“If a person has his sword out all the time, he is habitually swinging a naked blade; people will not approach him and he will have no allies.
If a sword is always sheathed, it will become rusty, the blade will dull, and people will think as much of its owner.
There are two kinds of dispositions, inward and outward, and a person who is lacking in one or the other is worthless…”
~ Excerpt from the Hagakure: Book of the Samurai.
Do you keep your sword hidden, afraid to show it, or do you swing it wildly?
What does the sword refer to? Your personal power.
This is a post that turns you from a frog or a barbarian into a prince. Read on!
Ladies, please read this as well (but with a grain of salt). Personal power applies to both genders, but I know next to nothing about female specific personal development, so some parts might not apply. The relationship section at the end is particularly helpful to ladies, though.
No rites of passage
True manhood is being a perfect balance of velvet and steel. It is the perfect balance between being hard and soft. It is knowing when to unsheathe your sword, and when to hide it.
Are you a man? Most males are not.
In current culture, we grow up into adulthood without any proper training. The education system gives us skills to earn a living, and that’s not good enough. Being able to support yourself is just a part of manhood, yes, but only a part (look at Michael Jackson hehe). We have no rites of passage like ancient cultures do. The result? Boys in men’s bodies.
What manhood isn’t
I kept my sword sheathed as a teen. I kept my power hidden for fear of upsetting others. I was a wimp. I went through life governed by fear. Read the list of what I was afraid of – Do you recognise any of these in yourself?
Fear of women (especially beautiful ones), fear of the boss, fear of hard work, fear of being humiliated, of standing out, and fear of displeasing my parents.
That was not a good way to live. I achieved nothing, I got nothing.
Other males have their swords out all the time. These are the cool “bad boys”. They use anger and intimidation to get their way. They often show no regard for other people. They could come across as callous or rude.
I went through a phase like this (the pendulum effect, which I shall detail in a future post), and it does give you slightly more power and leverage. But I didn’t like it – I had simply changed I was afraid of. I can also honestly say that people like this hide a different fear and insecurity.
Once we have developing the courage to find and draw our sword (notice I didn’t say develop personal power – we are all born with power, it’s just buried), we have to learn how and when to use it.
This doesn’t come naturally, no matter what anyone says. No-one is born an expert in anything. There is always a period of learning, trial and error. But once we pay our dues, we become a prince.
What manhood is
A prince is confident, passionate, in control, assertive, strong, brave, loyal, and has a code of honour. He takes risks, and he doesn’t need the approval of others. He has been tempered by fire. He has faced and conquered his inner demons. And yet he is kind, gentle, and compassionate. He likes himself and is comfortable with who he is.
Most men dont think it is possible to have both steel and velvet. Others mistake strength and power for beating on their chest and roaring like a Spartan (not that those guys are not manly, but you don’t have to roar). On the other side of the fence, some guys confuse being a gentleman with being a doormat.
Think about it – what is the true meaning behind the word gentleman? A Gentle. Man. Both parts are vital. A gentleman is a man who is not afraid of life nor his desires. He has the strength to protect his loved ones, and fight for what he believes in. Yet one who can laugh, grieve, nurture and heal. Who can appreciate the beauty in a childs smile, in the sunset, and in a womans embrace.
How to develop it
Here’s a basic tip: Live as if you are a prince. Act like you’re a prince on a white horse in shining armour. A prince, surrounded by his loving subjects, and loved by maidens and fellow warriors alike. Not a black knight. Not a tyrant. (Bear with me on this one, if it sounds stupid.)
Hah! Got your attention there didn’t I? Hope I did. The rest of the article can be found at the Urban Monk website.