Die to yourself. This is one of the foundational goals of the warrior.
A warrior’s purpose is to serve something outside of him or herself – something greater than one’s self. There was a time (not so long ago) when this concept felt foreign to me – even mildly insane. The selfish, pleasure seeking, shallow part of me had more control over my life and my decision making process than is now comfortable to recount.
As I was reviewing my ETHOS recently, this concept of mortality and the end of my days began to grow in my mind. Perhaps the most powerful realizations that came from this inner dialogue were the ideas that: (1) At the end of days, my faith allows me to face death, but I fear the regret of a lifetime of wasted moments, (2) To powerfully move from the fear of regret to meaning making, I must die to myself – so that, (3) My life and focus will shift to those most sacred things that need and require my attention and constant, focused intention.
In this logic chain, I can now see that my end of days will be not be filled with regret, as I now seek to create my own “living” end of days in dying to myself today and tomorrow and the next day – thereby seeking to live – not for myself – but for my sacred things. Ironically, in choosing to live for something outside his or herself by “dying to self”, the warrior finds immense freedom in freely choosing what sacred things to serve.
Sadly, many of us will choose to reject the warrior premise, and in doing so, will continue to sew the seeds of regret by worshipping at the alter of immediate gratification, sex, influence, power, pride, money, and/or status. And, until we break the cycle we have developed over time with an authentic and truthful look at ourselves (and our behaviors), none of us can hope to serve as warriors. Instead, those that fail to confront the truth will be relegated to the scores of others marching towards regret – led astray by the worthless things they serve and worship. Everyone serves and worships something. Isn’t it time you made a powerful, meaningful, and explicit choice?
The warrior’s path is not an easy one, but this road less travelled is filled with the deep satisfaction and joy that only this difficult journey can offer. The trials the warrior faces to serve the sacred things are many. The warrior’s priorities demand much, and much is sacrificed by the world’s standards – but much more is gained. To do less is to slowly add to the shackled chains of regret, while to live and serve as a warrior is to be truly free.