Unlike the other portions of these writings, I will not list 8 aspects of this one to keep in mind while you do your warrior’s thing. Because this one is directly number 8, I will leave the fine points here to your imagination.
Mercy maps to marsh, which is in a way a compromise between water and earth, and a making of common cause between two ancient, stolid and deep-running forces that might otherwise obliterate each other.
Mercy, above perhaps all of your other duties as a warrior, is vital.
Often we warriors are called upon to make an accounting of our activities in pursuit of our goals and principles, and you will find, if you haven’t yet been tasked with this, that having been merciful while pursuing your duties will do a great deal to save you from deeply regretting the costs associated with your progress toward your overall goals.
Many warriors do not spare a thought for the future. We are so absolutely focused on our goals that we cannot help but imagine a world where we are so successful that no one will ask us for an accounting of the souls we deeply troubled on our journey. In truth, as you progress through life and make real coalitions with strong and committed allies, you’ll find that the necessary compromises will likely put you in a place where you are responsible for an accounting.
Though we are activists and our victims rarely die as a direct result of our actions, it is still quite possible that in pursuit of our goals we can be so focused, so forceful, so hostile, so skilled in battle that we can completely and utterly alienate our foes.
As I’ve remarked before, that result is not an accomplishment to be proud of. It is a death of a kind. It is a loss. It is a death of the hope that we could have possibly found an ally in that foe, an ally in that person we instead completely and irrevocably offended.
Do not focus solely on your killing blow, your hurtful words, your hurtful actions. Do not focus solely on effectiveness. Do not let your anger, your hurt, your fear rule you. Keep in mind that there is always a possible way through even the worst situations that not only station-keeps your own cause at the very least (and possibly furthers it), but also helps you continue building strong potential allies and preserves the sanctity of your peaceful, strong, honest, joyful, wise, honorable, just and consistent principles.
You will find that a focus on mercy above all will keep you on the just and right path and allow you to keep fighting for your cause without overdoing it and losing the allies you will most dearly miss in the worst times you weather.
Remember that your cleverest, slipperiest, most difficult opponents, if you can impress on them the worthiness of your character, may end up being your staunchest and fiercest allies. These are folks you cannot afford to lose just because you lose your patience, just because you cave to the temptation of fighting and bashing away at everything with the anger you keep burning.
Instead, keep your sense of mercy close at hand and use all of your other strength and skill to build strong communities, strong coalitions of folks who are individuals with their own opinions and agendas, but who have discovered – through opportunities revealed by your strength, your compassion – that they can find common cause with you and further everyone’s interests.
Together we are stronger. You know that. Now go out and make it happen.