Warrior Within: Accessing the Knight in the Male Psyche

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What do you think when the word Warrior appears to you?

For Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, it is men such as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King jr.

Not quite what you had in mind? Perhaps there is still something to learn about the mature male psyche.

Warrior is easily linked with aggressiveness and destructiveness. While those are important qualities of a warrior, real warrior is not purely set out to destroy. Real warrior is there to set out to destroy what doesn’t work and construct what is right in the world. Real warrior is both creator and a destroyer, a man with a mission to build and expand.

Warrior Within: Accessing the Knight in the Male Psyche is a book about the Warrior archetype of a masculine psyche, how to access it and why.

I cannot recommend this book as standalone, you should first read the outlining book: King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature. However, once you have read that I highly recommend this.

Warrior within resonates with Stoic philosophy and thinking: “The buck stops with you. Prepare yourself. Step forward. Accept your Warrior responsibilities. Fit your talents and responsibilities to the arena or theater that seems to need you the most.”

Warrior energy should be put to work to take responsibility, destroy that which doesn’t work and then to expand and construct that which is needed.

Meaning is Life Force

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The more I think about it, the more convinced I am about the necessity for meaning in our lives.

Meaning given by others is ever fading and does not feel meaningful.

Meaning understood by ourselves, is ever strengthening.

The difference in here comes in our belief system. In latter example we are connected to the meaning through our own thought and cognitive processes: we’ve asked the necessary questions to understand and connect the meaning of this moment to the next and previous moments.

In the first example on the other hand, we adopt the meaning given by others without many questions. Because we have skipped this vital phase we tend to forget what we did in the first place and why. Moreover, even when we remember the why we are still at the surface level, although we should dig at least five times with why to get somewhere.

What is your meaning of life and what can you do about it today?

I think feeling fulfillment today about the meaning of life is a key. We can teach ourselves to find it in the moment. When we are doing this, we are all good: meaning gives us energy to work and through work we put energy back to it.

Wired for Fast

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Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky enlightened the world with their book “Thinking Fast and Slow” which explores the common human errors that arise from heuristics and biases.

Fast thinking brain is fast and energy efficient and error prone . Slow thinking is conscious, energy conscious and error prone as well. What could go wrong with systems like this?

To be honest I am surprised that anything goes right. A program called evolution has weed out the most obvious bugs for at least long enough for our ancestors to be able to reproduce and raise some offspring. Real trouble gets when we get older I guess?

What’s funny about our operating system is that although we have these two systems, our brain still prefers by automatic the fast system. Fast system is so energy efficient in comparison to the slow system that if it can be solved quick and easy, we would very much prefer that.

This tendency and bias towards fast system creates challenges such as our mind jumping to conclusions about things we don’t know, but know that we have jumped to a conclusion we know to be right.

Wiring for fast doesn’t stop with jumping to conclusions, fast mind is constantly looking for something familiar, something easy way to solve this thing and get to the next. We are living in societies where we want more and faster. Fast feels good.

Although our biological wiring is what it is, thankfully we have the slow system that allows as to transcend momentarily it at first and then maybe more permanently if we keep at it as patiently as Buddha for example.

Love is Actions; Action from Where We Learn is Growth

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Interesting and great things in life call for action, also known as work and love of that work. It’s everything from what we do, to who with we do.

Why to love?

Love is life itself, abundant, going against the law of entropy. Love takes energy, we have to give our all. However, energy what we have during our life will only increase during our lives through the action and work of loving the work and people in our life.

Energy consumed just changes form.

Once we use our energy, we build up the capacity for the energy.

The more of the energy we will use, the higher capacity for energy we will develop. In other words the more we love, the higher capacity to love we will develop.

And if we keep an open mind, we keep on learning from our endeavors we will grow. And as we will grow, we have more and more opportunities to teach others and share the love.

In this way the ideas get to ever larger audience, or reach even better those who really need it. Love and growth are deeply interconnected forces that create order and structure to life. They are what makes life exciting adventure.

With nature of love and growth are the obstacles, the entropy. Entropy is all around us. Even in us the entropy takes places. The can only retain so much of what we have learned. We are limited.

As limited we may be, but we need to consciously keep increasing our capacity to love (which equals action, which requires energy). We need to consciously put our energy to use every day for others, for ourselves.

Life rewards those who strive and in the end we all will die, and who knows what the universe has in store for us. May our atoms (and all the smaller bits) serve the universe well.

Love What You Have

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Loving the present moment makes life magical.

No more clinging to the past.

No more desiring for the future.

Focusing and enjoying the present releases energy to be happy. When we are happy we tend to be more cheerful and creative. This translates to productivity and social likability as well.

We can work from the present to increase the odds of good things happening in the future. However whatever happens, our life experience is limited to the present.

Loving what you have is easier said than done. Personally I find it easy to accept present and love it after 16th Karmapa meditation.

Growing Young

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It’s fascinating thought that instead of growing old, one could grow to be young. Not in physical, but in mental sense. To learn to acknowledge the imperfections of oneself, and life and then to embrace everything in life regardless.

