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.
- They learn how to calm situations of conflict and distress by offering their presence and equanimity.
- They learn how to embody sanity by being responsive rather than reactive, conscious rather than compulsive.
- They learn to see beyond their filters and judgements so that more information is available for decision-making.
- They learn to see what’s needed rather than imposing their own needs on a situation.
- They learn to trust themselves, to act with confidence not burdened by arrogance.
- They learn to see clearly so they can act wisely.
- As they train together, they develop a strong and reliable community for support, ideas, consolation, humor, and grace.
Taking our place in history
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.