On Vulnerability and Service

The truth is a tool and tools can be used to build or to destroy.

Once we see the truth of another person, when we see his or her fears, flaws, and weaknesses, we gain a certain amount of power over that person. We then have a level of responsibility for how we wield this power. We have to choose what to do with it, for better or worse.

One option is to ignore what we see, pretending as if nothing has changed, denying our knowledge, and relinquishing our power. We can live in a bubble of self-imposed ignorance and carry on with our lives. This is fine if the person means nothing to us.

We could also choose to take advantage of what we now know, using it against the person. Whether quickly or slowly, we can use the truth of who he or she is to as a weapon of destruction. We can put the other person down, constantly poking and prodding at his or her weakness for as long as he or she can or will tolerate it.

If, however, we are guided by love, compassion, and mercy, if we want to build, not to destroy a relationship with this person, we can embrace what we see and what we know. We can choose to lift the other person up instead of putting him or her down. We can choose to be of service.

With loving service as our aim, we can be strong where others are weak. We can choose to be flexible where they are firm or firm where they are flexible. We can support them, we can uplift them, and we can empower them by being who they need us to be so that they can be themselves. This comes at a price, however. In order to be of service, we must first make ourselves vulnerable.

Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body, Severna Park’s Holistic Chamber of Commerce, and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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