A few words from The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman.
“The peaceful warrior’s way is not about invulnerability, but absolute vulnerability – to the world, to life, and to the Presence you felt. All along I’ve shown you by example that a warrior’s life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love. Love is the warrior’s sword; wherever it cuts, it gives life, not death.”
In my experience, this is a hard lesson to learn. I know I thought the way of the warrior was all about invulnerability, being able to withstand the inevitable assaults of life. All that training I received about needing a ‘thick skin’- another term for armour – to protect myself from the realities of the harsh world we live in, was a lesson I had absorbed as a boy.
I thought warriors were able to maintain their composure no matter what was thrown at them, because their training helped them become invulnerable.
That might work on the battlefield when the other guy is trying to slice you in half with his sword. Trouble is, once we adopt the warrior stance, we take the same attitude into other aspects of our lives. If your guard is always up to maintain your invulnerability, and nothing gets through, it’s impossible to cultivate intimacy in any of your relationships. You let no-one touch you and you touch no-one, except to strike them down.
I’m sure you’ve encountered some of these warriors along the way. I know I have. I was one in my younger days. These are the people who can’t be told anything because they are too busy defending to listen. These are the ones that don’t feel anything, when everybody else is falling apart around them, because they can’t risk being taken advantage of by showing a weakness, like sadness or joy. They’re also the ones who don’t share anything of themselves, in case you detect a weakness in their armour and exploit it to your advantage.
At some point, the books I found myself reading, contained a different message. I realised that although I was good at invulnerability, I was not good at intimacy. With some loving help, I started to see that I had it all back to front, that I had blundered down the wrong path. I discovered that I could choose the pathway of the peaceful warrior, and take up a different sword on a very different field – the field of possibilities.
The Way of the Peaceful Warrior is one of the recent books I’ve read, but it’s been around since 1980. You can explore Dan Millman’s philosophy at www.peacefulwarrior.com
If you’re really looking to transform your mindset from invulnerability to vulnerability, I suggest you spend some time with a new book called Daring Greatly by Brene` Brown. Check out her website at www.brenebrown.com