Principle 3 Timely Action 3 – 2022

Principle 3. The Principle of Timely Action. Third Week.

Do not oppose a great force. Retreat until it weakens than advance with resolution

Last time:  External and Internal Forces
This time: What Forces?
Illustration by Rafael Edwards
This Week:
We are continuing to explore the “The Principle of Timely Action” the third of the principles of valid action (chapter 13 of The Inner Look). It says: “Do not oppose a great force. Retreat until it weakens than advance with resolution.” 
This week we will be examining how we might apply this principle in the present moment. At our next meeting we will have a chance to discuss these reflections.
General Considerations and Personal Reflections:
I hope these reflections might be useful raw material for your own meditations and they are being shared in that spirit.
At our meeting last week the point was raised that the idea of retreating isn’t necessarily passive. In recent days I found myself thinking more about that and what it means to retreat. 
I realized I do usually assume retreating is a passive stance in front of an active force. But of course there can be much more to it than that. How we might retreat could vary a lot form situation to situation.
Is something like the Covid-19 pandemic a great force? Faced with it how do we retreat and how do we advance? Are there other “forces” acting on me that I don’t usually notice? These seemed to be both “internal” and “external”. 
I found myself floundering for a way to find the present forces I might retreat from or advance on. It helped a lot when I made things more concrete and started to consider what are the “forces” opposing my plans or objectives? 
I’m sure that like me you’ll find that, after a moment of this kind of simple reflection, that in fact you have lots of questions. Some are as basic as: “what are my objectives?” or even more directly “what do I want?” However, let’s assume we have at least a rough answer for those and turn to the other aspect of the principle, that of the forces in play and my action in front of them. 
Now my questions are more like: are they great forces? What does that mean in this context?What will “retreat” mean in the present cases? How will I retreat?  Will that mean physically withdrawing, or cooling off certain relationships? Will it mean acquiescing and going along with something? Perhaps it will mean something very different, or very specific to the circumstances. 
Finally, how will I fulfill the last part of the principle and “advance with resolution”? How will I know when it’s time to change gears and begin to advance? What kind of difficulties can I expect? What kind of result?
More simple questions with perhaps life changing answers.
Coming up:
Next week we’ll look at how the principle of timely action might apply to situations we imagine happening in the future. 
We study the principles this way not just in order to deepen our understanding a particular principle, but also to find a way begin to reflect more rigorously about our daily behaviour in general. And to discover ways to transform daily life into a permanent meditation.
Worth Repeating:
Learn to resist the violence that is within you and outside of you. Silo, The Path
A valid action, is unitive, is aimed at improving the well being of others and feels like something you want to repeat again and again. 
These notes have been posted on Facebook and sent to our email list, and, thanks to Fernando Aranguiz, on my website