Litanies…

The sun sets on another day…

Sunset was a series of colorful shards lost in the clouds as I watched the day end. I enjoyed the moment and laughed a little as I found a moments peace.

If you do not know what a litany is, you are not alone. For the purpose of todays post a litany is defined as “a resonant or repetitive chant”. More specifically it can be used as a way to center your mind and calm or enrage you.

There is a movie called “The Accountant” where the main character has autism and uses a poem to find his center. I am no expert on autism and had not heard of this approach but I have used a poem since May of 1977 to find my center, and I know it works for me.

An author named Dennis Schmidt wrote science fiction in the 7 0s to the 90s and wrote a story for a magazine called Galaxy that resonates with me. The time in my life was very complicated, with massive storms of chaos, and challenges a high schooler should not have to face. My escape was reading and as I read the story “The Way of the Sword” I found a new center. In the story a young man must control his emotions to stay safe from an invisible creature. The litany of passivity was first in the story, and as with the later litany the complexity of verse and action of memory creates calm. The seeker is looking for someone to teach swordsmanship and is taught in a rather unconventional but effective manner.

The new litany given that I became enamored with was:

The sword is the mind
When the mind is right, the sword is right
When the mind is not right, the sword is not right
To understand the way of the sword

you must first understand the way of the mind.

Seems simple. I was angry about a week after I read this and started repeating it in my head and found that I had to concentrate and in doing so found my peace. Since then I have learned if I am pushing or rushed the words easily fall out of order, and it is in the words themselves that I find a center that works.

Why?

It is easy. If you are in your right mind and faced with adversity, you have a choice that could be the sword, and you will use it wisely. If you are in chaos, you cannot use it wisely. Not because you will not be skilled with whatever your sword is, but because you may not see beyond the moment. The very act of finding your center becomes your center, and as you get there more than just the litany becomes clear. As we understand how this works we can see to use our sword, we have to understand ourselves, our opponents, and beyond.

What is your sword?

Easy, it is any tool you use in interacting with others. IT can be forceful or not forceful, but it is the tool. When I read it first I was fascinated with the sword itself, but later in life I found that the sword could be anything that is wielded with an opponent. From something physical to words. Yes, words can be a sword.

Long way to a point. Take a moment and consider how you approach the world. Maybe it is time to take a moment when you feel out of control and find control. I am not saying litanies work or don’t but it did for me. At minimum it gave me that moment to open my mind to other possibilities, and turn away if I needed to do so, or act if that was the way.

So as the sun sets on another day, enjoy your moments, and if you find yourself out of control, breathe, think, use a litany, or find help. Help is there if you need it, no matter what.

Sleep sweet, love life, and keep living it…