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The Road To Becoming a Warrior

Updated on January 31, 2015

The road to becoming a warrior

In many shamanistic traditions the warrior is not like a soldier at all. What is meant by the word warrior is one who is impeccable. Samurai warriors strived for a perfection of self and of spirit not just of their ability to fight. The Buddhist monks who invented many of the martial arts were perfecting all aspects of themselves, including the ability to survive and defend themselves. Martial arts are not just a way to fight, they bring with them rules of conduct and spiritual lessons for a way of life.

The shamanistic traditions from all over the world give us tools with which to accomplish inner peace and harmony. They include ways of perception that clarify life for us. They naturally included ways in which to treat others.

In my book: The Seekers Guide, I list several of these tools in point form. I have also written about some of them in other hubs.

Recently, while writing another book I became reacquainted with an author whose books I read when I was a teen. His name is Carlos Castaneda. At the time I read three of his books including: “A separate reality.” I found out that he went on to write twelve books and develop his own religion based on Native American warrior tradition.

He bases his world view on the Toltec traditions. The Toltec culture ended around year 1000 CE and was taken over culturally buy what would become the Aztecs. From these teachings 5 points emerge. They are called the five agreements.

1) Be impeccable with your word

2) Don’t take anything personally

3) Do not assume

4) Do your best

5) Don’t believe anything

They look on the surface to be pretty straight forward and simple, and they are. Deceptively so.The points I made in “The Seekers Guide” are:

1) Don’t assume anything.

2) Forget the old ideas for now and be open to new ideas, but fall to none of those either. Don’t marry any ideas, no matter how good they might sound.

3) Be ready to drop any idea at a moment's notice if it turns out to have no validity. Better to know nothing than to believe nonsense for the sake of feeling good.

4) Accept what is, even if you don't like it. You may not like that the earth is round, but get over it. Liking has nothing to do with truth. Something either is, or is not true. Your feelings about it do not in and of themselves change anything.

5) Be only interested in the truth, no matter what it turns out to be.

6) Study the patterns of existence. Not the interpretations

7) Don’t believe anything at all.

8) Expect as little as possible.

9) Try to embrace change

10) Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know.

In my list I begin with: Don’t assume anything. It comes third in the Toltec list. But the order is not important. The fact is, assuming is known even in popular culture as a thing to be avoided. We all know the cultural saying: When you assume, you make an ass of u and me. It is an obvious truth. When we assume, we act on those assumptions and are in real danger of causing all kinds of conflict for ourselves and others needlessly. We all know that and yet it is something we do constantly. We are quick to jump to conclusions.

We know that jumping to conclusions is the wrong way to go about things. But we so often do it anyway.

The definition of insanity has often been sighted as: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Assumption is real problem. Assuming nothing is a tool. When we do not assume, we investigate and try to discover the truth before we act. The more facts we have the better.

Do your best: I didn’t include this in my list because it is so obvious that it is even the motto of the Boy Scouts. And yet I should have. Our best is the best we can do. But we often fall far short of doing our best all the time. We are impatient. We are often lazy and say ”That’s good enough” when we really don’t think it is.

But all we can do is our best and if we do we can forgive ourselves if things go wrong. Self forgiveness is an important aspect of becoming a warrior or an enlightened person, or even a person who wants to feel good in their own skin.

We all walk around with needless guilt. A lot of it is placed on us by others. This is where the Toltec idea of agreement comes in to play. When a person tells you your failings in an unkind way, it makes you feel bad. A parent might tell a child they are lazy and will amount to nothing. The child begins to believe that and act as if it is so. So the child has made an agreement with the parent that they are indeed lazy.

In Toltec teachings this is a poison given to the child which it accepts and eats. It is a metaphoric way of sayings but it gets the point across very well.

Kids in school often tease other kids. They call them names and make fun of them. If the child takes these thing to heart they are accepting the poison and agreeing to eat it. A child might be singing all the time and when they go to school one of their classmates may be fed up with listening to them and tell them they have a bad voice and should stop singing. If the child is hurt and takes it to heart, of if a parent says it, they may stop singing forever and be the worse for it. They may resent the parent or carry hate for the classmate.

