This was by far the most exciting metaphor for me to read in The Hidden Spirituality of Men, before I even read it. As someone who has struggled with aggression in the past and learned to be passive instead this was something I needed to read. My image of a warrior was not a good one. I have repressed many of my warrior traits and here was a metaphor that spoke about it powerfully. There was some talk of the difference between a soldier and a warrior that intrigued me.
The Spiritual Warrior
When talking about a spiritual warrior you need to keep in mind the context of the “Great Work.” The work is not something that we have chosen but a task that we must take. It is the task of moving modern industrial civilization from its present devestating influence on the Earth to a more benign mode of presence. This work can take many forms, but one must keep it in mind when learning about true warrior energy.
What is a spiritual warrior and why is it important?
The spiritual warrior is the metaphor that helps to answer 2 questions that have come up so far on our journey – what to do with male aggression and what to do with competition. The spiritual warrior teaches us how to steer both into healthy directions. So how does aggression usually show up in our world? It shows up in war, conquest ( including business or sex ), passivity, selfish competition and more negative outlets of aggression. Competition was part of that list and too often it shows up as selfish competition in our world. Competition where I have to win and you must lose. Though these traits and actions are often associated with warriors they should not. The problem arises from the fact that too many people have collapsed the term warrior with that of a soldier.
Warrior, soldier – what’s the difference?
A soldier takes orders from other people while a warrior takes orders from the soul. You can see this represented in movies such as Dances With Wolves where at first he is a soldier following orders but he becomes a warrior fighting for what his soul knows is right. The same thing happens in real life when veterans go to war and come back home and march with their brothers against the war the themselves had fought in. The spiritual warrior also doesn’t take orders from society when there is a “Great Work” that needs to be accomplished. Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi and Ralph Nader are examples of warrior spirits that take orders from their own souls instead of from society.
The warrior is in touch with his heart – the joy, the sadness, the expansiveness of it. The warrior, unlike the soldier, is a lover. The warrior is so much in touch with his heart that he can give it to the world. The warrior loves not only his nearest kin and mate but also the world and God. The warrior relates to God as a lover. This is different than the soldier who relates to God as Judge. This difference brings to mind a quote from the movie, The Man in The Iron Mask. In it D’Artagnan (Gabriel Byrne) tells King Louis XIV (Leonardo DiCaprio) about how Athos (John Malkovich) had taught him “Each time I draw my sword I should consider, not what I was killing but what I was allowing to live”. I love that statement. In that statement lives the distinction between a soldier and a warrior.