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FEAR & Fearlessness: Path of the Peaceful Warrior

Updated: Dec 13, 2022

Facing Fear: Warriorship & Wisdom Traditions

Is Fear, a gift or a curse? What is the use of fear? To keep us protected? What is protection? Some part of our egoic nature? Our sympathetic nervous system to keep us safe?

Fear and Anxiety are related, and anxiety has become a common struggle in society today.

Some of the greatest teachings that support people to heal, learn, and grow from working with fear skillfully are from Ancient Wisdom Traditions, and many of these techniques and teachings have found there way into modern psychology approaches such as the Buddhist mindfulness teachings.

In this piece, I'm going to share with you some of my favorite and most impactful teachings from Ancient Wisdom Traditions and psychological mentors.

The Tibetan Buddhist Teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche had one of the most profound impacts on teaching the western world about peaceful warriorship. He taught that:

“The world is in absolute turmoil. The Shambhala teachings are founded on the premise that there is basic human wisdom that can help solve the world’s problems… Shambhala vision teaches that, in the face of the world’s problems, we can be heroic and kind at the same time.”

In his classic book, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, Chögyam Trungpa speaks of fear like this: “Fear has to be acknowledged. We have to realize our fear and reconcile ourselves with fear. We should look at how we move, how we talk, how we conduct ourselves, how we chew our fingernails, how we put our hands in our pockets uselessly, then we find out something about how fear is expressed in the form of restlessness. We must face the fact that fear is lurking in our lives, always in everything we do.”

大胆 daring, courageous, adventurous, fearless, plucky

不怕 fearless

胆壮 bold, fearless, courageous

Courage is Key: Moving Through & Beyond Fear

Trungpa's Shambhala Buddhist wisdom teaches us that fearlessness is not absence of fear but a courageous journey, moving through and beyond fear, that takes us into higher places. The higher road.

There is a story a First Nations elder and teacher shared with me.

The story of a storm, The Tatonka (Buffalo). He said:

“A storm came, the horses all became restless, they began to run in chaos as the storm grew in intensity. The buffalo however turned into the storm, directly at the north winds, directly into his fears, to the things that made him uncomfortable. He bore into the winds directly head-on, the whole time, no matter how uncomfortable he got. When the storm was done, he turned away and went about his business.”

This teaching reminds me of what one of my oldest mentors, intuitive healer, counsellor, & teacher Kelly Tobey said:

“Find a safe place to sit alone, in your feelings. Commit to yourself, Sit with those feelings, no matter how uncomfortable they are. Those feelings may even get to a point where you may believe they are going to kill you. You'll learn that they don't, and that instead they have something to show and teach you. This is how you conquer Fear” This is how you move through and beyond it.

This is the magic place, this is the place where you hold yourself more deeply than ever before, and take yourself further inside yourself than you have ever been: with the focus of your courageous attention, with your breath. You will make new discoveries that build your wisdom, character, and strength. This stretches our consciousness, our belief systems. When you stay with the feelings, and realize that they don't actually kill you, new connections and new neural pathways are developed: The warrior gets built up with greater awareness, fortitude, skills, and determination to take on bigger challenges. You become your own Ally.

Courage on Your Inner Journey & the Surprising Wellspring of Warriorship

As a teacher of meditation, Chögyam Trungpa alludes to the same kind of discovery and growth process and talks about what we find beneath fear when we take the courageous path through it in his Sacred Path of the Warrior book:

"By going beyond fear we mean examining our anxiety, nervousness, concern, and restlessness. If we look into our fear beyond its veneer, the first thing we find is sadness. Beneath the nervousness, Nervousness is cranking up, vibrating all the time. When we slow down, when we relax with our fear, we find sadness which is calm and gentle. Sadness hits you in your heart, and your body produces a tear. You are about to produce rain or a waterfall in your eyes and you feel sad, lonely, even romantic all at the same time. That is the first tip of fearlessness and the first sign of real warriorship."

"Fearlessness comes from working in the softness of the human heart."

Becoming deeply familiar with the sadness underneath fear, the raw spots underneath aggression and blame helps you develop compassion for yourself and the world. It can help you to see that the distorted perceptions of fear based on old wounds and the defenses you've unconsciously built around this are often more dangerous to you than that which you fear.

One of my early teachers on the path of recovery shared that we have a choice about which of these paths we take with fear:

The acronym for FEAR is

F alse

E vidence

A ppearing

R eal


F ace

E verything

A nd

R ecover

When we choose to face everything and recover, we turn toward the hurting places inside choosing to be kind to ourselves and this helps us become openhearted and kind to others.

The Warriors Choice

How will we see & relate to the world?

What are we creating through our thoughts, words, behavior, & energy?

We are always teaching through

example. What are we teaching?

It is a similar choice as waking up in the morning and choosing which glasses we are going to put on: the glasses with the filters of heaven or hell? Will we choose to continue to see through lens of our own traumas and difficulties and be on the defense, quick to judge, and react, to stay on guard looking for things to prove our own self-limiting beliefs to ourselves; frowning, shoulder slumped, protecting our fragile heart or back puffed up in arrogance as though no one is going to hurt me?


Will we pick up the glasses of heaven of challenging ourselves to remain in the great unknown, the infinite possibilities, in curiosity, kindness, gentleness, with open hearts, undefended, in freedom, smiling with gratitude, dancing our prayers of appreciation with a skip in our step. Will we choose to live in compassion and joy for the beauty and sacredness of life?

