The Spiritual Warrior
An interview with Grant Schnarr
If you know the enemy and yourself
You will never be at risk in a hundred battles;
If you do not know the enemy but know yourself
You will sometimes win and sometimes lose;
If you know neither the enemy nor yourself
You will be at risk in every battle.
Sun Tzus The Art of War
Grant Schnarr, a Swedenborgian pastor, has taken
the wisdom of Sun Tzu, a Chinese military
strategist who lived some 2500 years ago, and
applied these ancient principles of war to personal
growth in his book The Art of Spiritual Warfare
A Guide to Lasting Inner Peace Based on Sun
Tzus The Art of War (by Quest Books).
The previous quote is my favorite.
Robert Moore wrote foreword endorsing
Schnarrs book saying, It takes an
extremely bold person to suggest in these times
that we should be utilizing the imagery of
when asked to define what
it means to be a Warrior, I have often answered,
Warriors fight evil, often at the risk of
their own well-being.
Isnt Moore correct that in this modern
age, it is often not popular to discuss our
personal struggles in terms of good vs.
evil? It was no different in C.G. Jungs
time, according to Moore:
Carl Jung courageously challenged the
theologians of his day who tended to reduce evil to
a theological concept, avoiding facing its terrible
agency in our lives. He called upon us to recognize
the enormous power of Radical Evil, both within us
and in the outer world. He saw our personal and
spiritual development as a struggle for
consciousness of evil and emphasized the importance
of developing the courage to face it. In fact, the
most basic fundamentals of spiritual discernment
are dependent upon an adequate accessing of the
potentials of the Warrior archetype in the human
Grant Schnarr knows about the Warrior archetype.
He was initiated in 1997 into The ManKind Project
in the Philadelphia community. He is currently a
Swedenborgian pastor at the Bryn Athyn Church in
The day I spoke with him by telephone, hed
had a full day with his duties as a minister.
I had three people at the hospital to see
today, he began. It was really
. a young mother had to take her
brand new baby back into the hospital because of
respiratory problems; an 82-year-old man was on his
death bed; and a 52-year-old man had a stroke while
I was there. Being with those people brought up a
lot of stuff for me. I realized the contrast of
that picture, as I sat alone with him, was knowing
that Im never going to be by myself in a
hospital room. I have a mens group that
Ive been a part of for more than ten years. I
know they will always be there for me.
Schnarr keeps himself busy with his ministry,
his writing, and working as a certified life coach.
Plus, he runs his own Spiritual Warfare
Effectiveness Training (SWET).
It's a weekend of adventure, spiritual
growth, fellowship, and learning how to be a
spiritual warrior, he explained. It
started out as a weekend for men and boys,
initiating them into mature adulthood, and helping
them face some issues in their lives and bond
together. Maybe because I have four teenage boys
this is where it started.
The weekends are usually held in the Moosic
Mountains of Pennsylvania on a 960 acre site. Click
here for more info: www.swet.org
Many men in The ManKind Project bring
their sons. The event takes place outdoors and
theres a connection to nature. Its a
mixture of sacredness and play. We do a huge
capture the flag game using bags of flour and
water. The young ones show up as the heroes.
Afterward, we get together around a fire and ask
what did you do and how does this behavior show up
in your life?
Schnarr said he frequently encounters men in The
If you do this kind of work youll
run into New Warriors. Ill be talking to a
guy and hell say aho and
Ill say wait a minute! Then
well soon be talking about when we were
initiated, and where, and all that.
It was a Michael Rath, a New Warrior friend of
mine, who suggested I read Grant Schnarrs
books. Fortunately for me, I have a synchronicity
with finding books at the right time in my life. I
had recently taken a test to assess my relationship
with archetypal energies. (You might want to take
this shadow assessment test yourself.) www.oncoursein.com/personal_transformation/lssa.htm
I was pretty clean in three of the
four archetypal areas. I hit the red
zone on my inflated Warrior.
Also, on a recent New Warrior Training
Adventure, one of the leaders told me I might want
to look at some of my bad dad energy.
My mens group was delighted when I told them
I wanted to work on it. (They said it was about
So, learning how to clean up my Warrior was
exactly what I needed when I read Schnarrs
Ill tell you one thing I learned - I
dont have to storm the gates like a brute
every time I access my Warrior.
Therefore those who win every battle are not
Those who render others armies helpless
without fighting are the best of all
Sun Tzus The Art of War
Said Schnarr: At an NWTA men learn how to
move out of where theyre stuck in their
lives. Action is one of the major keys to their
success. However, the true nature of a Warrior also
includes knowing how to yield, like in the martial
arts where an opponents force is used against
him. The real power in a Warrior doesnt
react, but pauses and chooses his action very
deliberately. A lot of guys have come to me
you know, those type-A Warrior types that say
lets go kill something
I teach them about non-reaction. I teach them how
to yield, observe and choose.
