Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Our Warriors

There was a time, an ancient time, when our men came home from battle and were cleansed through the temples of Priestesses before returning home to their families and into society. These sexual priestesses lay with warriors healing, transforming and washing clean the wounds of war and the energetic and psychological traumas from it. I spoke to Marine Colonel today after our yoga session who reminded me, one never stops being a Warrior even after the battle is done. I could see that based on the professionalism he addressed to me through our first email correspondence: his punctual nature, his early confirmation of our appointment, his discipline and training of his body. He was a man who had trained, transformed and disciplined himself and served his country, his community and himself with meticulous attention and self-respect. My meeting with this warrior today had reminded me of this essay I wrote back at Christmas that I never posted. It also reminded me of our alienation of our soldiers, our warriors, our veterans. How are we honoring these men and woman who have served our country and how are we as a society assisting them into reintegration? Please enjoy my previous essay.

Love & Blessings,


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December 28th, 2009

I was standing online at Newark Liberty Airport. It was just after Christmas, Sunday, December 27th and after the attempted terror attack on America just two days earlier, I had excepted long lines and heightened security measures, but the Goddess was good to me and there were no lines to stand in as I checked into my flight. I removed my shoes and shuffled sock footed up to the plastic tubs and x-ray machine, when I first saw him. A hardened looking black man under a thermal shirt, aged, late forties a bit of grit around the edges of his aura like he had seen things most of us hadn’t. He’ll get screened, I thought, instantly slipping into our countries default racial profiling. Until I saw his hat, “Retired Army – Still Serving.” Right, Scratch that. My thoughts raced back to the Oliver Stone film Platoon, I had seen for the first time on Christmas Eve, just a few days before and began to reopen my inner soul-stirring contemplation about the current embodiment of the Warrior archetype in our culture.

Before boarding my flight, I had attempted to change my seat assignment several times to avoid being in the much loathed ‘center seat’ read – no arm rests and claustrophobia the entire trip. I eventually resigned to take it, after no other seat options presented themselves. On making my way to my begrudged center seat, even more annoyingly near the back of the plane, I saw the army man who had gone through security before me, was in the window seat next to my designated spot. In this moment of recognition, I felt the unmistakable zing from the universe when a moment of synchronicity unfolds before me, preparing my soul to learn, experience, and transform. I stored my bag and hunkered down in my middle seat unsure of what to say to the man next to me of whom I was prepared for divine teachings to pour through. Rather than speak to soon, we had several hours of intimate contact in a plane together ahead of us, I closed my eyes and tuned into my veteran seatmate’s energy field. It had been places, that much was clear. I felt his spirit – even, calm, but very powerful – the presence of a warrior archetype.

“You can use this arm rest if you like,” I heard the voice next to me say. I opened my eyes and saw a gentle glow coming from the eyes of a man who had served our country, not only a warrior, but also a gentleman. “Thanks” I said, “if you’re not careful I may use your shoulder as a pillow too.” He laughed and I detected the hint of an island dialect in his voice. “You’re in the army?” I asked. “Retired, for a few years now, I train recruits” he said. “How long did you serve?” “Over twenty years, I enlisted in my thirties after I moved here from Aruba.” Older than I thought. “I just watched the film Platoon.

“Great movie,” he said. “Probably the most real depiction of what it’s like inside our world.”

Over the next few hours of flying, I detained this former sergeant from getting any shut-eye, quzzing him from my civilian groupie stand-point on the Warrior archetype, ethics of combat, idolization and ostracization of warriors, and the Hollywood-ization of war and afterwards began to draw a more defined picture of the Warrior archetype.

In the film Platoon set in the Viet-Cong, young and seasoned soldiers most soul-crushing combat occurs not battling against the Viet-Cong Guerrillas and North Vietnamese, but fighting within their own platoon and among their own friends, teachers and fellow soldiers. Charlie Sheen’s character Chris Taylor, speaks in the end of the film of his war initiations the shadow and light aspects of the warrior archetype split between two men and then merged into one, as Taylor finally departs from Vietnam, becoming a son born of these two fathers.

