I am glad I have been given the opportunity to show some of my photography at this summer’s gathering of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative). When asked for a short biography for the program, I listed the following: water protector, community organizer, Spiritual Warrior, writer, photojournalist, and medical researcher. I hesitated to include Spiritual Warrior, thinking many might not understand what I meant by that. So I’ll try to explain what it means to me. There are a number of descriptions of a Spiritual Warrior.
The Spiritual Warrior is a person who challenges the dreams of fear, lies, false beliefs, and judgments that create suffering and unhappiness in his or her life. It is a war that takes place in the heart and mind of a man or woman. The quest of the Spiritual Warrior is the same as spiritual seekers around the world. www.toltecspirit.com/four-agreements/characteristics-of-a-spiritual-warrior/
I grew up in Quaker communities, and although I didn’t use the term at the time, I recognized the Quakers I knew as Spiritual Warriors. The men who went to jail because they could not participate in the military, and the families that supported each other during the imprisonments, showed me their spiritual strength. Similarly I learned about the early Quakers and how they held to their beliefs in the face of persecution, imprisonment, or death.
Silence, meditation and prayer are common spiritual tools. Quakers add the dimension of coming together to share the silence as a group. Sitting for about an hour together with other spiritual seekers adds to the power of the silence. Knowing those around you are sharing your spiritual work is often helpful.
Trying to be so attuned to the Spirit in our own lives, we can’t help but also be aware of, and care about the spiritual condition of others. Spiritualism is empty and incomplete if it doesn’t guide the way we live and how we treat each other and the Earth.
In today’s world I sense a widespread spiritual poverty. Calling myself and others Spiritual Warriors, especially in what I write, might help spiritual seekers find what they are looking for. I wrote more about this here: https://kislingjeff.wordpress.com/2017/01/07/recruiting-spiritual-warriors/
1. One who is engaged in or experienced in battle.
2. One who is engaged aggressively or energetically in an activity, cause, or conflict
Warrior seems an unlikely term for Quakers to use, since the word is usually thought of in terms of battles and wars, which Quakers oppose and work against.
I like the second definition above though, related to engaging energetically in a cause. Today there are many causes to choose from, with widespread conflict, injustice and oppression.
Following is from the book Warrior of the Light: A Manual, by Paulo Coelho.
Each Warrior of the Light contains within him the spark of God. His destiny is to be with other Warriors , but sometimes he will need to practice the art of the sword alone; this is why, when he is apart from his companions, he behaves like a star. He lights up his allotted part of the Universe and tries to point out galaxies and worlds to all those who gaze up at the sky. The Warrior’s persistence will soon be rewarded. Gradually, other Warriors approach , and they join together to form constellations, each with their own symbols and mysteries. Coelho, Paulo. Warrior of the Light: A Manual (p. 89). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
What lead me to think about Spiritual Warriors was the following, written by my friend Joshua Taflinger, who lead the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance in Indianapolis. Joshua went to Standing Rock several times.
I am inspired to share with you all more directly a post I wrote, because I consider you an established & effective nature/spiritual warrior, and believe that there is a need for the perspectives shared in the attached post to be more common thought in the minds of the many.
If you feel truth from this writing, and are inspired, I highly encourage you to re-write your own version, in your own words/perspectives, and post to your network.
With the intention of helping us all wake up, with awareness, clarity, and direction.
..spreading and weaving reality back into the world….
This is the post Joshua was referring to:
What has risen to the surface at Standing Rock is a physical/spiritual movement. Learn how to quiet your mind. To find the silent receptive space to receive guidance. To learn to adapt and follow the pull of synchronicity to guide you to where you will find your greatest support and strength.
What I have found in my time praying in the indigenous earth based ways, is that it’s not about putting your hands together and talking to god…. It’s about quieting and connecting with the baseline of creation, of nature. Tuning into the frequency and vibration of the natural world, the nature spirits. The beings and entities that have been in existence, for all of existence, the examples and realities of sustainability and harmony.
It’s about becoming receptive to these things. Being open and flowing with them. The spirit guides us, but we have to make ourselves receptive to feel, sense, and respond to this guidance.
This is a link to other articles I have written about Spiritual Warriors: https://kislingjeff.wordpress.com/?s=warrior
Perhaps you are a Spiritual Warrior, or might work to become one.