This was the Daily Om from a few days back. Although this article begins with the premise that we prefer to be in our softer, more gentle selves, this is not true for most men today. We often are raised to be warriors, to compete, and sometimes literally to become soldiers and go to war.
For a lot of men, finding the gentle, tender part of ourselves, the part Chogyam Trungpa identified as the heart of the warrior, is the real challenge.
“The ideal of warriorship is that the warrior should be sad and tender, and because of that, the warrior can be very brave as well.” ~ Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
“The essence of warriorship, or the essence of human bravery, is refusing to give up on anyone or anything.” ~ Chögyam Trungpa, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior
For a good article on warrior heart in Buddhism, see this article by Justin Whitaker at Wildmind Meditation.
When we recognize our warrior self we can exhibit strength without sacrificing tenderness.
The human soul is dynamic, adapting readily to the changing conditions we encounter as time marches unerringly forward. Though we may use a single set of characteristics to define ourselves, we slip easily into contradictory roles when circumstances necessitate doing so. When we feel called to explore the way of the warrior, we may feel a strong sense of dismay because we have no wish to disavow ourselves of our softer side. Yet embracing the warrior spirit is not a matter of denying gentleness or compassion—all human beings embody all traits to some degree, and seemingly contradictory aspects can coexist peacefully within us. We can exhibit strength without sacrificing tenderness precisely because both are elements of the self and both have a role to play in the complexity of existence.
Balance is the key that unlocks the door of peaceable coexistence where opposing characteristics of the self are concerned. The warrior spirit, when allowed free reign, is overpowering and all-consuming. If it is to be an affirmative force in our lives, it must be tempered with wisdom and moderation. Our inner warriors are ready to react instantly to conflict, chaos, and confusion, while nonetheless remaining committed to a path of goodwill and fairness. They lie at the root of our dedication to integrity but do not drive us to use our strength to coerce others into adopting our values. The warrior may be nourished by raw emotions with the potential to cause us to lash out, but it channels that energy into positive and constructive action.
Your inner warrior is one source of strength you can draw upon in times of great need. When you employ your warrior spirit thoughtfully, it manifests itself as clarity, focus, determination, courage, constancy, and an unflappable zest for life. The warrior views roadblocks as evolutionary opportunities and is not afraid to pursue a purpose to its climax. There is more than enough room in the existence of the warrior for softness and benevolence, and the warrior's willingness to stand up for their beliefs can aid you greatly as you strive to incorporate these ideals into your existence. Exploring this unique side of yourself is a means of broadening your reality so you can internalize mindfulness while meeting life's challenges with an intensity of spirit that never wavers.
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Here is another article on awakening the warrior spirit, also from the Daily Om.
Awakening The Inner Warrior: Stoking The Fire Within
There are certain personality archetypes that we all carry within us, such as the inner child, the lover, and the mother. Some of these archetypes present themselves strongly, while others lay fallow. For example, there is an inner warrior in each one of us, but in some of us this warrior is underdeveloped to the point that we are unable to stand up for ourselves, even when necessary. There can be many reasons for this. We may have grown up with a parent whose warrior aspect was overdeveloped, and we responded by repressing ours completely. On the other hand, we may have grown up with parents in whom this aspect was dormant, so we never learned to awaken it in ourselves.
A warrior is someone with the strength to stand up for what he or she believes; someone who perseveres in the face of challenges and obstacles; someone who speaks and acts in the service of an ideal; someone who protects those who are too weak to fight for themselves. Regardless of the reasons for an underdeveloped inner warrior, you may begin to notice the lack of its fiery, protective presence and wish to awaken it. You may need to stand up for yourself in a certain relationship or situation, or you may have a vision you want to realize, and you know you will need the courage, energy, and strength of a warrior to succeed. Similarly, if you find that you often feel scared, anxious, or powerless, rousing this sleeping ally may be just the antidote you need.
One excellent way to cultivate the presence of your inner warrior is to choose a role model who embodies the qualities of bravery, strength, and vitality. This person could be a character in a myth, movie, or book, or a historical or living person you admire. Simply close your eyes each day and contemplate the quality of energy that attracts you to this person, knowing that the same potential lives within you. Confirm for yourself that you are capable of handling this energy responsibly, and stoke the fire of your own inner courage.