Becoming A Spiritual Warrior
"If you want to know the truth of life and death you must reflect continually on this: There is only one law in the Universe that never changes - that all things change, and that all things are impermanent." - the Buddha
I recently wrote about compassion being the antidote to grief following on from the loss of my brother.
Sam's passing has had a powerful influence over my spiritual practice. I knew compassion for myself and others, yet to hold grief, pain and suffering has required a change in the way I see the world and the way I relate to my inner life.
The 'truth' that I've gained a deeper understanding of is the universal law of change or impermanence: known as annica in Buddhism.
Becoming a Spiritual Warrior
Becoming a spiritual warrior does not mean we suppress or push away our fears about the future, or our pain and suffering. It doesn't mean that we harden our hearts, just get on with things or soldier on.
To some of the Tibetan Buddhists it means to develop a special kind of courage: one that is innately intelligent and kind.
"Difficulty and obstacles, if properly understood and used, can often turn out to be an unexpected source of strength. In the biographies of the masters, you will often find that had they not experienced difficult circumstances they would not have discovered the strength they needed to rise above them."- Sogyal Riponche
It means that we learn to sit in the midst of turbulence and make room for all that we are experiencing. This goes against our natural tendency to be aversive to anxiety, fear, sadness, grief or the "unpleasant" range of feelings, yet when we bring a kind presence to our suffering we find our true healing, wisdom and strength. When we hold all that we are feeling in a field of loving awareness we learn the true vastness of our heart.
Bodhisattva is the Sanskrit term for anyone who, motivated by great compassion, to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all beings.
In the times when I most wanted to push away or resist my pain I recalled the Bodhisattva aspiration: “May this suffering serve to awaken compassion”.
Meeting our pain with gentleness instead of resistance is when our prayer is answered. Our hearts become a vast sea of loving awareness that can hold the passing waves of suffering. They have room not just for our own hurt but also for the pain of others.
Becoming a Spiritual Warrior requires cultivating a spiritual practice that brings a kind awareness to our internal life.
This guided listening meditation allows us to explore developing a receptive, loving awareness while sensations come and go. It helps us to remember impermanence and change are a part of life, yet our timeless presence can sit with all that is passing. We can rest as the ocean, as the waves of feelings are rising and falling.
May our suffering serve to awaken compassion.