Many people do not realize that we have this choice. I did not know this was a choice. I was not taught this till later in life. Through the lenses of my own traumas, I walked through life, with many resentments, poor self-esteem, condemning others and myself for my plight.

When I look back to my early days, as a young adult,

I was an Egomaniac with an Inferiority Complex.

Confused as to who I was, even once I learned there was a choice, I still often opted for what I knew, the easy way out. It takes work to develop new skills. It was much easier to take the path of least resistance and blame and shame others for my plight. It was time to realize that I was at cause for all my outcomes.

A Peaceful Warrior focuses on effect, on what they are creating in the world. What effect am I having on this situation in this moment? What can I do to help and uplift the people and circumstance I find myself in?

Empathic, compassionate presence goes a long way and having a regular practice of breathwork, meditation, conscious embodiment, nature time, ceremony, prayer etc. helps with this. These give you the self connection, self compassion, and embodied awareness that help you to monitor your body sensations, states of being, inner realm, and self regulate your emotions and behaviour so you can be emotionally responsible and choose how you respond to situations rather than react.

What can I do even better than I am already doing to effect positive change?

Asking better questions helps with this. With the right question, the answer exists inside the question.

So, I've come to see Fear is an opportunity for growth, for expansion, to stretch ourselves in our beliefs, in our capacity. We came to walk this earth as 2 leggeds for a reason. Not to be the worst we can be, not to harm our “Earth Mother'', not to take, not to walk into a room and say what can these people do for me? We came to grow out of selfishness.

We came to learn how to be of service toward compassionate, joyful interconnectedness for all.

to get high all the time ~ through service in celebration of life and the unique gifts we each have to share,

to walk into the room and attune to those around and ask, what of value can I bring to this room of people? How can I bring my gifts, and giftedness to this room to help everyone here have a better day, life, to bring improvement and blessings? When we rest our heads on our pillows at night, we can reflect on how good we were to others, how we showed up in ourselves, knowing that we bring true joy, connection, and fulfillment to others and by doing that, we gift ourselves.

True wealth is defined by one of my First Nations elders as the development of our character. This is the accumulation of riches that we want to strive for. This is the way of the Peaceful Warrior.

The Peaceful Warrior asks themselves before bed: did I create harm today? Deeply reflecting on their day, actions, and behavior. Do I owe amends at all (to someone else or myself) and then they promptly move toward right relation that day or the next. They ask themselves, how can I heal and grow in the days to follow, beyond those traits in myself that come from an unconscious wounded place and have the potential to cause harm ?

A Peaceful Warrior practice: Take a nice long period of time and look into the mirror, into your own eyes. Ask yourself: "Who I am today? How much love do I have for myself today?" Eye gazing deeply into the soul of that one there in the mirror, recognizing the parts of yourself that are good and beautiful. Also, with compassion, recognize the hurting parts of you and the parts that act in ways that can be hurtful. Courageously ask yourself how can I bring more love to my hurting parts and live more deeply in alignment with my greatest Values. The Peaceful Warrior compassionately resists judgement, self-criticism or self-deprecation and instead encourages themselves in the areas they need growth without condemnation. Do this with gratitude for the awareness.

The Peaceful Warrior strives for mastery. Fear is diffused this way, dissolved in love, in the loving presence of the one in the mirror.

"The ideal of warriorship is that the warrior should be sad and tender, and because of that, the warrior can be brave as well. Without sadness, the bravery becomes brittle like a china cup. If you drop it, it will break or chip. But the bravery of the warrior is like the lacquer cup, which has a wooden base covered with layers of lacquer. If the cup drops, it will bounce rather than break. It is soft and hard at the same time” ~ Chögyam Trungpa

There is a certain sense of tenderheartedness, a kind of sadness that comes from a deep love for all life. Touching into this regularly can help you find your eye in the storm.

When life in the world and circumstances seem like a whirlwind of intensity and many have a tendency to get pulled into overwhelm, the path of Self Mastery and Warriorship calls us into our center: the eye of the storm: the center of the center of the universe where stillness and clarity reside.

At LoveAlive we have a creed:

"Our state of being is not determined by our external environment."

This is a commitment to the practices that help us on the sacred path of the Peaceful Warrior, to choose and cultivate the states of being we want to be in rather than constantly reacting to circumstances:

Practices like Qi Gong, Breathwork, Meditation, Transformative Arts, Emotional Responsibility, Self Regulation, Resourcing, Reflecting, and Conscious Hearted Communication. ~ All part of our personal Practice and what we Teach.

We invite you to join us!

Please feel welcome to check out our courses and offerings below.

Wouldn't you love to experience life with reduced stress and reactivity, to access the eye of the storm and have the calm and clarity you need to make clear choices, act in alignment with your values, create and connect from your heart, and live with joy and fulfillment ?

This is a sacred path of Warriorship, a journey that is not focused on the destination but the quality of the experience along the way.

We welcome you to join us on the journey!

May we all have the presence and coherence to see the world and all it has to offer as a gift and walk-in gratitude every day.


Vince Wishart & Rebecca Goutal

Creators & Facilitators of

LoveAlive Transformative Arts & Therapy

Registered Therapeutic Counsellors


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