The Way of the Spiritual Warrior with David Gershon
The seven qualities of the spiritual warrior. First quality is the quality of courage, or bravery. Let me read a quote. “It requires courage to come out, reach out, and effect positive change in ourselves and in the larger institutions we serve. It requires courage to love. It requires courage to accept that we ourselves can push the universe into higher states of order.”
That’s a quote from Jim Channon, Evolutionary Tactics. Another quote: “For the warrior, the experience of the tender heart is what gives birth to fearlessness. Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness; it comes from letting the world into your heart. You are willing to open up without resistance and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others. Without the tenderness, the bravery is brittle like a china cup.” From Rick O’ Shea, How to Be a Warrior. And one last quote, before we get into actually talking about courage and bravery: “The warrior’s way is not invulnerability but vulnerability -- to the world, to life, and therefore to the presence”. That’s from a book called, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
So what are the qualities of courage and bravery? First quality that I see of courage and bravery is the willingness to say the difficult things. The willingness to say the difficult things, to be vulnerable. I found in my life, that to achieve is not that hard. But what really became scary for me was to share what made me vulnerable, which was in fact that I might be thought of as less than in the eyes of the world. That is my self-esteem; when that was put into play when that was what was really at stake, that’s where I found my vulnerability or where indeed had fear. The way I came to know about that was through my wife, who is one of my mentors for better or worse.
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David Gershon Bio and Links
The Toxic Mind with Armand DiMele
In "The Toxic Mind", host of “The Positive Mind” radio show and founder of the DiMele Center for Psychotherapy, Armand DiMele, along with special guest Roberta Maria Atti, talks about the side effects of suppressing feelings like anger and frustration, and discuss ways to prevent the side effects from suppressing emotions and how to heal them. Following is an excerpt from this important program.
Hey listen -- here’s something for you to consider. Consider this: the continual suppression of emotions during fight or flight reactions results in atrophy, an endogenous toxicosis in noradrenic neurons. How do you like them apples? That’s what our program is going to be about today. Today we’re going to be talking about this and that sounds pretty technical, doesn’t it? Well, Roberta and I have uncovered The Biology of Mental Illness and Violence, and it’s really remarkable, by E. Van Winkle. And by the way, this work is available in 23 languages. It’s called “The Toxic Mind”. E. Van Winkle just woke up to write this article.
Let’s start with the theory, the idea here, the following hypothesis, right? The continued suppression of emotions means you feel something and you don’t let yourself manifest it. It comes up, you feel it, and it gets shut off for one reason or another. During fight or flight reactions, now that means when you’re excited, nervous, or tense, when your body is saying we have to do something and we’re going to get all ready for action. So that’s the fight or flight reactions, that if you don’t do something when your body says we’re ready to do something about the situation, it results in a toxic accumulation. Now that’s what we’re going to look at today.
This is a really interesting thing. How could that be? How does it work? Well, we know how it works because we see it all the time. Your leader at work is in a miserable mood and they bark at you, and you get upset but you can’t say anything about it. So it boils. Part of the suppression of emotions is actually what is the backbone of civilization. We as civilized humans, we suppress emotions in part because it’s necessary in order to function in a human society.
A Blue Fire Part II with James HillmanJames Hillman -- one of the most creative thinkers in the field of psychology -- talks about the necessity of grieving, and the repercussions when it is sidestepped in this part II transcribed excerpt from his fascinating weekend seminar based on his book A Blue Fire.
Now, if that passive aggressive is not… if the aggressive part is not given something valuable -- which is what I think goes on in the men’s work, something valuable – true, some sort of images of poetry, spirit, body, and language -- I think that passive aggressive part of our nature will become ideological and fascistic and revert to its old forms. Well, not all together. Not all together. You haven’t yet seen. You know, we’re not lynching and we’re not marching. We vote for Reagan but that’s as far as it got. It’s gotten further than that. [talking in background: “You get gay bashing. You get racial slurs.” Etc.] It can get much worse. [talking in background] Well, it’s that absence of grieving. First the absence of grieving and mourning for the loss in Vietnam, and the fact that so many American males went through an initiation experience without the initiation mythology that goes with it. So they were deserted and they are the base of change in the country, but they are considered outsiders and put through psychotherapy. But no one who is responsible for Vietnam is put through psychotherapy!
Well, anyway… So this lack of mourning and grieving keep one out of touch with something much more profound that is a potential in the man. If you can’t grieve, you are not in touch with your real depths, and there’s more to it than that, but anyway. [talking in background] Yeah, but it’s a particular feeling. And as long as therapy band-aids, or tries to, as you say “get on with your life” or teaches coping -- and I don’t want to make it trivial -- it is complying with the entire political system. So my vision of therapy now is changing and I see that therapy could be a cell where revolution is prepared.
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Real Life Spirituality with Mark Matousek
Today we have an excerpt from Real Life Spirituality with Mark Matousek. He will focus on what it means to be a practicing spiritual person in the world, how we bring sacred values into our daily lives and how it challenges us.
I came up against this challenge first when I came back from India, after having spent time over there in ashrams and monasteries and my head was, you know, sort of full of all these spiritual ideas. It wasn’t long after I came back that I realized I needed to learn to incorporate these ideas into the real world. I would talk to people about enlightenment and Satori and Nirvana and all these grand ideas. They would look at me, not quite believing me, not quite understanding what I was talking about, until a friend finally said to me, “Do you mean kindness?” And when he said that, it was like a light went off, and I realized how diluted I was to think that spirituality was this grand thing, separate from the world. I was actually angry, feeling like nobody was understanding what I was trying to say until I got that, the truth is that I was misinterpreting what spirituality was about and separating it from everyday life.
So I realized that until I could understand that kindness was the essence of everything I had learned and leave behind all of this mystical language and these grand ideas, I wasn’t actually going to be able to live an integrated and balanced life as a spiritual person in the world. I didn’t really know what that would look like and what I came to realize is that being a householder is actually much harder than being a monastic, when it comes to bringing your spiritual values into day to day living. You know, it’s easy to have love for humanity when you’re sitting on a cushion in an ashram or in a monastery, but when you come out into the world and you start dealing with things like money and relationships and sex and career and ambition, all of a sudden it gets a lot more complicated, it gets a lot more challenging.