Coping Mechanics of the Ninja

So it seems that we’re coming up to a time in the history of our species where many of us are shifting psychologically, as in the conscious. Many are fed up, many are confused, many are angry, and simply put, many will lose their minds. It’s a scary time for some, and an exciting time for others. But were all going to go through some shit. Some will look to the stars, some will look to science, some to love, others to hate, fear, and anguish. We all cope differently in that sense.

For myself, I look at classical literature of those who had to face terrible atrocities of war, violence, loved ones being torn from their arms, and yet they drove on to survive, evidently not out of fear. Instead, their outlook on life was different, and it would be inaccurate to say that they were optimistic, though science has shown that this can’t hurt.

In the study of Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Post Traumatic Growth (PTG), evidence has shown that if approached in just the right way, things such as high impact traumatic experiences (i.e. war, rape, shock, etc.) cannot only be overcome, but when done with the right attitude, the subject of PTSD may use this terribly negative experience as a spring board to become a stronger, more resilient person. The immune system grows stronger, the neurological pathways of the brain create stronger connections tempered by the hardship, and even the body grows physically.

I’ve had the personal opinion for many years that experience makes you stronger. However when I would come across someone who not only experienced something terrible, but were also still stuck on it, there was little in my mind I could do besides just think to myself “Give them time, either they will get over it, or not.” My own bat-shit crazy background only served as part-parables to try to relate and show that they aren’t alone, but these always had short-term effects. Recently I have learned to take my usual approach as certain types of pessimism and depressed mis-mapped neurological pathways don’t take well to being related to. This simply sucks as my heart it so big and compassionate to just sit back and watch, guess I’ll learn the nuance of that sometime.

So instead of how I deal with extreme adversity, I’m going to share a ex-script from a writing of a martial arts tradition very closely related to the ninja, to the point that many ninja would have practiced the techniques of this tradition and followed much of its philosophy.

これは宇宙の万化自然なり、
宇宙は時々と物体皆変化するものなり、
死あり、
生あり、
これ万化自然の理、
これを相結んで事なき精神力を意味す。

“This Universe consists of innumerable spontaneous changes,
all things in the Universe change from time to time,
death is certain,
life is certain,
this is the truth of ever changing nature,
this means that willpower and circumstance are intertwined.”

Holy Double Rainbows! What does it mean?!

The first two lines are simply saying everything changes unpredictably, some hate this, some are scared of this uncontrollable force that we call the universe, but there is a tremendous piece of mind in believing it. Kinda like doing what you can, and not concerning yourself with the rest.

The next two lines “death is certain, life is certain” are simply the two certainties of that time period, two things that would need to be faced.

The last two lines explain that when accept the fact that we can’t control the universe, can’t predict the events before they they happen, and Can’t prevent hardship from befalling us, then we can begin to decide how were going to deal with them.

I just lost my lover,
I can’t afford to eat,
I was just gang beaten.

We need to be able to make the decision: am I going to stay a victim? or am I going to take control of my life? I can promise anyone that this question applies to their circumstance, without exception. and this is where we either suffer PTSD or PTG, it’s our choice.

On one side we may close off our emotions in shame and denial. Like a clam closing off to the world, forever afraid to share our feelings with others in fear of further pain.

However on the other hand, when we read into the traumatic experience we can extract valuable lessons from these things, all-permeating lessons that can shape our futures for the better and in rewarding ways.

Why did you loose your lover; and what lessons were learned from this?
What can you do to get food; why haven’t you don it yet?
Why were you gang beaten; How can you not be a victim?

One of the first things to do to break out of PTSD is to shift from the victim role, and take ownership of your life and experiences. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that you just decide in the middle of turmoil, there’s a timing to it. Usually the very second that you feel that your gaining any ground, any sanity, any control at all, you need to take that. Usually the rest gets easier once that inertia is broken. Then the recovery begins.

So the above translation, we can derive a profound coping mechanism for dealing with the pressures of medieval warrior-class living in Japan, let alone the more drama-ridden scenarios found in modern western living. If we’re feeling like no one can relate or has been through what we have, that’s narcissism on a grand and restricting level. Someone has been through what you have been through, and lived to tell about it. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, if you’re not looking for that light, your either not yet ready to move on, or you’re enjoying your drama.

Always a light at the end of the tunnel.

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