This world is a battlefield. Anyone who is born has to be a warrior. Whether man or woman, old or young, king or beggar, brave or cowardly, literate or illiterate, saint or sinner, he has to fight the battle. Battles begin with birth and continue up to the last breath of life. It could be said that our major duty in this world is to fight.
But this is not a hateful battle with an enemy; it is a loving battle with a friend, a form of exercise that brings fresh energy. The yogi faces harassment every day but is not ready to accept defeat. When at last he wins te great struggle, he looks and sees Almighty God standing beside him. Embracing God, the yogi remembers something. With tears in his eyes, he turns and bows again and again to the defeated struggle left behind. He prays to struggle with a pure heart: “Oh great well-wisher, creator of my destiny, I have discarded you often. Although I have committed numerous offenses against you, you have ignored my villainy and brought me to the holy feet of the Lord. Without you, true humanity and divinity are indeed difficult to obtain. Oh angel of struggle, let your victory be everywhere.” ~Swami Kripalu
This world is a battlefield; anyone who is born has to be a warrior – doesn’t sound much like the yoga we talk about most days, does it? Where is the peace? Where is the, “may all beings everywhere be happy and free”? It can be very easy to gloss over many of the struggles in our lives and our practices. We use the rosy words of yoga to convince others and ourselves that it is all going to be ok. “I’m witnessing,” “I’m breathing,” “I’m meditating,” but sometimes aren’t you just angry? I am.
The struggle I’ve been aware of in these last few weeks is seemingly insignificant – the changing nature of a long-standing friendship. And, while I agree that perhaps this isn’t on the same magnitude as Discovery of the True Self, it is a struggle all the same. The fight to hold onto to something that is moving away from you; to accept a new reality is a great battle.
As I planned a visit to my friend over the weekend I felt as though I was preparing for battle – “what am I going to say,” “what will she do”… and then I found these words: But this is not a hateful battle with an enemy; it is a loving battle with a friend, a form of exercise that brings fresh energy.
This quote from Swami Kripalu reminds us that indeed the struggle is part of our yoga and that all emotions, not just those of happiness, pave the path of our journey. The act of rising up, drawing our sword and cutting of the heads of our demons to bring fresh energy and insight into the self is a powerful lesson. It is a lesson of love and acceptance; it is a lesson of releasing reactivity and embracing openness. It is the lesson of the Warrior.