Since continuous "reinvention" has emerged as a hallmark of innovation in the 21st century (and I'm overdue for one), I'm in the process of attempting an actual reinvention. It's Week 3 with a new identity--which I'm calling the Warrior of Aliveness--and I've quickly realized that to think differently and be guided by a real shift of belief from within, I need fuel. I need to plug into some kind of power source befitting a Warrior to keep the process on track.
In my 20s, I remember reading the 20th century spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi, which introduced many westerners to eastern enlightenment through the life of Paramahansa Yogananda, the first yoga master of India to take up permanent residence in the West. Maybe, I thought, I needed to revisit Yogananda's wisdom to find a renewable power source.
I started by going to several yoga classes, which have generally revealed that I am pretty fat and lazy, with an unfocused mind that tends to drift and fall into its default, un-warrior-like patterns of distraction and complaints.
So to up the ante, I visited the local Kriya Yoga center here in Chicago to get some inspiration from Swami Kriyananda, the foremost living disciple of Yogananda. I was witness to a live feed via Skype of the old bearded man himself, who has many thousands of followers throughout the world. I listened intently to him for a message that could fuel me or at least steer me in the right direction. The Warrior within awoke as Kriyananda suggested that a life worth living is one in which you discover and pursue a mission worth dying for. You can't let yourself be limited by the "web of words," he said, referring to the cultural mindset around us. "Instead, create your own mantra."
Create my own mantras. Yes.
My inner guidance flickers and changes its message too often. Becoming a warrior is in large part mental, I know, and right now the natural "mantras" of my monkey mind are not empowering me. They change, they doubt. They point out how ridiculous I am. They sabotage with excuses and grievances that sound legitimate but do nothing to improve the quality of my life.
I know that to be equipped to battle for my own aliveness and the aliveness of others, I must think differently and be fueled by a different mindset. But, as Kriyananda reminded me, I have to create it. I have to choose this mindset. I have to rewrite my mental script in such a way that loose wiring becomes hard, and doubt insists on clarity. My power source must, at least in part, come from newly created mantras of my own design.
All right, Warrior, time to create.