“The concept of being a warrior is applicable to the most basic situations in our lives, to the fundamental situation that exists before the notion of good and bad ever occurs. The term warrior relates to the basic situation of being a human being. The heart of the warrior is this basic aliveness or basic goodness. Such fearless goodness is free from doubt and overcomes any perverted attitudes towards reality.
Doubt is the first obstacle to fearlessness that has to be overcome.
We’re not talking here about suppressing your doubts about a particular thing that is taking place, nor are we talking about having doubts about joining an organisation or something like that.
We are referring here to overcoming a much more basic doubt which is fundamentally doubting yourself and feeling that you have shortcomings as a human being. You don’t feel that your mind and body are synchronised or working together properly. You feel that you are constantly being short-changed somewhere in your life.
When you were growing up, at a very early stage, perhaps around two years old, you must have heard your father or mother say no to you. They would say ‘no, don’t get into that’ or ‘no, don’t explore that too much’ or ‘no, be quiet, be still’.
When you heard the word no, you may have responded by trying to fulfil that no, by being good. Or you may have reacted negatively by defying your parents and their no by exploring further and being bad. That mixture of the temptation to be naughty and the desire to be disciplined occurs very early in life. When our parents say no to us, it makes us feel strange about ourselves which becomes an expression of fear.
On the other hand, there is another kind of no which is very positive. We have never heard that basic no properly, a no free from fear and free from doubt. Instead, even if think we’re doing our best in life, we still feel that we haven’t fully lived up to what we should be. We feel that we’re not quite doing things right. We feel that our parents or others don’t approve of us.
There is that fundamental doubt, or fundamental fear, as to whether or not we can actually accomplish something. Doubt arises in relating with authority, discipline, and scheduling throughout our life. When we don’t acknowledge our doubt, it manifests as resistance and resentment … resistance in everyday life provides us with many ways to manipulate situations …
The basic no, on the other hand, is accepting discipline in our life without preconceptions …”
~ From Smile at Fear by Chögyam Trungpa
Image: An elm tree coming into leaf a few weeks ago. It is a favourite time of the year for me, watching the accordion pleats emerge from their tissue paper envelopes.