Selected excerpts from Tracy Kennedy’s forthcoming book
Discovering The Path of the Spiritual Warrior
When I was fourteen I announced to my mother that I wanted to join the army. I felt that going to war and off to battle injustice was a brave and noble thing to do, and I wanted to fight for people’s freedom. My mother looked at me intently and asked – “How will you manage taking orders from others, especially those you don’t respect?” She had a point. As a youth (and most of my young adult life), I had a problem with authority, especially those who demanded unconditional respect from me without any proof of concept. In my world at that time, respect was something that people earned and was not automatically awarded because of social status, age, or rank. Not surprisingly, this often got me into a lot of trouble – from rebelliousness in elementary and secondary school to balking at instructions from incompetent supervisors in the workplace. I challenged the status quo anywhere I could, and I spent a lot of time as a social activist and advocate for various social injustices. I volunteered in many different organizations – mostly women’s groups that helped victims of domestic abuse.
In my late twenties I still felt the urge to partake in a military organization. The army was out; I felt I was too old to start. I considered policing, thinking that this would be an optimal place to merge my drive to kick-bad-guy-butt and to help the underdogs wherever I could. I could help the public – to serve and protect. In 1997, I was sworn in as an Auxiliary Constable with the Niagara Regional Auxiliary Police Service. I stayed with the Police service for sixteen years, working my way up in rank to Acting Staff Sergeant by the time I retired in 2013. While I enjoyed many aspects of policing, I did not pursue a full time policing career for various reasons, and I still didn’t feel it was where I was supposed to be. I felt that there was something
more that I should be doing, but had no idea what it was.
After going through a life-shift a few years ago, I explored my Spiritual side – an aspect of me that always held the backstage; the metaphysical world that most people only considered a special interest or hobby. I focused on a different side of me, allowing my spiritual side to grow and flourish, and I felt considerable relief and happiness that this side of me was finally allowed to come out. In some sense, it was a homecoming. But, I still had that fighter in me, the advocate, the activist, the defender of those who can’t always do battle on their own – but for who? For what? I found myself in the middle of two sides of me, two important features of my personality that were seemingly oppositional. How can you be kick-ass and be spiritual? For a time the two existed separately, I continued my social activism in one part of my life, and I continued with my spiritual world in another part of my life. I felt a bit divided and I was unclear on what to do about these split feelings.
Then, things started to come together. In my time of searching and feeling split, the universe decided to remind me of “Indigos” and their role and significance in our world. I first read an article about Indigos in the early 1990s when the term emerged in the mainstream new age world, and it really resonated with me – I felt I was an Indigo. I had never really identified fully with the characteristics of a Lightworker. Although I believed that it was a useful umbrella term for those of us who feel compelled to bring Light to the world, there were some people that had different characteristics and motivations.
In a short time span, everything Indigo came flying at me – articles, books, videos, people – you name it, it landed in my lap. I figured the universe was trying to tell me something, so I took it all in. In one article, I took a questionnaire that really detailed the characteristics of an Indigo – especially the warrior or fighter aspects of their personality, and then the light went on. I realized that as an earlyIndigo (born in the late 1960s) – I am an Indigo Scout, as they called it – and part of our spiritual mission and calling is to work with and help younger Indigos, and to pave the way for Crystal and Rainbow children. Much of the literature noted how challenging the journey of an Indigo Scout can be, especially negotiating the spiritual side and the warrior side of their personalities. For me, it was an instant – Aha! moment and it all made sense. I was supposed to embrace both sides of me and it is part of my Life Path to be a Spiritual Warrior. It all made so much sense. I felt relieved, and importantly, I felt whole and complete, with a clear purpose. To Serve and Protect took on a whole new meaning.
Since that time, I have had many individuals come to me who were in a similar situation as I was – wondering how to balance the warrior and spiritual sides of themselves. Part of my Life Path mission is to show people that they don’t have to choose, but they can bridge the two sides of themselves and emerge as a Spiritual Warrior – one who helps others in various different ways, depending on her/his own unique skill sets. You are strong. You are edgy. You are of the Light. You are a Spiritual Being. You are unique.
We are all unique Beings of Light and, we need to release pre-conceived notions and stereotypes that we have about what we think a Spiritual person looks like and acts like. The Dali Lama may not swear (but Jesus did have a bad temper) or drink a scotch after dinner, but if you do – don’t beat yourself up and try to live up to unrealistic expectations of how you should behave and act. If you are living in love and your intention is of the Light – what is wrong with that? And so Indigos, I encourage you to embrace aspects of your warrior side and characteristics of your spiritual side and emerge as a unique Spiritual Warrior – kick butt and advocate for Love and Light! We need you.
What is a Spiritual Warrior?
