There are many moments where I wished that this endeavor of waking up warriors wasn’t so hard and laden with failure and disappointment. The upside is that very attractive vision of a tribe of highly empowered openhearted people that join forces to do good together. It just feels so shiny and fuzzy and heartwarming! The downside is the strength of the ego in a selfish world. Not a day goes by that I am not confronted with its manipulations, inside me and around me. The simplest example is that I can show and explain people time after time the value of meditation and every time they agree fully and decide to dutifully practice at home. And then they don’t. It can come to a point where I want to give up. Not just that particular person but the whole damn mission. Fortunately, the moment where I realize that I can come back to the breath and start anew always comes.
As long as we do not have consciously conquered our ego, it is the ego that takes the decisions in our life. That means that the selfish way is the perfectly normal, accepted and expected way to function. Even if we have a heartfelt intention to go beyond our ego it is very difficult to do so 100% of the time.
Pema Chödron gave this example out of her own life:
You may have noticed, however, that there is frequently an irritating, if not depressing, discrepancy between our ideas and good intentions and how we act when we are confronted with the nitty-gritty details of real life situations.
One afternoon I was riding a bus in San Francisco, reading a very touching article on human suffering and helping others. The idea of being generous and extending myself to those in need became so poignant that I started to cry. People were looking at me as the tears ran down my cheeks. I felt a great tenderness toward everyone, and a commitment to benefit others arose in me. As soon as I got home, feeling pretty exhausted after working all day, the phone rang, and it was someone asking if I could please help her out by taking her position as a meditation leader that night. I said, “No, sorry, I need to rest,” and hung up.
Beautiful example, in many ways. Pema Chödron is perhaps one of the most appreciated spiritual teachers in the world today. She is a very evolved human being. She is trained for many years by her teacher Chögyam Trungpa, the famous Tibetan master who brought us the Shambala Warrior teachings. So it is save to say that Pema Chödron is one of the most evolved warriors on the planet. And even this lady can disregard an appeal to her warrior persona, only minutes after having a profound experience of wanting to help others, mind you!
The good news is: at least we find ourselves in good company.
Take a moment to reflect on how this works in your life. Also realize that unlike Pema most of us don’t even notice. You might be inspired to participate in some kind of warrior training that is about openness, generosity and service and then the phone rings and you find yourself negotiating a deal with the goal to make as much money as possible from it. It is possible that you hang up the phone without even noticing the internal conflict.
Waking up is the most important thing we can do with our lives. It is a full commitment. If you have a spiritual practice; notice when you conveniently skip your responsibility as soon as ‘something more important’ comes up. If you have no real commitment yet towards waking up watch the differences between your intentions and day-to-day behavior. And ask yourself why you are avoiding living your true potential.
This is episode 63 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.