How Do We Defend Ourselves?


Stephen: You have been taught many things about life.  But one of the primary things that every person in this room has been taught is that when you get hurt, you must defend, you must fight – that’s a primary teaching.  It is, in a sense, the difference between a Christ-like Earth and a primitive Earth.

We must together find an enormous respect for the fact that such primitive actions exist, and come into an understanding that these primitive reactions can’t be simply put aside by making our behavior better or by talking ourselves out of them, but by recognizing all the components and respecting each one of them.  When somebody bloodies you, you bloody them back and that’s the Old Testament and that is the old law.  It is when Christ came to teach and He said that it’s no longer “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” – which is the law by which we live when it comes to our physical pain.  It is now “turn the other cheek.”  This is a very important evolutionary message regarding the difference between the primitive response to all forms of conditions, particularly betrayal.  Humanity hungers to “turn the other cheek”, but the odd part about this is that we have been taught in our churches and elsewhere that “turning the other cheek” is a behavior.  And when turning the other cheek becomes a behavior, the whole meaning and purpose of it is completely lost.  “Turning the other cheek” is a evolutionary process, which by and large is oriented toward ourselves, and then becomes a spontaneous form of behavior as a result of our practice.

Alice:  I wonder if that phrase “turning the other cheek” may have been mistranslated in terms of what originally was said.  It might be interesting to see what was really being said.

Stephen: But what is being said here though, when you consider that the idea of “cheek” is simply talking about polarities.  It’s simply saying choose the other polarity – choose the softness.  I mean another way of saying this would be: allow your attention to be with the body.  It’s just the same thing.  I mean, it is exactly the same thing – that is, choose the frontal membrane.

Chris:  “Turning the other cheek” has to do with the meaning in yourself.

Stephen: Absolutely.

Chris: It doesn’t have to do with another person.  The well-known interpretation was that it had to do with another person.

Stephen: That’s right. It has to do with the way you deal with your hurt and it only enters into the arena of relationship after, and only after there is work within ourselves.

The real beauty of all of this is that there is nothing wrong. If you look at even our psychology and our religion and our modern spirituality, there is continually a hint at one level or another that something is off base, something needs to be corrected, something is wrong.  And from that, we don’t get to the place in which innocence and innocent love for another is experienced.

I mean, here is the beautiful thing, Chris, [This is referring to a previous dialogue.] because a man brings you this situation in which he irritates you constantly with his incredible capacity to touch you everywhere that you hurt, and to whip you with it even – and for you to at least make a recognition that:  first, his message is not for you to love him, at least on the initial level, but second, his message to you is for you to recognize and come to the innocence within so that there is a possibility that you then can love him.  But you can’t make yourself love him – you can’t want to love him enough so that you love him.  We can only love someone on the basis of the way we come to our own wounded body, and we can love out of our wounds.  Because the body is wounded doesn’t mean that there can’t be love through those wounds.  We can hurt and love, but we can’t fight and love. We can’t, in a sense, behave against ourselves, and love.  If the love is to be there, it must be an honest love.  And if the love never comes, that is okay.  That is one of the great responses to what is being said here.  In a sense, it is a lighter attitude, it’s a kind of – the only way I can work this out is to take a “so what” to it in the beginning – “so what.”  So I hate him – that’s it.  But without that acceptance with the first step, there is no way to get deep into ourselves. Just by allowing yourself to feel that hate was a big step – to open a possibility that the outcome could be toward something very different.

Copyright 1993: Estate of Stephen Robbins Schwartz


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