Walking The Path of A Spiritual Warrior
Throughout history, philosophers, writers and mystics have pronounced that the greatest potentialhuman beings were capable of cultivating was the art of spiritual alchemy, i.e. the conscious evolution of self. For within the auspices of living an intentional life is the creation of the harmonious growth of not only the individual, but the entire human family.
As Henry David Thoreau so eloquently wrote:
“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor.
It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”
– Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Walking the path of an alchemist is indeed a great responsibility for we are tasked in exercising compassion as we strive to bridge the illusions of our dualistic reality. To authentically transform power is a spiritual practice that demands those of the highest calibre – persistent, unwavering, able to rise and learn from failure.
Through stepping through the doorway of self-forgiveness, we embark on a lifelong journey of compassion. By accepting our weaknesses, we in turn create the opportunity for growth as we tailor the unique characteristics of who we are and become the spiritual warrior we were born to be.
The following is a shamanic dream I had whilst attending a spiritual retreat at an off-grid, self-sustainable farm in the rural wilderness of Ontario, Canada. It embodies this practice.
Gently, as my consciousness began to slip into the dreamworld, I would awaken to the sound of an intense, angry growl nearby. As I sat up in bed, I scanned the darkness around me and seeing nothing, slowly relaxed letting go of wakefulness.
Twice, my progress towards the realm of sleep and entering the dreamscape was interrupted by this sound which was occurring inside of me. On the third attempt, I successfully crossed the bridge between wakefulness and sleep.
In dreamtime, I woke up in an alternative timeline and was getting ready for the next day of workshops. As I “woke up” in the dream, I noticed that there was a large black dog laying beside my bed.
As I stepped from my room onto the external wooden landing, the dog followed me and we continued downstairs to the main dining area. I commented to another workshop participant on this occurrence and he said “yes, you are with the dog now”, which I intuitively understood to mean that this black dog was everything I had ever repressed, disliked and hated about myself.
With this new understanding, I began to observe the behaviour of this dog and it appeared to be lost and lonely. I went to comfort him but it growled and began backing away, fearful of me. Slowly, I was able to get closer to him, but it took time because this black dog had been rejected so many times and it needed to be shown how to accept and receive love.
In time, he licked my hand and I affectionately tousled his ears, slowly building report. I knew that this black dog was my companion and that it represented the parts inside of me that needed love. I also knew that with enough care and attention, in time we could learn to trust each other and become best friends.
These sequence of dreamtime events occurred incrementally, gently transitioning my consciousness between lucid dreaming and wakefulness. I felt like this was done intentionally as it assisted me in better recalling the dream. Like pieces of a puzzle, I put together the timeline in my journal, which I am sharing with you now.
This dream also showed me that my pain and suffering was not who I am, however, these companions inside of me were indeed in need of love.
By giving these inner companions love, they could actualize and evolve into the lessons they were meant to become (similar to watering plants in a garden).
However, without love, these companions would become fearful and within this fear they would struggle for control because they did not know that there was another gentler, more loving way to be.
By becoming my own best friend, I will teach this black dog that there is a more loving way and welcome him back home again.
I know that we are better together.
James Divine is a well-traveled transdisciplinary who believes freethinking is essential to the well-being of human innovation. His maverick personality confidently resonates with holistic medicine, investigative literature and spiritual empowerment. Dreaming of a humanity free to determine its own destiny, James is passionately pursuing opportunities of furthering his ecological consciousness through the educational experiences embodied in permaculture, traditional chinese medicine and building sustainable communities.
**For an excellent introduction to the subject of spiritual alchemy (especially relating to shadow work) I would highly recommend the documentary film: The Shadow Effect.
Official Page: The Shadow Effect
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