Emotional Mindfulness: the Warrior’s Path -“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, whereas an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.”
The above statement was allegedly produced by Don Juan Mateus, a Yaqui “Man of Knowledge” as revealed by his apprentice Carlos Castenada. While the authenticity of Mr. Castenada’s accounts are a great source of controversy, there is no doubt that the contents are quite profound and provocative. The (spiritual) warrior recognizes that we are all treading a path, and to do so with impeccability, intent and deliberateness is a prime key to a successful life. So, whether we like it or not or know it or not, or consciously committed to it or not, we are all embarked on a healing journey. The goal of life is not to become safe, comfortable and content though that is the vision often marketed to us Westeners. The goal is to become whole and awake. From this perspective, the pain and challenges in life that await us all, are not obstacles to lament or overcome, but rather opportunities to embrace as vehicles to catapult us along our path. Let’s face it, nobody grows because they want to, we only do so because their ass is against the wall and they have no choice. It is our very mortality that is our greatest blessing.
Guru Ram Das aka Richard Allport was a pioneer of LSD research while a professor at Harvard University and then became a spiritual seeker studying under an illuminated master in India. He has devoted the remainder of his life to writing, lecturing and transmitting his knowledge to the west. Now that he is quite elderly, in his continued role as “canary in a coal mine “, he continues to help guide us through the path of life. Ram Das suffered a very significant stroke which left him quite impaired. In his words, “I was stroked”. He recognized that his daunting challenge was just an opportunity to deepen his spiritual growth. He has also used his personal trials to further illuminate us how to view such challenges as “Fierce Grace”. Such occasions as he informs us are actually divine opportunities which, when viewed correctly , can actually provide the impetus for personal healing and growth. That is the way of the warrior.
Psychotherapy, in my view, can be a opportunity and vehicle to assist people to adopt this path. From this perspective then, the goal of therapy should not be to make people feel better for paradoxically, such an endeavor can actually enhance suffering. Of course that is our desire, to feel less pain. But remember, the Buddha’s second noble truth: The source of Dukkha (suffering, unease) is desire. So, therefore the desire to have less pain, while completely understandable, nonetheless contributes to this suffering. The practices of Integrative Mindful Exposure, is a discipline and mechanism by which one can learn to embrace emotional pain through such techniques as Implosion https://www.mindfulexposurebook.com/wp/fear-exposure-implosion-therapy/and Emotional Surfing https://www.mindfulexposurebook.com/wp/integrative-mindful-exposure-emotional-surfing/. By learning to Lose Control, and recognizing and ending our conscious and unconscious mechanisms by which we all endeavor to escape and avoid emotional pain, we can engage a path of growth and liberation.
I would never state that this is the best or only path for there are many paths that might be best suited for individuals of differing interests and temperaments. Whatever path one chooses, it is only important that one stays true to the path and walks it well.
“Warrior-ship does not refer to making war on others. Aggression is the source of our problems, not the solution. Here the word “warrior” is taken from the Tibetan “pawo,” which literally means, “one who is brave.” … “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”