As yogis, we are practicing an ancient science passed down by people who understood the complexities of the Universe. These sages mapped the subtle energy of the body and Cosmos long before science discovered it. We are living in a time in which the science of yoga is now being practiced all over the world.
Many cultures, past and present, mark this time as an auspicious one. Centuries ago the Mayans prophesized that there would be a great shift in which life as we know it would end. The Hopi spoke of this time as a Golden Age in which truth and love would finally prevail. Astrologically speaking, we have just shifted from the Piscean to the Aquarian Age, which marks a shift in the energy of the Cosmos.
I have been reading for years about 2012 and the Aquarian Age. There are many popular theories that have sprung up to try and explain the rapid changes we are all now experiencing. What I am witnessing is the apparent lack of time in each day, the rampant dis-ease of stress and the collective disconnection from our Earth, from ourselves and from each other.
For me, the invitation at this time is to take our quest to our inner landscape, to bring the light of awareness to the parts of us that are still engaged in the old ways of thinking and behaving. As the paradigm shifts, so must we.
Now is the time to cultivate the discipline, skills, and heart of a Warrior Saint. Why a Warrior Saint? This ancient archetype is one that exemplifies qualities that can help us to emerge from this time triumphant. The Warrior Saint represents a true leader, one who has done the inner work necessary to be a man/woman of their word. The Warrior Saint is one who has a high moral compass and lives according to a set of principles that consider the WHOLE; one who is fearless and firmly rooted in their connection with the Divine. To be a Warrior Saint requires discipline, strength, skillful actions, and a wise and true heart.
On a practical level, embodying the Warrior Saint requires daily practice—whatever practice rejuvenates your physical body, focuses your mind and energy, and sheds light on the ways you carry yourself in the world. This includes the thoughts you choose, the actions you take and the words you speak. All have a powerful impact on your environment and your future.
Changing the old ways is not an easy process, as many of these counterproductive behaviors are inherited from our families, our ancestors and culture. This is where a warrior’s discipline is essential. Every second that we can be aware of and present in the moment is one in which we are not living or acting from an unconscious place.
On that note, here are five techniques you can integrate into your daily practice to embody the Warrior Saint:
How often are you taking responsibility for your thoughts, judgments and prejudices? Negative thinking can pervade our consciousness if we are not diligent and committed to a more positive and loving outlook. In yogic philosophy there is a term Pratipaksha Bhavanam—the ability to shift your thoughts to the opposite perspective. This tool has been key for me in my development as I have a tendency toward negative mind and worry. Whenever I catch myself in this frame of mind I shift my thoughts to a positive place. This simple tool has been hugely impactful in my life.
Another key warrior tool involves cultivating an intuitive mind. For example, you might consider how the choices you make impact the lives of those around you, including the Earth and even generations to come. From what mental space are you making decisions? For years this has been a struggle for me personally; I get stuck somewhere between my heart and my head, between logic and intuition. Meditation in particular has helped me to develop my intuitive mind so that the decision-making process is much more efficient.
How often are you speaking in a way that can negatively impact another? Thoughts and words are among the most powerful energies we project. A key tool I share with my teacher trainees is to ask a single question before speaking: Is this truthful, kind, and necessary
Yoga sages taught the path of the sacred energy of love and compassion—the kind of love that knows no bounds. So often we can mistake attachment for love. True love is unifying the whole creation with your warm spirit of kindness, appreciation, and concern. The more we give love with no attachment, the more we receive from Source.
What is the intention behind our actions? As the saying goes, it is not what you do, but how and why you do it. A warrior is centered, skillful and courageous in action. I have noticed for myself that with the fast pace of the world, decisions need to be made quickly and fearlessly, with the clarity of our neutral, intuitive mind and the courage of a heart embedded in the Divine.
Like Arjuna, one of the greatest warriors known in yogic tradition, we too can fulfill our dharma by calling on the wisdom of the Warrior Saint archetype. Arjuna, counseled by the embodiment of the Divine (Krishna), was given the gift of clear vision so that he could fearlessly embody his highest purpose as a warrior. Arjuna’s greatest battle was not outside of himself, but rather in navigating the demons of his own mind.
Like Arjuna, each of us has a personal dharma and thus an important role to play in the present evolution of humankind. The greatest gift we can give to a world in crisis is to tend to our inner-landscape and develop our Warrior Saint within. I feel this time calls for us to be discerning, to see the consequences of our actions from the bigger picture. We are called to see the interconnectedness of all things, to develop the capacity and skill to navigate the battles of life with grace and ease.
The battle of the Warrior Saint is not outside; it is within.