“So what does it mean to be a spiritual warrior? It is far from being a soldier, but more the sincerity with which a soul faces itself daily. It is this courage to be authentic that keeps us strong enough to withstand the heartbreak through which enlightenment can occur.”
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening, p.56)
One of the hardest hurdles in the world to jump is being honest with ourselves about our own motives. We can quasi self-immolate, if we're given to that, on a daily basis, and still not be real about it. We can say, oh, I'm such a terrible person, I'm a lousy friend, an awful parent/child, I should do this, I should do that, but if our motive in saying these things is to manipulate others, and get ourselves off the hook, we've missed the spiritual warrior boat.
Digging down to the nitty-gritty, we may find that underneath all our excuses is simple self-absorption, self-interest. Now, that is pay dirt! If I am honest about it, there are things that interest me more than being an attentive friend, an adoring parent/child, a sacrificing citizen. Even if I don't like that particular image reflecting in my inner mirror, knowing the truth of it helps me add another chunk of reality to the Me I am constructing. As we add awareness, our wholeness begins to materialize. It is both good and bad, both dark and light. It is substantial enough to cast a shadow, and colorful enough to be a presence in the world.
Does that mean I can get away with being a jerk—since I'm now an enlightened jerk? No. What it does mean is that when I'm doing it, I know exactly what I'm doing and why. I don't blame others, or fate, or the difficulties that life itself has perpetrated upon me. That consciousness is its own governor. It sits in the background and monitors and guides, so that our behavior changes out of self-knowledge and strength, and not out of weakness.
Human beings are endlessly complex. We have all manner of tricks up our sleeves and smoke and mirrors to play with when it comes to getting what we want, and to that end, we're perfectly capable of deluding ourselves. We're smart mammals, and even not-so-smart mammals are wily, cagey critters. If you doubt that, just watch your pets playing tricks on one another. Just knowing what our particular schemes are, and choosing consciously not to play them, puts us squarely into the arena of the spiritual warrior. Our armor is honesty.
In the Spirit,