The Tender Heart of the Warrior
The ground of fearlessness, says Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, is renouncing hard-heartedness and allowing ourselves to be tender, sad, and fully present.
ground of fearlessness, which is the basis for overcoming doubt and
wrong belief, is the development of renunciation. Renunciation here
means overcoming that very hard and tough, aggressive mentality which
wards off any gentleness that might come into our hearts. Fear does not
allow fundamental tenderness to enter into us. When tenderness tinged by
sadness touches our heart, we know that we are in contact with reality.
We feel it. That contact is genuine, fresh, and quite raw. That
sensitivity is the basic experience of warriorship, and it is the key to
developing fearless renunciation.
people find that being tender and raw is threatening and seemingly
exhausting. Openness seems demanding and energy-consuming, so they
prefer to cover up their tender heart. Vulnerability can sometimes make
you nervous. It is uncomfortable to feel so real, so you want to numb
yourself. You look for some kind of anesthetic, anything that will
provide you with entertainment. Then you can forget the discomfort of
reality. People don’t want to live with their basic rawness for even
fifteen minutes. When people say they are bored, often they mean that
they don’t want to experience the sense of emptiness, which is also an
expression of openness and vulnerability. So they pick up the newspaper
or read anything else that’s lying around the room—even reading what it
says on a cereal box to keep themselves entertained. The search for
entertainment to babysit your boredom soon becomes legitimized as
laziness. Such laziness actually involves a lot of exertion. You have to
constantly crank things up to occupy yourself with, overcoming your
boredom by indulging in laziness.
the warrior, fearlessness is the opposite of that approach.
Fearlessness is a question of learning how to be. Be there all along:
that is the message. That is quite challenging in what we call the
setting-sun world, the world of neurotic comfort where we use everything
to fill up the space. On the other hand, if we are in touch with basic
goodness, we are always relating to the world directly, choicelessly,
whether the energy of the situation demands a destructive or a
constructive response. The idea of renunciation is to relate with
whatever arises with a sense of sadness and tenderness. We reject the
aggressive, hard-core street-fighter mentality. The neurotic upheavals
created by overcoming conflicting emotions, or the kleshas, arise from ignorance, or avidya.
This is fundamental ignorance that underlies all ego-oriented activity.
Ignorance is very harsh and willing to stick with its own version of
things. Therefore, it feels very righteous. Overcoming that is the
essence of renunciation: we have no hard edges.
is so tender, without skin, without tissue, naked and raw. It is soft
and gentle. You have renounced putting on a new suit of armor. You have
renounced growing a thick, hard skin. You are willing to expose naked
flesh, bone, and marrow to the world.
Adapted from Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery, by Chogyam Trungpa. Copyright 2009 by Diana J, Mukpo. Excerpted with permission from Shambhala Publications.
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