Spiritual Warriorhood, Healthy Masculinity for Women and Men, continued

We are continuing our meditations on our developing spiritual warriorhood.  It is good to have mentors or models of warriorhood that we can emulate and share with others to emulate.  Following are some more ways to develop our own spiritual warriorhood:

Deborah, the only woman in the Old Testament to be recognized as prophet, judge, and leader of the nation. Etching by Gustave Doré, Bible.Wikia

Do you recognize the prophets as warriors?  What do they teach you?

Do you recognize Jesus as warrior—what does he teach you? 

Do you recognize Gandhi and Martin Luther King, jr. and Malcolm X as warriors—what do they teach you?

Do you recognize Thich Naht Hanh and his good friend, Father Thomas Merton, as warriors?

What about Dorothy Day and Sojourner Truth? 

Stacey Abrams and Sister Dorothy Stang? 

Julia Butterfly and Rosa Parks and other women who have embodied warrior energy on behalf of a greater cause?

How have you learned courage (a big heart)?

Rosa Parks being fingerprinted on February 22, 1956, by Lieutenant D.H. Lackey as one of the people indicted as leaders of the Montgomery bus boycott. Photo: Associated Press; restored by Adam Cuerden. On Wikimedia Commons.

When was the last time you stood up and took a stand?  What was the cause?  How did it make you feel?  Was there a reality of solidarity in the experience?  What price did you pay for this action?  Would you do it again?

Who are your enemies (not personal but as carriers of principles you cannot go along with)? 

Are you proud of the enemies you have made?  Have you thanked them lately for making you strong and clarifying your values?

What do your enemies teach you and bring alive in you that is positive?

Mahatma Gandhi leads the Salt March, March 1930. Wikimedia Commons; image scanned by Yann

When I finished my book on Deep Ecumenism or Interfaith, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths, I realized that to live out the sixteen themes I had presented in the book, themes I found embedded in all the world spiritual traditions, themes like the sacredness of creation and practicing meditation and compassion and the sacred feminine and the role of art and beauty and much more, it would take strong energy.  It would take adventure.  It would take spiritual warriorhood to sustain such a journey. 

So I added a final and seventeenth theme: That of Spiritual Warriorhood.  For that archetype too is found in all the world’s spiritual traditions.  But sometimes it gets buried under complacency, privilege, or sentimentalism.  It applies to women seekers as well as men.  The sacred masculine is found in both men and women after all.

Oglala Lakota Chief Frank Fools Crow, ceremonial leader, healer, educator, and activist/ambassador. Photographer unknown; from “Military Games” by Andrey Veter on Lakota-Indians.Narod.Ru

We will consider the teachings of spiritual warriorhood we find in various spiritual traditions in DM’s that follow.

For example, Thomas Berry writes about the role of the warrior and hero in the Native American consciousness: 

The Indians have never accepted human life as ordinary, as something that can be managed in a controlled or painless manner.  They realized that life tests the deepest qualities within the human personality, qualities that emerge in heroic combat not merely with others, but also with oneself and with the powers of the universe.  The sacred function of enemies was to assist one another to the heroic life by challenge, even by the challenge of death. 

To be continued

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men, p. 301;

See also Matthew Fox, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths, p. 406.

Banner Image: A Wudang style practitioner of the ancient martial art of Tai Chi performs the movement “Snake Creeps Down.” Photo from Wikipedia.

Is it your experience that life tests the deepest qualities within us?  And that our battles are not only with others, but with ourselves and even “powers of the universe?”   And this is true whether you are a man or a woman?

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths

Matthew Fox calls on all the world traditions for their wisdom and their inspiration in a work that is far more than a list of theological position papers but a new way to pray—to meditate in a global spiritual context on the wisdom all our traditions share. Fox chooses 18 themes that are foundational to any spirituality and demonstrates how all the world spiritual traditions offer wisdom about each.“Reading One River, Many Wells is like entering the rich silence of a masterfully directed retreat. As you read this text, you reflect, you pray, you embrace Divinity. Truly no words can fully express my respect and awe for this magnificent contribution to contemporary spirituality.” –Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

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4 thoughts on “Spiritual Warriorhood, Healthy Masculinity for Women and Men, continued”

  1. Avatar
    Julett Clare Broadnax

    The metaphor of warrior does not appeal to my sense of following Christ. Christ as leader does not seem like a warrior; but rather as someone who loves at such a deep level, we want to emulate that same level of loving, so it requires letting go of aggression and surrendering to the deep peace and satisfaction/rest that we arrive at with love as our center.

    1. Avatar

      And yet, he showed his love by being very clear in his criticism of the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of the time and tipped over the tables of those who were profiting from religion, especially from the poor. Maybe it is a matter of semantics. Jesus clearly acted on his beliefs, out of love, I think. Maybe in that sense I can see him as a warrior for love but also can see why it would bother you.

    2. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      I like the metaphor, so long as it is held in contrast with soldier. I remember growing up singing, “Onward Christian Soldiers”–that never felt right for me even as a child. It didn’t fit in with the image on the mural in my Sunday School room of Jesus holding the lost sheep. I see Matthew as reclaiming the idea of the warrior from the Native American tradition where it is a sacred and spiritual role one plays in the scheme of things. And finally, metaphors are not to be mistaken for the reality they are attempting to symbolize. All metaphors are in the end only fingers pointing at the moon, but with most only seeing the fingers.

  2. Avatar

    Is is very interesting to realize that when one has decided to go within and do the “inner work” necessary to grow in wisdom and grace, challenges show up in the most unexpected ways. The trick is never to let a passing failure bring me down and keep me down, but to rise again, acknowledge what’s going on and “see” the thought or action not as who I am, but that I AM THE AWARENESS behind the thought or action, the WITNESSING PRESENCE, watching the thought or action, and then letting it go. Life has become so much more relaxing, joyful, and fulfilling since I’ve been doing my “work’ this way!
    I can use this way of dealing with the problems around me, the corona, the awful goings-on in the world of politics where power and money dominate, where people, animals and Nature are treated with contempt and heartlessly destroyed. I acknowledge these wrongs, do what I can to help, don’t buy into any of it, and do not allow myself be dominated by worry and anxiety in the process. My joy remains intact.

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