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Lions Roar : March 2011
51 SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2011 The Tender Heart of the Warrior The ground of fearlessness, says Chögyam TRungPa RinPOChe, is renouncing hard-heartedness and allowing ourselves to be tender, sad, and fully present. the groUnd oF FearLessness, which is the basis for overcoming doubt and wrong belief, is the development of renunciation. renunciation here means overcoming that very hard and tough, aggressive mentality which wards off any gentleness that might come into our hearts. Fear does not allow fundamental tenderness to enter into us. when tenderness tinged by sadness touches our heart, we know that we are in contact with reality. we feel it. that contact is genuine, fresh, and quite raw. that sensitivity is the basic experience of warriorship, and it is the key to developing fearless renunciation. sometimes people find that being tender and raw is threatening and seemingly exhausting. openness seems demanding and energy-consuming, so they prefer to cover up their tender heart. Vulnerability can sometimes make you nervous. it is uncomfortable to feel so real, so you want to numb yourself. you look for some kind of anesthetic, anything that will provide you with entertainment. then you can forget the discomfort of reality. people don’t want to live with their basic rawness for even fifteen minutes. For the warrior, fearlessness is the opposite of that approach. Fearlessness is a question of learning how to be. Be there all along: that is the message. that is quite challenging in what we call the setting-sun world, the world of neurotic comfort where we use everything to fill up the space. on the other hand, if we are in touch with basic goodness, we are always relating to the world directly, choicelessly, whether the energy of the situation demands a destructive or a constructive response. the idea of renunciation is to relate with whatever arises with a sense of sadness and tenderness. we reject the aggressive, hard-core street-fighter mentality. the neurotic upheavals created by overcoming conflicting emotions, or the kleshas, arise from ignorance, or avidya. this is fundamental ignorance that underlies all ego-oriented activity. ignorance is very harsh and willing to stick with its own version of things. therefore, it feels very righteous. overcoming that is the essence of renunciation: we have no hard edges. warriorship is so tender, without skin, without tissue, naked and raw. it is soft and gentle. you have renounced putting on a new suit of armor. you have renounced growing a thick, hard skin. you are willing to expose naked flesh, bone, and marrow to the world. ♦ adapted from smile at Fear: awakening the true heart of Bravery, by Chögyam Trungpa. © 2009 by diana J. mukpo. excerpted with permission from Shambhala Publications. the mask, the persona, drops away. you feel you can trust them because they’re not conning themselves, and they’re not going to con you. their genuineness manifests because they have seen all there is to see about themselves. it doesn’t mean that they’re not still embarrassed or uncomfortable about things they see, but they don’t run away. they don’t avoid experiencing what they are feeling through some form of suppressing, like drink- ing, drugs, or another addiction. they don’t become funda- mentalist to avoid feeling what they feel about themselves. they do not strap on the armor. when we wall ourselves off from uncertainty and fear, trung- pa rinpoche said that we develop an “iron heart.” when some- one develops a true friendship with themselves, the iron heart softens into something else. it becomes a vulnerable heart, a ten- der heart. it becomes a genuine heart of sadness, because it is a heart that is willing to be touched by pain and remain present. you might think becoming a spiritual warrior means going to the most hellish parts of the earth and helping people. and it is true that a spiritual warrior would do that if it was called for.