L. Neil Thrussell

What is a Spiritual Warrior?

A Spiritual Warrior is someone who embraces courage, compassion, discipline and training to master one’s own alterego.

Being a “Spiritual Warrior” means a life commitment. It means the embrace of discipline, study and long intense training sometimes at the sacrifice of comfort and convenience.

According to the Random House Dictionary, the term “warrior” has two meanings.

  • The first refers to “a man engaged or experienced in warfare.”
  • The second refers to “a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics.” The term “warrior” is often associated with images of power, confidence, accomplishment, integrity, chivalry, honor and integrity.

Regardless of our current moral perception of the term warrior; all warriors have a few basic things in common:

  • They are disciplined, both internally and externally. Without discipline, they could not stay alive long enough to call themselves a warrior.
  • They have developed mental focus. No one can develop essential skills of dealing with life, protecting one’s self or facing a foreboding opponent with an unfocused mind.
  • They develop an attitude of persistence. They have to face difficulty, pain, discomfort, discouragement, fear and the prospect of failure and utter doom without quitting. All struggle and conflict is settled in the mind before it reaches a physical resolution.
  • They train and then they train again.  Imagine that you found yourself in a gunfight and to your surprise, the clips in your gear don’t fit your gun. Do you say, “Uh.. Excuse me! .. Uh.. Can we have a time out? I brought the wrong bullets!” Or, imagine that you are facing a warrior with steel in his eyes and his sword coming your way. Do you pause and think, “Uh.. let’s see … which hand do I hold the sword in … and … uh … which end of the shield is up?” If you don’t train, you don’t develop the skills that you need to survive … and you die!

All of these traits apply to the Spiritual warrior as well … and for the very same reasons.

There is a difference between a warrior and a soldier. A soldier is trained to follow orders, to respect authority, and to subjugate their individual thinking process and will to the command hierarchy.

  • A warrior, in contrast, is more autonomous and independent.
  • A warrior engages in battle out of personal choice rather than because of obedience to orders.
  • A warrior is capable of making moral judgments and acting accordingly.
  • A warrior is flexible and adaptable; able to act independently as well as be a team player.
  • A warrior takes responsibility for his or her choices and actions.
  • A warrior is a person of compassion who understands pain and the consequences of action.
  • A warrior understands the horror of war and does not seek it.
  • A warrior understands that glory is only for fools who bask in their own illusions.
  • A warrior, however, when engaged in a righteous cause, fights with such skill, passion, intensity, and brilliance that victory is assured.

It should be noted that victory and defeat are a matter of Spirit more than of body. One is never defeated as long as his/ her Spirit is not defeated or broken. When a warrior falls in battle without surrendering or giving up, his Spirit grows stronger. When a warrior survives the battle without surrendering or giving up, his Spirit grows stronger. Of course, most warriors prefer surviving.

The term “Spiritual Warrior” has been used in a variety of contexts and has been adopted by a variety of individuals who may not share a common understanding of the term. In general, a “Spiritual Warrior” is someone who embraces the more noble personal attributes and strengths associated with warriors in general. In general, a “Spiritual Warrior” is someone who masters him or herself, and overcomes personal desire, moral issues, and all weaknesses of character. In general, a “Spiritual Warrior” is someone who embraces a journey of self discovery in order to benefit others as well as enlighten him or herself.

Some martial arts traditions maintain a system of ethics and honor and pursue a path of self mastery. Others emphasize combat, competition and fighting. Being a fighter does not make one a Spiritual Warrior.

Some military organizations have a creed of honor and service as their core guiding principles. In the fog of actual warfare these may become lost, ignored or forgotten. Being a soldier does not make one a Spiritual Warrior.

Being a Spiritual Warrior has nothing to do with physical battle, making war, fighting or being mean and tough.

The battle of the Spiritual Warrior is the mastery of one’s self.

Being a Spiritual Warrior also means understanding your principles and not compromising them. Which is much easier said than done.

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L. Neil Thrussell

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