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The Way of the Luminous Warrior: Practicing Fearlessness

by Alberto Villoldo, PhD

”Making others wrong distracts us from the power we have to eliminate our own potential for being bullies and prevents us from accessing our creative, healing energy, which we can use to dream a better world”

Practicing fearlessness means that we first eliminate the poverty, terrorism, and war that rages inside of us. We eliminate our addiction to being right and fix our perception of every problem within us before we actually attempt the problem itself.

We tend to overlook the price of waging a battle and instead focus on how we can get a bigger chunk of the pie. We don’t like to think of ourselves as greedy – we’re just cautious, building up a nest egg so that we will never feel insecure again. Of course we never reach this point because looking for security in marriage, the stock market, the workplace, real estate, or anything else material never quite manages to make us feel safe.

Luminous warriors build collaborative relationships with others instead of trying to conquer them; consequently, we get much closer to finding common ground and solutions to our mutual problems. Instead of clinging to our belief that we won’t have enough or that we’ll be taken advantage of, we bravely extend trust and find win-win solutions. This seems naïve, of course, and part of us says that real life doesn’t work this way. But the most successful organisms in nature are the result of collaborations. Even the human body is the product of a dozen organs and many different kinds of tissues working together.

We no longer have to buy into the false evidence that we have enemies we must continually battle and subdue. It’s this mentality that leads us to get into shouting matches with the driver who takes “our” parking space”, or to insist that our partner deliberately didn’t unload the dishwasher in order to drive us crazy. Now we don’t have to extend total trust to every person we come across or deny the danger of letting criminals run loose in the world – but we also don’t have to walk through life with a sword drawn, ready to vanquish the accidentally inconsiderate.

As luminous warriors, we open our eyes so that we can see in others the capacity for peace, even if they aren’t expressing it. Some psychologists would say that we project our dark side (our shadows) onto others, creating adversaries in order to avoid looking into our own unhealed selves. Yet making others wrong distracts us from the power we have to eliminate our potential for being bullies and prevents us from accessing sour creative, healing energy, which we can use to dream a better world.

When we practice fearlessness, we don’t have to create enemies or obsess about “bad guys” in order to feel reassured that we’re always righteous victims. It may seem strange that we would talk ourselves into feeling weak, but this works very well for us psychologically. If we see ourselves as victims, we excuse ourselves from any further sacrifices.

When we perceive at the level of serpent or jaguar instead of hummingbird, we focus on our adversaries and all their crimes against us, thus forgetting to ask the powerful question, What’s the opportunity for creating abundance and healing here? At hummingbird, we try to find creative ways to negotiate with the people we disagree with and we don’t ignore our common ground because we become stuck in the belief that we’re the good guys.

When we step beyond fear, violence, and death, we can embrace the way of the luminous warrior; we can wage peace, not war. Mahatma Gandhi is perhaps the finest example of a man who waged peace even in the face of violence, and he changed the course of history for one billion people. It cannot be so difficult to practice this for ourselves.

Alberto Villoldo, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and psychologist who has studied the spiritual practices of the Amazon and the Andes for more than 25 years. While at San Francisco State University, he founded the Biological Self-Regulation Laboratory to study how the mind creates psychosomatic health and disease.

Founder of The Four Winds Society, he instructs individuals throughout the world in the practice of energy medicine. Dr. Villoldo has written numerous best-selling books, including Shaman, Healer, Sage; The Four Insights, Courageous Dreaming and Power Up Your Brain. www.thefourwinds.com

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