The path of the warrior is an approach to life that aims to maximize our potential and deepen our relationship with the Universe. Warriorship focuses on inner transformation and views the world through the lens of energy and power. A warrior is someone who seeks freedom through choice, takes radical responsibility for their actions, and is a master of their intent. There is much to be gained by walking this path and increasing and freeing our personal power, even for the most novice warrior. Understanding that the path is not a place you reach, but rather a process of continued self-mastery. As Robert Spencer describes it in The Craft of the Warrior, “….it provides a strategic blueprint for self-organization.”
What is a Warrior?
In her book, Warrior Goddess Training, HeatherAsh Amara explains warriors in this way, “Warrior energy is a combination of focus, dedication, purpose, and determination. Consciously bringing these things together gives us power.” This quest for power is really about our pursuit of growth and personal evolution. It is about wanting to dive deep into the mystery and magnificence of the Universe and living with the knowledge that we are part of that magnificence. A warrior is humbled by this truth and lives accordingly.
What is Personal Power?
We are all born with a certain amount of personal power. Some describe it as a form of life force energy that allows for our existence. However, a warrior is interested in more than just existing. To do this, she must deepen her relationship with the Unknown. Our personal power expands as our knowledge of one’s self, and the Universe deepens. The more personal power we have, the more able we are to traverse the unknown realms. It is the fuel of the warrior, and through our awareness and heightened perception, we engage in an energetic relationship with everything around us. Personal power allows us to transcend, transmute and transform ourselves in powerful ways.
Our use and acquisition of this power in efficient and effective ways is what the Toltecs call impeccability. As a spiritual guide, don Juan Matus said, “Impeccability is nothing else but the proper use of energy.” Some call this our ability to do or take action in the world in alignment with our intent. So, as we take conscious effort and use our energy efficiently and effectively, we build our personal power.
The Path With Heart
Carlos Castaneda writes, “It is the consistent choice of the path with heart which makes a warrior different from the average man.” The path with heart looks different for everyone, but it aligns with your essence, enjoyment, and development. It is a path that strengthens you, challenges you, and is chosen with purpose and meaning at its core. A warrior knows that death is their eternal companion, and no matter what path we choose, they all lead to the same place. Because the warrior faces the inevitability of death, they decide to live life in its fullest expression. If a path no longer fits or brings joy, the warrior is free to choose differently.
Many of the choices a warrior makes along their path may go unnoticed by the uninitiated. But a warrior seeks the mystery and moves between the known and unknown worlds. As soon as certainty sets in, the warrior is no longer walking the path with heart. A warrior views the Universe as an unfathomable mystery that can never be known yet is always seeking to unravel her mysteries. This keeps a warrior flexible and engaged with life from a place of joy and curiosity rather than a rigid certainty.
This does not mean the path is without struggle. Struggle is an inherent part of expansion and development. In Journey to Ixtlan, many things need to be overcome on a warrior’s path. don Juan Matus talks about erasing personal history, disrupting routines, losing self-importance, and dropping habits. All of these things bind our power and keep us within the confines of the ordinary world.
Losing Personal Power
There are many ways in which we lose or bind our power. Habits are considered a power sink because they bind our power rather than drain it. In The Craft of the Warrior, Robert Spencer writes, “A power sink is much like a pond or a lake in the desert with no outlet to the sea. Power collects there, but being unable to flow, it just evaporates.” So, one of the best ways to free up personal power is to give something up. Habits are performed without conscious thought, so we might think that since they require little thought that they use little power. But, anyone who has released a habit knows how much energy is involved in supporting it. Remember that habits aren’t just actions; we can have emotional and mental habits as well.
For example, pretend you are giving up your morning danish. You may have omitted the action of eating the danish, but you spent most of the day thinking about how much you missed it. Those repetitive thoughts are also habits. It is not just about giving something up but doing so with impeccability or employing the proper use of your energy. Spending a good portion of the day lamenting the danish is not an efficient use.
