Do not allow negative people to speak for you even in your presence.
5: Don’t be offended if people only come when they need something. It’s human.
6: Come to know, understand, and learn how to use your special gifts.
7: You are authorized to walk from anything that is not good for you. Anything.
8: Question your own story, and your script, and if it is even real, or fiction.
9: Question your perceptions in general, & check for flawed vision of any kind.
10: You are already involved in everything around you. Period. Deal with it.
11: Be cautions of people, religions, and organizations claiming virtue or goodness
1: I am making a new rule. It is called the “Inquisitor’s Rule.”
It goes like this:
“A question contains much more information than the answer it is intended to evoke.” Think about it. Think about a question and mine it for information before offering your reply.
We live in a society that does not ask enough questions. How’s that working out for us?
2: A leadership position in any serious situation means you are beholden to all members of the group, more than anyone else.
Being at the head of something is not a fashion statement. It is more like being an executive janitor. Think on this before seeking any leadership positions, and ask yourself if you can make yourself answerable to the person of least rank or power within the group. Also ask yourself if you can step down easily when you know it is better for the group. What is one day a throne can another day suddenly be a cross and nails. Having said that, leaders, and leadership are important. Being able to step up is important, as is being able to step down. Anything less mobile is a trap, and can lead to being set up as a villain or a fall guy.
3: Before you go into “Judge mind,” try “Jurists mind” (another expression I made up). In a situation that appeals to your emotions, especially issues of injustice, and wrongdoing by others, research, research, research.
If you do not research what you are getting into to, you run serious risk of being manipulated. This is historically proven, and I have seen it happen literally hundreds of times in my life. This includes private and public accusations against anyone for any act. I have seen several people die because of a mistake that was made, and there is evidence that thousands have been executed illegally by countries around the world. We should remember those who were found guilty and convicted through trial and investigation who were then executed and later proven innocent beyond all doubt. This applies to all areas of life. Use the Jurist’s mind, before using the Judge mind.
4: Do not allow people to say things like “people like you and me” or ” you know, we’re a lot alike,” unless they actually are like you.
Especially beware of the “we” that people use as emotional Jiu Jitsu, like this:
“we’re losers,” we’re assholes,” or “life really sucks for us,” unless it is absolutely true. Also, in general, never let people speak for you without your explicit permission. Co-dependent language most be spotted and protected against 24/7. Trust me on this.
5: Understand and accept that people will come around more when they need and want something and can practically disappear when they do not.
This is natural human behavior, and it is good to not get bitter about it or insulted by it. When your path diverges from someone else’s, allow it to float off, peacefully, and with a blessing for them. You have done your job.
This has been perhaps the hardest lesson of my life. Letting go. I am still in training, and I become attached to things, and also in fear push them away on occasion. However, I am working on it, and it gets better all the time. Right now, I feel attached to very little, but I know the difference between being close and being attached, and it has made me very free.
6: Come to know your gift.
I used to think mine was fighting. I am physically gifted in that regard and I used it until I discovered that while I can only fight one or two people physically, I can take out an entire room with a joke and a smile. And make friends to boot. Breaking the intensity between you and someone else with a nod and a smile is an incredibly powerful way of affecting your surroundings in a positive way. Another gift of mine is my mouth. Making fun of myself, which is enormous fun for me anyway, defuses a lot of negative energy around me.
People can remember things and bear witness, others can offer solutions, and yet others, can ask questions of people, getting them to open up. Some are expert organizers, some are natural empaths. These are all special gifts and all should be equally understood and utilized. What’s yours?
7: Always give yourself an out.
A lot of people I know are, and feel, trapped by a situation, relationship, family function, job, religion, disaster, or other thing, that says they cannot walk away. In these situations they make themselves and others miserable and sad.
Now, if you are adult enough to admit you love misery (like so many others, including half the people I know) and misery is the point, then by all means, stay in your torturous, horrific, trapping, emotional prison and squeeze every drop of delicious torment from it. With my blessing.
But if this is not how you want to live your life, there is no law, and no rule that says you cannot walk away from ANYTHING. Period. You make the rules about what you do, and how you define yourself as a person. No one ever said you have to stay in a dead end job, or relationship, or group, simply because that’s the rule. It is not. Act on your own behalf and in the interests of your own freedom. Do your best to plan for the unexpected and develop your individual safety net.
8: Question your own script and your story.
Everyone has a script, and a story. For years I never questioned mine. It was partially written by me, reenforced by my family and the public, and for decades it was what I followed and it turned out to be mostly bullshit.
Piero’s Story: Lonely man, victim of harsh circumstance, fights alone in his lonely quest, ever hurtful, and stoic, he faces the evils of the world, all alone ending in desolation and on a lonely journey that no one else can understand, all set to a Clint Mansell soundtrack.
