Friday, March 18, 2011

Warrior Presence

When I asked Mr. Phiri about the three decades it took him to get his land and his vision to where it is today he answered, "It's a slow process, but that's life. Slowly implement these projects, and as you begin to rhyme with nature, soon other lives will start to rhyme with yours."
-Passage from Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Volume I by Brad Lancaster

In the book 12 by 12, a deeply inspiring account of William Powers' spiritual journey in an off the grid home, he talks about a concept her refers to as 'warrior presence'. The topic comes up when he discovers the acrid smell that had been wafting through the serene and largely undisturbed woods he was inhabiting was that of a commercial chicken factory. He writes:
In twenty years of meditation and spiritual search I've noticed that the people who really "get it" in the sense of beautifully blending inner peace with loving action have something in common. It doesn't seem to matter whether they are Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Catholic, or born-again pagan. They have what might be called "warrior presence." In other words, they face larger problems just as they face their personal problems - as Einstein and Jung suggest we do - on a different level of concsiousness than the one at which the problems were created. Instead of allowing the negative forces of a flattening world to flatten them, those with warrior presence maintain beauty and control in their interior space, through being fully present in the moment.
When I was reading the book a month ago, the concept resonated strongly with me, and I have recently come to know the importance and difficulty of applying it.

For the last week I have been brooding in the way that I do when something is bothering me and I can't put my finger on what it is. As it turns out, I was subconsciously obsessing over a conversation I didn't even realize I had let into my field of thought. While I had expressed one view in the midst of being passively insulted, I was feeling another entirely. I pretended not to let the offhand comments of another bother me when really their negativity had taken residence in the back of my mind, throwing a blanket over the steady and bright light my soul usually provides. Along with the muddled state I was experiencing due to the residing feelings of inadequacy, my reading on rainwater catchment has opened my eyes to the constant resource wasting that is intrinsic to the way the system operates, and ignited a feeling of complete helplessness to change it in my current location. Add to this the news that a dear family friend committed suicide a few weeks ago, filling us all with deep sorrow for the loss of such a wonderful human being. 

After a week of emitting 'jerky' vibes, Mom was fed up, and, in the manner that we usually do, we had it out. After 45 minutes of arguing we got the bottom of the problem and swiftly lifted the blanket, allowing my light to shine once again. The light, incidentally, illuminated the passage regarding warrior presence in my memory and inspired me to see all of the effort we are putting forth to change our lifestyle. For one, we have isolated our use of our dryer to towels only (because they get crunchy in the sun) and all other laundry items are now hung on a line on the patio. We compost as much waste as our composter can handle. I have replaced my lamps with candles and banished my computer to be used only in one room of the house, allowing for more meditative practices and less charging time (once every three days to be exact).

With my state of mind adjusted, I attended a meeting with a man who is organizing the creation of an eco-friendly, new age school in San Miguel. He is in need of insight and muscle to help him with his vision of an organic growing, water catching, dual language establishment. As I was restlessly wishing I had land to plant on and practice my new found knowledge on rainwater harvesting, he was providing me an opportunity to do this while at the same time supporting an organization I believe in. 

William Powers writes about his ongoing difficulty with the flattening world, and warrior presence is his alternative to submitting to despondence. And as Mr. Phiri implies above, and the law of attraction states, like attracts like, rhyme with nature and in turn, rhyme with others. Channeling the warrior inside and defending the right to shine and make the world as great as it can be, whether it be on a grand or domestic scale, is my newest practice in finding the greatest consonance I can in an increasingly complicated world. 

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