I have a Warrior to thank. An inner Warrior with a benevolent intention. 

Near the beginning of my journey of awakening, I recognized that my challenge in this lifetime was to stretch my way of being beyond its aggressive comfort zone. Throughout childhood and beyond, I had relied on my Warrior spirit to deal with the world before me. That spirit permeated my adaptations and disguises, my daily interactions and love relationships, my call to become a criminal trial lawyer. War was my habitual range of e-motion. I ate the war game for breakfast. 

But then something happened. After an extraordinary apprenticeship with a brilliant criminal lawyer (fellow Warrior Eddie Greenspan), I went to Turkey on a last vacation before opening my own practice. There, I was awakened to and reminded of other pathways of possibility, other versions of Jeff longing to take up space inside of me, pushing at my soul seams. I came home to a spiritual emergingcy- the state of confusion and inner tumult that one experiences when a spiritual path is pushing its way into consciousness, prior to its full emergence and integration. Amid the outcries of my angry Warrior, I procrastinated the decision to practice law. Over time, I recognized that my challenge in this lifetime was to make a radical transformation in my soul consciousness. After many lifetimes as the archetypal Warrior-the call to arms- the scripture in this lifetime was to soul stretch into a more surrendered and loving way of being-the call to disarm. A new Soulshape, one with a white flag at its centre…. 

As part of the journey home, I disdained the Warrior within at every turn. I disparaged his driven nature, his narrow minded focus, his macho ways of being. I saw his armour as my primary obstacle, an anger encrusted distraction from true-path. In my efforts to embody a more heartfelt way of being, I needed to distance myself from the battlefields I knew best. 

But I missed the point. Towards the end of writing Soulshaping, I recognized that I had misunderstood the nature of this process. Old Soulshapes don't fade away. They just get pushed aside as the new forms come into being. When the new form concretizes, the old forms rise back into awareness. Where before the Warrior and Healer archetypes appeared to be flowing in disparate directions, they were now revealed as inextricable branches of the same waterway. On the River of Essence, everything flows in the same direction- towards the Ocean of Wholeness. At some point, the assertive and the surrendered become indistinguishable. 

Since that time, my respect for the Warrior within has deepened. Who pushed me to overcome my miserable childhood? Who stood his ground in the face of tyrannical parents? Who pushed me to door knock my way through University? Who motivated me to clear my emotional debris and excavate my callings? Who got me through the writing of Soulshaping amid tremendous economic pressure? Who is energizing me to write this blog? 

It is easy to miss the beauty of the Warrior spirit, particularly the traditional male warrior. We have given women so little to be proud of- misplaced aggression, power games, heartless destruction at every turn. Our history has been a perverse distortion of our spirited nature, an egoic cloud of dark and thunderous proportions. As a man, I am genuinely ashamed of what we have perpetrated in the name of the Warrior. I invite all men to acknowledge their complicity and to give extra kindness to the women in their lives. I ask the Divine Mother for forgiveness on our behalf.

At the same time, I bow down to the noble efforts we have made to create a better world. I honor my Grandfather, who risked his life in World War Two to protect the world I would be born into. I honor my Grandmother who held the family together under onerous circumstances. I honor the Warrior spirit that built the railroads, the cities, the bridges that bring us into contact with one another. I honor those who worked like dogs, who died in the trenches, who did everything they could to establish the foundation that I stand on in my efforts to go higher. But for them, this blog would not even enter my consciousness. I would be foraging through the brush, knife in hand, attempting to find food to feed my family and fuel my survival. Praise to those well intentioned Warriors who came before. 

As with everything we do, the key to our actions is the intention behind our actions. Intention, intention, intention. The Warrior is not the problem- the sourcespring is the problem: What is motivating our decision to act? Is our edge emanating from a soulful sourcespring or are we disconnected from the taproot? Are we making a conscious decision to assert ourselves or are we unconsciously directed? Are we fueled by congealed rage or a heightened intention? Civilized humans or barbaric beasts? 

I think of the Warrior much like I think of the mind. When the mind's doings are directed by our highest intentions, it is a magnificent and constructive tool. One begins to think of ways to honor our callings and to elevate humanity. Yet when it is driven by primitive patterning and old tapes, it is self-destructive and soul-distractive. I remember when I first crossed over from poverty to a measure of material comfort in my life. Instead of shifting my mind's focus from survival to the next step in my evolution, I remained trapped in the worry mind, jumping from one neurotic tree top to another, fueled by the memory of prior realities. Although I objectively knew my life had changed, I didn't feel it, because I was still back there, trapped in the monkey mind and his fixation on survival. When I finally did feel the shift, I began to utilize my mind to actualize the next stage of my inner evolution, to express and humanifest my highest callings. It was all a question of where I was moving from. 

To get to the world as it ought to be from the world as it is, we need the benevolent Warrior within. We need his energy and his focus to develop and utilize our inner tools. We need his clarifying sword to distinguish false-path from true-path. We need his courage to fight for our right to the light, to push us to adventure beyond our habitual range of e-motion and try other ways of being on for size. Like swashbucklers of the spirit, we bravely seek out any experience that might inform our path and determinedly participate in our own revealing. In Soulshaping, I call it shtuscle- inner muscle, the soul driven determination to overcome whatever obstacles come our way. Without shtuscle and lots of it, we're not getting home.

In 2011, I invite you to honor the benevolent Warrior that lives inside you. Acknowledge the ways he has already helped you to survive and reach this stage of your journey. Applaud his efforts to awaken you when you fall asleep. Give breath to his desire to take you higher up the Mountain of Consciousness. Honor the white flag at the heart of his feisty nature. The Dude loves you. 

Happy New Year to Benevolent Warriors everywhere. There is much work to be done on sacred battlegrounds before we can evaporate into Essence. Souldier on….