This is why the first point on the Toltec list is: Be impeccable with your word. It is interesting to note that the word impeccable means without sin. Explained from the Toltec perspective, the warrior does not offer others poison and does not accept it. They have broken the old agreements and removed the poison from themselves.

This relates well to my point 2, 3,and 4. Forget the old ideas, don’t fall to the new ones, be ready to drop any idea if it turns out to be fruitless, or in some cases poison, and accept what is.

One of the hardest thing to do for a human is to forgive themselves. Another animal may suffer the consequences of their action once, but they don’t blame themselves for it continuously. We humans do. Our natural instinct when we see injustice is to punish for it. When we see it in ourselves we often punish ourselves. But it doesn’t end there. While society only punishes once for a crime because we know that keep punishing someone for the same crime is not just, we punish our selves continually. We run around with guilt that not only we put upon ourselves but also the guilt others place on us.

This is why the second Toltec point is: Don’t take anything personally. If you accept what others say about you then you have taken it personally. You have allowed it to shape you and to poison you. If it is true do not punish yourself for it, correct it. Forgive yourself for it. But that does not mean ignore it. Find what you perceive as faults within yourself and correct them. As long as you do your best you can do no more. If you do your best you have no reason to punish yourself or feel guilt.

If it is not true then it is to be ignored and laughed at. Do not accept the poison others offer.

All these points interrelate. The fifth point is: don’t believe anything. This is directly related to taking something personally. When you believe something you make it part of yourself. How much more personal can it get? When you believe you are good for nothing you are good for nothing. You have made it part of yourself. You have taken it personally. Only when you break that agreement can you become good for something.

Failure is not failure. It is lesson revealed, a truth found, and opportunity to learn and change what needs to be changed.

But the Toltec idea of don’t believe anything is slightly different from my own. They are talking about concrete ideas and models. Do not believe what you have been told about yourself. Do not hold beliefs you can not verify as fact. But the way they suggest verifying fact is through feeling. If you feel it is right then it is true.

My concept of disbelief goes father. There is no reason to believe anything at all. You should certainly accept facts. But to believe in them is not required. They are facts whether we invest belief in them or not. They only require guarded acceptance. Why guarded? Because we do make mistakes and sometimes a fact may not be a fact in all circumstances.

To believe speculative ideas beyond the broad definition of the word meaning to hold an opinion of probability rather than a conviction of fact, is folly at best and stupidity at worst. There is literally no reason to believe anything at all. The response to speculation is best served by the words: wait and see.

Impeccability, as I said, means to be without sin. In my world view as well as in the Toltec world view, the greatest sin is the sin against self. To be without sin is to be a human who is at peace with themselves and who does not do things which are against that peace or the inner peace of others.

But the way to forgiving yourself and others who have trespassed against you is by taking full responsibility for your actions. It is you that accept the poison others give. It is you that allow yourself to eat it. It is not their fault. You did not ask to be born so can take no blame for the consequences to your father or your mother’s life for the actions they took. You may feel empathy for their plight but not guilt.

It is not their fault that they were given poison so nor is it actually yours for taking it from them. Taking responsibility does not mean you must feel guilty about it for the rest of your life. Fix it, then forgive yourself and have the strength not to do it again. It is no one’s fault. The warrior does not judge and does not blame. For blame and judgment are the poison we give each other and ourselves through ignorance. But they full responsibility for their acts, and if they go wrong, try their best to make them right.

While feeling is not the way to prove fact, it is the way to know whether or not you are going against yourself. Bad feeling denote a problem that requires resolution. Good feelings denote a fulfillment of needs. These are our emotions and we need them. But they can be controlled without being repressed. In fact repression of them is not possible. They will always manifest in some way. Even as tick or some suggest all manner of diseases both mental and physical.

From experience we can pretty much all say that doing our best makes up feel good. Doing for others often makes us feel good. Not taking things personally makes us feel good. All the Toltec points as well as those I put down, are designed to help people become warriors. To feel good in their own skin and thereby reduce the conflict between themselves and others.

As simple as the points may seem they are hard to adhere to. But all ways to personal enlightenment and inner peace of mind are hard roads, and all of them overlap their teaching though the language used to explain things may be very different. But quests for truth and peace are worth the effort. We are all worth the effort. Be a warrior and be as free as you can possibly be as a human being.


