Who here is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

Via elephant journal
on Feb 19, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

Sharing the report yesterday of John Friend, founder of Anusara Yoga, stepping down due to accusations of alleged sexual misconduct with students and financial [questions], I am reminded of our politicians under which the lamp of scrutiny their lives are placed.

Just because something is spiritual (yoga) or morally upstanding (politics), doesn’t mean everyone always makes good decisions. The corollary is also true: just because something is not doesn’t mean no one does.

I never had to fight as much as I did after winning championships. Everyone who I met wanted to “test” me out. I’m not infallible, and certainly not undefeated. The only undefeated fighters are those who never competed. I walk into a martial art school, law enforcement agency, or military outfit, and I often encounter 30-40 tough, strong, young fighters who want to all have a go before they’re willing to be coached. *Sigh* It takes its toll on my body and my energy.

And I’ve never had to be stronger as a person than after people began to think highly of me.

The more people who respected me, and the more duty you feel toward helping others, the easier it can become to hide your ubiquitous imperfections and immaturities.

The more you hide, the more people want to hold you up as an example of possibility to keep hope.

But this pedestal always catastrophically collapses under the unrealistic weight of unrealistic expectations of infallible perfection. This is precisely why I transparently share stories of my mistakes, errors and obstacles. To humble myself. I have committed enormous blunders, and continue to make a lot of mistakes. I am no guru.

(There are truly altruistic people. I’ve known one, and studied her, and cannot fathom the energy and strength required. If I can achieve just a small fraction of that level of service, I’ll have led a successful life.)

But for the rest of us, we are riddled with problems and issues. I presume this is why so many people love reality television: because it demonstrates the inevitable failings of those people expected to be happy, healthy and socially well-adjusted—celebrities. Yet, look at them. What a disaster. I believe society secretly hopes for the Charlie Sheen meltdowns, in order to know that the universe is still in balance. The only well adjusted celebrities attempt to keep themselves away from too much exposure, and even then…

“If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” ~ Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago

Every day is a choice. Sometimes I feed the wrong wolf. But over time, I hope that I can live my life feeding the right wolf more often.


Overcoming childhood physical and learning disabilities, to become the USA National Team Coach and International Martial Arts Champion (in Sambo, Sanshou, Submission Grappling, Sport Jiujitsu, and amateur Mixed Martial Arts), Scott Sonnon earned the most coveted athletic distinction in his discipline – Honorable Master of Sport and became the first Westerner to formally intern behind the “Iron Cur…tain” at the Russian Combat Skill Consultant Scientific & Practical Training Center in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Blending his studies of biochemistry, biomechanics and psychophysiology, he developed an approach for multi-planar functional fitness – called Circular Strength Training, and an approach to rapidly recover from high intensity effort – called TACFIT. Author of numerous books and over a hundred videos, Scott now travels the world teaching for esteemed academies such as the NYPD Academy, FLETC, CBP Advanced Training Center, US Army 3/160th SOAR, FILEX, NSCA, CPTN, the Arnold Expo, Penn State, Wake University and Wingate Institute


About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive.


3 Responses to “Who here is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

  1. nakedsole says:

    Very much enjoyed this. I think transparency is a kind of great leadership. To be willing to be great, to be powerful, and to bare your humanity is the very thing that creates the possibility of collectively shifting from competitive power-trips to a more dimensional notion of power taking many forms. It takes guts. Hiding behind a facade of perfection is weak. When great people are willing to be publicly human it opens doors for normal humans to be great. Much respect and kudos to you,

  2. Love the simplicity of this; sometimes all the philosophy and knowledge and reading and feeding the mind just looks like too much hard work 🙂 Life was meant to be simpler, and this is how….

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Braja Sorensen
    Lost & Found in India
    Editor, Elephant Spirituality
    Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

  3. Eric says:

    ~this is great. yes, sometimes we feed the 'wrong wolf'. someone once told me: "Almost immediately after I took my Bodhisattva vows, all kinds of crazy situations and people landed on my plate…and you can't hide."
    Since I've already come close to destroying myself and part of my own heart, I must be aware. One cherishes the good and right when they have already subjected themselves to pain and wrongdoing…
    Thank you.