It is when we ask, “What ails thee? How can I serve?” and respond with our warrior spirit, that we find the Grail.
In the quest for the Holy Grail the main turning point is when the hero asks two questions. There are different version of these two questions and each version offers different insights. However, for the purpose here the versions of the two questions I would like to focus on are; “What ails thee? How can I serve?”. It is the asking of these two questions which allow the hero to achieve success. Yet it is also the fact that it is a Warrior who asks which means that something will be done about the answers.
We could phrase these questions as, “What is the matter? How can I help?”, or “What is not working? How can I help fix it?”, but the core of the questions are the same. The willingness to ask, to listen and to take action in a helpful way. It is the asking of these two questions, in whatever form, and our response to what arises which can ultimately bring success.
When reading a story from the Grail it struck me that finding the Grail is not a one-of event. There are lots of Mini Grails (or even Micro Grails) all over the place. Life offers us many chances to become more whole and complete and the symbol is the Grail is sometimes used to represent wholeness. The times when I have found one of these Mini Grails is often when I asked those questions, or did, or said, something which embodied the spirit of those questions.
Some years back when I was the Manager of a computer department we were facing many challenges. The computer network was not very reliable and the department was spread too thin to provide quality support and so on. I tried various things to help. I suggested to the IT Team that we create a Vision and got a mixed results; the idea of having a Mission Statement did not really go down well either.
It seemed to me that it is only when I asked the IT team, “What is not working for you?”, and we got into listening to each other and took those things on board that things started to shift. Our sense that serving our own needs would also enable us to do a better job, empowered us to take action. We needed to ensure that our gut level needs were going to be served in order to really take on board specific tasks and to create change. In this way we did end up with a vision and a mission but we just did not call them that.
Part of the challenge for all of us was that to make the computer network more reliable we needed to learn things none of us knew anything about such; as fibre-optics and so on. We needed to say “No” to types of work which were distracting us from our core roles. We needed to reduce the time we spend fire-fighting and say “Yes” to what we really wanted which was to have time for the creative side such as exploring, building and installing new systems which work better and more reliably. We needed to make commitments and take action.
This is where the Warrior comes in. The Grail stories are about warriors. Ever wondered why? From a psychological perspective warriors may have their dysfunctional aspects (being heavily ‘armored’, lots of weapons, and so on). However, warriors embody a quality which is essential to the spiritual path: the quality of courage. Courage allows us to handle fear which is the main block to wholeness (symbolized by the Grail). Being wimpish does not work.
Without courage we can end up just procrastinating, we can get into lots of meetings about visions and missions which just go round and round from lack of the warrior spirit to take things forward. Without courage we can end up creating policies and procedures in an effort to control rather than in an effort to empower.
We can ask the right questions and still get nowhere. In the Grail stories it is the warrior who asks those questions. It is when we embody courage yet turn it to serve the needs of others; rather than using it to impose our own will, that we find the Grail.
It is when we ask, “What ails thee? How can I serve?” and respond with our warrior spirit, and not wimp out on the scary stuff, that we find wholeness – and succeed in our goals.