You Are Not Your Armor
I get it. At some point in life had to learn how to protect yourself. And when life felt like a never-ending battle, you put on a strong armor. It may have been the only way to survive. And it worked.
But then when the war died down and you returned home, did you remember to take off the armor? Or did it became so comfortable that it felt like your own skin? Perhaps it was the only way you knew how to be in the world.
In truth, it is probably exhausting to carry around this heavy metal everywhere. And it is likely keeping you from true intimacy and connection with the world around you.
Here is a story that I used to share with a group of adolescents @mbaproject :
At a monastery in Thailand there was this enormous statue of the Buddha. It wasn’t worth much because the craftsmanship wasn’t refined and it was made out of clay. It had been there for hundreds of years, and finally it started to crack. One night one of the monks was clearing the meditation room where this clay Buddha was housed. He was sweeping the floor when he noticed something shiny on the statue, so he went to check it out with a flashlight. He noticed the clay was cracking. When he shined a light into the crack the reflection was blinding bright. Stunned, he began to pick away at it a little bit, and couldn’t believe his eyes. The statue was made of solid gold.
What had happened was that a few hundred years earlier there was a war. And the monks knew that if the invading armies saw this beautiful gold statue, they would steal it. So the monks got together, and covered it in clay. Then all the monks either fled or were killed, so it was just sitting there for hundreds of years, and everybody thought it was just a cheap clay statue. Nobody knew its real value; nobody knew at its core, there was solid gold.
Your armor, the ways you learned to protect yourself, were necessary for your survival. And you still may need some layer of protection, depending on your environment. Just don’t forget that you are not your defenses, and you are not your armor. Don’t forget that underneath that clunk of metal is your essential being: your compassionate, trusting, loving Self.