In light of the recent events that took place in the sweat lodge in Sedona with James Arthur Ray, I think it’s a good time to talk about what it means to be a spiritual warrior. As a spiritual warrior we learn to change our perspective from being mind-body focused and ego-identified to becoming aligned with the life-force-spiritual-nature that we all are.

On the side of the mind – we learn to detach from our internal dialogue and no longer perceive our thinking as “us.” We come to recognize that spirit does not speak with concepts and no absolute truth can be found in knowledge/information/beliefs. This brings the warrior to the ultimate freedom from the ego-mind and its limiting nature.

On the side of the body – we learn to detach from our desire for pleasure and the fear of pain. We come to see that our bodies have so many wants and needs but since we’re not the body (we are the entity inhabiting the body) – we can decide what desires we choose to indulge or not, and we do so with deep awareness and compassion, not with emotional reactivity. This gives the warrior freedom from emotional suffering as his happiness no longer revolves around the state of his physical body.

There are many exercises that teachers use to accomplish these “goals” – most of them designed to make people feel uncomfortable and face their fears. But there’s a big difference between facing your fears and disrespecting your mind and body. There has to be line where if crossed, becomes an act of disrespect for the gifts that Spirit has given us to navigate reality with.

Only honesty can tell us what that point is. For example, if you are in meditation class and your back is uncomfortable and you want out – you could say you don’t want to go against yourself and use that as a justification for not doing something that is painful in the moment to you. But is sitting really hurting you? Are you going to be ill and die from sitting there? Not likely unless you have some kind of severe back issue and if that is the case then why did you choose to be there in the first place? If you’re uncomfortable, be honest with yourself and admit that you’re hurting and you realize that you’re not willing to transcend your fear of physical pain at that time – rather than making some excuse that is a lie.

But if you’re in a sweltering sweat lodge after several days of a vision quest where you haven’t been drinking and are dehydrated – you must depend on your common sense to determine that this doesn’t feel right to you. Then nothing anyone says should stop you from getting out of such a situation. Simply state aloud: This is going against my body and I love myself too much to put myself in this situation. Only the ego-mind could allow us to endure something inappropriate for fear of being judged as a wimp. In that case we are allowing our mind to hurt our body – something that we are working to stop as spiritual warriors.

So for me, spiritual warriors honor and love themselves so much that they never let anyone go against them ever – and that includes their own ego-mind! I encourage you to find that place of absolute honesty within you and cultivate it – you won’t be sorry. All my love to those folks who passed in that incident and may a powerful lesson be learned by all so that their deaths were not in vain.

With All my love & blessings. Sheri Rosenthal

Author's Bio: 

Sheri Rosenthal DPM is a master Toltec teacher and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Toltec Wisdom and Banish Mind Spam!. Having trained with don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements®, she currently takes students on spiritual journeys - works with personal apprentices, and enjoys being extremely happy. You can reach her at or and