by Ani Pema Chodron
Those who train wholeheartedly in awakening bodhichitta are called bodhisattvas or warriors — Not warriors who kill but warriors of nonaggression who hear the cries of the world. Warrior-bodhisattvas enter challenging situations in order to alleviate suffering. They are willing to cut through personal reactivity and self deception. They are dedicated to uncovering the basic, undistorted energy of bodhichitta.
A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe. But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty. This not-knowing is part of the adventure. It’s also what makes us afraid.
Wherever we are, we can train as a warrior. Our tools are sitting meditation, tonglen, slogan practice and cultivating the four limitless qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. With the help of these practices, we will find the tenderness of bodhichitta in sorrow and in gratitude, behind the hardness of rage and in the shakiness of fear. In loneliness as well as in kindness, we can uncover the soft spot of basic goodness. But bodhichitta training offers no promise of happy endings. Rather, this “I” who wants to find security — who wants something to hold on to — will finally learn to grow up.
If we find ourselves in doubt that we’re up to being a warrior-in-training, we can contemplate this question: “Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?”
– Ani Pema Chodron –
From her beautiful book: Comfortable with Uncertainty – 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and compassion