We are continuing our meditations on the spiritual warrior that were initiated both by the four policemen who were present and active in resisting the insurrectionist attackers on January 6 and by listening to Howard Thurman speak to the deeper meaning of spirituality as inner and outer strength.
Yesterday, I introduced “Professor Pitt” who talks often about the “the warrior fight.” What is that?
For me the warrior fight first begins with overcoming yourself and your own demons, your own stuff which is the hardest, to keep going in training which is fighting yourself.
This sounds a lot like the prophet Muhammad talking about the primary meaning of jihad as the inner fight with oneself.
Pitt speaks to an outer fight as well—and the need to resist that when possible.
And then externally the true warrior’s fight is not to fight physically or to engage in any kind of fight unless it is the last resort.
This comes up often in his experience.
Me being African American, you run into many situations where people are pushing you to come out physically and for me that’s one of the fights—to not come out physically because once we come out physically everything is already designed to destroy us and we’ve given them a reason to do what they love doing—locking us up and giving us charges, labeling me in spite of what I do for humanity and the community. The minute I jump into that warrior character all the good stuff I do gets wasted and they just look and say: “There’s that animal again.” So that is a big fight with me.
He recognizes warrior energy as being applicable to all our relationships—
…warrior being a good man to my wife cause that’s always a struggle, the man and woman thing, how to be graceful in how the stuff comes out, to be as graceful as possible.
Hildegard of Bingen speaks frequently about “being strong like a tree.” She is a woman pioneer who had to fight many battles both within herself and with her patriarchal culture. She tells us we are subjected to many trials in this life and often “God hurls tempests on humans” who are “fragile in flesh” and we cry out: “I have such great and heavy things weighing my flesh down. I am not strong enough to overcome myself.” Strength is called for.
When you oppose the devil like a strong warrior opposes his enemy, then God is delighted with your struggle and wishes you to call upon him constantly in all hours in your distress.
The soul “resists strongly.” She urges us to “become strong, therefore, and be comforted because this is necessary for you.”
Furthermore, Christ is “a very strong warrior” who will “break the head of injustice.” And this is what prophets do—they “carry the banner of justice.”
It is clear that for Hildegard both women and men are called to spiritual warriorhood and to working and fighting for justice.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men, p. 79.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen, pp. 118f., 125f.
Banner Image: “Shift away from the love of power to the power of love.” Photo by Alice Popkorn on Flickr.
Do you undergo the “warrior fight” within yourself? And do you recognize in Christ and others you admire and call on a “very strong warrior” who nurtures your own strength?
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
Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen
An introduction to the life and work of Hildegard of Bingen, Illuminations reveals the life and teachings of one of the greatest female artists and intellectuals of the Western Mystical Tradition. At the age of 42, she began to have visions; these were captured as 36 illuminations–24 of which are recorded in this book along with her commentaries on them.
“If one person deserves credit for the great Hildegard renaissance in our time, it is Matthew Fox.” – Dr Mary Ford-Grabowsky, author of Sacred Voices.