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The Only Solid Foundation for Personal Development

Before we embark on any sort of endeavor in personal development, from physical fitness through spiritual life, there is one foundational concept we must assimilate.  Authentic ancient traditions know it as warriorship, although its application to war is quite secondary to its application to lifeIt was realized long ago that the qualities that make warriors most successful in conflict have a surprisingly broad application to the rest of life.

A warrior in the sense we’re talking about is not a tough guy, not anger-prone or violent or selfish, nor is he a soldier following orders without question.  Rather, true warriors live  life according to principles greater than themselves, and for that reason are resilient in every situation.  Real warriors leave aside identification with the ego, and yet stand up unwaveringly for their core principles.  Warriors improve themselves through focus, clarity and concentration upon principled goals, and improve society with the same qualities.  Here are a few of the basic tools of warriorship that can help you in any area of your life where you choose to apply them.

 

Focus

The Samurai were famous for using the principles of Buddhist meditation, and the single-pointed mental focus it cultivates, to improve their ability to do everything, from flower arranging and poetry to combat.  This same single-pointed focus, this ability to marshal all your attention in the present moment without unnecessary conscious thought, is exactly the warrior’s approach to every task in life.  You will find that gathered attention in the present moment moves you forward more incisively than hours of scattered thought.

 

Principled Life

Unlike many moral codes you may be familiar with, the code of the warrior is not a legal one, but an existential one.  The core values of a spiritual warrior- love, compassion, courage, hope, integrity, truth-seeking, simplicity, and everything that follows from them- are universal values by which everything else has to be measured.  An action is not good or bad because someone says so, but because it advances or inhibits these core values.  By evaluating things in this way, a warrior not only develops independent moral insight and imagination, but the vision to value people and their actions independently of any institutional structure or goal.  What’s more, the warrior begins to value substance over appearance, to demand that everything in his own life be real and solid.

Personal integrity

Personal integrity means everything to the warrior.  Integrity means, above all, being true to your own being.  Of course, this is meaningless if you have no idea of what you want to be, if you have no trajectory for self-cultivation.  Integrity does not mean simply following the rules.  It implies a deep moral center, a willingness to stand by your principles, even in the face of opposition from people in authority.  It means that you avoid abusing whatever power and authority you have, and point out such behavior when you see it.  It means keeping faith with everyone who depends on you, being open in your dealings with them and not participating in secret, underhanded or manipulative behavior.  Integrity implies impartiality and honesty in all your dealings, a refusal to mislead or misrepresent, a refusal to stand for favoritism or nepotism.  It also means refusing to condone or collaborate with any undertaking that will damage the community in which you live or cause undue hardship to any group.  It is impossible to have integrity without embracing the logic of courage.  Integrity also requires judgment, however, in knowing when to keep confidences and avoid unnecessary friction.

Warriorship requires a conscious process of personal development in accordance with these principles, and as a result, on a day-to-day basis, purposeful living, purposeful actions, purposeful thinking.  Have you ever been in the middle of some task and asked yourself why in the world you’re doing it?  The warrior asks that question before every task, and thus builds step by step a purposeful direction in life.  If he can’t think of a good reason to do something, he knows that it is time to change course.

 

We have talked about the power of belief, and that is exactly why it is so critical to have the power of an integral and beneficial set of beliefs and principles to guide you.

 

The ideal set of such principles will:

  •  Help you to organize your thoughts and create feeling states in a way that will be helpful to your process of self-realization
  •  Mediate your relationship with the world in such a way that you will always feel that you are contributing to it
  •  Provide reliable and strong guidance regarding what endeavors you will, and will not, undertake

Notice that one of the roles of principle is to maintain a right relationship with other people and with the world.  Napoleon Hill’s self-confidence formula stipulates, “I will engage in no transaction that does not benefit all whom it affects,” “I will induce others to serve me because I will first serve them,” and, “I will eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness and cynicism by developing love for all humanity, because I know that a negative attitude toward others can never bring me success.”

This is a key starting point for a principled, resilient life.

 

An Open Mind

Cultivate an open mind.  An open mind is not bound to any ideology, but seeks that which is true and that which works.  Ideology is about imposing a set of rules and limits which alone have dominion and alone designate truth in a given area.  Idealism is about who we are, who we want to become, the impact we wish to have on the world, one choice at a time.

 

The Logic of Courage

Consciously discard the logic of fear in favor of the logic of courage, and learn to distinguish between them in every area of life.  Fear has the property of bypassing reason and provoking action – after all, the fight-or-flight response exists for situations in which there is no time to think.  The logic of fear promotes an existence in adrenaline-fueled survival mode, an existence of reaction and malice.  The logic of courage moves forward without wasting energy on the fear of anything that is not at hand, and actually relishes uncertainty, knowing that it will be victorious.

 

Love and Compassion

Cultivate compassion for the people around you and for humanity at large through specific actions, and preferably through prayer as well.  There is no higher calling or principle for a warrior than to serve love.  As you fall in love with love, you will begin to measure everything else by the criterion of love, since everything good and beneficial comes from and returns to love.

 

Straightforward Courtesy

Cultivate courtesy and personal straightforwardness.  These two may seem opposite, but as your vibrational level rises, you will find that this is not so.  Courtesy means responding to other people with respect for the divine spark that is within them and not according to our own external preconceptions or momentary feelings.  It means communicating encouragement, gratitude and respect whenever possible.  Straightforwardness means being honest and open about our feelings and intentions, as far as possible, and the reasons for our actions and decisions.  It is the property of a trustworthy person.

 

Direction

Have an idea of the person you want to become, the core values you wish to stand for, and how the two are related.  The difference between a true seeker living out an Authentic Ancient Tradition and everyone else is that the seeker knows that there are greater possibilities for realizing the divine potential of humanity than he or she has yet attained, and is moving toward attaining them.  Unless we are striving to grow in this sense, the rest of what we have said here is fundamentally meaningless.

 

A Call to Alignment

Warriorship is the art of aligning your whole being.  Just as the infantry phalanx of the ancient Greeks derived its power from having every man within it aligned with all the others so that it could move forward as a solid block, you can bring more of your personal power to, and derive more benefit from, any task or area of life when all your beliefs, mental, physical and spiritual powers are in alignment behind that effort.

 

As you focus on applying these principles to your own life, here’s a quick glimpse into the spirit of a true warrior.  Keep in mind that, although this particular warrior was also a martial artist, you can become a true warrior yourself even if you have no interest in anything combative:

 ~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


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