The term Spiritual Warrior is something that has been surfacing for me for a couple of years now, and the underlying meaning of it has been popping up throughout most of my life. But, what is a Spiritual Warrior? There are numerous ways one can define this term, and there are considerable sources and literature that discuss its meaning. Some of these resonated with me, while others were not exactly what I was thinking and feeling. Over time, I have developed my own undestanding of what a Spiritual Warrior is, and what the Path looks like for me. I’d like to share some thoughts on what a Spiritual Warrior means to me.
Morpheus in film The Matrix famously states: “Welcome to the Desert of the Real”. The constructed world as we know it is an illusion, a farce, an empty hologram of what is real and true. We have been led astray, filled with promise and hope that materialism will fulfill our inner needs. As many of us have discovered, it has not. We have been socialized from birth to believe that our dreams should encompass expensive cars, large homes, extensive designer wardrobes – that these markers of material success are what will fill us with joy and purpose. We go to work, feed our families, engage in our hobbies, and sleep in our comfy beds. Rinse and repeat. Many people are satisfied and content with their lives and lifestyle, and that is good (yay! no judgement here). For others however, they have had the dream job, the beautiful home and the nice car, and yet they feel a bit lost and empty, their insides cry out and they wonder – is this all there is? There must be something more. Why do I feel empty and wanting? There is a disconnect to the bigger picture, and there is a disconnect between each and every one of us (All are Related!), we feel the burn of individualism and materialism. Western ideolgoies have taken the Spiritual elements out of our lives – religious teachings often leave us alienated from The Divine/Source/Creator/God, encouraging us to live in fear and not in our Truth, and not in harmony with Mother Earth and the Spirit world.
We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off. (Fight Club)
Indeed, our great war is a Spiritual war, and some of us feel that we must help, to advocate and defend the realm of Love and Light. Spiritual Warriors feel compelled, almost driven, to ‘serve’ humanity in some way. They tend to want to help those who have wandered, those who have felt lost, alone and useless. How they do so is totally dependent on the individual – from volunteering in a Soup Kitchen, to marching in a civil protest, to speaking out against racism, homophobia and sexism, to providing Holistic and Spiritual Services to their community. A Spiritual Warrior paves the way for a different way of feeling and existing in today’s world. Spiritual Warriors all have a role to play – whether small or large, each action is important and serves the greater good. Change the Paradigm notes: In general, a “Spiritual warrior” is someone who embraces a journey of self discovery in order to benefit others as well as enlighten him or herself.
Defining a Spiritual Warrior
The word ‘Warrior’ itself can be misleading and misunderstood. The etymology of the word warrior is rooted in: Middle English: from Old Northern French werreior, variant of Old French guerreior, from guerreier ‘make war,’ from guerre ‘war’ (Etymology Dictionary). To be clear, a warrior in the connotation of a Spiritual Warrior is not about violence, nor is it akin to being a soldier, but rather declaring war on modern day hypocrisies and falsehoods that lead us from our Truth and the Creator. A Spiritual Warrior takes action (and sometimes seemingly aggressively or insistently) on things – the shadow world, and on people, places or ideologies – that take people away from their Truth, their life path and purpose, and their connection to Source.
Wikipedia offers a description of a Spiritual Warrior, rooted in Buddhism:
The term spiritual warrior is used in Buddhism for one who combats the universal enemy: self-ignorance (avidya), the ultimate source of suffering according to Buddhist philosophy. Different from other paths, which focus on individual salvation, the spiritual warrior’s only complete and right practice is that which compassionately helps other beings with wisdom. This is the Bodhisattva ideal (the “Buddha-in-waiting”), the spiritual warrior who resolves to attain buddhahood in order to liberate others.
This understanding is useful in that it articulates how Spiritual Warriors help others with self knowledge and inner wisdom in order to free others. But what is the root of self-ignorance? In my mind, self-ignorance is not understanding the importance and significance of one’s soul and purpose. Each one of us is a beautiful spark of the divine source, and we each have an important role to play in raising the consciousness of humanity and raising the vibration of the planet. Self-ignorance is not comprehending one’s Life Path and Purpose. I see the Spiritual Warrior as someone who helps people see, feel, and understand their inner beauty and Truth, and shows them (by example and by teaching) that they have purpose, that they are beautiful, that they are connected to something bigger ‘out there’ – and that they are not alone.
Characteristics of a Spiritual Warrior
A Spiritual Warrior has an edge, a kick-ass side to their personality. They are fair, just and very kind, but if you cross their path or do harm to another, you will see a side of them that reveals a no-nonsense fierce personality. Some are quite outspoken and extroverted, while others may be more quiet and introverted. They are also deeply spiritual and feel connected to every living thing on the planet, and have a connection with the universe and cosmos. The Spiritual Warrior has two key aspects of his/her personality – a deeply spiritual side and a fierce warrior side. In the life cycle of discovery for a Spiritual Warrior, they will often discover and develop these aspects of their identity separately. While these two features appear to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, they do in fact overlap and complement each other in many ways.
