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The Second Rule of Ten

by Gay Hendricks & Tinker Lindsay

The following is an excerpt from The Second Rule of Ten, by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay, published by Hay House, available January 1, 2013 in bookstores or at www.hayhouse.com .

Topanga Canyon, Calif.

Aug. 2, Year of the Iron Rabbit

Lama Yeshe and Lama Lobsang

Dorje Yidam Monastery

Dharamshala, India

Venerable Brothers,

I find myself reaching out to you because my heart lies heavy in my chest this evening. A few weeks ago a pair of cops in a city just south of here answered a call about a vagrant breaking into parked cars. They arrived on the scene and found the culprit at a bus depot nearby. He resisted arrest. They threw him to the ground, shocking him multiple times with their stun guns. Backup cops arrived, mob instinct took over, and soon six cops had Tasered and clubbed him into a coma as he cried out for his father . . .

. . . who was at home, mere miles away, oblivious to the unfolding catastrophe.

. . . who was, it turns out, a retired member of the police force.

Three days later, this heartbroken retired cop took his son off life support, finishing what his brethren had started. And today’s paper tells me the perpetrators are themselves under investigation by the FBI.

Multiple tragedies built on false assumptions. A homeless young man with a mental disorder, beaten to death by my other brothers, the ones in blue who carry badges. And all because they couldn’t see what was actually in front of them—a suffering human being gripped by paranoia, in need of medical attention. They saw the ground-in grime and ragged filth of the chronic vagrant, and assumed “homeless” meant abandoned and disposable, like trash. Maybe even dangerous. Their preconceived prejudices stripped the victim of all humanity.

His confused brain must have told him these officers were monsters. They obliged by responding monstrously.

Here’s the thing. As I sit here on my deck, watching the sky darken, I understand. I understand how those officers got caught up in the moment. How the flood of adrenaline swept aside reason and fellow-feeling. How the twitch of an outstretched limb could seem as threatening as a cocked trigger. I want to believe that I am incapable of that kind of delusion, but I know better. As do you, my dear Yeshe and Lobsang, who know the deceptive capabilities, the hidden mines of the mind better than most.

Lately I’ve been seeing more clearly how I use my false beliefs to deceive myself. I’ll notice self-critical thoughts running through my mind, labeling me as incapable of discipline, when suddenly I’ll realize that it was my father who’d always labeled me lazy. Or I’ll look at a beautiful woman and assume she is needy, then suddenly recognize it’s my mother’s neediness I’m seeing. It happens in my work, too. I found a missing sixteen-year-old I was searching for—found her pushed against a wall by a man twice her age, and assumed she was being raped. Nothing could have been further from the truth, but my unconscious assumptions kept me from seeing reality as it was.

So, I’m making a new rule for myself—a reminder, really, of a truth I tend to forget: From now on, I’m going to be on the lookout for unconscious beliefs, the kind I hold so closely, I mistake them for reality. As familiar as they are, as safe as they make me feel, too often these convictions serve as blinders. They prevent me from understanding what is actually happening in my life. I’m taking a new vow, to challenge my old, limited models of thinking. To be willing to release them. Their job may be to protect, but more often than not they mislead, and in some cases, even endanger. In the split second it takes you to figure out the difference between your perception of reality and reality itself, a lot of bad things can happen. In my chosen line of work, that split second can mean the difference between living and dying.

The lost-and-found teenager, Harper Rudolph, was my latest such lesson in humility. I’m not complaining. The job paid well enough to see me through several lunar months. I can now report that I am more than holding my own as a private investigator. I’m grateful for that. And I guess you could say I closed the case successfully, though Harper didn’t see it that way. She may have been missing in her father Marv’s eyes, but the last thing she wanted was to be found.

After maybe three minutes of face time with Marv Rudolph, I felt like heading for the hills myself.

But that’s another story for another day. The air grows cool and moist against my skin. An eyelash of moon has just materialized, low on the horizon. Can you see it as well? I like to think so.

I miss you, my friends, even as I hold you close in my heart. Not a limiting assumption. Reality.


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