Hail the Dirt Warrior!
One spiritual approach to the crises at hand.
I am a Dirt Warrior.
I made up that term a year or so ago when one of my spiritual friends asked me why I was so busy creating such an ugly world, “you used to be so positive! So focused on love and beauty! Why are you manifesting such an ugly reality? Why do you keep looking so hard for the bad in everything?”
I had to think about this for a good while. What was I doing?
It seems to me that I am not really looking for trouble, it seems to have landed on my nose, right in front of my eyes, like a feather might do while sitting on the back porch on a warm July day (soon.) I didn’t have to look for it. The trouble we are seeing here is obvious. What I did do I must confess is investigate. What us shrews (see here) love to call research.
Oh my. I felt like a dentist seeing the infamous “dark spot” on an x-ray and digging a bit deeper with his pointy tool only to find a rotting, festering, cavity. And boy did I find one, a bunch of them. All my shrew friends nodding and smiling after my calling everyone I knew that knew what I then knew, screaming like Chicken Little, “the sky is falling! The sky is falling!” Yep. The sky sure is falling. I would bet most of you has a similar story to tell.
Did I create all this? Who knows. Maybe. If so that is because I was supposed to. As “they” say, “we have chosen to live in this time.” That means the same thing as saying I created it, sort of, but I am not going to get into this sticky mess because that would take several hundred books full of small text. Suffice it to say I am obviously here, therefore I chose the “here” I created to be in. Whatever.
So what do I do now? Do I try to “un-choose” it? Try to “uncreate” it?” Well, I very well could choose to not look at it, but that is akin to trying to put the proverbial cat back in the bag. I don’t think that works. So I looked at it, and decided to make an effort to change it. I got in the dirt, and fought. Thus I am a Dirt Warrior. Still fighting.
My spiritual friends, some of them at least, chose to hold a higher consciousness. They probably don’t even see what I see. I am happy for them, seriously, that is their calling. This is mine. Who knows, I may join them one day, right now, it is eating dirt for me.
This reminds me of the Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu treatise telling the story of Krisna, the god of all gods in the Hindu pantheon, and Arjuna, the young warrior prince of noble descent and a key character in the Indian epic Mahabharata. The story from the Bhagavad Gita is one of war and violence. It takes place directly before the big battle across the field of Kuruskhetra close to modern day Delhi. Arjuna does not want to fight this war because if he does he would be killing and maiming members of his own family as well as close personal friends. He seeks Krishna for advice, who surprises him by reminding him he was born a warrior, and he must be that warrior in this conflict. Krishna explains that this war is a righteous one, and success is guaranteed in a righteous war. Krishna says:
Considering also your duty as a warrior you should not waver. Because there is nothing more auspicious for a warrior than a righteous war. (2.31) Only the fortunate warriors, O Arjuna, get such an opportunity for an unsought war that is like an open door to heaven. (2.32) If you will not fight this righteous war, then you will fail in your duty, lose your reputation, and incur sin. (2.33)
This current war we are all engaged in at the present moment is not a war of violence, killing and maiming (not yet at least) as was depicted in the Bhagavad Gita. But the metaphor is clear. Arjuna did not want to fight the material war because he believed it was below him to kill. Krishna assures him that material reality is not real and that death is not real. Krishna convinced him it was his nature to fight, that yes, nothing material is real, but it was his duty as a material being to become ensconced in the business of the material illusion. Krishna says: “Just as one and the same sun shines over everybody on this earth, so one and the same spirit shines over and illumines every soul.” Meaning, I believe, that love still is the central truth in Arjuna’s heart, whether he acts on earth as a warrior or as a saint—warrior (fighting the righteous war) or lover, it all ends the same.
The story of Krishna and Arjuna seems a bit harsh as an explanation for our current-day sensibilities, yet it is easier to take in Krishna’s advice if you look at it from my Dirt Warrior perspective. If we are here as warriors, and we all know in our heart being a Dirt Warrior is our contract with the divine, then it is our duty to fight the righteous war, it is our duty to be heroes (those who sacrifice for the greater good) and engage in the dirt of this battle—to be Dirt Warriors. Those who have a different contract—those contracted to hold the love, and the divine truth that lies beyond materiality—have an equal duty to do just that.
So right at this particular moment, what role are you playing? Are you too a Dirt Warrior?