Schnarr began to use the word
control, but stopped short.
to control ones own impulses
but I believe
its ultimately about choice
about being a more conscious warrior, making
If you know the enemy and yourself you will not
be at risk in a hundred battles.
Stay on ground which is unassailable to the
To fight any battle without a strategy is to throw
away the victory.
The one who goes into battle aware will claim the
Timing is important in confronting enemies.
Know when to fight and not to fight.
Know the terrain in which you do battle.
Calm and decisiveness are critical in the heat of
A good general walks in the Way (Tao).
Schnarr summarizing some of his favorite
passages from Sun Tzus The Art of War
Schnarr said the most important element is that
men should camp on ground that is unassailable to
Often we put ourselves in a position where
we can be attacked, like an addict putting himself
in place where hell act out. Men should be
aware of the terrain. Youre asking for it if
you walk through the enemys terrain. Simply
avoid fighting the battle. Maybe a man needs to use
aggressive energy only once in every five times he
encounters the enemy.
Schnarr quoted one of my favorite references in
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but
against principalities, against powers, against the
rulers of the darkness of this world, against
spiritual wickedness in high places."
Ephesians Chapter 6:12
Swedenborg talks about spiritual
influences around us, Schnarr stated.
In C.G. Jungs collective unconscious
there are spiritual beings that thrive on shame. We
are subject to influences around us. The spiritual
enemy is that which will destroy us. The enemy is
the force that wants us to be so shamed that we are
incapable of action. If were paralyzed, then
theyve got us. The only good thing about
guilt not shame is if it gives us an
opportunity to move forward.
Schnarr said his books are often read as
self-help books for someone to get over
I also believe theres a greater
story to be read in my books over the battle
between good and evil. I believe in the spiritual
realm and its influences. Yet, I know Im
still responsible for what I do. This goes back to
the work we do on NWTAs to help men
who are stuck in their lives. Swedenborg says that
if you dont put action into willing,
eventually you will experience a failure of the
will. Sometimes we need to simply move into action,
even if we dont feel like it. Thats the
energy of the Warrior.
In the past, Schnarr has written about his
experiences in 12-step programs. When asked to
describe the difference between AA
programs and The ManKind Project, Schnarr
I can not tell you that difference, but I
can make a distinction, he said. 12 step
programs offer a discipline for ones life -
an individual discipline, a spiritual discipline.
MKP is more of an initial cathartic experience that
leads toward more of a community
of support. 12 steps also offers a sense of
community, but its there mostly for the
discipline. The model of recovery is a very good
model for spiritual growth. You dont have to
be an addict to appreciate spiritual
Schnarr said he speaks more to the recovery
process in his other books. The genesis of his
writing The Art of Spiritual Warfare came from his
study of major religions on the concept of
the battle within.
If one man conquer in battle
A Thousand men,
And if another conquer himself,
He is the greatest of conquerors.
Sun Tzus The Art of War
Whether that battle is between demons and
angels, or overcoming the self, I was searching for
a stronger warrior discipline to use in my own life
- thats what attracted me to the New
Warriors, and thats what motivated me to
write this book.
In his book, Schnarr says that Spiritual
Warriors are impoverished by their own efforts when
they move too far away from their Source. If you
continue for a prolonged time in battle, even if
you are winning, it will dull your inner forces and
blunt your edge. In practicing spiritual battle,
seek the quick victory.
Schnarr said he does not shy away from the
higher power language found in
AAs The Big Book. Step 11 says:
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our
conscious contact with God as we understood Him,
praying only for knowledge of His will for us and
the power to carry that out.
Schnarr said the key to accessing the power of
the Warrior comes in our relationship with
God as we understood Him
He continued: I believe that
transformation takes place is calling upon a power
greater than self to initiate - to perform the
transformation. That transformation can be through
religious teachings, any true teachings, the Tao,
by stepping outside of ourselves and
viewing ourselves. In order to grow, we must be
able to look at ourselves from a place that is
higher than self
call that revelation, or a
master, or a group, or a discipline.
I remember talking with Robert Moore when he
told me that if we dont have a
God in our life, we will make every
attempt to make ourselves one.
what about those who just
havent experienced any kind of higher power
in their life?
Schnarr said he was taken aback by that question
because he spends so much time with people who are
actively seeking spirituality, and connecting
with light and higher meaning. Ultimately,
the author said he believed spirituality was
Give yourself a chance to experience the
divine by opening your eyes and seeing
open to the signs that are around us all the time!
