If we look at figures in history that have struggled with compassion for freedom, built bridges between communities in conflict, and generally had the odds stacked against them yet go on to achieve enormous success in liberating entire peoples or oppressed ethnic minorities, they all have one thing in common: unfailing resolve to win in the end. This is the fighting spirit, which has nothing to do with physical aggression and competition. It means never giving in to the ego: the inner demons that tell you that it is useless, that you should pack it in, that you or others are not worthy etc.. Demons are not biblical monsters – they exist in every mind without exception.
Most people simply haven't understood what reserves of greatness they have in them. The path of living courageously is indeed a very difficult one to follow. It is easy to choose a life of comfort instead as creatures of habit, even if much evidence is presented of the enormous benefits by other people's examples of living big lives. At the end of the day it is simply a lack of awareness that keeps us from following our potential, and maintains our habit of putting great achievers on pedestals out of our league. Nevertheless, it is simply a matter of time before the negative effects of shying away from our own greatness accumulate to form a crisis of some sort that shakes us to the bone. Humanity seems to be going that way.
When we don't live consciously, our ego speaks and shouts loudly – often incessantly – so that the quiet voice of wisdom goes unnoticed. The ego must be identified, accepted as part of life to be learned from, and mastered by the stronger self. We can achieve this through a sensitisation process: the training of self-observation. We need to practise this both alone and in our communities – in silence but also in the thick of things in everyday life.
The more we become the observer of our thoughts, the more we tune in to the voice of our stronger self, which is really our true identity. Now we are in the space of free will. We are more able to brush aside our fears and negativity that try to bring us down. It is somewhat like walking a seldom-trodden path, overgrown with vegetation that must be pushed out of the way to move forward. It actually requires a lot of effort and courage to go against the weaker voice of our ego. It can take a long time before we become accomplished at recognising the "right" voice, but the positive effects of our efforts can be quite dramatic along the way, and that spurs one on considerably.
The power of this fighting spirit is immense. When we call up our last reserves of courage in the middle of a crisis, to focus on hope, humanity and winning despite the odds, we can move mountains. We will experience enormous growth and personal satisfaction. We engender such a force of change in our own lives, that dramatic, parallel developments can be seen in our environment. In those moments when we are in the pit of hell, we have the most to gain from the fighting spirit. If we train ourselves to get up after every knockdown, to never give in, we will build a bastion of inner strength like we never could have imagined previously.
The more we use the fighting spirit, the stronger we become and the bigger the challenges are that we are able to take on. Nonetheless, we must remain on our guard. We may think that we are skilled in this respect if we have already proven it to ourselves on several occasions, but our demons can sometimes take us by surprise. Therefore it is essential to remain awake through regular meditation and mental "household-cleaning".