Friday, July 5, 2013

administrators and commanders

In one of his series of books entitled "The Brotherhood of War," author W.E.B. Griffin depicts a scene in which a general gets white-hot angry after a colonel tells him that what the general wants to do is "against regulations."

The general tells the colonel with an icy fury that he cannot quite understand how the colonel should have risen to his rank without learning the fact that "regulations are for the guidance of the commanding officer" ... which is a far cry from simply administering a command. "Colonel," the general hisses approximately, "I command this unit!"

How many institutions are not top-heavy with executives who can administer the rules and yet haven't the courage to command ... however much they might want to sit in the executive suite? And how many of the rest of us follow the rules and regulations (even as we bemoan them) because to do otherwise would be beyond the pale of the current unit's mission? Contravening regulations might be bad or naughty (think spiritual life), but most of all, it would be unsafe and risky.

Administrators and commanders.

Spiritual regulations are for the guidance of the commander, no matter how many administrators may buck and shuffle. Regulations are not without their uses, but simply toe-ing the mark, simply inching up the administrative ladder, eviscerates the whole purpose and direction of the exercise.

So maybe, when engaged in spiritual endeavors, it's a good idea to look in the bathroom mirror and, whatever the doubts, let the words appear ... as assured as the breath on which they rest: "I command this unit!"

Or, as the Zen teacher Rinzai once put it to his monks, "Your whole problem is that you do not trust yourselves enough."

No comments:

Post a Comment