"One should always remember that poison enters the soul by the ears, as it enters the body by the mouth." - St. Francis de Sales; Introduction to the Devout Life, pg. 234
It is common sense to you that if you eat poison, you will get sick. We tend to guard the gate of our mouth quite diligently. If you are a parent, you are constantly watching to make sure your child does not ingest something dangerous - especially since small children seem to be always putting something in their mouth. This is a good thing; to guard the mouth as a sentry guards the gate to a palace.
However, what if I told you there is another gateway that we all too often neglect to post sentries? This gate is smaller, and more subtle than the gateway of your mouth but if poison sneaks beyond this gate, your health and wellbeing can be just as much damaged, if not more so. I am talking about the dual gateway of your ears.
A warrior realizes that what enters into his ears can be a powerful influence for good or evil. Realizing this, a warrior takes desperate precautions to post sentries at the gateways of the ears to prevent any enemy from intruding.
Think about it: If you guard what enters your mouth, why do you not give equal attention to guarding what enters your ears? For though what enters your ears may not directly poison the body, it will poison your inner self - your soul. The soul affects the body, so indirectly, what enters your ears can and does poison the body.
If you listen to harmful music, if you always hear spiteful and degrading things from others, if you only ever talk badly to yourself, you are failing to appropriately guard the gateways of your ears.
Music is particularly powerful at influencing you. It is why companies spend exorbitant amounts of money at creating memorable and catchy jingles. They lodge deep within you and can be remembered for quite long periods of time.
I am writing this to ask you these simple questions: What are you listening to on a daily basis? Did you ever consider that what you hear can just powerfully poison you or heal you as does good food vs. bad food? When I say, 'what are you listening to?' I mean on all fronts - from people in your life, music, movies and television, and your self-talk. Is it uplifting or degrading?
No don't get me wrong, sometimes we need to hear "negative" things. If you are a general in an active war zone, you would want to hear all the news from the front, even if it is "negative" or "bad". Why? Because you must know reality to make accurate and effective decisions to keep your troops alive. "Negative" words or music that has a message to communicate that helps you deal with reality can be very useful.
When I say 'degrading' I mean something that serves no function and has no utility. Perhaps your friend has accurately pointed out a flaw in your character - this is a good thing. Friends like that are hard to come by. But when their talk becomes spiteful, and if such spite is chronic, then this is poison that is entering your ears. Guard against this.
Likewise, when you speak, will it serve to heal or poison the receiver? A warrior is one who lives on the path of truth and therefore, even if their words be harsh, they are meant (or should be meant) for the healing and betterment of the receiver.
If you had to write out all the things you listen to each day for a week and show it to me at the end, would you be proud of what you write or ashamed? Would you look at that list and say, "Most of this serves to edify and help me" or would you say, "Wow ... there isn't much good stuff here"? If you answered in the latter, it may be time to post some sentries at the gateways of your ears.
A warrior knows that ALL gateways to his body and soul must be diligently guarded. Never give your sentries a day off lest your enemy choose that time to attack you. The more consistently and sternly you post those sentries the easier it becomes to ward off attackers. You will seem to be attacked less frequently and it will become easier to do.
Our culture is filled with poison masquerading as candy that desires to enter your system. Be watchful. Post sentries. Stand guard at the gateways of your being ready to do battle with all that may seek to defile you.
Live in the battleground,
~Alexander Lanshe Sensei
P.S. Major news about my new book will be announced in 2017. I am very excited to share this with you and I look forward to releasing it soon!
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National Speaker, author, blogger, and life-long student of warrior arts and science.