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Warrior Spirit

I recently stumbled upon the philosophy of “Shambhala,” a belief system tied to Tibetan Buddhism working to achieve an enlightened society. Shambhala’s steps towards this society involved helping individuals to become spiritual “warriors.” The core idea of this philosophy can be simplified as follows: the world is inherently good, we know this because we can experience the goodness of the world, and thus, each person should refuse to give up on the inherent goodness of anyone or anything to work towards a better world. To understand this goodness, a person needs some level of tenderness, in order to find that inherent goodness in the world and act towards revealing it.

Reading about Shambhala is confusing since it aligns with a lot of my religious beliefs growing up, yet still feels so foreign. Over the last few years, I’ve found myself becoming increasingly cynical about the world, especially as I’ve seen the failings of our political system *gestures at everything *, as well as learning more about the historical and ongoing inequalities of the world. In the face of this information overload and heaps of daily Twitter negativity, I retreated into myself, deciding that I’d focus on figuring out my own life before I could even start to think about the world at large, in spite of my privileged life. I marveled at my relative insignificance and how it could salve any guilt that inaction would create.

Last weekend, the world lost someone who exemplified the tenderness required to move the world forward. Courtney died at the same age as I am now, yet managed to serve as a model for advocacy and steadfast belief in one’s principles. One time, when he joined some friends for trivia, I learned that he was perpetually late— not out of disrespect for his friends, but due to his refusal to use ride-sharing apps in favor of public transit or his bike. What he believed in was how he lived. He dedicated oodles of love and energy to everything he saw goodness in, from trains and queer equality to public education and civic technology. He was great at checking in on people, and everyone close to him never doubted his love.

It’s inconceivable to find meaning in or try to understand death. All I that I know I can do is try and carry on the spirit that Courtney embodied: having a tender heart to see all the possibility that our world contains and striding towards that world. The spirit of acting on your principles in every situation.The spirit of a warrior.

It’s hard to take actions in times like these, but consider donating to one of these charities if you’re in a financial position to do so.
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Nikhil · 325327 Georgia Tech Station · Atlanta, GA 30332 · USA

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