We need leaders who recognize the harm being done
to people and planet through the dominant practices that
control, ignore, abuse, and oppress the human spirit.
We need leaders who put service over self,
stand steadfast in crises and failures, and
who display unshakable faith that
people can be generous, creative, and kind.
To be a life-affirming leader or activist has become increasingly difficult. Forces beyond our control have created a global climate of fear and conflict.
Leadership skills that worked well in the past no longer are sufficient.
Warriors appear in every culture when hard times come upon the people. Warrior weapons can be aggressive or peaceful, yet they share one value: They commit to protect and preserve what must be saved.
Warriors for the Human Spirit train to develop the qualities and skillful means necessary to protect and preserve the human spirit and the spirit of life.
They have only two “weapons”—compassion and insight.
You want to continue to make a difference with your work and life, but are frustrated by your inability to lead or promote your cause effectively.
You are aware of the increase in fear and conflict but refuse to succumb to these.
You care about your community and want to contribute to its wellbeing.
You feel grief, sorrow, and anger for what is being lost, from individuals to species to the planet. Yet you still have faith in people’s potential for generosity, creativity, kindness, love.
You have chosen service over self-interest many times before. You refuse to give up—you are determined to find a path of meaningful contribution.
You yearn for a community of people who seek to nourish life, with whom you can console, celebrate, strategize, exclaim, grieve, laugh.
To be a life-affirming leader or activist has become very difficult. The skills and methods that once worked now hit up against strong barriers:
People are withdrawn in fear and self-protection–they are less willing to contribute or participate.
Senior leaders react to uncertainty and lack of control by demanding more control from staff through plans, objectives, and guaranteed outcomes.
Policies and governments shift frequently and incoherently. It is rare to reach consensus; partisanship and politics destroy the future.
The leadership skills that worked well in the past no longer are sufficient. New skills and qualities are necessary now:
Patience, perseverance, presence. Insight, clear seeing, discernment. Compassion, caring, availability. Trustworthiness, honesty, humility.
Forces beyond our control have created a global climate of fear and conflict. Leaders hold onto power by making us afraid of one another. Greed and corruption predominate in politics and business. Elites take everything for themselves. People seek security in tribal behaviors. Values about the common good, morality, caring for one another no longer summon people to work together.
These dynamics occur in every civilization at the end of its life cycle. They will intensify, causing more problems and greater suffering. As leaders, activists, and citizens who have made a difference, who still need to make a difference, what can we do? Can we define a role for ourselves that truly contributes for this time?
Throughout history, when times grow dark, Warriors arise to protect and defend what is being threatened. Their weapons are either aggressive or peaceful. But they share one core value: to train themselves as protectors for what is being lost. To fulfill this role, to prepare for greater challenges, they commit to training to develop their skills. They bind together as a community dedicated to this purpose. Today, we name leaders who make this commitment Warriors for the Human Spirit.
Warriors for the Human Spirit train to develop the qualities and skillful means necessary to protect and preserve the human spirit and the spirit of life. They have only two “weapons”—compassion and insight.
When we consciously commit to train as a Warrior, we are taking our place in history. Countless others have gone before us to serve the needs of their time. Personal family lineages are filled with Warriors: those who went to war, who migrated, who endured poverty, injustice, conflicts, dislocation, natural disasters.
Without their valiancy, we wouldn’t be here.
Standing on their shoulders, we find strength and determination. Looking forward, we discover a path of meaningful contribution. We commit to doing what we can to serve the needs of our time. We join this lineage of brave, generous, and noble people who offered their hearts, hands, and spirits for what they believed in, for what they knew must change.
It’s just our turn to serve the world.
The Berkana Institute began training Warriors for the Human Spirit in March 2015. Over 400 people from 35 nations have trained and many continue to deepen their skills and practices and also stay together as a community. We have learned that the outer work of life-affirming leadership requires us to do the inner work of self-knowing. Only then can we develop the clarity, confidence, compassion, and equanimity to serve the needs of this time as leaders, activists, parents and citizens.
This form of Warrior Training is intentionally designed to benefit individual participants, their organizations, and their local communities and regions. Over six months of working together, it develops a cohort of dedicated and sane leaders who have the skills and capacities to contribute meaningfully to the needs of their communities and organizations. Training together, they also create a community of Warriors that supports them to persevere and overcome the obstacles and challenges of leading in this difficult time.
Warrior Training focuses on three essential areas
Skills and capacities
Skills and Capacities:
Warriors rely on their cohort-community to endure the loneliness, criticism, setbacks and failures that are part of this path. Warriors know they can call on each other at any time, that they will be there for each other. In forming their own community, they learn the skills necessary to build healthy communities.
Skills and Capacities
Each cohort is regionally based—you have been invited to consider this opportunity by an organization within your community or locale that is partnering with Berkana, and who will host the monthly sessions. Every cohort brings together people from a broad variety of organizations and activists from that specific region. As leaders from the whole system, you’ll learn a great deal from one another, understand the complexity of issues and challenges, and work together to create new possibilities for the region as well as for your own organization.
Cohorts are forming in the U.S., Canada, U.K., European nations, South Africa and Zimbabwe. There will be opportunities for you to learn together as a global community during the six months of training. In the monthly sessions, all cohorts will be present together for some part of the time.
Every month from January to June, the cohorts meet in their own locale for a full day of teachings and practices, hosted by the Partner organization. These sessions will be either in-person or online depending on local conditions. The teachings are in English; all other practices and activities are in the local language. Each session is on Friday for eight hours.
Two to three hours of the full day will be live teachings and interactions (via Zoom) with Margaret (Meg) Wheatley and other faculty. These teachings are in English, everything else is in your language.
Information about schedule and tuition for your cohort is found below.
Please listen to Meg Wheatley describe more about Warrior Training