Eps 11: Ethical Dilemmas For Warriors

moaraki boulders 2We, all those involved in the 100 Day Warrior, have a closed group on Facebook where we share experiences. Until now the food played a leading part. Changing your diet is a big step but eating healthy and creatively also makes for appealing photo material and it is a fast and effective way to share inspiration and solace. If one of us is able to create delicious and beautiful dishes it is attainable for all of us. “Nobody needs to suffer from dull and tasteless food” is the message. And perhaps there is a bit of pride involved, but a playful pride.

Today one the participants shared another dilemma. She is assigned to write a strategy for a company that basically sells a lot of sugar to children and her job is to come up with a way to sell children even more sugar. It is tough on her conscience and now that she is part of a Warrior Training it becomes even more confronting.

Another participant responded that she has similar moral dilemmas and that these dilemmas have become bigger over the years. It’s takes a while to fully understand how cynical some industries work. But she also said that working for these big commercial clients make it possible to pay for a course like the 100 Day Warrior. I have struggled with these questions myself, and I still do.

The day I ‘woke up’, the experience I described yesterday, was the day that I really saw how we are all covered under a big layer of fear. Our whole society is contaminated with it. We are deeply afraid of not having enough and constantly looking for more. We have a feeling of deficit inside of us that doesn’t seem to go away. That day I realized there is no deficit and I don’t have to be afraid. Even if I die that is ok. The most important thing is to live in accord with my heart. So I must face my fears and let my heart shine, unconditionally. I also worked in advertising and I realized I never ever had to contribute to the illusion of deficit again. It felt like a huge relief. The only thing that I wanted with the rest life was to contribute to the awakening of all sentient beings! Sounds like an exiting and fulfilling job, don’t you think? Much better than making people believe that they are not safe, pretty or impressive enough and seduce them into buying a product they don’t need, right? Well, the flip side is that I have had a very modest income ever since. There have been times where I felt I was more about struggling for survival than about being of service to others. I did not see that one coming.

Still, over the years many things become clearer. I can hardly imagine that I will ever hide my feelings again even though there was a time were I was pretty much disconnected from all kinds of feelings. An ego justifies selfish behavior, it provides you with ‘valid’ reasons to go against your heart. Once you see that it becomes harder and harder to act that way. Going against your heart feels more and more violent.

But not everything is clear. When I buy running shoes they might have been fabricated in Chinese sweat shops, having a modest income prevents me from buying my food organic, I love snowboarding but the winter sports industry is very bad for the mountain and the environment, my zen teacher loves foie gras. And I can pay my rent because my participants pay for their course with money they made by working for greed-driven clients.

I think it is important to acknowledge that you can never ever do it right. We will contribute to suffering and destruction one way or the other. There is no escaping that. But we can do our best. “Yeah, but I am doing my best” should not be used as an excuse to justify harming behavior. I think we can genuinely do our best and see our life as practice and as a process. It is ok to improve myself, to try to polish and refine myself and to open my heart further. But I should never forget that I will cause suffering regardless. I think that is important because otherwise my goodness turns into a better-than-you-ness. Knowing that I am causing suffering too brings humility. I can stay connected to my feelings which is better than acting out moral judgments I might be holding. When my actions become too violent to my heart to bear any longer I can stop my behavior, chose more wisely and embrace the consequences. I don’t have to be a victim of my behavior or the role that I am currently playing in society for the whole of eternity. I can change when I have mustered up the courage. And that’s ok.

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This is episode 11 in a series of 100 blog posts that will be published daily during the 100 Day Warrior, a unique program around physical strength, inner wisdom and meaning. All posts are written by Atalwin Pilon, founder of Basic Goodness and creator of the 100 Day Warrior. For requests for motivational speaking, in-company workshops, online coaching and mindfulness training click here. If you would like to join our international community of brave and inspiring human beings or just follow this blog and receive updates, please click here of sign up on the right side of the page. Atalwin specializes in coaching smart and creative people, both groups and individuals. If you are interested in a free coaching session click here.

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