Last Sunday we had the so-called Internal Day. It is the 8th session of the 100 Day Warrior, exactly at the 50th day. We are halfway and we mark that moment with a day of intensive training. The idea is that the participants now understand the basics of meditation and have a steady practice. Also they should have mastered their diets and have progressed in their workouts. The next 50 days are for deepening the practice.
When we created the idea for a program that would offer physical and spiritual transformation simultaneously we needed a name. I wasn’t too thrilled with 100 Day Warrior. But we never came up with a better name and I have learned that it is better to have good project with a mediocre name than no project at all because you can’t decide what to call it.
Back then I thought 100 Day Warrior sounded way too cheesy. It sounded like a tv show or some product that promises unrealistic results. What I feared most was inflation of the meaning of the term ‘warrior’. For me it is a precious and important concept, and I don’t like to use it lightly. I never refer to myself as a warrior and although I understand that participants like to appropriate the term since they signed up for the course I do my best to transmit the depth of the word and to bring it alive for them. You can’t be a warrior without having done the work. The counterpart of the warrior is the coward. The coward symbolizes the selfish, fear driven ego state that controls 98% of us for – now I am guessing – 98% of the time. And to be honest: I think that these estimates are on the optimistic side.
Let me make a list of what it means or takes to be a warrior and the consequences of not living up to those things.
1. If you want to be a warrior you must own your inner coward.
If you don’t know how big of a coward you are you have some work to do. Seeing it is the first step, second step is your coming-out as a coward. It is painful and shameful to realize how fear driven and inauthentic we are. Don’t know what I am talking about? I’m sorry to break it to you but then you are merely a coward in denial and you are not a warrior. You don’t have a clue.
2. If you want to be a warrior your training comes first
Transcending cowardice (or selfishness) is both a daily and a life-long path. If you don’t give your spiritual training absolute priority your coward will have (a lot) of power over you. Who do you think is the one that whispers in your ear that you don’t need to meditate or that it’s too difficult or boring? Meet your coward. Are you skipping your meditation regularly or not practicing at all? Don’t call yourself a warrior, you are not facing yourself but using a title to create a false sense of self-worth.
3. If you want to be a warrior your word is golden. Always.
A warrior speaks from his heart and therefore naturally lives up to his word. His word and his actions are aligned; there is no gap. A coward likes to paint a favorable self-image and will say anything that sounds right in the moment. Changing your mind a lot? Making excuses? Trying to avoid commitment or getting away from previous promises regularly? That means you are running away from your true nature. The coward owns you.
4. If you want to be a warrior you don’t put yourself first
Self-preservation at all costs is the domain of the coward. A warrior knows that it is not about him. As a warrior you don’t feel separated so you don’t act as if you feel separated. Only a separated self gives his self-preservation priority. Are most of your actions aimed at creating something beneficial for yourself? Say hi to your coward.
5. If you want to be a warrior you develop fearlessness
A warrior is intimately acquainted with his fears. He knows them as well a mother knows the names of her children. But his actions are not informed by fear but by love. He is not without fear but free from them. In denial of fear? Avoiding fear? Spend a lot of time looking for comfort and chasing desire? You are living the cowardly life.
6. If you want to be a warrior you don’t hide behind your masks and patterns. You reveal them.
A coward likes to hide behind masks. Successful masks, pretty masks and cool masks are his favorites. Smart masks and charming are also convenient. A warrior reveals them for his own sanity, not to impress others. He simply wants his vision to be clear. Are you aware of your masks? Are you committed to unconditional discarding masks, tossing them one after the other? If that is not a wholehearted YES that is coming out of your mouth right now you are looking through the lens of a coward.
7. If you want to be a warrior you don’t hesitate when you are asked to help
A warrior helps because he can. Not because he wants to or if he feels like it. A coward has an agenda and keeps track of his ‘good deeds’ because he expects them back sooner or later. A warrior likes to give, a coward likes to benefit. When was the last time somebody reached out to you for help? Was there the slightest bit of reluctancy? Felt the slightest bit of rejection towards either the person or his request? Then your coward played you, even if you complied eventually.
8. If you want to be a warrior you are generous
A warrior gives everything because he has no fear of depleting himself nor does he need energy to uphold anything. Everything he has to offer is available. He shares his resources, albeit financial, emotional, intellectual or physical. Ever caught yourself trying to give less than you really have and justifying that behavior, even manipulating the truth to make your actions look sincere? You know it: it’s your selfish coward once again.
If this list makes you feel like ‘man, it is almost impossible to be a warrior all the time’ well then you are right. But it is an ideal worthy of practicing every day. It is ok to be a coward. That is a lot better than calling yourself a warrior when you’re not even close. Owning your coward is already pretty courageous so it is a step in the right direction. Next step is consciously working towards transformation. It is a long process and a difficult journey but very worthwhile.
PS Every ‘true warrior’ post comes with a pic of Nelson Mandela. In my eyes the most inspiring person that lived during my life time.