The first aspect is the Warrior side. There may be a section of her/his life where the Spiritual Warrior will groom and cultivate the warrior aspects of their personality – perhaps within occupations, such as choosing military service or policing, or they may be social activists in some shape or another. They might engage in hobbies that include martial arts or have a stringent fitness routine. A key trigger for Spiritual Warriors are things that are unjust and unfair. As such, many Spiritual Warriors have been involved in activism and advocacy for various social causes. They have always felt the drive to challenge and eradicate various social injustices that occur around us in the world today – from environmentalists, feminists, gay rights activists, and more. The actions of the warrior side can manifest in numerous different ways – from challenging bullies on the playground, to writing letters to editors or corporations, to marching in civil protests. The Spiritual Warrior feels the need to protect and fight for the underdogs in society, or those who cannot fight for themselves or have a voice that is legitimated. By fighting I do not necessarily mean physical combat (although some do engage in this practice by enlisting in military services and going off to war), but the combat of the Spiritual Warrior often entails verbally and intellectually challenging people and situations that do not serve the higher good and collective consciousness of people, animals, plants and minerals on the planet. There is a drive to ‘protect and serve’.
The second aspect of her/his identity that the Spiritual Warrior learns to cultivate is the Spiritual side. Spiritual Warriors will have an innate curiosity about spiritual things; they might read about different religions and cultures or perhaps practice meditation and yoga. Spiritual Warriors may have regularly attended church at some point in their lives, and they may have questioned and challenged the religious practices of the church they attended, finding contradictions in the scriptures, or feeling as though their spiritual fire is not fueled by organized religion. Many leave the church in frustration and with distaste for organized religion in any capacity. These Spiritual Warriors may have a harder time overcoming negative experiences within their religion, and may have a difficult time untangling religion (exterior) from spirituality (interior). While some Spiritual Warriors have always felt a connection to a divine source, others go through a time of discovering spirituality and what that means to them. At some point a door opens, and the Spiritual Warrior sees the crack of Light shining through; they are curious and go on to explore the meaning of that Light and what role it plays in their lives. The spiritual journey often begins with a feeling of disconnection, a feeling of longing, but not knowing what that longingly or need is.
One of the challenges for Spiritual Warriors is to learn how to bridge these two aspects of their personality. Some may go through a time that favours either the warrior side or the spiritual side, but realizing that they still feel somewhat incomplete. As such, there is a need to be true to both the warrior within you and the spiritual side of you. Many feel that this cannot be achieved, that they must exist separately from each other, and many live their lives in this way, wondering why there is a disconnect within themselves. Part of the problem lies in expectations – both of what it means to be a warrior and what it means to be spiritual. There is a notion that Spiritual people cannot have an edge to them, and that warriors cannot have a metaphysical side to them, and as such both aspects are kept separate. Much of this stems from popular culture – visuals of sacred gurus from India or priests in white robes that are depicted as legitimate Spiritual Teachers; visuals of warriors who are physically strong and muscular, well trained in the art of warfare and military tactics. Both extreme depictions are so heroic in nature that an average person would not only feel unworthy of these terms, but that they are absolutely unattainable for the average person.
We also face existing stereotypes: spiritual people are pot-smoking hippies going through a mid-life crisis who are engaging in air-fairy metaphysical fluff, whereas warriors are perceived as blood thirsty, harsh and somewhat unfeeling. Spiritual Warriors must learn to appreciate and embrace both aspects within them because both are a part of their identity, and their life-path and purpose. It can be done, and there is a reason why you have developed or are developing these aspects of yourself.
To win the war against fear requires awareness, courage, discipline, and commitment to transform the emotional body. Gary van Warmerdam also offers some interesting insight into what he feels are some of the characteristics and traits of a Spiritual Warrior:
Awareness: Self awareness is the clarity to know who and what you are, and not get caught up in self important images of ourselves.
Courage: The Spiritual warrior has the courage to question and challenge his or her own beliefs. By challenging our own beliefs we can dissolve the lies that cause our suffering. To challenge our own beliefs requires courage because it means the end of our illusion of safety.
Discipline: The Spiritual Warrior is disciplined to continue on with their path when faced with challenges from their mind [and from society]. A warrior must exercise their own will at the command of their heart, not an outside authority figure.
Love: The Spiritual warrior must have the commitment to love him/her self. The warrior then extends that love to humanity.