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    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 5 years ago from Ottawa

      Well it is only part one of many. 12 I think off hand without looking. And it isn't about war. It's about ways to live. But thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      John King IV 5 years ago

      Ok I read this article. It is good and you are a talented writer... But to be honest, the subject did not interest me that much...

      I guess I had bigger expectations for an article that claims to be about becoming a warrior.

      There are no descriptions of martial art techniques, death moves, no exposition on the art of war, etc...

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 6 years ago from Ottawa

      Thank you, D. ;)

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 6 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Excellent hub. A totally enjoyable read. I look forward to the rest of this series.

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 6 years ago from Ottawa

      Mr Happy.

      I'll pick it up and let you know. ;)

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hello again, Mr. O'Brian. Especially after reading this blog of yours, I would love to know your opinion on "The Warrior of the Light". It's a short book, if that can be encouraging in any way lol. (You did say you were busy.)

      All the best.

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 6 years ago from Ottawa

      "I do not get attached to anything in life that I can’t “walk out in thirty second flat” on if I “feel the heat around the corner” (Heat)"

      I can see why my remark resonated with you.

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 6 years ago from Ottawa


      Feel free to take over any time you like. ;) I've been very busy the last few says with little time for writing or anything else. But next week should be less hectic for me so I am going to try some things with the audio you sent me. ;)

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 6 years ago from Ottawa


      Thanks for reading and for your comments.

      Yes, I think original sin is a perfect example of what I am talking about.

      I have not read "Warrior of the Light" but I will look in to it. ;)

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank you again Mr. Spirit Whisperer.

      Here's a quote from another one of my blogs (

      "I fight with the pen now but I can very well fight in other ways too. I have no kids, no wife or girlfriend, or mother and I have one rule to which I keep true to: I do not get attached to anything in life that I can’t “walk out in thirty second flat” on if I “feel the heat around the corner” (Heat)"

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Mr Happy, I am so glad to see you here and I am glad you liked this piece. I have to say that your opening remark reminds me of something Robert DeNiro said to Al Pacio in the movie Heat which I love.

      I won't say any more or Slarty will think I am trying to take over his hub LOL!

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      "3) Be ready to drop any idea at a moment's notice if it turns out to have no validity. Better to know nothing than to believe nonsense for the sake of feeling good." - I like that! A lot.

      "We all walk around with needless guilt. A lot of it is placed on us by others." - This made me think of the original sin which Christianity drills into people.

      This is a very good blog in my opinion. You've said a lot more than you've written here. Thank you for that.

      Your piece of writing also made me think of Paulo Coelho's book "Warrior of the Light" - a phenomenal book in my opinion.

      Good to meet you Mr. O'Brian and for that I have to thank Mr. Spirit Whisperer, he pointed me this way. Cheers!

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 6 years ago from Ottawa


      Thank you so much. I hope it does help some people.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Slarty, this is your best. You have outlined clearly the rules of engagement for the sincere warrior in the army of truth seekers. Well done. This hub can only enrich the lives of all who read it. Thank you. Voted up and everything else except funny!

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 6 years ago from Ottawa


      I'm glad you found it too. ;)

    • emichael profile image

      emichael 6 years ago from New Orleans

      "Failure is not failure. It is lesson revealed, a truth found, and opportunity to learn and change what needs to be changed."

      If only we could all remember this.

      This was really good and very helpful in better understanding your last chapter. Glad I found it.

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 6 years ago from Ottawa


      Thank you for coming to read it. ;)

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 6 years ago from Ottawa


      Thanks so much. Glad you like it. I'm going to be reading some of your hubs in the near future too. They look very interesting.

    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 6 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

      I have enjoyed, learned and corroborated things that soothe my soul. These I embraced: "Do not accept the poison others offer." "Failure is not failure. It is lesson revealed, a truth found, and opportunity to learn and change what needs to be changed." "Don’t assume anything."

      Rated up and awesome!

      Thank you for sharing these insightful ideas!

      Warmest regards and infinite heavenly blessings,


    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 6 years ago from Ottawa

      Hi Grace. Glad you read this.

