How to Live Like a Spiritual Warrior

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A quick Google search for “how to live like a spiritual warrior” yields lots of cool links, even one with the key word “seductive,” but we won’t go there.

The number of links is a great sign that there are plenty of folks who have at least a passing interest in spiritual warriorhood.

Spirituality has definitely gone mainstream.  Twelve-step communities aren’t the only ones talking about a “power greater than themselves.”

Why else would the BuzzFeed quiz, What Career Should You Actually Have? currently on Facebook, include the Dalai Lama with Steve Jobs and Beyoncé in its question, Who is your dream dinner guest?

A deal-breaker?

Here’s a thought that may send even the more open-minded seekers running for the hills:  “A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next.”

So says Pema Chödrön, a student of Shambhala Buddhism, in her book Comfortable With Uncertainty.

Whoa.  I think I just heard all you control freaks gasp.  I did too when I first read the sentence.  What happened to “master of my own fate?”

Chödrön continues, “We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe.  But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty.  This not-knowing is part of the adventure.  It’s also what makes us afraid.”

Truth be told, I was raised to believe I could be and do anything I wanted.  The sky is the limit.  Get out there and fly, little bird.  The world is your oyster, whatever that means.

Problem was, that behavior wasn’t modeled for me at home.  My family was all about security, predictability and routine, which created a confusing conundrum for my adolescent self.

As a young adult, I landed somewhere between master-of-my-own-fate controller and fearful risk-taker flying without a net.  There was, and sometimes still is, an internal tug-of-war about whether I’m comfortable with present circumstances.

Don’t you just want to know that you’re doing it (meaning life) the right way?

Are you with me here?

Looping back to living like a spiritual warrior

I think the first thing to realize about how to live like a spiritual warrior is there are no right or wrong answers.  Oh, we tell each other all the time, “Come on, what were you thinking?” or, “Jeez, that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”

Yep, we’ve all got a bunch of human opinions; it’s a part of our DNA.

Your life choices may not be good ones for me; and vice versa.  In fact, you should never make a decision solely on what works for someone else.

That brings me to my second thought about how to live like a spiritual warrior.  Spiritual warriors know how to treat a tremendous circumstance and a sucky circumstance equally.

No doubt about it–that’s a spiritual battle, and one definitely worth fighting.  There are people who can sit in joy one day and pain the next while their demeanor doesn’t change.  That’s what I want and although it’s not easy to get there, I sure want to give it a warrior-like try.

Again, from Comfortable With Uncertainty, “We encourage ourselves to develop an open heart and an open mind to heaven, to hell, to everything.  Only with this kind of equanimity can we realize that no matter what comes along, we’re always standing in the middle of a sacred space.  Only with equanimity can we see that everything that comes into our circle has come to teach us what we need to know.”

Now, about that financial insecurity thing I’ve got going on . . .

Photo courtesy of clarita

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