The XXI Century Warrior part VIII: The Cycle of Destruction of Self and Others

Malala Yousafzai is the archetype of the XXI Century Warrior

“This individual behavior reflects itself in the collective, separating our society in groups that become more fundamentalist and extremist as the problems continue to pile up, hence, creating a vicious cycle of collective intolerance, violence and destruction”.

This is a serial publication. Here are the links for the last installments.

Part VII. The Warrior’s Mission

Compendium of Parts I,II,III,IV,V,VI.

An Instrument of the Whole

The monk continued to speak softly.

“From now on, she will need to balance her life between projecting her small ego and letting her awe-inspiring will to surface and express itself. Now she is an instrument of something greater than her, and she is aware that she must let go of her ego and be in service of something beyond her normal comprehension”.

“In order for her to keep being and instrument of the whole, she needs to practice silence in solitude — the whole expresses itself in silence”.

“She is free to follow any religion or spiritual practice that she perceives is suitable for her own spiritual needs. However, she should be aware that there are many dogmas hidden within religious practices. With the purpose of letting her grand will express itself, she must be able to recognize and dismiss them”.

“The warrior´s mission may appear to be like a heavy burden to bear by any man or woman…”

The Symptoms of a Crisis of Values

My friend abruptly interrupted him.

“Heavy burden to bear? Please forgive me, but I think that is impossible to do. I come here to this mountains in order to find peace and quiet, and to get away for a while from a world that is going mad”.

“For starters, in the most advanced countries, politicians aren’t concerned about the wellbeing of the people; instead, all they seek is to keep their power, and for that, they are willing to sell their souls to the best bidder, even if it is the devil himself”.

“Most corporations are only concerned about making money for top executives and shareholders, while assigning negligible resources to social responsibility programs and to stubbornly denying their share of responsibility in the environmental mess”.

The monk observed her patiently as she continued to talk, unaware of anything else but her thoughts.

“The biggest banks and financial institutions have abandoned their traditional functions and they keep speculating into an ever increasing financial bubble that every time that it explodes, drags the rest of the world into a deep economic crisis”.

“Not only do you find the same problems in less developed countries, but also huge social inequalities that cause continued suffering to half of the world’s population. The list goes on and on, and you are saying to me that this sort of saint warrior is going to solve all that?”

She realized that her answer had been so emotionally charged that it might have sounded disrespectful. She blushed, paused, breathed deeply and spoke. This time she did it in a softer tone.

“I am sorry, but I just needed to get that out of my system”.

“Do you feel better now?” The monk said calmly.

“Yes, thank you. She said. “However, the essence of what I said remains true. Doesn’t it?”

Our Reaction to the Crisis

“Yes, it does”. Answered the monk. “Nevertheless, what you have just described are the visible symptoms of a deeper crisis — a consciousness and value crisis”.

“At the deepest level of our souls, we all share the same values. However, we react differently to the events in our lives”.

“As uncertainty increases around us, the possible courses of action seem to be more complex to identify and to implement. Most people, as a response to that reality, try to look for internal reassurance by clinging on to what they know, reaffirming their own beliefs and points of view. They close their minds to the new, ignoring new information and denying the existence of alternatives courses of action”.

“This ignorance of the new is like screaming in an echo chamber, we only listen to ourselves and to the people who think like us. It is impossible to solve anything acting from that egotistical space, but we react emotionally towards the people who don’t think and act like us, eventually considering them as adversaries or enemies, developing antagonism and shutting our hearts to them”.

“We miss the point that the only way to act effectively in this case is to act counter intuitively and counter emotionally, it is by opening our hearts to send love and being empathetic and compassionate to the others that we can, and will reverse this vicious cycle”.

“But to feel and send love towards people that you dislike or hate is so difficult, that it requires from us to step beyond our own fears and judgements, and to gather enough courage just to be present, to stand our ground without being rude, hostile, or reacting emotionally”.

“Furthermore, it is impossible for a person who has been maltreated and is hurting, to feel love towards her abuser. The healing process of a person that has been emotionally damaged is a long and arduous one, it requires courage and patience, and it begins by feeling love to ourselves — Self love”.

“Eventually, that love will dissolve our own shame, which is the emotional trigger to feeling hatred towards our real or perceived aggressor. When our shame vanishes, so does our hatred. Then, and only then, we become emotionally able to take the next step towards our emotional healing, and in the best of cases, to forgive”.

The Cycle of Destruction of Self and Others

“This process works as a sort of vortex, because it has a cyclonic like dynamic. The forces that are at play within that emotional tornado are self-reinforcing, and their destructive potential increases as we ascend in the cycle — One leads to the other”.

“When we react in denial before uncertainty, or adversity, we are in fact closing our minds to the new reality and refusing to see other people’s point of view. A closed mind creates its own perceived reality that leads us to eventually feel shame for the situation that we are in, and hatred for the people that we perceive to be responsible for it. Unable to even consider putting ourselves into those people’s shoes, we end up closing our hearts to them”.

“Having closed our minds and our hearts, we believe that everyone with a point of view different from our own is our enemy, and like medieval warriors, we fortify ourselves within stone walls in order to protect our beliefs and dogmas, and to destroy everyone that tries to trespass or bring that fortress down. Needless to say, taken to the extreme, this cycle turns out to be violent and destructive, and everyone participating in it ends up losing. This is the cycle of destruction of self and others”.

“This individual behavior reflects itself in the collective, separating our society in groups that become more fundamentalist and extremist as the problems continue to pile up, hence, creating a vicious cycle of collective intolerance, violence and destruction”.

The monk made a pause, as if thinking what he would say next.

“I had not thought about it that way”. Said my friend. “Now that you spoke about our role in the underlying causes of the crisis, it makes more sense to me”.

“There is a missing piece, thought”. Said the monk.

“What might it be?” Said my friend.

This story will continue

With love

Helio Borges

Helio Borges is a bilingual (Spanish- English) writer. He writes about personal growth, Spirituality, Psychological well being, Organizational and Social change. He has an experience of more than 20 years in Change Management in organizational settings. He is a member of the community of changemakers who uses the “Theory U” methodology, created by Otto Scharmer Senior Lecturer of MIT. He co-hosts the Caracas u.lab Hub in Venezuela. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Boston University. He is an Ontological Coach, Positive Psychology and Theory “U” workshop facilitator and speaker.

Executive & Team Coach & Mentor. Cultural Transformation Change Agent & Consultant. Twitter: @hborgesg. Instagram: @heboga. FB: helio.borges.35. Uriji: @hborges