Yesterday I spoke a bit about presence and keeping it real. Today I would like to say some things about the unconditional aspect of warriorship, or human dignity.
It is no secret that I am pretty serious about this whole warrior thing. I feel it is terribly important that we awaken this brave aspect inside ourselves since our inner cowards dominate our lives, our relationships, our culture and our society. Being a coward translates into being selfish, inauthentic and primarily fear-driven. As the cowards that we are we fear judgment, failure, vulnerability, disease, pain, poverty, rejection and exclusion, to name a few.
The problem is that being a coward means that we have to violate ourselves. We must force ourself to look the other way when something happens that can jeopardize our worldview and self-image. I’ll give you an example: if a woman is attacked on the street many people pretend not to see anything hoping that they won’t be affected by the situation if they only look the other way. They might even recommend this tactic as a very sensible way to deal with difficult and confrontational situations. People rather avoid the idea of being a coward, they prefer calling themselves wise or rational. But of course this type of ‘wisdom’ is just a form of lying. In essence we betray ourselves if we do this, and we experience betrayal as violent to the soul. Same goes with greed; everybody knows that uncomfortable, shameful hunger for more. Deep inside we would wish we wouldn’t be greedy but alas..
Denying, hiding and fleeing from everything that frightens us doesn’t make life pain-free. Denying and hiding our weaknesses, insecurity, sadness and doubts from others and ourselves don’t make us perfect; they make us internally conflicted. But you can choose to be brave and with the practice of bravery comes space, forgiveness and presence. It is a different fight; instead of fighting to keep reality outside you fight to unlock yourself and open up to what is. Instead of running away from struggle you want to embrace the struggle and find out what lies beyond.
“What is Zen?” asks the student. “Face your fears,” responds the teacher.
For those who choose to be brave it becomes an unconditional thing. You cannot turn it off. I have a friend who fought in Afghanistan and he told me that when you are in a firefight you can’t decide to stop because it is less fun than you imagined. You can’t even stop and go home when your friend is shot in the head while lying next to you. You have no other choice than deal with the situation. This is an extreme and very plastical example of a warrior attitude. In a metaphorical sense being a warrior just means you don’t shy away from struggle, pain, sadness. You deal with the situation unconditionally: you allow your heart to be penetrated by whatever comes up and you don’t discern between ‘yours’ and ‘others’ as you don’t try to separate yourself from yourself and therefore not separate yourself from the other.
The essence of warriorship, or the essence of human bravery, is refusing to give up on anyone or anything.
Shambala – The Sacred Path Of The Warrior by Chögyam Trungpa
The practice of warriorship is not a part-time hobby, it is a path. The whole point of the 100 Day Warrior is to create a circle of people who have found common ground in their desire to practice human bravery. Warriors support each other unconditionally; there is no judgment and no desire to offer the other anything less then our humanity and authenticity. Therefore the circle will be and must be a safe haven under any circumstance.
There will come a time when the Universe will test us. But when push comes to shove we will not run away. We will be shoulder to shoulder, with hearts open and back straight. This way we will find out that we have understood something.
This is episode 26 in a series of 100 blog posts that will be published daily during the 100 Day Warrior, a unique program around physical strength, inner wisdom and meaning. All posts are written by Atalwin Pilon, founder of Basic Goodness and creator of the 100 Day Warrior. For requests for motivational speaking, in-company workshops, online coaching and mindfulness training click here. If you would like to join our international community of brave and inspiring human beings or just follow this blog and receive updates, please click here or sign up on the right side of the page. Atalwin specializes in coaching smart and creative people, both groups and individuals. If you are interested in a free coaching session click here.