Yesterday was instructive. I met with two friends from the neighborhood, one since childhood and the other since adolescence. We were the troublemakers of the neighborhood but we’ve matured in different ways. Let us put it in a factual way: one has been in jail and the other should be in jail. The one who has been in jail is reformed of sorts, the other is not. My passport switcha-roo and visa overstays are children play to these gentlemen.

We met up for a game of Risk (the board game) and we complemented it with a walk around the neighborhood and a couple of swings on the rope I tied in the land behind my home. Though they surely wouldn’t describe it a such, it was a very romantic evening in remembrance of the past.

They are great guys. I’m glad to have met them in life. And yet, I cannot help but notice they are bad company. Meeting at our neighborhood constrains us to less harmful activities such as drinking, smoking and playing Risk, but it would be very unwise to extend our friendship towards other realms of life.

They are both incredibly good at Risk. I am not, so they would be very manipulative towards my role on the board. This is part of any strategy game, of course, a reasoning that makes sense, but you’re not seeing the bigger picture, and often following their advice leads to great loss to yourself and to the enemy of your enemy.

If you are not paying attention, they inflate the number of troops entering the board and such. It was so blatant that I even dared to do it myself (without getting caught, their mistake was believing my naiveness!). The untrustworthiness of all the players elevates the attention put on the game.

We had a great time and decided to repeat today. I put an asterisk on my participation: I didn’t know if it was a good idea to meet them two days in a row, though I said something may come up [observe truthfulness]. Then today, before writing this work log, I didn’t know if I wanted to attend.

But writing this work log I understand it as a great opportunity to learn about the shadow: understand when deceit happens, understand when manipulation happens, because their voices are the same voices that struggle to manipulate you in your head.

Oh, it will be fine if you smoke two days in a row, I promise. This is for spiritual work says one of the manipulative voices. You are not really interested in deceit or manipulation, you just want to smoke again but you don’t acknowledge it says another voice.

Hmmm… if it is made for spiritual reasons then I would need to report on my observations of the shadow. The voices inside of me just made a deal: I will only smoke today, for ritualistic reasons, and I must deepen in my observations about the shadow.

Tomorrow I will report.