You and I live in a complicated day and age.
Last century, many battles were waged to create better equality in the world, give voices and rights to those who did not have them, and raise up peoples who were kept down due to gender, skin color, sexual preference, or what-have-you.
I know that I thought we had won most of those battles. Hell, we elected a black President early into the 21st century. But the forces we thought to be defeated, it turns out, only went into hiding. Now they have returned, and due to current leadership on many levels feel empowered.
Maybe it was naïve of me to think the battles were won…but I don’t believe that’s the case. Many of the battles were won…but the war never ended.
New soldiers are taking up this battle, but that’s true on both sides. Yet I know that the side of equality, rights for all, kindness, and justice will ultimately prevail. Optimistic? Maybe…but I also am pretty sure that we outnumber the racists, misogynists, bigots, homophobes, and the like.
Unfortunately, they are very loud and have a lot of money to back their causes. But as Plato said,
“An empty vessel makes the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest babblers.”
Yet those voices cannot just be ignored. So you gird yourself for battle and lead the resistance to combat their hatred and negativity.
It’s a worthy and noble cause — and it can be utterly exhausting.
Nobody can be a fighter 24/7
Even the best soldier on the field of battle needs to rest. They need to recharge and get back their energies, or otherwise, they will be vulnerable. This is applicable to both mistakes on their own part from a clouded and sleepy mind, and in reaction to the attack of the enemy.
When you are a warrior for equality, human rights, and justice for all, the emotional toll can be incredible. Wherever your roll in the battle may be — spy, infantry, cavalry, leadership, resistance, or what-have-you — this can take a lot out of you.
You may not wear a uniform and be part of any formal army, but that doesn’t mean you are not a soldier in the battle for rights and equality. In all probability, you are a Warrior of the Light.
What is a Warrior of the Light?
Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite authors. His brilliant book, The Alchemist, is one of the most inspirational, well-written stories I have ever read and enjoyed. Also, the audiobook is narrated by Jeremy Irons.
One of Mr. Coelho’s many additional works is Warrior of the Light: A Manual. In this fantastic book, he presents numerous anecdotes, fables, and ideals that make up the Warrior of the Light.
A Warrior of the Light is a person who fights for equality, fights for justice, stands up for those who have no voice, and takes action to raise people up to be the best that they can be. All the while, they themselves are striving to be the best of themselves that they can be.
Mr. Coelho explains this far better than I can:
“The Warrior of the Light is a believer. Because he believes in miracles, miracles begin to happen. Because he is sure that his thoughts can change his life, his life begins to change. Because he is certain that he will find love, love appears.”
If you are working to be self-aware, employing mindfulness, and striving to better yourself and those around you — and/or — if you are working to help those who are facing injustice and inequality, you are a Warrior of the Light.
The pen may be as mighty as the sword
Some warriors go into battle with a sword, while others do so with a pen.
There are several things to know about being a Warrior of the Light. Warrior does not mean you are a combatant…you may be an ambassador, a diplomat, or an envoy.
As Yoda pointed out when Luke said he was seeking a “Great Warrior” in The Empire Strikes Back:
“Wars not make one great.”
Battles for the minds and hearts of people can be just as demanding and exhausting as warfare. A spirited debate, a prolonged argument, and a heartfelt plea can require much of your energy reserves, and afterward leave you drained and in need of refueling.
No matter how you do battle, in especial when it’s mental and/or spiritual, sometimes it feels as though you can never win. No matter how much you can prove that you have the right argument, when the other side is intractable, moral or not, the battle may be unwinnable.
The battle, yes…but the war? Not so much.
Historically the demagogues always fall. The super-rich and utterly selfish run out of places to hide and are brought low. The disempowered become empowered.
Unfortunately, because we tend to forget our history or ignore the lessons of it, these things are repeated over and over again. Dictators rise, minority groups get placed in concentration camps, and zealots take up crusades against those not of their faith.
It may take a lot of effort, and a lot more time than you would want to expend, but in the end, the Warriors of the Light will be victorious.
Even the personal battles matter
Right now, on a more personal level, I am seeing a lot of my friends struggle against old institutions that are slow to evolve. They are putting in an amazing amount of effort, and though it makes an impact, the walls are not going to fall overnight.
It can be utterly fatiguing to rehash and refight the same battle again and again. When your tactic of yesterday that was ignored by an ally is employed today it can be disheartening at best.
Odds are, you are not alone in this fight. You have many allies. Just remember that they are likely imperfect. Quoting Paulo Coelho from Warrior of the Light once again:
“Warriors of light are not perfect. Their beauty lies in accepting this fact and still desiring to grow and to learn.”
Maybe nobody is listening to what you have to say. Perhaps that which you treated as urgent but another has ignored for a long time they are now suddenly treating as urgent and making you just want to ask, “What the f*^k?” That does not lessen your tactics or your overall point.
Keep the faith. Remain hopeful. Don’t give in to hate.
Once again, as Paulo Coelho says of the Warrior of the Light,
“And he always checks that he carries three things with him: faith, hope, and love.”
I know how wearisome this can be, but it is worthwhile, whatever battle you are fighting. Keep striving to be the best you that you can be. You are worthy and deserving of all you are putting out there. Take the time to rest, so that you can keep giving your best to yourself, and to those you care about.
You are a Warrior of the Light
Let me conclude with a final quote from Paulo Coelho’s Warrior of the Light: A Manual:
“What is a Warrior of the Light?” “You already know that,” she replied with a smile. “He is someone capable of understanding the miracle of life, of fighting to the last for something he believes in — and of hearing the bells that the waves set ringing on the seabed.” He had never thought of himself as a Warrior of the Light. The woman seemed to read his thoughts. “Everyone is capable of these things. And, though no one thinks of himself as a Warrior of the Light, we all are.”
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done, you matter — so don’t be discouraged, and keep being a Warrior of the Light.