Tyrants and Paper Tigers

Roy Masters from ‘How To Be At Peace with Your Problems’

When we fail to meet life correctly, on time, we all feel guilty, inadequate and afraid. Then comes the pageant of thoughts and plans with which to prove our righteousness, which is only greater unrighteousness, leading to newer and bigger blunders in each precious moment. 

Some interesting attempts at compensation for all this may be seen in methods used by: (l) overprotective mothers, (2) those brave souls who seem to accomplish daring feats, and (3) bullies and dictators.

Now, how can over-protective mothers, brave men, cowards and dictators all be included in one category? The thing that they have in common is their creation of a danger that is not really present.

They create their hallucinatory dangers so that they might retrieve, in a sense, their lost courage. In other words, they are creating situations which they think, in their hearts, they have the capacity to meet; in which they might claim back a semblance of that true virtue which —without wisdom—they have lost only moments before. 

All guilty ones are seen championing a foolish cause. The over-protective mother is seen smothering the life from her children with too much food, too many clothes, and too much so-called protection from those fictitious, harmless things which she sees as danger.

In this manner, she attempts to recapture her lost courage with a substitute. She becomes indignant and insulted on behalf of her children.

She delights in taking offense at trivial matters in which she can express her venom and vent anger—usually upon harmless, ineffectual souls who are not really offensive at all.

She may be observed indignantly taking her children’s part against their friends—perhaps insulting the playmates, and sending them home in tears. This is her substitute for righteous indignation. 

In all these petty battles that she is able to win easily, the over-protective mother is creating conditions which she knows full well that she will be able to meet without fear, and she calls this condition goodness.

In other words, she is re-creating experiences that require no courage or virtue to meet. She feels the need, however, to face life and win.

Unfortunately, she only creates a form of injustice that is vented upon the weaker ones. Eventually this process will bring back upon her more trouble than she bargained for; and, in these moments, she will fail again—guilty of disobeying the inward law of love.

All the troubles that we foolishly have created become an unbearable burden of stress that we are powerless to meet. 

Compensating for the guilt and her growing inability to meet life, the smother-mother proceeds to create those artificial dangers, and to champion the cause of artificial danger to the detriment of all.

However, this process becomes the cause of greater troubles, sickness and disease that the mother feels responsible for. Again she moves to offset her responsibility, and her failure to meet life properly; that is—by doing too much.

We see exactly the same condition in people who fly off the handle easily. Usually they vent their anger upon someone weaker than they, thereby attaining a sense of victory.

These people may be seen rescuing their confused and sickly offspring—making them worse, then rescuing them again. 

Men who are looking for trouble recreate the dangers that they know they are fully capable of conquering.

Juvenile delinquents look for trouble, in order to find those sensations that they call kicks. Their substitute victories are always claimed through the ambush of ignorant, frightened victims.

Now can you see the dictator’s power to lead people against an innocent foe? 

The over-protective mother does not realize that she is stifling her children, and that her kindness is a greater cruelty.

She has not found the key of life that would teach her to meet life patiently and with unruffled calm at appropriate moments.

Not possessing this vital link to the inner world of discretion, enabling her to meet the outer experiences, our mother falls short of the mark at each moment. 

If you love the Truth, you must learn to be still, and to know what your conscience dictates.

Our problem is simple. We have failed to find an essential, inward ingredient with which to meet each moment with patience and understanding.

For this failure, we are all guilty indeed—struggling to offset this guilt by excusing the past, by planning a future, by championing a cause, or perhaps escaping life entirely. 

Again, however, we meet life’s experiences with the same lack of discretion, because the excuses have hidden us from that Truth, and our intellectual preparation has sterilized us once more from the spontaneous function of our conscience.

This problem must be overcome in the present. If this is not done, we shall have mounting failures, fears, guilts, and growing compulsions to excuse and to analyze—all of which only disable us from the simplicity of living in the present. 

If you love the Truth, you must learn to be still, and to know what your conscience dictates.

This procedure will heal the broken relationship to your soul, and you will be doing what you should always have done. This is man’s first, and only, righteous act.

From this subjective response to the inner self, there springs forth the patience and proper discretion by which each trial is wisely met, and each temptation overcome with good. 

If you have not loved the Truth, then you will always be seeking to justify your hatred of reality in excuses and knowledgeable concepts, seen by others as cruel hypocrisy.

This way of being right is terribly wrong, because your failure to meet life on time is growing, as well as the justifications that make you seem more right to yourself.

Living is so simple. Learn to live in the present—in the Presence—without excuses and preplanning. This is living by faith.

Do you not see that we must find the well of Truth, which gives us a timely drink for each moment? We must not prepare, we must not rehearse, we must not store up solutions—for then we cut ourselves off from inner discretion.

That stored knowledge becomes the basis for a terrible spiritual pride, which produces untold agonies of mind and body.