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From Knight to Ninja: De-weaponizing One’s Intellect

Updated: Jan 14

Kerry Jehanne-Guadalupe

Inner Flame

I started this year with an interesting encounter; I interacted with a couple who seemed to have confused generosity with having permission to overstep boundaries.

This was the perfect way for me to start 2024.

Two individuals with whom I have had minimum interactions throughout the years (they have been friends with my husband yet have not been in contact with him for quite some time) opened the side gate of our home after no one answered the front door, walked through the yard, pounded on my office door where I was meeting with someone, and proceeded to open the door without an invite. In the three steps I took to get from my seat to the door, my inner flame activated, and my energetic field became fierce and unwavering. Without my mind initially knowing who was on the other side of the door, my inner flame knew the energy of their behavior was intrusive, invasive, and disrespectful.

It took my mind some time to catch up to what my inner flame was instinctively sensing. A simple knock, even a loud one, would not have activated my inner flame if someone innocently lost or in need was on the other side of the door. There was part of me that discerned the intrusive energy of their behavior before my mind even knew what was really happening. My inner flame was there for me. I did not yell. I did not attack while I was unwaveringly firm in my stance.

Instead of taking responsibility for the intrusion — intended or unintended invasion of space, one of the individuals began justifying their actions. There was no recognition of any wrongdoing. In the past, I would not have communicated how disrespectful I perceived their behaviors to be and, therefore, would have entered an internal emotional battle by remaining silent.

Feeling my inner flame, it became evident that silence was not an option. Though I have gotten better over the years, this incident provided another opportunity to communicate my truth: while I feel to be a caring person who values giving and welcoming others to our home, my warmth does not permit people to overstep my boundaries.

Upon their departure, I instinctively sensed that this event was far from over. Within a few days, I received what I considered to be an attacking, venomous email full of shaming, blaming, gaslighting, and scapegoating. The email expressed no wrongdoing on their behalf yet revealed a notion that I have no right to be aggravated by the crossed boundaries. To simplify the magnitude of their accusations, I was accused of “contributing to all that is wrong in the world.” I understand entirely how emotional turmoil can blind us to normalizing an attack on another person as the mind can become a weapon when fueled with deep-rooted, undealt with pain.

Yet, my inner flame was still activated. My flame burned through their words as I read their email. In the past, I would let such poisonous words enter my heart as I did not know how to hold strong boundaries to toxicity. My inner flame was burning through their gaslighting, vaporizing it before it could enter my heart and mind. As a dear friend says, “If people are going to play with gas, they need to be aware that fire burns!!”

My flame roared in me: I will remain committed to the power of prayer for promoting the restoration of pain, yet, I won’t be someone’s scapegoat. I won’t be someone’s punching bag for their undealt with trauma as doing so would only create more unnecessary pain.

I believe that we, as humans, can sometimes attract a pattern from the past to break free of it in the moment. Just two months ago, in another article, I wrote about how, as a child, “I believed I was the cause, I was the problem, and that something in me provoked darkness in others.” In this incident, not one ounce of me bought into the scapegoating and blaming. Though I can recognize and have compassion for the pain behind their email, I know, without a doubt, that I am not the cause of their trauma.

The blessings of this event are many: I held a boundary to their accusations; I realized I have no wiggle room in my life for being gaslit and scapegoated; I trust my inner flame, my intuition, and my knowing even more.

Though we, as humans, are not perfect, we are not always the cause of other people’s pain. Holding a boundary may sometimes unleash the unhealed pain that other people may be carrying. While one may be compassionate, it is not one’s responsibility to become the source for healing those old wounds that were triggered.

Weaponizing One’s Intellect

In the past, a common tendency of mine was to weaponize part of my intellect to navigate through experiences such as the one previously shared.

