Honoring the (Benevolent) Warrior Within

I have a Warrior to thank. An inner warrior with a benevolent intention.

Near the beginning of my journey of awakening, I recognized that my challenge in this lifetime was to stretch my way of being beyond its aggressive comfort zone. Throughout childhood and beyond, I had relied on my Warrior spirit to deal with the world before me. That spirit permeated my adaptations and disguises, my daily interactions and love relationships, my call to become a criminal trial lawyer. War was my habitual range of emotion. Conflict was all I knew.

But then something happened. After an extraordinary apprenticeship with a brilliant criminal lawyer, I went to Turkey on a last vacation before opening my own law practice. There, I was awakened to other pathways of possibility, other versions of Jeff longing to take up space inside of me, pushing at my soul seams.

I came home to a spiritual emergingcy -- the state of confusion that one experiences when a spiritual path is pushing its way into consciousness, prior to its full emergence and integration. I stepped back from trial law. Over time, I recognized that my challenge in this lifetime was to make a radical transformation in my soul consciousness. After many lifetimes as the archetypal Warrior (the call to arms) the scripture in this lifetime was to stretch into a more surrendered way of being (the call to disarm). A new Soulshape, one with a white flag at its center.

As part of the journey home, I disdained the Warrior within me at every turn. I disparaged his driven nature, his narrow-minded focus, his macho ways of being. I saw his armor as my primary obstacle, an anger encrusted distraction from true-path. In my efforts to embody a more heartfelt way of being, I needed to distance myself from the battlefields I knew best.

But I missed the point. Toward the end of writing my book "Soulshaping," I recognized that I had misunderstood the nature of this process. Familiar archetypal patterns don't fade away. They just get pushed aside as the new forms come into being. When the new form concretizes, the old patterns rise back into awareness. Where before the Warrior and Healer archetypes appeared to be flowing in disparate directions, they were actually revealed as inextricable branches of the same waterway. On the River of Essence, everything flows in the same direction -- toward the Ocean of Wholeness.

Since then, my respect for the Warrior within has deepened. After all, who pushed me to overcome my miserable childhood? Who pushed me to sell windows door-to-door to pay for university? Who motivated me to clear my emotional debris and excavate my callings? Who got me through the writing of "Soulshaping" amid tremendous economic pressure? Who is energizing me to write this inspiration?

Jeff Brown: Honor the (Benevolent) Warrior

It is easy to miss the beauty of the Warrior spirit, particularly the traditional male warrior. Our history has been a perverse distortion of our spirited nature, an egoic cloud of dark and thunderous proportions. We have given women so little to be proud of -- misplaced aggression, power games, heartless destruction at every turn. As a man, I am genuinely ashamed of what we have perpetrated in the name of the Warrior.

At the same time, I bow down to the noble efforts we have made to create a better world. I honor my grandfather, who risked his life in World War II to protect the world I would be born into. I honor the Warrior spirit that built the railroads, the cities, the bridges that bring us into contact with one another. I honor those who died in the trenches, who did everything they could to establish the foundation that I stand on in my efforts to go higher. But for them, I would be foraging through the brush, knife in hand, attempting to find food to feed my family and fuel my survival. Praise to those well-intentioned Warriors who came before.

To get to the world as it ought to be from the world as it is, we need the benevolent Warrior. We need his energy and focus to develop and utilize our inner tools. We need her clarifying sword to distinguish false-path from true-path. We need his courage to fight for our right to the light.

This week, I invite you to honor the benevolent Warrior that lives inside you. Acknowledge the ways she has helped you to survive and reach this stage of your journey. Applaud his efforts to awaken you when you fall asleep. Give breath to her desire to bring you home. Souldier on…

A former criminal lawyer and psychotherapist, Jeff Brown is the author of "Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation," recently published by North Atlantic Books. Endorsed by authors Elizabeth Lesser and Ram Dass, "Soulshaping" is Brown's autobiography -- an inner travelogue of his journey from archetypal male warrior to a more surrendered path. You can connect with his work at www.soulshaping.com"