An element I’ve come to recognize in myself is a form of frustration. There’s an anxiety that I have when it comes to conflict. So much so, that when people I know are getting frustrated, that frustration seems to convey to me. Perhaps it’s empathy or something similar. Involvement in argument, discussion on hot topics, it would invariably leave me stressed (even when I wasn’t the one discussing).
What I’m about to quote is from a book, written by someone who is either loved or hated… and I hold neither opinion about him (or his work). Neither do I love, nor adore his writing. Some things I agree with, and some things I don’t. The following quote from Robert Greene’s work, “33 Strategies of War,” conveys a concept of spiritualized conflict:
Spiritualize your warfare. Every day you face battles–that is the reality for all creatures in their struggle to survive. But the greatest battle of all is with yourself–your weaknesses, your emotions, your lack of resolution in seeing things through to the end. You must declare unceasing war on yourself. As a warrior in life, you welcome combat and conflict as ways to prove yourself, to better your skills, to gain courage, confidence, and experience. Instead of repressing your doubts and fears, you must face them down, do battle with them. You want more challenges, and you invite more war. You are forging the warrior’s spirit, and only constant practice will lead you there.Greene, Robert. 33 Strategies of War
Books that have titles with numbered steps annoy me. “48 laws of power,” “33 strategies of war.” I can’t help but be annoyed. Someone has determined that there are only 33 strategies? 48 laws?
Yet I don’t want to judge a book by its title. I was gifted the audio version of the work, and I found some ideas he presents as interesting. Spiritualizing warfare is one of those ideas.
What Greene is referring to as the battlefield is an internal state. It’s that battle over weakness and emotions. Emotions can be useful, especially in magic, but when emotions get the better, then the emotion is ruling the will – rather than the other way around… and I much prefer to have my will in control of my emotions.
When I read (listened) to Greene’s words here, I couldn’t help but reflect upon my own life. I am scared of conflict. I am concerned about arguments and fights. I dread being dragged into someone’s drama, for fear of my own reaction. As though I’m some explosive element dangerously close to the tripwire.
In my reflection I realized that I am being described here. At least the me before I came to the Left Hand Path. Prior to the path of darkness, I was afraid of what others might think. Worried about offending people and most of all, I was scared of my own emotional reactions which seemed beyond my control to manage.
Confessions to the Isolate Intelligence
By whatever name, or icon we think of the source of Individuality, I often find myself dealing with my own weaknesses. It comes up often in meditation and spiritual work. Sitting before the altar, those things I avoid start to surface. Those fears I hold began to drop into my thoughts. Often I find myself confessing my weakness and failure out loud to that which listens.
I believe there is the wisdom and guidance, whether it is internal (the Daemon) or external (the Deity). Whatever is offering the guidance, it is accepted and respected. It lead me to the bridge burnings of my past. It led me to my awareness of group-think and the dangers of contamination.
In every stage of my growth I’m seeing my weaknesses surface. They surface to be dealt with. There is no being sitting in my room cracking a whip, demanding action. Action is to me alone.
When I listened to this passage it inspired me to reflect more on my fears and emotional concerns. There are certainly things I need to handle and this processes is best dealt with in a spiritualized manner. In my case, through the path of darkness.