I think we, as humans, can weaponize our intellect for both negative and positive reasons. On the negative side, one may use intellectual resources for harmful purposes, such as manipulation, coercion, or aggression. One can engage in information warfare, where one has weaponized their intellect to manipulate information to influence opinion, control narratives, use strategic communication to advance their harmful agenda, and spread disinformation to destabilize people.

Accusative–attacking–shaming emails are one example of intellectual weaponry.

On the positive side, one can use intellectual capabilities, knowledge, or information for problem-solving. They can use their intellect as a weapon for the specific purpose of countering other people’s negative use of intellectual resources, naming manipulation, debunking myths, and exposing disinformation.

I see this tendency reflected in some of my writing. I used my intellectual capacity to call out how people use spiritual aphorisms in a harmful way, as well as narcissistic behavior. After hearing people say they believe there are no good men, I wrote an article detailing how detrimental that notion is, especially to young boys. When I experienced a man disguising himself as a shaman but was really a sexual predator, I wrote a whole book. My writing was a bit of a sword match against aspects of our culture that I consider harmful.

I don’t mind carrying a symbolic sword, as there is nothing wrong with strategic thinking, conducting analysis, or countering misinformation, gaslighting, and scapegoating. I am okay with using my intellect as a weapon to raise awareness and promote healthy resolutions when needed. Nonetheless, it is still a symbolic weapon, and it is important for me to wield it only when necessary.

In this incident, I did not need to weaponize my intellect to cut through the disturbing email I received and send a response. My intellectual symbolic sword remained in its sheath until I decided to write this article as a way to alchemize this experience.

Knights and Ninjas

This experience shows me that I would much rather be more ninja-like than knight-like regarding protection. Metaphorically and symbolically, I think of knights as heavily armored warriors clad in suits of plate armor. Their weaponry of swords, lances, and maces is present. To me, they appear weighed down by their protection.

Ninjas, in contrast, don lightweight and flexible attire designed for agility. Without the heavy armor, they can move with dexterity and liveliness. They remain nimble and sprightly and spring into action only when necessary. Their protection is connected to their intuition and ability to sense environments. They survive through their knowing versus always being on guard. They are alert, not hypervigilant. They are responsive when necessary and quickly return to a relaxed state.

I always want to remember to be more ninja-like with a symbolic sword. I don’t have to carry an unsheathed sword, wondering if someone else will trespass or if my office is a safe place for people to feel secure in being vulnerable. I don’t have to stand guard with hypervigilance. It is safe for me to put my sword back into its sheath because my inner knowing will tell me the exact time, if any, I need to wield it. Since I trust, more and more, my heart, intuition, and inner flame to be there for me, it has become easier for me to return to being soft and calm in my beingness more readily than in the past.

Worst-case Scenarios

In the past, situations like the one shared would have led me to think of worst-case scenarios. It is not the troubling email that would lead to this kind of thinking. It is the wondering that if someone is capable of writing such an email, what else are they capable of?

The tendency to think of worst-case scenarios can be rooted in evolutionary and psychological factors and can even be part of weaponizing one’s intellect. Throughout human evolution, individuals who were more attuned to potential threats were more likely to survive and pass on their genes. Being vigilant and considering worst-case scenarios could have significantly helped early humans avoid potential environmental dangers. Psychologically, considering worst-case scenarios can serve as a coping mechanism. By mentally preparing for the worst, individuals may feel more in control or better equipped to handle challenges if they arise.

I imagine that as we continue to evolve as humans and are able to be more heart-centered, the evolutionary trait of thinking of worst-case scenarios will dissipate more and more.

While the tendency to think of worst-case scenarios can be adaptive in certain situations and part of a survival instinct, I am finding that calming the mind and nervous system by resting in the intelligence of the heart is where true safety lies in me. The more I rest in my heart and trust my knowing, intuition, and inner flame, the less of a tendency to overthink and weaponize my intellect.

It is safe to de-weaponize my intellect. It is safe to rest in my heart, to be soft in my being, and from the place of softness, to have tons of compassion for the pain they carry.

More ninja, less knight.


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