If were not being led by some kind of
spiritual discipline, we usually dont see the
signs of God. We need to turn on our consciousness
and get involved in some kind of sacred practice or
ritual. MKP has their sacred acts that give one a
foundation for a deeper spiritual experience. All
kinds of things start happening when you honor
nature, for instance.
Schnarr told a story of a time where he was in a
sweat lodge in northern Pennsylvania and he was
speaking of the place of the coyote when a nearby
coyote began howling.
It was magical to hear that coyote
singing. I realized then that if you work with
nature, nature works with you.
I remember as a youth being in a large hall with
other youth at a church event. Across the front of
the auditorium was a large sign with the letters
P-M-A (for positive mental attitude). Whatever good
idea or light there was in that idea, I find
Schnarrs approach to awareness more like a
I dont want to poo poo positive
thinking, he said, but it has been used
in such a comic book fashion. Real faith is about
opening your eyes and looking at the world with all
the possibilities open to you. If you do this,
youll be blown away. This world is so
incredible. Theres this fantastic drama being
played out in the archetypal world that makes our
lives incredibly interesting and worth living. I
run into people all the time that have gifts for
me. And I have gifts for them. Were supposed
to have gifts for each other. We each bring
something different and important to the world. I
know personally that Im involved in more
warrior oriented things Im the clean
up guy. Some others are involved in more nurturing
I reminded Schnarr that the world of people
interacting in such an ideal way is not the norm in
our modern society. Peoples pursuits have not
always included Lasting Inner Peace.
Thats why I wrote the book, he
exclaimed. Its like this
unconscious conspiracy out there. The world would
have us believe in an illusion that there is
nothing but this world, nothing but whatever is
there for me and me alone. The whole
consumer/commercial world of need, need, need and
buy, buy, buy is killing us.
According to Schnarr, contemporary society is
blessed when we refer back to ancient rituals,
mythologies, and the archetypal stories told by men
like Joseph Campbell.
Archetypal stories have helped us
understand our own lives, Schnarr said.
In this day and age we have given all that up
for science. Pragmatism is now our god and
weve lost true mythology. Emmanuel Swedenborg
said the bible is the mythology for our western
culture - not to be read literally, but for the
greatest stories of all time.
I commented to Schnarr that I thought The Art of
Spiritual Warfare was very candid, that included
many of his own personal struggles. He quickly
replied that his earlier works were much more
Oh, I did a lot more in my other books and
sometimes I wished I hadnt, he said
with a good-natured chuckle. I locked myself
in. But, Im glad I did. I pride myself on
being emotionally honest. When I lead by example,
then other people are willing to do the same thing.
Overall, we all have the same basic experiences.
Ive never been burned by being real. I
dont always walk the talk, but Im
always trying. I think people have responded to
that and allowed me to come to a place of
leadership because of that honesty.
For me, being honest with someone is easier than
being honest with myself. What do I do with my
Warrior amidst all my shadows? Well, Schnarr gives
a good Sun Tzu-type answer in his book: In general,
it is organization that makes managing many
challenges the same as managing a few. It is a
matter of dividing the challenges into groups and
dealing with each as a separate yet related issue.
No one can stand against one hundred spiritual
enemies, but one can confront the weakest of the
one hundred and consequently defeat them all.
On a practical level, if something is
slamming you into a wall, you might want to look at
that first, Schnarr cautioned. So often
those things [shadows] are the most
powerful because we dont give them the time
of day. We need to have a plan for them.
I liked the plan the author offered
in the following paragraph: The principle upon
which this strategy works is that when a spiritual
warrior is able to conquer one defect of character,
that warrior gains power, confidence, and a
connection to the Source that allows movement
against other defects of character with greater
Schnarr said his work is creating a world
of love and integrity one man at a time from the
As a Swedenborgian minister, the writer said he
believes in absolute truth and that each person
must find it for himself in his own way.
What gets me out of bed in the morning is
being in the trenches, intimately involved in
peoples lives and helping them have a better
Im glad Grant Schnarr got out of bed and
wrote this book. His words were an inspiration to
me precisely when I needed them. firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2005 Reid Baer
* * *
The fame you earn has a different taste from the
fame that is forced upon you. - Gloria
Reid Baer, an
award-winning playwright for A Lyons
Tale is also a newspaper journalist, a poet
with more than 100 poems in magazines world wide,
and a novelist with his first book released this
month entitled Kill
The Story. Baer has been
a member of The ManKind Project since 1995 and
currently edits The New Warrior Journal for
The ManKind Project www.mkp.org
He resides in Reidsville, N.C. with his wife
Patricia. He can be reached at E-Mail.
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