One of the most attractive features of Knighthood is the image of a strong, fearless warrior.
We all want to be fearless. Unfortunately, most of us are not. We carry fears psychologically shaped by a lifetime of hurtful experiences – some real, some imagined. They shape who we are. Even if we want to be free of them, we can’t imagine what that means. We consider them vital to who we are, even when they hold us back.
Holding on to personal fears, while projecting a false image of strength, is living a fantasy. It isn’t real. It is donning imaginary armor to disguise our insecurities – mostly from ourselves.
This is a futile effort. We know they are there. We safeguard them, even when they hold us back. We treat them as part of whom we are. In return, they stop us from taking control over our lives.
We can change that by seeing our fears for what they really are. They are not us. They are chimeras gathered over time, locked in our memories, shaping our instincts to avoid pain. This is not from learning through experience, which adds to personal wisdom. It is more primitive – an often-crippling retention of the pain that might have otherwise passed along with its original cause. You have given it a life of its own and incorporated in into your being. After a while, you can’t imagine living without it.
But it’s NOT you. The real you is your consciousness – that spark of awareness that connects you to your own experience of the moment. Your fears are nothing more than repetitive loops of memory-attached thoughts in your brain, to which your consciousness is being subjected. Recognizing that gives you the power to free yourself.
Every valid martial art teaches how to overcome fear by taking control of your own mind – more precisely, your consciousness. A mind full of thoughts and fears cannot spontaneously respond to an emergency in an effective manner. There’s no time during actual combat. An incoming blow must be dealt with directly or you suffer the consequences. You can’t precede your defense by thinking “let’s see, how shall I respond?” To effectively respond you must be calm and centered. That is true for every aspect of life.
The point of meditation is to separate one’s consciousness from distracting thoughts – thereby clearing the way to direct experience. One need not practice it for years to achieve that goal. One can do it by realizing that consciousness is something different from thought. Once you understand that, you can choose which thoughts are appropriate, and which are not. You will see your fears for the chimeras that they are and can send them packing.
Jesus told us that the truth will set us free. Truth demands a direct experience of the moment, untarnished by corrosive memories and illusions. When we experience that directness, we are free.
Thoughts, reason and memories are important tools for surviving well. But THEY ARE NOT YOU. You must become the craftsman who skillfully knows how to use these tools and – and when and for what reason. This calm mastery of self is the source of Knightly confidence which delivers the power and self-discipline to make a difference.
It is also the means to living an authentic life