Warriors for the Human Spirit
‘Warriors for the Human Spirit’ is a training, hosted by the Berkana Institute. From February to June 2022, Inspiralba supported and facilitated an Argyll-based cohort to participate in the programme.
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.” – margaretwheatley.com
This form of Warrior Training is intentionally designed to benefit individual participants, their organisations, 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 organisations. 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.
Each month, participants would gather virtually to discuss what it means to be a warrior for the human spirit and how we can best embody these skills and virtues in order to make positive changes to the world we live in.
The training would alternate between teachings in the larger group delivered by Meg Wheatley, mediation and qigong sessions and discussion with the Argyll-based cohort. The cohort was made up of approximately 10 participants, based in Argyll and Bute and working in the public and third sector.
The final training session was due to take place over a Friday and Saturday in mid-June. The idea of meeting in-person as a cohort had been discussed since the beginning of the Warrior journey but due to logistics, it had been deemed too difficult. However, arrangements were made for the final session to try and accommodate a three-day gathering in-person to allow the cohort to finally meet face-to-face.
Inveraray was chosen as the area to hold this gathering as its location was most convenient for participants from across Argyll and Bute to travel to. There was also capability in the Inveraray Hub, a space owned by Argyll and Bute TSI to stream the online teachings. Several rooms in the Inveraray Hostel were booked in order to accommodate participants and breakfast, lunch and dinner was provided by the Wild Medicine Food Café.
Participants benefitted immensely from the opportunity to meet each other in-person and bring their Warrior journey to a close. At the end of the gathering, each participant was presented with a scroll containing the Warrior Vow which is as follows:
I cannot change the way the world is
but by opening to the world as it is
I may discover that
gentleness, decency, and bravery are available
not only to myself but to all human beings.
Photos from the gathering can found below (hover mouse over image for caption):
Learning materials which helped us on our journey to become Warriors for the Human Spirit
Creating us: Community work with the soul – Book
Without good analysis and well-considered strategy, hopes for social justice will be ineffective. However, this book adds the idea that without soul there will be little chance of sustained social change. Soul — situated alongside accurate analysis, insightful strategy, invigorated social movements and bold new institutions — is crucial.
Living Without Stress or Fear – Audio series
A life without stress or fear may seem like an impossible dream—yet Thich Nhat Hanh has spent a lifetime proving that it is not only possible, it is also within our grasp. Living Without Stress or Fear is an audio series of dharma talk which celebrate the perennial wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh.
Pete’s Podcast on Community Development, Episode 4 – Podcast
In this 19-minute conversation between Peter Westoby and Tina Lathouras, they explore a couple of contributions for community development thinking from Arundhati Roy (with the mantra ‘don’t fragment solidarity’) and Jane Addams (with the mantra ‘practice mutual accompaniment).
The Practice of Tonglen – Book excerpt
From ‘When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times’ by Pema Chödrön
One very powerful and effective way to work with tendency to push away pain and hold onto pleasure is the practice of tonglen. Tonglen is a Tibetan word that literally means “sending and taking.” The practice originated in India and came to Tibet in the eleventh century.