It was a pack of lies. I was never really alone and there were times when I could not find supporters or friends, but they were definitely there or else I would have died. And I was never cut out to be stoic, or over serious, because I have always hidden too much joy and laughter for that, but sometimes I hid it because I thought it made me look “edgy,” “cool,” or “tough” and because after the hyped up 80’s, “depresso” became chic (again), and being the most miserable got you the most game. Thank god that’s over.
My real story is that I am a person who came from mixed circumstances, I was never alone, I have been crazy lucky, and that the only story that even matters is the one that I write every day when I wake up.
I am not the sum of my circumstances, or events. I am me. I choose every second of every day and nothing else does. Fate may control the outer world, but I am responsible for my inner court.
And so are you. Ditch the fake story and find the manuscript of the real you. Do it soon. Have you been buying into a false story about yourself?
9: Question your perceptions.
Many people, (Like me, most of my life) become stuck in the minefield of having to be right, having to be accurate, and having to be a good judge, (See tip 1) when in fact, the appearance of having this quality often hides the fact that it is arbitrary, false, and entirely subject to constantly changing perceptions. Seeing something accurately requires hard work, and while many people seem to feel it is a birthright or an easy thing to determine what’s really going on, nothing could be farther from the truth. (As I see it today, in the context of this conversation, according to today’s temporary, informational caseload, and subject to change).
The current state of our nation is proof positive that the majority of people here not only cannot think critically, but would rather not even try. Even the people who think they think critically often never research,or question their own perceptions in serious matters like politics, medicine, arts, social justice, and anything involving humanity.
One of the pillars of critical thinking is Carl Sagan’s baloney detection kit, which comes from his astounding book, “The Demon haunted world: Science as a candle in the darkness” which I seriously recommend EVERYONE read. It could save your life. Here is his baloney detection kit:
Question your perceptions, they are the lenses of your reality. Make sure that they are not warped with brainwashing, flawed in their basic construct of reality (as you perceive it), foggy with emotion, over-focused with hatred or anger, not rose colored, and that they are large enough to see the whole picture. This is evolution. take part.
10: You are already involved in everything around you.
There is nothing you see, or interact with, literally, that you are not involved in. The level of involvement you choose is up to you, but if you’re on the scene, you are in the mix. Each person must act according to their own conscience and special gifts, but there is no copping out of being a human on planet earth, and everything you do, and everything you do not do will not only affect you and your peers, but also your children and their peers, and human history in general. This is not an individual combat survival rule, because acting on your conscience in this society, if you are not careful, can get you arrested, or even killed. You have to choose a level of involvement everyday that you can live with.
Involvement has been the stuff of legend, creating heroes, villains, witnesses, stories, and also ironically, those who did all they could to avoid involvement, who because of the way fate works, were involved anyway.
You are not now, nor will you ever be a bystander in life, regardless of how you might try, so find a level you can handle and go for it. This is you showing up with your best.
11: Finally, and this is very important, be cautious of people, religions and organizations claiming virtue, spiritual authority or goodness and of anyone who constantly trumpets their goodness or uses the press at every opportunity to show how good they are.
People and groups with “goodness” and “virtue” embroidered on their banners can be among some of the most dangerous, spiritually vacant, and ethically challenged on earth. Also, this postmodern western civilization and society to a great degree thinks “Christian Puritan” (modest, asexual, charitable, monogamous, God fearing) equals “virtue.” These are commercially and culturally enforced values that kill in the name of a sick, superstitious, and ancient fear and set of beliefs, that always, always, leads with the word “righteous.”
This shows itself in the vast shame around sexual issues that is killing so many and responsible for so much pain and suffering. And it shows itself through the fact that racism, tribalism, sexism, and a fear and hatred of the unknown is rampant in every religion. There is a Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist equivalent, and one in every religion, that claims their archetype (their founder or hero) is the very model of virtue. Beware.
But most of all, I must beware of rightness in myself and of me giving myself total license and thinking what I do is always “good” or “right.”
I’d like to say that on my best day, that my best act of secret charity is a “good” thing. But that would not be the truth. The truth is that it is a selfish thing, and I do it because it meets my emotional needs. Any hero is acting on their emotional needs. They do it because it feels right.
Helping people and charity is a kind thing, and “good” is a very broad, and misunderstood value, which each human must struggle with as much as they struggle with the concept of “evil.”
All in all, it would be a wise thing to not get drunk on either good or evil as a concept, and also to exercise caution around those who do.
I wish you all love, safety and clarity in this coming year, and in all years.
Piero Amadeo Infante.
(Copyright, P. Infante, 2013. Use by permission only)