By Suzanne A. Fageol
I want to speak today about one of Orrin’s major soul qualities – the archetype of the warrior and how that was visibly woven into the fabric of his life. Archetypes are a part of the psychic structure of the individual that gives all things about a person’s life their special quality. The warrior was a dominant archetype in Orrin’s psyche.
So what does it mean to carry the archetype of the warrior in one’s psyche? First and foremost, it is spiritual by nature. Mythically, it is initiated through instructions by a mentor and then commissioned by the King who gives the young warrior/knight his instructions for the mission. The warrior serves the King and follows the King’s instructions to the letter. Swearing allegiance to a ruler or just cause, the warrior is an agent of righteousness and justice; the protector of those who are at risk from the dangers of the world.
Historically, the warrior provided for his family, tribe and village and defended them as well. Warriorship was being physically trained and prepared and willing to use force to regulate violence and meet any threat to the safety and well-being of self or loved ones. It was also a commitment to upholding individual values and principles that guided and defined every arena of the warrior’s life.
Psychologically, warriors are reluctantly drawn into their battles when they would prefer to be left alone. However, their strong sense of justice will not allow them to sit idly by if they see wrongdoing happening around them. The warrior archetype is about both empowering one’s own life and protecting and creating a just order on a perilous planet. While capable of killing when necessary, the warrior knows that the real war is within. A warrior draws on enormous resources of focus and self-discipline. This archetype is an energy source that permits one and others to be assertive about life, goals, needs and causes. The warrior gets people moving again after a period of stagnation. He attacks whatever is wounding and damaging, whatever causes despair, depression, injustice, oppression, whatever is cruel or discouraging or makes abusive demands.
The strengths and qualities of the warrior are duty, dedication, honor, loyalty, discipline, the holding of boundaries and justice. The warrior stays true to a goal until the end. Warriors possess the razor-sharp clarity of perception and self-discipline. The warrior is a destroyer; he destroys the enemies of the true Self. This archetype tests the person who carries it and helps determine whether the cause or person one is serving is worthy of one’s loyalty, service and allegiance.
The tool of the warrior is the sword (or any equivalent weapon of protection and assertion, including, in martial arts, the human body). His skills include physical excellence; mental acuity; and command of reconnaissance, strategies and tactics. These skills serve to enhance every aspect of the warrior’s life - not just in physical confrontation.
The responsibilities of the warrior are multi-layered. Materially, he protects and defends against all foes to overcome any injustice. He fights to defend all that is just and right. Psychologically, he protects emotional boundaries and asserts our needs in the world. Spiritually, his commission - by historical ruler or inner authority - is fueled by the desire to be of service and willingness to sacrifice self for a greater cause. It is about the honoring of a pledge - the commitment to steward this power for the good of an inclusive community, for peace with justice. On all levels the warrior’s mission is to destroy what not needed and clear a space for renewal and a new, more just order.
From the moment he raised his head at birth and looked at Judith this archetype was constellated in Orrin. His commission came from within his soul. His mentors were his parents, his grandfather, and the natural world. He protected all living things, and those in his peer group who were unjustly treated. He lived by the warrior’s code to protect, defend, and to be of service. He was guided by the high principles of truth, honor and loyalty. He also expected it of his family, his friends and the world at large. He preferred to be left alone; however, his strong sense of justice would not allow him to sit idly by if he saw wrongdoing happening around him. His enormous energy for life carried him from the mastery of one skill to another. He had the quickness of mind and self-discipline to master whatever he felt was useful to his growth and development. His tools were play swords, then sling shots, then BB guns and knives, and finally the tools of war. He mastered all of them. He was physically fit. He had the skills to survive in the wild. He had the mental acuity, the command of reconnaissance (which he learned through wolf tracking) and the leadership qualities of strategy and tactics (which he learned from video gaming). People congregated around him, followed him – from preschool on – in play, in theater, in school and in the military. He thought first of others and their needs. (He got treats for all the others at the VA on his day pass time).
He carried an energy source that permitted his friends and Shelly to be assertive about their life, goals, needs and causes. He got them moving again after periods of stagnation. He attacked whatever was wounding and damaging, whatever caused despair, depression, injustice, oppression, whatever was cruel or discouraging or made abusive demands. This is why Shelly called him her shooting star and why his Vet friends that he called and checked in with everyday despite his own concerns, relied on him. He showed them their true selves.
Orrin’s sojourn in the military tested his spiritual warrior self sorely. He signed up to protect against all foes and to defend all that is just and right. Yet somewhere along the way, he saw the flaws in the “King’s army.” He saw instances of overly aggressive and indiscriminately violent manouvers, both among the other warriors and against the “enemy.” He found himself in the dilemma of trying to hold on to loyalty, truth and justice in a system and a world that showed him another set of values that did not uphold the warrior’s code of ethic. He saw that there were those among the ranks who held true to defending justice and truth in the midst of a system that did not always honor the the warrior’s oath.
This grieved him, it enraged him, it escalated the aggression and frustration in him – against others as he railed about the injustice of it all and against himself because he could not shake the emotional overwhelm in him to act effectively against such a giant opponent. The world needed projecting and he was unable to stand against the enormity of the situation. Yet still he held firm to his pledge.
In standing firm to this warrior’s oath, a new path began to emerge for Orrin. Slowly, almost imperceptibly it took root in his psyche. Deep in the warrior’s mission is the call to destroy what not needed and clear a space for renewal and a new, more just order. Orrin’s life was about bringing about this part of the mission, in ways small and large. But now, after Afghanistan, here was a new challenge. In the vulnerablilty of his war wounds, where it seemed he had been destroyed, that he could no longer service in the world, a space within him was starting to clear and orders for a new mission began to move from the etheric realm to the physical one. Orrin’s job was to birth a new kind of warriorship. One that was ancient in prophesy, but whose time had come. The Tibetan Buddhists call it the Shambhala warrior.
