There are so many powerful, destructive forces at work today. We don’t know the exact timing and sequence of events. But we know they are coming, some already here. Life as we know it is being thrown into chaos. Existential environmental changes, and breakdown of our social, political and economic systems.
Warriors today are forging different ways to live together, or returning to Indigenous ways to live in community. Mutual Aid is an alternative to our broken systems. Warriors are working for the abolition of police and prisons. To escape the colonial capitalist system. Feeding the hungry and finding shelter for the houseless. Collecting clothing.
When I read the following, I think of my Des Moines Mutual Aid friends, who I will be joining shortly this morning as we work on our food distribution project.
There comes a time when all life on Earth is in danger. Great barbarian powers have arisen.
Although these powers spend their wealth in preparations to annihilate one another, they have much in common: weapons of unfathomable destructive power, and technologies that lay waste our world. In this era, when the future of sentient life hangs by the frailest of threads, the Shambhala warriors appear.
The warriors have no home. They move on the terrain of the barbarian powers. Great courage is required, both moral and physical, for they must go into the heart of the barbarian powers to dismantle their weapons, into the places where the weapons are created, into the corridors of power where decisions are made.
The Shambhala warriors are armed only with the weapons of compassion and insight. Both are necessary. Compassion gives them the energy to move forward, not to be afraid of the pain of the world. Fueled by compassion, warriors engage with the world, step forward and act. But by itself compassion burns with too much passion and exhausts us, so the second weapon is needed — insight into the interdependence of all phenomena.
With that wisdom we see that the battle is not between “good guys” and “bad guys,” because the line between good and evil runs through every human heart. And with insight into our profound interrelatedness, we discern right action, knowing that actions undertaken with pure intent have repercussions throughout the web of life, beyond what can be measure or discerned.
Together these two weapons sustain the warriors: the recognition and experience of our pain for the world and the recognition and experience of our radical interconnectedness with all life.
-Adapted from Dugu Choegyal, as recounted by Joanna Macy
For us, warriors are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior is not someone who fights, because no one has the right to take another’s life. The warrior, for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who cannot provide for themselves and above all, the children, the future of humanity.Sitting Bull
The Spiritual Warrior is a person who challenges the dreams of fear, lies, false beliefs, and judgments that create suffering and unhappiness in his or her life. It is a war that takes place in the heart and mind of a man or woman. The quest of the Spiritual Warrior is the same as spiritual seekers around the world. www.toltecspirit.com/four-agreements/characteristics-of-a-spiritual-warrior/.
Each Warrior of the Light contains within him the spark of God. His destiny is to be with other Warriors , but sometimes he will need to practice the art of the sword alone; this is why, when he is apart from his companions, he behaves like a star. He lights up his allotted part of the Universe and tries to point out galaxies and worlds to all those who gaze up at the sky. The Warrior’s persistence will soon be rewarded. Gradually, other Warriors approach , and they join together to form constellations, each with their own symbols and mysteries.Coelho, Paulo. Warrior of the Light: A Manual (p. 89). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition
The following, written by my friend Joshua Taflinger, who lead the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance in Indianapolis. Joshua went to Standing Rock several times.
I am inspired to share with you all more directly a post I wrote, because I consider you an established & effective nature/spiritual warrior, and believe that there is a need for the perspectives shared in the attached post to be more common thought in the minds of the many.
If you feel truth from this writing, and are inspired, I highly encourage you to re-write your own version, in your own words/perspectives, and post to your network.
With the intention of helping us all wake up, with awareness, clarity, and direction.
..spreading and weaving reality back into the world….
This is the post Joshua was referring to:
What has risen to the surface at Standing Rock is a physical/spiritual movement. Learn how to quiet your mind. To find the silent receptive space to receive guidance. To learn to adapt and follow the pull of synchronicity to guide you to where you will find your greatest support and strength.
What I have found in my time praying in the indigenous earth based ways, is that it’s not about putting your hands together and talking to god…. It’s about quieting and connecting with the baseline of creation, of nature. Tuning into the frequency and vibration of the natural world, the nature spirits. The beings and entities that have been in existence, for all of existence, the examples and realities of sustainability and harmony.
It’s about becoming receptive to these things. Being open and flowing with them. The spirit guides us, but we have to make ourselves receptive to feel, sense, and respond to this guidance.
“I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”Gus Speth
Following is part of the story of how I first became involved with the Kheprw Insitute, a black youth mentoring community.
That left me at the point where I felt I needed to provide some example from my own life. Since KI is built on concern for the environment, I spoke of how I had reluctantly purchased a used car for $50 when I moved to Indianapolis, mainly for trips home to Iowa. Car rental was not common in the early 1970’s. When my car was totaled several years after that, I decided to see if I could live in the city without a car, and have since then, 40 years ago. I was hoping that would show how Quakers try to translate what they believe, what they feel God is telling them, into how they actually live their lives.
At that point Imhotep, with a smile on his face, said something like “Forty years? You are a warrior.” I had never been called a warrior before. It seemed a humorous term to use for a pacifist, but I liked it.
“Language Matters.” I know you’ve given a definition of ‘spiritual warrior’; I also know what many people in this country think of when reading/hearing/saying/writing the word ‘warrior’. I reflect—could a different word be used?—so as not to always evoke the image/visual of someone fighting?
I continue to think about that
Please read the second full paragraph on p. 148 of the book, An Indigenous People’s History of the United States.
I have the Kindle version. Is this the paragraph?
The army of the West was a colonial army with all the problems of colonial armies and foreign occupation, principally being hated by the people living under occupation. It’s no surprise that the US military uses the term “Indian Country” to refer to what it considers enemy territory. Much as in the Vietnam War, the 1980s covert wars in Central America, and the wars of the early twenty-first century in Muslim countries, counterinsurgent army volunteers in the late-nineteenth-century US West had to rely heavily on intelligence from those native to the land, informers and scouts. Many of these were double agents, reporting back to their own people, having joined the US Army for that purpose. Failing to find guerrilla fighters, the army resorted to scorched-earth campaigns, starvation, attacks on and removals of civilian populations—the weapons of counterinsurgency warfare. During the Soviet counterinsurgency in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees called the effect “migratory genocide”—an apt term to apply retrospectively to the nineteenth-century US counterinsurgency against Indigenous peoples.32
Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne. An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (ReVisioning American History) (pp. 148-149). Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.
This is the section to which I referred—Ch. 8, ‘Colonial Soldiers’ section. The author discusses Wichita Nation citizen Stan Holder. He had heard stories of Wichita warriors; the only warriors he could identify were marines; thus, he became a marine. This was his, and other people’s language/idea/image of warriors, i.e., those who fight with violence. Language Matters. How to change that understanding of the word in this society for the majority of the population?
You are a warrior in the way Sitting Bull told us.
Very kind of you to say. That is a model I strive to get closer to with time.