Shambhala London in July: The Path of the Warrior

WarriorThis month we have a series of articles exploring the notion of Warriorship.

Of course this being Shambhala the term ‘warrior’ is not identified with war and violence, however it does rely on fearlessness. To quote Chögyam Trungpa, “the first principle of warriorship is not being afraid of who you are.”

It takes bravery to meditate because it’s uncomfortable. In meditation we’re allowing ourselves to feel the restlessness, uneasiness, and shakiness that comes from not hiding behind our usual story lines.

When we cut through our discursive thoughts, we also pierce the sense of identity we’ve carefully built up to protect ourselves from life’s sharp edges and when that falls apart it’s painful.

That’s why the Shambhala teachings are described as the path of the warrior.

A story comes to mind told by our former president, Richard Reoch, who you may know was involved in the peace efforts to end the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers.  He recalled a meeting he had with one of the rebel leaders – a man who had been in the thick of the fighting.  Richard’s aim was to encourage him to come to the negotiating table.

Initially the rebel leader refused because while he had spent his life fighting in the jungles he was a complete stranger to the world of negotation and he feared that the government representatives would have the advantage. So Richard outlined a plan to train his side in negotiation skills.

There was still a resistance. What else, wondered Richard, was holding him back? After a long pause the rebel leader admitted that he felt he could not cope with the emotions that would be aroused by these talks. He became physically agitated as he spoke.

Here was a man who would not have flinched if Richard had held a gun to his head and fired but who was fearful of his own emotions.

That’s an extreme example but in a way we’re all doing that every day – avoiding the unfamiliar and rawness that comes from our own feelings, of just being ourselves and experiencing our own vulnerability. In fact facing our fear of our experience seems to require far more strength and stamina than that guerrilla fighter showed in the midst of battle.

In this month’s newsletter Llew Watkins continues the theme of true communication and describes how warriorship comes alive in relationships. Shastri Peter Conradi writes about his friend and teacher the novelist Sir Angus Wilson who, he argues, is unique among writers because he spoke about the heroism needed in ordinary life. There’s another opportunity to read Debbie Coates article on the Dorje Kasung – whose motto is “Victory over War”. And Shastri Jane Hope recalls meeting the ultimate warrior – Chögyam Trungpa. “His gaze was like a laser beam that cut through all of your masks and left you feeling naked and exposed”.



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