The Shambhala Warrior is a prophecy that arose in Tibetan Buddhism over twelve centuries ago. Many in that part of the world speak of this ancient prophecy as coming true in our time. The signs it foretold, they said, are recognizable now, in our generation. This version of the prophecy is the one given by Choegyal Rinpoche of the Tashi Jong community in northern India.
There comes a time when all life on earth is in danger. At this time, two great powers have arisen; these are the laloes (the barbarians). One is in the western hemisphere and one in the center of the Eurasian land mass. Although these two powers have spent their wealth in preparations to annihilate each other, they have much in common: weapons of unfathomable death and devastation, and the technologies that lay waste our world. It is in this time, when the whole future of sentient life seems to hang on the frailest of threads that the Kingdom of Shambhala begins to emerge.
Now you can't go there, for it is not a place, it's not a geopolitical entity. It exists in the hearts and minds of the Shambhala warriors. Nor can you recognize a Shambhala warrior when you see her or him; for they wear no uniform, no insignia, carry no banners. They have no barricades on which to climb to threaten the enemy or behind which they can rest to hide or regroup. They haven't even any home turf; for always they must move on the terrain of the barbarians themselves.
Now the time comes when great courage, moral and physical, is required of the Shambhala warriors, for they must go into the very heart of the barbarian power, into the pits and pockets and citadels where the weapons are kept, to dismantle them. To dismantle weapons, in every sense of the word, they must go into the corridors of power where decisions are made.
Now the Shambhala warriors have the courage to do this because they know that these weapons are manomaya. They are "mind-made." Made by human mind they can be unmade by human mind. The Shambhala warriors know that the dangers that threaten life on earth are not visited upon us by any extraterrestrial powers or any preordained fate, but they arise, rather, from our own choices, our own lifestyles, our own relationships.
So in this time the Shambhala warriors go into training. "How do they train?" They train in the use of two weapons. "What weapons?" Choegyal Rinpoche held up his hand in the way the lamas hold the ritual objects of bell and dorje in the lama dance.
The weapons are compassion and insight. Both are necessary. You have to have compassion because it gives you the juice, the power, the passion to move; when you open to the pain of the world you move. But that weapon by itself is not enough. It can burn you out, so you need the other. It is insight into the radical interdependence of all things—their inter-connectedness, their deep ecology. With that wisdom you know that it is not a battle between the good guys and the bad guys, but that the line between good and evil runs through the landscape of every human heart. With that insight into our profound interrelatedness you know that actions undertaken with pure intent have repercussions throughout the web of life, beyond what you can measure or discern.
By itself, that insight may appear too cool, too conceptual, to sustain you and keep you moving, so you need the heat of the compassion. Together, within each Shambhala warrior and among the Shambhala warriors themselves, these two can sustain these warriors as agents of global change. They are gifts for us to claim now in the healing of our world.
Orrin was being called to join the Shambhala warriors – a company for which his whole life had prepared him. But there is still one more part of the mission that no one saw coming. New duty orders that would take him into a totally unknown territory where he could serve to his fullest capacity. I quote now to you from a letter from David Spangler, a mentor of Shambhala warriors in our time, to Judith, Perry and Shelly the morning after Orrin’s death.
Wednesday morning, May 18, 2010 “I have a sense of two or three very strong and loving men around him who are wearing army uniforms--two are young like him, buddies perhaps from his time in the service who also died? One, who is older, seems to be an officer or at least a person in command. There is a strong sense of comradeship and protection, no judgment at all, but help being given to a fallen comrade. He is in good hands and not alone.
I sense that some part of Orrin, coming out of the pain and horror he has been experiencing, conceived a desire to help others going through similar torment but did not see the possibility of doing that from the physical level. Part of his act of suicide certainly came out of his despair, but part of it seems to be in response to a kind of calling on the inner to be in a position to help from that side of life other young men going through something similar or worse. In any event, the clear sense I got from this "commander" was that Orrin was enlisting in a different kind of army--one of Light and healing--and was joining kindred spirits. He definitely seems in good hands, and I can sense the good that he is going to be able to do once he has his bearings. His own suffering has opened doors for him, both to his own inner resources and to realms where others are trapped but without even the resources he had through your love and wisdom. In short, he has chosen a new path of work (or perhaps this was his soul's path all along from the beginning--that I don't know), and I feel he will be good at it.
The best response I know in a situation like this is to send Orrin love and calmness, both to him directly and to the allies working with him now to help him and heal him on the inner. The calmness is to help give a solid, clear, calm center to subtle energies that may be roiled by the emotional turmoil surrounding his death.
Orrin died as he lived - loyal to his spiritual warrior code of ethics and pledge to defend, protect and heal our planetary community. And in so doing, he is helping to bring about the prophecy of the Shambhala warrior. Even now, especially now, from another place, he wields the the weapons of compassion and insight in mentoring other warriors in a new army helping humanity to fulfill our legacy to steward our energies for the good of an inclusive community, for peace with justice on earth.
Please join me in sending Orrin love and calmness, both to him directly and to the allies working with him now to help him and heal him on the inner. The calmness is to help give a solid, clear, calm center to subtle energies that may be roiled by the emotional turmoil surrounding his death and to enable him to meet his new mission with a bright heart and a clear countenance and surrounded by love.