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sacred warrior (3)

Trungpa's Shambhala Warrior

Some of you may know that from the beginning of my learning about fearlessness, I was very influenced by Rinpoche Choygam Trungpa and his teachings on Shambhala, as Tibetan Buddhism in its more ancient Indigenous forms. Here's a quote on the sacred warrior along the path of fearlessness, I found today from Trungpa's excellent book (1984), Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior:  [this truly reflects my experience on the path]

"Experiencing the upliftedness of the world is a joyous situation, but it also brings sadness. It is like falling in love. When you are in love, being with your lover is both delightful and very painful. You feel both joy and sorrow. That is not a problem; in fact, it is wonderful. It is the ideal human emotion. The warrior who experiences windhorse feels the joy and sorrow of love in everything he [she] does. [S]He feels hot and cold, sweet and sour, simultaneously. Whether things go well or things go badly, whether there is success or failure, [s]he feels sad and delighted at once. In that way, the warrior begins to understand the meaning of unconditional confidence."

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Four Arrows, a colleague and friend, and sacred warrior, sent me this link to an article where he talks about the Indigenous way of courage and fearlessness, and its relevance to an upcoming resistance action at Standing Rock, ND, where Veterans for Peace and other activists are standing with the Indigenous people who are challenging the Dakota Pipeline transgressions on their territory.

See http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/38558-the-loving-contagion-of-courage-veterans-standing-for-standing-rock

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I have to say I am quite disappointed at Huffington's latest downgrade: she used to talk all about fearless and fearlessness in 2006-07 or so, and now she's only talking about "thriving" and how to re-evaluate the nature of success (which is a good thing)... but in her latest book "Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom and Wonder" (2015) she does not even mention at all fearless or fearlessness (1). I watched a 57 min. video of Huffington on stage at the Googleplex for Google employees (see Youtube) and she mentioned the word "fear" only once (i.e., we have a "fear of pausing" in our extra busy life-styles these days). Google as a corporation has been called by some a few years back a "culture of fearlessness" for its positive innovative activities, which makes this talk all the more interesting to me, and at the same time, disappointing. 

So what's going on with the change-up? What happened to her major life mission to help everyone (especially girls and women) become fearless? We need to inquire critically into this phenomenon as an example of my big concern about how superficial people really are (and are teaching) when it comes to how they conceptualize "fearless" this and that and this and that... and how fearlessness is ultimately distorted, and degraded in these hyper-sales type human potential pitches of all kinds of people, stars, and such... Huffington being one of them. I thought she might be something more in 2009-10 when I read and researched her work. Let me explain the "downgrade" problem... 

If you haven't heard of Arianna Huffington, a quick Internet search will show you who she is on paper anyways. She's a famous business person and health promoting personality (at least in the USA). In 2013 Forbes magazine voted her as one of the Most Powerful Women. All that success aside, the reason I have been sort of following her is because in my book The World's Fearlessness Teachings I highlighted her in the first chapter (pp. 4-13) among several other contemporary women leaders around the world who I cherished had been teaching about fearlessness as the best way to go in the early years of post-9/11 etc. Huffington wrote multiple essays, gave talks, and had a hit book entitled "On Becoming Fearless in Love, Work, and Life" (2007). I thought wow, this woman leader could really make a difference and promote fearlessness in a good way. 

I was disappointed that she nor her staff would respond to my short articles sent to them for publication in the Huffington Post (which Arianna is founder and CEO)... I was disappointed she never cited my work on fear and fearlessness all the years I have been publishing, etc. I sort of let it go and kept my eye on the positive things she was doing to counteract the fear-mongering in the 2008 American elections and her call for an "epidemic of fearlessness" among Americans and others to resist the abuses of fear in politics. 