“It takes a long time to grow young.” ― Pablo Picasso

I think growing young is not a journey of irresponsibility or immaturity, but rather the art of retaining best of both worlds.

Growing young involves growth, curiosity, energy, cheerfulness and optimism.

Remember to Be True To Yourself

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Yesterday’s decision making process put some interesting energy on the move. It’s the kind of energy where I remembered who I am and decided to live true to that.

We need to remember to be true to ourselves, and then we will find the energy to do the things that matter.

To be to oneself requires decision making based on self-understanding. Self-understanding requires listening and accepting that which is evident.

We get to be only ourselves in this life. Although what makes life fun is that we get to play many roles during our lifetimes. Still some roles fit us better than others and here the listening part comes crucial.

Listen, understand and say no to what isn’t you. Stay true to you.

Love yourself as you are. We need to love ourselves first, because not necessary there will be no-one else to do so either. We need to learn to be by ourselves first.

When we are able to with ourselves, it’s much easier to be with others and be of value to other.

Therefore remember to be true to yourself.

Contemplation: Focusing Full Energy

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Decision making is energy intensive and energy creating process.

I’ve a few times a year these phases where the existential crisis kicks in. I’ll keep performing habits without much emotion. Then in some actions there is still spark left, while my rest of the mind wanders in deeper questions.

It’s because of this deeply inquisitive mindset that my mind apparently starts to question a little bit of everything. Including my most beloved and hard earned habits as writing itself. In fact today I made the decision not to write.

Until then I found some energy on the decision what to do tomorrow. And when I found the energy to decide on what to do tomorrow, what inspiring thing I will do tomorrow, now I got my inspiration to write about that decision making energy.

Making decisions is really energy intensive, however by doing so it allows us to focus our energy that which truly matters. And we should spend our days doing what truly matters, because other stuff doesn’t matter at all.

So far the very best answer to the meaning of life is to live life so that whole life is an answer to the question. And to do that we should be making smarter decisions on what to do and do those decisions with higher intensity.

Tiny Action

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Action is over- and underappreciated word.

Overappreciated as in action without consideration, thought or end in mind.

Underappreciated as in thought without action. Action remains just a word, instead of verb in action.

There is the middle way: thinking, without thinking too much and doing, without doing too much.

My personal fault lies mostly in thinking too much and doing too little. Thus I see this quality in others as well emphasized. And it might be that I am too blind to my own actions that are mindless, so I cannot even name them yet. With a bit of thinking, I think there is indeed also this mindless action in play.

The more I’ve studied about habits and applied what I’ve learned to my life, I am amazed to discover these tiny pockets of time all around me. More efficient actions (=habits) create more time and space. What used require effort, do not any longer. Thus taking action becomes easier.

With habits also the cost of starting doing something (which I feel is immense). Have you tried to start a work out after a long work day? That’s only difficult if you do not already have the neural circuitry in your mind to fire of and start doing it. When you’ve the network however, it will automatically flare up and you will start the work out when you just find the right triggers for that.

The difference between habit and a separate action decision is huge. Habits have little to none starting cost, they trigger automatically. Decisions to do something have tremendous starting cost and when we are tired and hungry we are less likely going to make any good decisions.

Therefore life consists of making these tiny decisions right through the days, these will ensure sufficient energy when we need it the most.

We need tiny action everyday to start building momentum for the bigger decisions and challenges.

 

Mature Response

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I read King, Warrior, Magician, Lover and The King Within to support my contemplation on maturity and what does that actually means. It’s clear that not all old people are mature, or all the mature people are old.

Maturity has to do with a quite a different thing than age. It’s more about how do you respond to outside stimuli. Jari Sarasvuo put it very well: “maturity is impulse control.” He further adds that it is either that you cannot be and express yourself or you cannot control your impulses.

Mature response to outside stimuli is to create a win out of everything that happens to you. It’s not only that ability to see and create it, however it’s ability to see the bright side in everything.

World is providing abundant possibilities for us to build the character we want to be, it is up to us to start shaping ourselves through responding more maturely through action and effort.

Observe your emotions and tell me what do you see? Do you see fear, insecure or perhaps it is anger or lust? Whatever emotions you have, does not mean you are those emotions.

We all are incomplete and immature to a degree. Yet the fact that we feel something, doesn’t mean we are something. What we feel we are not. We may still choose how do we act on these feelings.

I.e. I may feel jealous, however once I recognize that it is up to me what to do with this feeling and the energy. Do I put it to work on my own virtue or do I waste it on useless things to feel better or to put it in effort of resentment of others, which does not lead to anyone’s goodness.

Emotions are energy to be used for fuel of our virtue. Mature response is to sublimate whatever you may feel, into something greater for the good of others. If you can keep doing this, you will live the virtuous true and nothing in the world can stop you from enjoying and living a happy life. You are in fact building one for yourself through responding and shaping what the world throws at you.

Whatever the world throws at you, make something good out of it! Take everything as a gift, add you thing to it and give it further 🙂

Examples for such mature response and action would be in my case writing, meditation,  exercise, work or connecting with loved ones.  You will always find ways to channel the setbacks into a virtuous action and if you keep at this long enough, you good things will follow to your life.

Have a great evening!

Janne