The Punji stick is a simple spike made out of wood or bamboo, generally placed upright in the ground and hidden by leaves, brush, or other natural camouflage. They were used in the Vietnam war—among other places—and were placed in paths or other areas where the enemy was likely to walk. The spike was sharpened and sometimes rubbed with toxic plants, frogs or even feces, to cause infections or poisoning in the wounded enemy. They were designed not to kill but to wound people, which would slow or halt an entire unit while the victim was evacuated to a medical facility. In many cases, a single wound was more effective in slowing a military advance than would a death.
A soldier could successfully walk many miles and days, climbing over and through difficult terrain, only to be stopped by a single stake impaling his foot or lower leg. And so it is with our progress in life. We can make significant, even dramatic, progress as we apply the principles of Real Love, only to be completely stopped—or hurled backward—by making certain mistakes.
For that reason, we must be very diligent about avoiding the mistakes that would stop us from progressing. Fortunately, it turns out that learning to avoid mistakes is easier and faster than learning to be loving and happy. We learn to be loving over a lifetime. It takes practice, persistence, and a great deal of trust.
In the process of learning to love, however, there are some perspectives, feelings, and behaviors that can and must be avoided RIGHT NOW—like avoiding Punji sticks. Just one sharpened and poisoned stake can ruin the progress of days, weeks, or more.
Four Laws to Eliminate Unhappiness
I suggest that most Punji sticks can be avoided by remembering only four laws, the Four Laws to Eliminate Unhappiness:
- No fear
- No anger
- No confusion
- No past
This does NOT mean that we SHOULD NOT EVER HAVE fear, anger, confusion, or thoughts of the past, only that these conditions cannot be permitted to continue without our addressing them or even stopping them. They provide information, notifying us that we need to reconsider or discuss what we’re doing or believing. Let’s look at each of these Laws.
1. No fear
Fear destroys any possibility of feeling loved. It cannot be allowed to continue. Because many of us have been afraid so much and for so long, often we don’t recognize our fear. We can see our fear more easily if we recognize our responses to it: anger (the next rule), running, acting like victims, lying, manipulating, some physical sensations, and more.
Once we recognize that we’re afraid, we need to identify the cause of our fear—where possible—and then either find more Real Love or remember the love we already have.
2. No anger
Once you feel angry during any interaction with another person, NOTHING you do or say will come across as loving or helpful. When we’re angry, we have to take steps to eliminate the underlying fear, as discussed above and in many other place in Real Love literature.
3. No confusion
Interactions become impossibly complicated—and therefore incapable of a happy outcome—when we get confused. We can’t see clearly or make good decisions when we’re confused. We become confused by unspoken expectations, misunderstandings, vague references, hints, conflicting information or expectations, and more. When we sense confusion in ourselves or others, we need to stop and eliminate it. Click HERE to learn one approach to eliminating confusion.
4. No past
When we become frightened or angry, rarely are those feelings in response only to the one person or single event in front of us. Instead we are reacting to a lifetime of pain and fear, and for that reason we must make a conscious choice to find all the Real Love possible, in order to heal the wounds of the past. Only then can we choose to leave the past behind and live only in the present.
I am not suggesting that if we keep these Laws, we’ll always be happy, but I am saying that if we don’t keep them, happiness will be impossible, no matter how many other good things we do in our lives.
Keeping these Four Laws will at least allow us to move forward on the path toward genuine happiness, unimpaired by the terrible distractions of stepping on Punji sticks.
Replace your anger & confusion with peace and happiness.
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