The Ruin of the Warrior.

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I know that this series is like picking at scabs in that it’s uncomfortable or even painful to get beneath our protective layer. Nonetheless, it’s vital we remain open to this process even though I will push some buttons. Awareness hurts sometimes.

The warrior stage of consciousness is a larger extension of tribal consciousness from last week. The warrior mind is consumed with forces larger than itself and how to overpower them. Where the tribe huddled in self protection and appeasement, the warrior  aligns the power of the collective to combat a perceived threat.

The good side of the warrior consciousness is that it brings people together for purposes larger than the tribe. It provides solidarity and common goals among multiple tribes, but not all tribes.  The warrior mind is needed to defend civilization from threats. However, the warrior identity requires an adversary, so peace is impossible at this stage.

Our culture is so deeply embedded with this consciousness, that even questioning it causes strife. We have created hero’s and elaborate systems from this testosterone soaked worldview. The very spirit of competition stems from the warrior stage, and its strength is the identity it provides its adherents. Behind it are elites who maintain power through distractions, and by promoting the next scrimmage, battle, or war.

Peace for the warrior is actually a mislabeled form of revenge which corresponds to their ability to remain a threat. This low-level consciousness is fueled by fear and threat. Our US military is larger than the next seven militaries combined. Our expense there could easily pay off all our debt, ensure everyone has medical care, education, food and shelter. This is not pacifist propaganda and I am in no way diminishing the sacrifice and service of those who have served in the military. I am only exposing the effect of this wide-spread consciousness on our society. It comes at great cost.

The gravitational pull on this stage is immense. For some it is the ONLY identity they have. It takes tremendous awakening to swim against the warriors tide of otherness. We know we are outgrowing this level when empathy for the other emerges in our heart.  Usually, personal suffering opens us to see the suffering on the other side. Until then, the war machine masks or spins the suffering it produces. Others are more like us than different from us and that ruins the warrior mind trap.

Let’s not overlook the spiritual aspect of warrior consciousness. The same fear, threat and power that drive the war machine also drive our religions. Many writings in sacred texts reflect how long human history has been stuck in warrior consciousness. Many Christians depict Jesus as an insurgent warrior who is gathering his army now for the final battle of Armageddon. The message is take Jesus’ love now, because his whoop-ass is coming. Isis sees God as advancing Islam through militaristic eradication of non-muslims. Ancient Israel saw God as their defender and fighter on only their behalf.

The warrior in each of us has a gut reaction to reject these claims. This is because we cannot or choose not to see an alternative. What is beyond the hero and the villain? The warrior mind is the setting for all great story. Even scripture advocates an armor for battling realms we cannot see (Ephesians 6:10-20). This is because we don’t recognize the Good News and invitation to put on the garment of praise (Isaiah 61:3).

The solution is integral. We graduate from the warrior stage once we realize it is only needed sporadically. A skilled martial artist never picks a fight, their training and engagement is not in the warrior stage, but beyond it. The warrior mind is a bunker, not a home.

Here again, the story of Jesus is revolutionary. It depicts Jesus having legions of angels ready to defend him, yet he chose not to play on that level (Matt 26:63). He cautioned his disciples that living according to the sword is the same as dying by it (Luke 22:38, Matt 26:52.) He saw his own message as a figurative sword of truth that divides families, and cuts through confusion. (Matt 10:34, Rev 1:16, 2:12). He employs the sword for healing, not war.

The ruin of the warrior is recognizing that we can activate a warrior, defending life as required, but we need not live as a warrior, lest we live in fear and die without knowing peace.

The warrior consciousness survives on otherness by bringing us into our next battle. It’s an exhausting trap. Many have moved past it and we will explore that next week.