If fear of death and making death an advisor is the first battle of awareness, then clarity is the second. The spiritual warrior, much like the traditional warrior or samurai, adopts a discipline in his life to transform himself and become clear and clean with time. This is the hardest and longest struggle of life because it brings out the battles with the self, the shadow and our own integrity and sobriety.
The spiritual warrior knows that the battles fought are mostly within the self first and only secondarily are they manifested in the world at large – often only a reflection. The warrior adopts the serious mood of a being in a constant state of war, which does not mean hurting others or going to war to defend. Rather the war is for the self, the totality of being aware. The warrior knows that to go from the caboose of life, where all is but a mere reflection, to the engine of life where our energy is facing towards and into the wind, is a non-stop process of eliminating what no longer serves the pathway forward. Sometimes this means battling a pattern which brings vast insobriety, like anger or jealousy. Sometimes it means battling a pattern that we inherited from our family or culture. Ultimately it is questioning and carefully choosing what the warrior will keep and will throw away.
To win this battle, the warrior does not randomly choose to battle everything at once. There is too much to accomplish… they choose their battlefields wisely. With care they can map out their own territory of being. Only then do they attack a problem as though it were life threatening, and in reality, from the first battle of fear, all battles are life threatening. They carefully observe, record and become aware of the network of patterns related to whatever battle they are in. They cut the chords to that web of delusion and distraction and gain energy as they do so. They stop feeding the web. As they do, they come face to face with some aspect of themselves that they have lost to that pattern of shadow and myst… and then with a careful sweep of the sword, arm or energetic being, they kill the killer that stands before them. This is the one who has been sapping their energy away into the patterns. Then they incorporate or integrate that energy back into the self… for their can be only one…. only one self on this train.
Modern life is about shattering ourselves and our energies into a million tiny pieces and maintaining all of these for whoever we are standing next to because we want to be liked, accepted, adored, and cared for – the pathos of life. The ordinary life is constantly trying to support the fractured nature of our nature and not the integrity of the being we were born to be, aware and clear. Thus the spiritual warrior does an exhaustive inventory of these patterns and behaviors to defeat the separation and pull himself together. As this action, which takes concentration and discipline occurs, greater clarity comes. It becomes easier and easier to see the territory of the self, to see the territory around the train that is our life. It becomes easier not to get distracted by all the pretty colors that would make you think that the patterns are real.
Most people spend a vast amount of energy running up and down their own train making sure that everything is in place. The place of the child, the place of our job, the place of our relationship to religion, the place of our controlling need to be right… really the patterns are infinite. And the warrior knows that whether through inheritance or choice, these are now his patterns to deal with.
We call this recapitulation. Destroying the patterns…. Every spiritual path with exercises has this element of recapping life, doing an inventory, removing our connection to what does not serve spirit and washing this away to be constantly reborn in the present moment. ALL spiritual paths have this. If they do not, then they are a sham. What makes the spiritual warrior of freedom different than the average person is that he applies these warrior’s techniques to eliminate all connections and thus becomes free of entangling alliances and patterns with everything. The spiritual warrior gains a clarity that is crystal clear and simple… things are just what they are… not the story of what they are, but the direct experience of what they are.
The battle of clarity leads to energy… the battle for clarity leads to simplicity. The battle of clarity leads to a lifetime of practice. Some of the practice is sitting in silence and just listening to the patterns… we call this stopping the world… it is literally stopping the train from moving down the tracks, just being in the moment. Stopping the world is stopping the incessant chatter in the head from constantly commenting and criticizing everything. The voice in the head is there to separate one from a direct experience of the world as it is. It is a good thing initially, for it can have intuitions of coming dangers… but this is just that, information, it is not a real experience of the world as it is. It separates us and hopes to protect us, this foreign voice in our heads. Clarity is seeing through the ego separation… a choice we made in becoming who we are… (from the first battle of fear)… We chose to have this kind of separate awareness of life… But just how separate do we need to be? Fractured into a million pieces? Or one integrous being moving with choice? The story is the same in infinite varieties of details of being human.
When we accept this battle, it is often initiated by a near death experience, a series of dreams or devastating shift in our commonly held beliefs, and we can become stronger. We have a spiritual emergency, and we emerge on the other side with greater strength and clarity… with discipline and practice… and ultimately with a sense of calm and ease. We also see how much our lives are no different than anyone else’s life… and this clarity is ultimately humility…. We are all equal on this path of being alive.