“A great deal of the chaos in the world occurs because people don’t appreciate themselves.”
Do you worry that you are not as strong and fearless as you once were? Recent events have revealed that I am softer and not as tough as I used to be. During lockdown I became accustomed to practising yoga via Zoom or YouTube.
I confess that with the onset of colder evenings I now prefer the comfort of my own living room. Here I can adjust the heating, mood lighting and background music while I surround myself in yoga and an assortment of cushions and blankets.
Benefits of Warrior Pose
Adjusting my body into the pose of Virabhadrasana, I was aware of this inner conflict. As I bent my knees and sank my body lower, feeling the strength emanate through my arms and legs, I silently affirmed I rest in the stillness of my inner strength. But I also asked myself, “With my need for extra comfort, am I becoming a reluctant warrior?”
I reminded myself of the many classes I taught during cold winter nights in large drafty halls where I took pity on my yoga students and draped them in blankets to keep them warm during relaxation.
A Reluctant Warrior
The most memorable venue with its large hall and stage at one end was rather spooky at night. To turn on the lights, I had to walk through the length of the hall in the dark to get to the light switch at the back. A large oak tree dropped its acorns onto the side path and on a windy night it sounded like someone walking down the path.
One night as we were just starting our final meditation, I was affirming, Today I will open the door to my calmness, and let the footsteps of silence gently enter …, when the wind blew the back door open with such fury, it gave me the fright of my life. From then on, I used to dread going there each week.
Fear and Fearlessness
As I reflected on this, I thought of the Tibetan Buddhist author, Chögyam Trungpa and what he wrote about fear and fearlessness. He believes that our greatest fear is the fear of ourselves. He also reminds us to fully accept our humanness with all its flaws as this is what it means to be human.
Sacred Path of the Warrior
In his book Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, Chögyam Trungpa offers an inspiring guide of enlightened living. He refers to the figure of the sacred warrior who in ancient times mastered the challenges of life, both on and off the battlefield.
Through gentleness and courage, he acquired a sense of personal freedom without having to rely on violence and aggression. Interpreting the warrior’s journey in modern terms, Trungpa discusses the reality of facing our moment-to-moment experiences with fearlessness and discovering the sacred dimension of everyday life.
Back to the Normal World?
As I finally ventured out into the real world, I wondered if the yoga hall would be warm enough and if there would be enough space with the new Covid-19 restrictions. Bending down to take off my shoes I inhaled the heady scent of incense which evoked pleasant yoga memories.
As I laid out my yoga mat in the designated space, I felt the warmth of the sun’s rays shining through the high glass windows and surrounding my mat in sunlight. This was the atmosphere I needed most.
By accepting our fear, we learn to be brave but sometimes we just need to be kind to ourselves. While there are opportunities to be warriors, there are times when we also need a little bit more comfort in our lives.