I haven't followed her work for five or so years. But, turns out, some powerful things have been happening in which her "fearless" way of being in the world came crashing down. Literally, as she told her story to the Google staff on Youtube, she completely collapsed without provocation or notice something was wrong and broke her jaw and cut her head open above the eye-- near concussion. All because, as she says now reflectively, she was an A-Type personality and workaholic in denial all these years. Yes, in my words, it was this strong successful business woman and journalist that was teaching the world to be fearless... and all that time she was self-destructive and waiting to 'hit bottom' so she could turn her life around. She tells of her priorities and obsessive work habits and how she had lost the joy of life and was always tired (but she admits, she didn't know she was that off-balance and tired). She was a mess on the inside. The outside looked good. She sold a lot of books on "fearless" and everybody (nearly) loved her. 

I tell this story because, even in my book I applauded her call for an "epidemic of fearlessness" (and listed her as leader of such a populist Fearlessness Movement--see Wikipedia that I posted). I also critiqued her thin conceptualization of "fear" and making its meaning so watered down without rigor, and thus her definitions and meanings of fearless and fearlessness were also going to suffer. I had some doubts about it all but it was something rather than nothing. Practically, I let it go, but theoretically and philosophically I was disturbed (as I often am with people's shallow and marketing hype in using "fearless" to sell and coach and you name it)... 

Turns out my critique was accurate. Huffington was on a 'kick' with her "fearless" thing. It was temporary. It was false (or at least weak in foundations). I see this over and over in the Human Potential Movement and New Age, and in Business and Organizational Development discourses. It really pisses me off how much attention, money and following they gather... but the real authentic Fearlessness Movement never gets that. So, now we see Arianna Huffington not even talking or writing about fearlessness. I think, in fairness, she was caught in the masculinist world's interpretation and valuing of fearlessness--she, had not done her homework on the notion and how it is much more feminine (or at least more about balancing the worlds, if we want to label them so insufficiently as masculine and feminine)-- bottom line, she was out promoting her own version style (flavor)... and now she's selling "thriving" (beyond just surviving)... 

I'll end my disturbance of thoughts and feelings about how style and hype (celeb culture) get so much attention and money in American culture... and just say that Arianna had to 'hit bottom' like every addict. And addicts get addicted to fear and fearless. It doesn't seem to matter. They do so because they really don't understand what fear and fearless are about. They don't understand the developmental and evolutionary process, nor the world's fearlessness teachings. They certainly don't follow my work. Oh, well, her "thriving" is exactly where she should be... she has not yet matured to authentic fearlessness... if you see my book Fig. 2.1 (p. 48), I had mapped out this path of development as a universal soul path:  naive, to victim, to survivor, to thriver ... then (across 'Fear' Barrier-2) to sacred warrior (and magician) and then to royal leader... 

"Thriver" is, from the perspective of true fearlessness (sacred warrior-magician) still someone who buys into the normal culture more or less-- only tweaks it a bit to improve it... a 1/2 step beyond the 'norm' and when they are rich and famous, like Huffington, then they are "goddess" or "god" to the normals who want to really make it beyond survivor stage... my point, is there are still two stages left in development. Huffington has now settled (it seems, at age 65) with this great "wisdom" as one of her big offerings to people today, and she wants us all to slow down and sleep better longer... okay, fine, but she also still wants us to live in this world of coping (first-tier) and not really do anything too revolutionary... in fact, she repeated in the interview at Google, "just micro steps make a big difference"-- there was no more the talk of fearlessness and (r)evolution like there was in her teaching back in 2006-07... nope... something really downgraded in her teaching... but, maybe that's just what needed to happen... 

But, my critic keeps wanting to ask her: So, what happened to "fearless" and how have you integrated with "thriving"? 

If she answers that honestly, we all will see just how "thin" fearlessness was in her conception and teaching, coaching, back before her accident (he falling on her egoic nose!")... true fearlessness is not about ego-hype-style-charm and business wealth... not about bravado... thanks, Arianna for showing us all that! 

Endnotes

1. Except for on citation of a book title by Joan Halifax in the references which has the word "fearlessness" in the title of Halifax's book (p. 323)

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