When the Warrior has finished his duel, he bows to his adversary, humbly and with gratitude. This sign of respect is not just reverence for his challenger’s technique, but more so because of what the duel has taught him. His opponent has shown the Warrior weaknesses in his strategy, problems with his balance and coordination, glitches in his overall technique and focus, which he now must reflect on and improve. Only a truly great rival can trigger such a challenge, can point out such deeply hidden flaws. The Warrior bows not only to the opponent, but to the Great Energy within and all around, for the Universe has brought this adversary into his life to teach him what he must know at this time. The Warrior acknowledges the truth: The Enemy has been one of the Warrior’s greatest Teachers.
Think of your adversaries as mirrors. It may be a person, event, or anything that inspires emotional unrest. Before succumbing to grief or fury, however, go inside and ask yourself: What unnerving aspect is this event reflecting in me? What is it that I am uncomfortable with in myself, which this person or situation reminds me of or is provoking to surface? For often, it is not the “enemy” with whom we are so deeply angry, but rather with ourselves—the parts of us we have been afraid to look at, the deep wounds we have ignored, the internal parts of our own being that we somehow learned to bury and ignore. Perhaps we are afraid of these places; perhaps we were told somewhere along our early paths that these aspects were not to be brought to light, that they were wrong for the world and should be thus hidden away. But in truth, these hidden parts are the hidden gems of our lives. Digging out these priceless artifacts often reveals inner power we have never tapped into, and those who bring conflict into our lives are often the only ones who will inspire us to dig so deep. We must thank our “opponents” for provoking such emotion in us, for forcing us to reflect on our own self-defeating thoughts, indeed for being great teachers in our lives. Similar to the Warrior’s rivalry, we must understand that the Universe has brought this situation into our lives to teach us something crucial; and we should bow out of respect, for only the greatest adversaries, those that push us to our limits and inspire the greatest emotions, can teach us the most profound lessons of our lives.
Anger directed toward an external entity is often a way for us to ignore the real source of our anger—ourselves. Allow your Enemies to be Teachers in your lives, and follow the emotion they inspire inward to discover if it is truly about them or actually about yourself. Only the battle with the external force could have led us to the these self-battles within, and the Inward Path is the only path that can lead to harmony, for only with Inner Peace and resolution shall we find and invite true peace into our daily lives. The Young Warrior eventually realizes that he is actually his own worst enemy, that the internal conflicts—self-doubt, self-judgment, and fear—are the most difficult and the most rewarding battles to be won.