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warriorship

i recently spoke with a friend who shared that he sees himself becoming more open to the saint aspect of the warrior-saint concept in Sikhi. my journey, and challenge, right now is to open up to and explore the warrior aspect of that duo…

the theory and practice of nonviolence has played a huge role in my life. i became a vegetarian as a teenager, and after i left home i began to more consciously integrate principles of nonviolence into my life (including active resistance to injustice in my community). buddhism fed conceptions of non-harm that shuttled me through engagements with police, other activists, journalists, non-human beings, my parents, partners, friends. when i say ‘shuttle’ i don’t mean that i ‘swept’ through these moments in relation to others with fluid grace – like life in general, this time was marked by painful messiness, inspiration, hollowness, strength, mistakes, victories, as well as moments ofbliss and pure connection.

nonviolence was a base for me that helped to guide my decisions and my understandings of myself in the world.

i was devote (read: arrogant). i had found an answer. no. the answer. adherence to nonviolence already had so much evidence in modern history to support it’s power and potential for creating change. why couldn’t everyone see that this was the way?

what has remained with me from this time? the utter sacredness of life. what has begun to shift? the idea that i know what someone else should do to resist oppression, that i know what is the most effective methodology, that i know what will herald in the kind of revolution that our world and all the living beings on it are crying out for. i don’t know where this leaves me. maybe just that i have seen and that i still believe in the power of nonviolence, and that this is my home for action in the world is absolutely still true. but i also need to acknowledge that i’m not in control of the world. and to attempt or imagine control over others is a violence, too.

how does this connect to the warrior concept in sikhi? here i need all of your help! so please share your thoughts on this below. here are just some beginning thoughts…

first, i want to acknowledge the possibility that nonviolence and warriorship are not mutually exclusive. the experiments in nonviolence that have been carried out throughout history often required a fearlessness, and sometimes, a willingness to sacrifice ones life, just as required in any other sort of battle. these campaigns were also not ‘passive,’ but challenged authority and injustice with a fierceness informed by love.

from what i understand about warriorship in Sikhi: defensive action is supported, especially to protect others. for women especially, i see warriorship as an invitation to push back against the acquiescence/obedience that can inform so much of our behaviour, especially towards men. a painful reality is that so many of the women i know have experienced sexual assault. so many of us navigate the streets in our own communities in fear.

what could the concept of warriorship offer to all of us (wherever we identify or not on the gender continuum) in the movement towards safety, and affection without fear of harm?

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