There is no such thing as attack

To a neophyte, because they are unsure, they always perceive themselves to be the victims of attacks.

by Dr. John F. Demartini — 

I  once lived in a house overlooking the beach near Del Mar, Calif. One day I walked into a health food store and overheard a gentleman talking about philosophy. I could not resist the opportunity, so I sat down with him for a discussion. He was a master of martial arts, had trained many movie stars and also studied philosophy.

After our lengthy discussion, he asked me if I would be willing to share more of my philosophy in exchange for some martial arts lessons. Of course I accepted, and he came over to my home. I asked him, “All right, what should I do?”

He said, “Okay, here’s the first lesson. I want you to do whatever you can to attack me. Try to kill me.”

I thought, “Hmm, the first lesson and he wants me to kill him. Okaaay.” So I tried to punch him and immediately, with just two fingers, he grabbed my arm and twisted me off balance, kissed me on the cheek and put me back on my feet. With two fingers!

Then he said, “Try again.”

I thought, “All right, I’m going to try kicking him,” but as I kicked, he stepped aside and using the same two fingers to lift up my foot, threw me off balance and kissed me on the cheek. The next time, I tried a spinning kick, but he just guided my leg on past him, and kissed me on the cheek again.

No matter what I did, I couldn’t touch him, and eventually I started to laugh. I stood back, sweating and out of breath, and I asked, “Okay, what is the lesson here?”

No such thing as attacks

He replied, “Here is your first lesson. To a master, there are no such things as attacks, only invitations to dance. But to a neophyte, because they are unsure, they always perceive themselves to be the victims of attacks.

“Anything they’re not prepared for will be interpreted as a danger, and it will run their lives. But anything they can see as having the perfect balance of yin and yang, they will not react to. Masters act wisely upon such things, and they make them invitations to dance.”

This gentleman did not feel threatened by anything I could do because he had already prepared himself for every possibility. He stayed poised and present no matter what I did, and turned my attempts at deadly combat into a graceful dance. He was educational, as well as entertaining to watch.

If we can understand and embrace everything that comes our way in the same spirit as this gentleman, knowing that it is not an attack, but an opportunity to refine and expand ourselves, we can turn our lives into the same masterful dance. For most of us, conflict is less physical, but more verbal and mental; regardless, the same principle applies.

You are not present when you become distracted by the emotions of praise and reprimand, are you? When somebody lifts you up or puts you down, if you buy into their one-sided illusion, they can run your life.

The second you allow yourself to become elated or depressed about other people’s perceptions of you, or even your own illusory perceptions of yourself, you become disempowered. You cannot express your genius to its fullest while you are caught in that state. But the second you bring your mind to balanced awareness, you have the power of divinity working through you.

Look for the balance

The next time someone puts you down, immediately look for the balancing opposite and say to yourself, “Ah, thank you! I was just being cocky and elated about something, and I was also being praised and built up, so I see why I have brought you into my life at this moment.”

If you can be thankful to them for helping you to remain poised, you are on your way to becoming a master. If every time a crisis struck, you trained yourself to immediately look for the blessing and opportunity that certainly exists within it, you could dance with your life.

In the words of Meister Eckhart, “If I had only one prayer, it would be, ‘Thank you.’”

So, the next time someone puts you down, say “thank you.”


Dr. John F. Demartini is a chiropractic physician, philosopher, author of nearly 40 books, inspirational speaker and featured in the movie The Secret. 888-DEMARTINI or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 2, April/May 2007.

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