I have been intrigued about how warriors cope with life and death situations of battle and what we can learn from the ‘warriors spirit.’
Warriors are experts at accessing calm inner states of self-assuredness, deliberate purpose and centredness. We can learn a lot from modelling their way of being to access your true authentic self.
A warrior soon learns to face an adversary, they have to be calm on the inside and access a relaxed state of mind. At first glance this might sound counter-intuitive, however any martial arts teacher will tell you that this is true. To fight well, you have to empty yourself first of your fears and to use fear as a driving force, not an inhibitor. This is impossible if your body is not relaxed. So these go hand in hand with one another.
Whilst the art of relaxing in this way under threat may take warriors time to practice, the most important thing is the warrior’s mindset. Through their ability to centre themselves means, warriors understand all about the challenges of accessing true authenticity. Over time adept warriors understand themselves from higher ways of being. What I mean by this is that their identity and values and beliefs are clear, as is their sense of purpose. Purpose is based on defending a higher principle than themselves, or their own glory. For example: the protection of others, or a way of life that is greater than the warrior. The warrior implicitly understands this. Their mindset is based on the following understandings that we can apply in our everyday lives too:
Firstly, that risk is something that you accept and no longer question. Life and death are all part of experience and so they have learned that risk is part of life. The unknown is faced every day. Every day is a new day with new possibilities and options and choices. They discipline themselves to face their fears. The thing that a warrior fears the most might be fear itself and things being overfamiliar. Their greatest teacher is all the near misses and failures that they have experienced and can learn from. From terrible and tragic situations, they pick themselves up, dust themselves off and apply their learnings and move forward. This takes courage.
Secondly that facing an adversary in battle is to them, simply a test of skill. And this is not just about regular practice of their method of fighting and their skilled use of weaponry, but also has the purpose to test out and sharpen their spirit and their state of mind in extreme situations. Again this could result in living or by dying. However this is the whole purpose of the experience. As is being able to calculate the risks, and test out their chosen responses as situations unfold. This takes bravery.
Thirdly and ultimately, the warrior becomes able to acknowledge that all of life and death is above all play and sport – a game to be lost or won. Living is a privilege as is being prepared to die for a purpose that is beyond themselves, and for the greater good. This is something that earns great respect.
So what can we learn from the warriors spirit? Perhaps adapting this mindset and acting in these ways in our own everyday situations, not just in a battle, but in day to day conflicts, challenges and situations that arise in your own individual battles and in your own circumstances and struggles with life. This develops courage and bravery to face life and what it throws at you. By disciplining your mind to adopt these warrior-based attitudes, you may discover that you are more than you think and that you are and able to overcome your fears, like the warrior you too can face and overcome your own enemies within and win the battles in your life too. There isn’t a man, woman, or child on this entire planet that doesn’t have their own individual dragons and demons to slay, just like you and me..
In this way warriors avoid the trappings of being controlled and conditioned by less resourceful ways. A true warrior is connected to their unique authenticity. This is the warrior’s spirit. By using the warrior’s way as a model you too can connect to life in similar ways. So we can all learn a lot about the warrior’s way. You too can choose to live your life in similar ways: even though you may not have to ever literally face a battle situation, you can still adopt the same principles, and face our own difficult situations, failures and defeats and reality in ways akin to the warrior’s bravery and courageous spirit. It is the warrior spirit that is useful to model.
Other people may win a fight, or a conflict or come off better than you in a particular situation, but the warrior would know that person, or that situation will never be able to win or capture their spirit. Whatever happens their warrior’s spirit will always remain true and will never yield or be overcome.
You can deliberately intend such ways to become part of you as well. I wonder what might happen if you simply adopt this idea for yourself and intend it consciously to be. One simple way of doing this is to purposefully adapt your language and thoughts or even better by using meditation as the vehicle to presuppose it into being. Over a short while your neurology swiftly adapts.
You see when you reconnect to the real you, you will discover that you are more than you think!
This is an extract from my book that is due to be published March 2014. It is about challenging the conditioning of our acquired self and learning to return to our authentic self.