Laura Ford Huber
The Warrior Energy - Mythology
Life is coming to the surface, manifesting potential in an explosion of foliage and flowers, but periodically the forest must burn, everything must die to be reborn.
For humans to change and transform, we must too cast off what we no longer need, we must create fire within so new life can emerge. For there to be Creation there must first be Death & Destruction.
One can experience an unconditional affirmation of life only when one has accepted death, not as contrary to life but as an aspect of life" - Joseph Campbell
Like Christians, Hindus believe that the Divine contains three separate and unique figures who together form a trinity. IN Christianity, the father son and holy spirit. Hinduism - Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer - these combined actions enable life in the universe to manifest.
God Shiva the destroyer, creator of the demon Virabadrasana, represents death and rebirth at the same moment.
In this myth the powerful priest named Daksha had a ritual sacrifice, but he failed to invite or even mention this to his youngest daughter, Sati, because of his hatred for her husband, Shiva. Sati found out about this ritual that she was not invited to and felt the need to show up and essentially crash his sacrificial party. In this moment of frustration she and her father, Daksha got in a fierce fight that persisted,
Overwhelmed with anguish, humiliation and pain, she resolved to no longer be associated with the earthly body her father had given her. She sat down, retreated deep within herself and began to practice fierce yogic breathing, which violently ignited her inner fire and engulfed her body in flames.
Shiva, Sati's husband, soon heard about her sacrifice and he was simply devastated. In a moment of grief and devastation he tore out his hair and pounded it into the ground with fury. This lock of hair that was beaten into the ground transformed into a powerful warrior, Virabhadra - Vira meaning hero and bhadra meaning friend.
tHe fiery gigantic warrior who carried terrifying weapons and embellished his body with snakes and skulls. was sent to the party to find Daksha, to kill him, and to destroy all of his guests, Virabhadra dove into the ground toward the ceremony. Once there, he broke through the earth holding his sword above his head fierce and confident, ready for battle. He then opens up, arms extended to protect both sides, heart open and holding a gaze that is unbreakable. When he finds Daksha and destroys with his two swords. he is fully extended, committed, and engaged from head to toe taking aim for the fatal blow. the earth shakes, the mountains totter, the winds roar, the depths of the seas are disturbed
Filled with a mix of emotions, sorrow, compassion, remorse, Shiva of all the destructoin he has caused with his demon. Shiva then goes to find Daksha's body and brings it the head of a goat, a sacrifice which then brings Daksha & Sati back to life.
The warrior poses are physical and symbolic of warrior energy in that they require considerable strength in the muscles of the legs, which symbolize virility and power. And yet, at the same time, all three warrior poses demand that the chest and heart are remain open. The arms and legs are active, while the heart center, when open, banishes the fear of death.
w2 allows shiva to perform this work of transformation inside us. As we enter the posture, we find a purifying flame, inside of which we shake and tremble. If we surrender to this fire, a phoenix may rise from the askes, with the strength and wisdom to do the work of the Divine.
Lord Shiva represents the Higher Self; Sati represents the Heart; and Daksha represents the Ego and all its ramifications, such as anger, impatience, maliciousness and arrogance.
Who we are when we enter our practice is somehow different from who we are when we emerge.
Though Shiva is usually portrayed as a destructive image, the overall sense is one of joy. The small and temporal is being destroyed so that something great and eternal may be created.
His story of the warrior seems violent and far from the peaceful ahimsa (non harmfulness) but we are not celebrating the warrior who caused a scene of destruction and carnage. Instead,we acknowledge our own spiritual warriors who every day do battle with our own egos and avidya (self-ignorance) which is the ultimate source of all our suffering.
it is one thing to accept the reality of destruction, it is another to experience ourselves as the Destroyer. Whether we want to accept it or not, sometimes we are cast into this role.
we can use our practice, and our warrior poses to become familiar with discomfort and with the balance of energy. to practice with the volcanic and dangerous energy of destruction and handle it with dispassionate wisdom in other parts of our lives. essentially practicing resolve, control and triumph over those negative vibrations by virtue of our pure hearts.
What is left ambiguous is how to know whether our actions are propelled by divine inspiration or our own egos.
This is Maya = illusions. Both the psychological separation between ego and the universe and the psychological filter that colors all of our experience. our memories, conceptions, judgments, and biases that present a distorted sense of reality. These impressions of past experiences become superimposed or projected on current experiences creating a false reality. Maya enforces the ego, strengthens attachment, and defines our individual story that defines who we are and our relationship to the external world.
Moksha is liberation. It is not a place, it does not exist in the heavens, the earth or the spirit world. Freedom has no space, no time, no location; it can only exist in the now, in the present moment. Moksha (liberation freedom) is the state of non-ego, where the me vanishes and one stands free from all desires, actions and consequences in a total sate of oneness. WE are bound to this material world through attachment, desire, and the inability to see or experience the oneness of all life.
It's when we can let go of maya (illusions), and dissolve our ego, and sever both our over attachments to pleasure and our aversions to discomfort , is when Moksha freedom arises.
it is then that WE become completely absorbed in the sensation of an experience without thought. Total absorption in the moment.
Wherever we are, we can train as a warrior. The practices of meditation, loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity are our tools. With the help of these practices, we can uncover the tenderness of the awakened heart. We will find that tenderness in sorrow and in gratitude. We will find it behind the hardness of rage and in the shakiness of fear.
A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping for the comfortable and safe. But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty.” ~ The Pocket Pema Chodron