Power leaks are another way to lose personal power. In the Warrior literature, one of the most significant ways we lose power is through identification. Or, to put it another way, the way we define ourselves by our roles, history, and various group identities is often defined by someone external to the self. Spencer writes, “First, identification produces a static quality in which permanence is both assumed and desired. Thus we can not adapt easily to the changing flux that life presents, and a great deal of power are used trying to minimize any changes that might threaten the stability of our identification or the way in which we define ourselves.”
Negative emotions are also described as a power leak. This doesn’t mean that she suppresses or represses healthy emotion, but a warrior would not act on it. In the literature, most authors view negative emotions stemming from over-identification and habitual patterns. Once someone can recognize the emotion without the mental overlay/construct, the emotion is just seen as energy moving through the body. Appropriate expressions of emotion, that is to say, emotions in proportion to the event, are using one’s energy impeccably. Dan Millman writes, “You don’t have to bring a thought or corresponding tension to life; you don’t have to dramatize it….as emotional obstructions are left undramatized, they’ll grow weaker until finally, they become obsolete.”
In addition to plugging leaks and unbinding power, there are things a warrior can do to acquire power. This power can be found in playing in the mystery and unknown realms. Engaging in activities that expand our relationship to the Universe. Crossing this threshold requires one to accept uncertainty and be able to sit with fear or confusion without trying to impose order. It also requires a heightened sense of perception that opens up to experiences rather than categorizing them. This means that a warrior leans more on their internal reference points than looking for external ones to explain their experience.
It is not easy to put into words what it means to cross the threshold into the unknown. don Juan, called this non-ordinary reality the nagual. Or David Bohms’ description of the Implicate Order. A living awareness consisting of limitless potentialities, an unmanifest consciousness where all things are possible. For some, it is the use of rituals and techniques that alter states of consciousness. It could be engaging in active dreaming. Or it can be playing in the unknown even in the ordinary world by heightening our perceptions and awareness to notice the subtle shifts of energy, the negative space, or the webs of illusion that feed the consensus-based reality.
These techniques that bring a warrior across the threshold into the unknown require being in the now moment. A warrior opens up to the world, listening with her inner ears and seeing with her inner sight. It is about feeling the world with your whole being and acting as both a receiver and transmitter of energy and power.
Freedom & Discipline
It might seem counterintuitive in a perspective that values fluidity that discipline would be so highly valued. But in Warriorship, freedom is a product of discipline. Spencer describes, “To take the path with heart, then we must find a way of loosening our bonds with what has limited us. In doing so, we challenge our self-concepts, refocus our awareness, cut tethers to our beliefs, rechannel our emotions, open our senses to new perceptions, and find new filters through which to process information.” None of this happens by chance. It requires a conscious, concerted effort to move through these self-limiting behaviors to reach a place of freedom. It is the perfect alignment of intention and action.
But the warrior understands that discipline must be in harmony with our ability to let go. After the preparations are made, skills learned and mastered; the warrior must be prepared to take action with the full force of her being. A warrior has control until they don’t, and then we must be able to release with abandon and detach from the outcome. A warrior’s freedom is found in this delicate dance of discipline and release.
Remaining detached is another critical attribute of the warrior’s path and to maintaining personal power. A warrior does not look through the lens of success and failure. She makes choices from the perspective of impeccability and not outcome. The warrior’s fluid nature allows her to take quick action and drop something if it is no longer aligned with her intent. When a person is attached, it creates a web of energy, linking our thoughts and emotions through story. Therefore investing and binding our personal power, making it less available and fluid. It is the intent, discipline, and detachment that allows for fluidity.
A warrior’s path is not always easy. And it will not be perfect. But, by following this path, we can transcend ordinary human awareness into a place of unlimited perception. As more of the unknowns become known and we understand there are many separate realities, we can manifest our full potential. A warrior can take leaps without needing explanation and is okay living outside the boundaries of what is considered normal. The real question is, how alive do you want to be? As don Juan Matus said, “We choose to be warriors or to be ordinary men. A second choice does not exist.”