Never thought of myself as a “warrior.” Wasn’t that a term used by Third World tribes or ancient civilizations building empires on one war after another?
A warrior was someone who didn’t mind taking another life, or at least someone trained to dwell not on any moral implications of war.Warriors were as much a part of life as shop-keepers, scholars and clerics. All served society. All provided some good, didn’t they?
But what do we do with a warrior whose dreams haunt him? Who sees his war deeds return as “flashbacks” while working years later in peace time? Where can he go to cleanse himself of hurts he recognizes now may have been imposed not for the good of all, but for the want of a wrongfuly-inspired few?
Where are his countrymen when he needs help to overcome the demons he thought he had put to the sword when clearing the enemy from the battlefield?
These are just a few questions that “lightly” cross my mind as I gear up for a Veterans Retreat with the Rev. Claude Anshin Thomas at Omega Institute. Many who were touched by war have learned to deal with issues in private. Alone. Away from the stigma any possible disruption or disorder their past actions might cause today. A few will meet and try to learn how best to reach out to others from more recent battles, more “righteous” conflicts our governments have engaged us in. We hope to share our experiences so that a new group of “warriors” might seek help in less time many of us were forced to finally admit the need.
The following is helpful:
WHAT IS A WARRIOR?
Excerpt from WAR AND THE SOUL By Edward Tick
Thanks to philosattva’s — a-call-for-the-healing
“A Warrior is not just one who has been to war and returned. Warrior has been recognized as a basic ideal, pattern of thinking and behaving, and social role that has occurred since the beginning of time. Becoming a warrior is an achievement of character. A veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder can use the ideal of warriorhood as a guide and goal for healing and growth.
What are the characteristics of the warrior? The ideal warrior is assertive, active and energized. He or she is clear-minded, strategic, and alert. A warrior uses both body and mind in harmony and cooperation. A warrior is disciplined. A warrior assesses both his own resources and skills and those arrayed against him. A warrior is a servant of civilization and its future, guiding, protecting, and passing on information and wisdom. A warrior is devoted to causes he judges to be more important and greater than himself or any personal relationships or gain. Having confronted death, a warrior knows how precious and fragile life is and does not abuse or profane it.
A warrior knows what he is fighting to preserve. Like a bull buffalo flanking his herd to protect it from predators, a warrior knows he is essential to his people’s survival. He knows he belongs. He receives honor and blessing from his community for the service he willingly provides, and he in turn blesses his community with his devotion and willingness to sacrifice his life, if necessary, for its well-being.
Moreover, warriorhood must be directed toward transcendent goals. It must be based upon universal principles and connected to divine and honorable powers and purposes.
Warriors are meant to play major roles in the lives of their communities, providing help in times of need and restraining rather than encouraging violence. They need guidance from others who have been through similar experiences, and they need to pass their values, wisdom, and experiences on to younger initiates. Ideally, during all phases of service, warriors interact with their people rather than remain separate from them.
A society cannot be healthy without its warriors. And societies with a class of mature warriors to remind the leadership and people of the realities of war are healthier, stronger, and less prone to violence.
We need warriors. The call to veterans, and a way to heal post-traumatic stress disorder, is to follow the path of the honorable returned warrior.”
Omega Institute offers Meditation Retreats for Veterans with PTSD
Hey Michael J! How wonderful that you will be able to be with Claude Anshin Thomas. I would LOVE to do that some day. As you know from an number of my own posts in support of Vets, and our conversations, I am a huge fan of his book “At Hell’s Gate”
May this very special retreat be a big help to your life and healing—I’m sure it will. I hope you will share what you can when you can.
Am reaching deep within to bring out a process that never kicked in while facing combat.
I know Ed Tick from years ago….
He sounds interesting. What can you tell about Ed Tick? I like what he wrote and would shake the man’s hand if I ever meet him.
Even though the Jack Nicholson character in the movie “A Few Good Men” was the antagonist, his monologue about the duty of warriors “on the wall” was well-received.
You have gone where people like me have not. You have struggled with the orders given you, and you live with the decisions you had to make, to this day, on a battlefield not of your choosing. You did it so people like me didn’t have to.
To say I’m grateful would be an understatement.
And I’m really glad to see that the ugly stigmas associated with warriors in the Vietnam War has largely gone away, as both of our nations have developed – finally – a consciousness of the shit that soldiers regularly have to go through on our behalf.
Strip away the politics and the grandstanding and that’s what you’re left with: soldiers who are willing to fight, die, or come home, many with PTSD, so that we can live our lives as we’ve always done.
Damn it, Wolf,
Your words send a chill up my spine and bring a tear to my eye.
Feel like a kid watching a movie where the good guy wins and rides off into the sunset.
Thanks. Gotta watch Nicholson’s performance and try to see beyond the famous line, “you can’t handle the truth.”
There may be more truth there than I first confronted.