      Two things I want to address. First off there were as usual more than one faction who had something to say about the Abraham issue. It is thought that up till the time the bible was written there was a faction that believed Abraham went through with it and that the scapegoat was added later by the faction that called god Yahweh around 900 BCE. They end up writing a lot about Issac as if he lived but the Eloim faction didn't.

      We will never know. We also don't know that Abraham was even a real person. But what we do know is that early people did sacrifice their children to god. This story could just be the folk lore that marked the end of that practice for the Hebrews. They react strongly against the practice later on. Whether there was or was not a real Isaac, the story does represent a reality of the time. One could say there were probably many Isaac's, horrible as that thought is. And probably sometimes their father stayed his hand because he just couldn't do it no matter what his god asked.

      So whether for him or others that really did die for their god your revulsion is I think justified.

      As for warriors. Again, this particular culture was Toltec and they were the ancestors of the Aztec. That is where a lot of this comes from. However, the culture Carlos was writing about are modern descendants who have just reawakened their ancestors ancient traditions and wisdom.

      If you look at western society under the Church we still see wars and plunder, particularly in the crusades. But these were the times they lived in and the reality of their situation. Yes, it was wrong by our standards but not by theirs.

      And often the wisest men felt it was wrong but were powerless to stop what their culture did. Do protestors these days have much effect when a country is sent to war for oil?

      Not all indians were or are the same. The Yakui of Mexico

      were basically the slaves of the spaniards long before the West was won, and among them were shaman who kept these traditions alive. But as most often happens, the shaman of the tribe were a select few.

      The philosophy of a culture is not always the way the culture acts. In fact it is because they do not act that way that the philosophy arises over time in the first place. Case in point the Buddhists.

      So yes. I think the shamanistic warrior tribes followed this same pattern.

    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 6 years ago

      I really like #6, study the patterns of existence, not interpretations. I could say i find myself applying this more and more as I get older to my life as a Christian, though perhaps this puts me in violation of the "Believe nothing" point :)

      But now that I think of it, I actually experience more peace and enlightenment as a Christian if i don't rope myself into having to beleive this or that, or having an airtight answer to a particular issue. Then i can experience God and listen to Him. As a teenager I went through a serious crisis over Abraham sacrificing Issac (or nearly so - all indications are Abraham would have gone through with it if not for the angel.) I had to consider if i wanted to continue to be a Christian. I could imagine issac's trauma all too well, and I was confused that other Christians were not bothered by this story. (These days i think i have a more vivid imagination than most - it wasn't they didn't care, it was they didn't experience it the way I did.) I never did resolve the Abraham dilemna, and I did continue as a Christian. I think what happened was I came to a place where I was alright with not having all answers.

      But I have a more specific question. I read 'The Tracker" by Tom Brown years ago - Brown was a run of the mill American boy who met an elderly Apache, and the older man became his mentor. He taught him tracking, understanding the world by observation, ect. It became a spiritual journey as much as a physical adventure. It all sounds very attractive as a philosophy, learning unity with the natural world, ect. But as i've learned more about the Apache - well, they were a people group that lived by raiding other tribes. They spent their time training to be great fighters, and used those skills to steal from villages of other Native Americans. People who spent their time farming were not as skilled at hand to hand combat, so they consistently lost to Apache attacks.

      So the reason I bring this up is i think many of these warrior cultures sound good as philosophies (your outline above sounds like an excellent guide to life), but a group who view stealing the products of other's labors as honorable, who think might makes right essentially, how can they be other than morally corupt? I have this question about warrior cultures in general. They seem to mostly follow this pattern. They say they are honorable - but they seem to use their strength to support a power structure that takes advantage of the weak. (The exception is the buddist monks.)

      Just wondering if you had thoughts about this.

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 6 years ago from Ottawa

      Glad you liked it. You will also like my next installment for starless then. ;)

      Yes, you can be a warrior and a christian.

    • profile image

      Motown2Chitown 6 years ago

      Parts of this hub hit a very tender nerve for me today. Well done! Guilt is the worst poison of all, and most often, we feed it to ourselves. How awful! The freedom that comes with letting go of guilt is sweet indeed. I believe I am closer than I may believe to becoming a warrior.

      I'm so glad I took the time to read this hub today. Poignant and wonderful, Slarty.

      Thank you!