“Face a single foe as if you are facing 10,000 enemies, face 10,000 enemies as a single foe!”
“Never underestimate your opponent. Never overestimate your opponent.”
In martial arts we bow before our encounter and after. The first to show respect to our opponent and the last to thank them. Winning and losing are mere shadows, compared to the shining light of giving your best in every encounter. We bow to our opponent because without an opponent we could not rise to our highest level.
What would faith be without the challenge of doubt? Or courage unless challenged by fear. Love only claims its victory after it has met hate in the arena and emerged unscathed and stronger through the encounter. Each virtue has its opponent. Peace has conflict, truth has lies, hope has despair, joy has suffering, freedom has oppression, and justice has injustice. Seen in this light every opponent is an ally in the awakening and strengthening of your inner being.
So do not take your outer opponents too seriously. They are just messengers sent to bring you back home to who you truly are. Your encounter with them is an opportunity to awaken to an inner potential that would remain stagnant if not called into action by the challenge of a dualistic universe. Be thankful for challenges and challengers for this is the threshing floor of life.
In truth they are only reflections of your greatest opponent, which is yourself. Once you know who you are and become as one, all opposition is absorbed in the power that uses duality as the passageway of self-discovery. You won’t even have inner conflict, for it takes two to be in conflict. You are now the one in direct alignment with the sun and no shadow is perceived. There is no place for your opponents blow to enter!
“This above all: to thine own self be true And it must follow, as the night the day Thou canst not then be false to anyone.”
-Polonius from Shakespeare’s Hamlet