The Call to Serve
Accepting and balancing the warrior and spiritual aspects of one’s identity will allow the Spiritual Warrior to grow and flourish – both internally and externally. Understanding that this seemingly unusual bridging of personality types is meant to arm you in your life path and purpose. Typically a Spiritual Warrior will face a moment in their lives where they feel disconnected, and will wonder why they feel it. Spiritual Warriors may feel they have a calling, but are unsure what it is, what that means, or how to go about it. The call to service – broadly – is strong for Spiritual Warriors. Many have already been in ‘service’ positions; occupations that help people, animals or the environment in some capacity – they may be paramedics or firefighters, veterinarians, social workers, personal support workers, ecologists, or they may be volunteers for the red cross, help at food drives, and so forth. Spiritual Warriors have always felt the need to help in some way, to contribute and be productive – to have their lives mean something in the greater spectrum of things. Because of this, you will often see Spiritual Warriors try many different jobs and occupations, continually searching for something that will fill that need to serve and to give their lives meaning and purpose. While some of these occupations and volunteer positions are somewhat satisfying for a time, the drive, the itch, the desire for something intangible continues. Ultimately, there is a realization of the need to be in spiritual service to humanity and all living things.
There are numerous Spiritual Warriors out there expressing themselves and ‘serving’ in various ways. Warrior Spirit – a like-minded individual, also on a Spiritual Warrior Quest writes this:
What unites all these different kinds of warriors, despite their differing loyalties and methods, is their dedication to a cause. More than anything else, the name Warrior (as opposed to bandit, pirate, fighter, brawler, soldier, etc) evokes images of a person fighting for something or someone. The Warrior, more than other members of the community, places his body, mind, and soul, often his very life, at the service of some cause he believes in.
What does it mean to Serve? What actions do Spiritual Warriors take? What actions can they take? How we choose to Serve will depend on the personality of each Spiritual Warrior and where they are at in their life path, Be it large or small, each action and each movement will play an important role in the lives of people, animals, and plants – all living things – on this planet (and the cosmos).
Perhaps the Spiritual Warrior says hello and smiles to everyone they meet throughout the day; perhaps they are kind and compassionate to their customers and clients at their workplace; perhaps they offer holistic services to their community; perhaps they offer to teach and mentor those who are questioning; perhaps they create and maintain a community garden for all to enjoy; perhaps they donate their time at an Animal shelter or foster kittens; perhaps they offer nurturing motherly love to people (friend and stranger alike) around them who feel lost and alone – the possibilities are endless – all unique and all important. After all, the objective is to live in love and light, to offer love and light to all living things (seen and unseen), to help others find love and light and their path and purpose, and to support one another in any way that we can. I have been very blessed to have met many Spiritual Warriors in the last year; all unique individuals who are threaded together and connected by Love and Light and the drive to Serve.
Perhaps some of this has resonated with you and you feel drawn to these words and the characteristics of a Spiritual Warrior. Are you a Spiritual Warrior? If you’re questioning it, then you probably are, even if not all of these words apply to you. Know that there are others that will stand by your side in your advocacy and in your Service. Noting that one is or is not a Spiritual Warrior is meant to build community, not impose hierarchies of power over one another (we are all worthy, valuable and of the Light – no one is better than another). My intent here is to share my Spiritual evolution and growth in order to help and empower others.
Perhaps after reading this you have discovered that you are in a place where you are feeling a bit disconnected and out of sorts and that you need to reach out to someone who can help, be it a Spiritual Warrior or even just a like-minded friend to talk to. First, know that you are not alone and that your feelings are acknowledged and understood. Reach out to someone around you for help (or even just a coffee or tea), or for support, or for some answers – you’ll know a Spiritual Warrior when you see (and sense) them (they might even show up at your door, as they have an uncanny skill in knowing when and where they are needed). They will be there for you. Importantly, understand that you deserve to be happy and feel joy, and that feeling disconnected and empty is no way to spend your years in this body on this planet.
And so fellow Spiritual Warriors of the Light, I thank you for listening and reading these excerpts.
I will leave you with an interesting poem that I found.
By: Ryan Androsoff
I am a Spiritual Warrior.
Love is my only sword,
Faith my only shield.
Truth my only map,
Wisdom my only commander.
I stand for all that is good,
I protect the light.
I reject all that is evil,
I conquer the darkness.
My wars are not fought on the battlefield.
Wherever there is ignorance, hatred,
suffering or fear I wage war.
Wars not fought with bombs and bullets.
Wars where blood is not spilt or lives destroyed.
Wars fought only with truth and light.
Wars where evil is conquered and darkness destroyed.
I fight for no country or army.
No leader, money or power.
I fight for the spirit of creation.
I fight to clear the way so it’s love and goodness,
may once again embrace all creation.
I do all this selflessly and with humility.
I cleanse my body, temple of the creative force.
I live in harmony with all things.
I resist temptation and embrace enlightenment.
I vigilantly toil to gain knowledge and wisdom.
And above all I stand firm as a beacon in the night,
for all mankind to follow.
I am a Spiritual Warrior
Namaste & Faugh A Ballagh! (An Irish battle cry meaning “Clear the Way!”).