Estremera: Between rest and resistance


Spider’s web

IT WAS worth a loud round of laughter as my friends and I motored to Tagum City last Sunday.

The context of the story was the refreshing breeze wafting from the sea that makes us sleepy. Jojo Rom, the urban gardener, commented:

“That’s why monkeys won’t drop from trees even amid a storm. But amid soft breeze, there’s a greater chance for the monkey to fall.”

That’s the English translation and thus sounds very flat. It was hilarious in Bisaya: “Pero kung hoyohoy matagak.” (We just have to love our languages and dialects, they deliver the message better).

The introspection comes after the laughter.

Monkeys have long limbs and hook-like hands highly evolved so they can grip branches and swing from tree to tree. They also have prehensile tails that they use as an extra hand. Observe them as they eat on the branches at the Philippine Eagle Center and see how their tails lock on that limb.

You can imagine then how they can stay on trees when strong winds lash through a forest.

They evolved that way. Monkeys are safer on trees than on the ground where predators, both man and beast, hunt.

But even at their highest level of evolution, they can be disarmed by a soft, gentle breeze.

We can use that in addressing aggression and people who love to hurt or put down other people. Do not respond when they are being nasty because that is what they are rooting for. They want you to engage in their nastiness so that they can go nasty on turbo-drive and they have practiced nastiness so well, you do not stand a chance.

But when you do not engage, the energy they have pumped up to make you react falls flat, emasculating them.

Having done that, walk away.

People who have set their eyes on hating you are people you do not need in your life. But they will stay, and continue to challenge you, “like a monkey on your back”, if you give them your attention, your energy.

Walk away and the quiet you leave behind will disarm him. All by himself.

Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) developed this into his own brand of martial arts -- Aikido or “the way of spiritual harmony”. Unlike other martials arts, aikido emphasises not just disarming or defeating, but most of all, protecting the opponent as this martial art promotes spiritual and social development.

Use the opponent’s force to deflate him.

This is the way I choose to fight, and I’ve seen so many deflated egos in my lifetime, their spirits sucked out such that many times they just choose to speak of me in high regard as I skip away in full spirits, unaffected.

Bless your soul, dear one, who chose to tangle with me today. I’m way above choosing to get entangled. Watch out when it’s hoyohoy, though, you might tagak.



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