CAN I GET AN AMEN?!
Sri Ramakrishna tells a great story about a venomous snake to illustrate my point about forbearance, nonviolence and inner strength.
One day, a poisonous snake that was terrorizing a small village was paid a visit by a holy man. The sage asked the snake to no longer attack or bite the local villagers. He said, "Please leave them alone."
The snake promised to be good and vowed that he would not bite or harm anyone. He became so passive and non-violent that he did nothing at all to defend himself when a group of young cowherds picked him up and started bashing him on the ground nearly killing him.
Later, when the holy man returned and saw the pitiable condition that the snake was in - he scolded the snake! He said, "What a shame. You don't know how to protect yourself. I asked you not to bite, but I did not forbid you to hiss! Why didn't you scare them away by hissing?"
My meditation teacher Easwaran says it like this, "We should alert our minds to be calm, to be compassionate, and if necessary, to face opposition firmly but tenderly." In other words, Don't Bite - But Hiss!
It's important to remember the difference between being kind and being a doormat. If someone is trying to walk all over you - don't lay down to make it easier for them. It does not help them or you to yield to their crappy behavior. Sometimes the most loving thing you can say to someone is "no".
We can learn to "hiss" calmly and with detachment. Inside we can be full of compassion but we must learn to stand firm and say no!
DO NO HARM (BUT TAKE NO SHIT).