The Warrior is a complex archetype both idolized and dehumanized. The seasoned warrior knows death intimately, has merged with it, become one with it, and with acts that most of us will never experience nor even conceive in our lifetimes. Much like Arujna in the Bhavad Gita, the archer stuck in the limbo of soul splitting conflict when his dharma leads him into battle against his kinsmen, cousins, teachers and Beloved friends, surrendering to the dharma of the Warrior can summon an almost dehumanizing grace to a higher order void of an imposed inner moral compass.

In most great war epics, Platoon, being no exception, men move through physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual initiations to embody the warrior archetype, some initiations taking men into expanded awareness and a deep state of empathy and compassion for humanity and some moving men towards the shadow side of the Warrior archetype into a state of barbarianism. In the journey of Warrior Initiations and those that hold the Warrior Code of energy in their DNA, we can see how the Warrior Archetype power can be yielded grounded in spiritual laws and highest order or how it consume men who misuse and lust after ‘power-over’ verses power-within.

The young warrior spirit protects; an activist fighting for a cause, usually fed on transformative anger and the life force of testosterone with the mission that his life force will save and protect from an anchor of loyalty and devotion. The young warrior assumes he is working for the greater good and the loyalty and devotion of his spirit from his inner calling has led him to battle. The seasoned warrior spirit, or sage warrior surrenders to the battle because it is his dharma. He has been initiated into the ways of war and knows himself capable of any act, but the warrior sage uses his act with discernment rather than the ‘good moral compass’ of the young warrior. Like General Elias, he practices peacekeeping and uses combat with discernment but can also kick-ass when called upon.

The young or green warrior spirit is the one who thinks he can never perform a certain act, having separated himself from those he battles moving him out of the oneness of war, the oneness of being capable of any act. At this point the warrior is not in full service to the spirit of the warrior because he is still fighting the inner war. The sage warrior has conquered the inner war, read Yoda in Star Wars, where the calm of a oneness with death has settled into the body knowing intimately the dance of destruction and rebirth. With that removal the natural order of the warrior has been destroyed.

“I’ve held back a lot of tears but have learned ‘never say never’” the retired veteran said solemnly on our flight. I felt the presence of the sage warrior in his energy field, the calm strength I had tuned into earlier. Until we know ourselves capable of any act beyond right and wrong, can we truly own compassion and the grace of the Warrior as upheld by the Warrior’s Code.

“I love the military” he told me which from a civilian stand point I take as startling admission. “I walk with pride and it has carried over into how I am as a human being. Many young recruits who go through never apply their training to daily life. It has taught me so much, punctuality, respect, living by the Golden Rule – treating others how you want to be treated. But being a soldier I will never back down when summoned to fight. I am a soldier. I will always fight.” There was such truth in his words. This was his dharma. “I have to live by a military base now, even though I’m retired. It’s where I feel the most at home. It’s my life.” If one is born with the dharma of a warrior, one will always find a war and will always serve the cause as part of one’s universal duty. The warrior spirit has surrendered fully to its role for the sake of a higher order, part of the spirit is peace-keeping and order and part of the spirit is combat and transformation through destruction.

The army veteran I sat next to on my flight took his hat off for me to examine more closely. Battle Ready – Still Serving, was embroidered on the side of it. “That’s the nickname I had in Basic Training. It’s been with me ever since.”

What initations (life experiences) in your life have made you a warrior? What power are you serving and fighting for? What is your warrior’s code of ethics? Where are you seduced by power in your life and where are you serving power for the highest order? When do you back down from fighting from a place of weakness verses a place of strength?

Exercises to strengthen the inner warrior: Warrior Yoga Poses, Martial Arts, Kapalabhati Pranayama and Breath of Fire.

Dr. Shannon French, a professor of the US Naval Academy has written an amazing essay on the Warrior’s Code. Follow the link below: http://www.usafa.edu/isme/JSCOPE02/French02.html