A voicehearer’s path ~

Posts tagged ‘courage’

Courage ~

Paul’s list of fruits of the Spirit does not speak of courage or integrity, but they are most definitely a fruit of that which is highest and best in our lives. Here is the Serenity Prayer in it’s entirety,

600px-vodicka_triquetra1svgFull Original Serenity Prayer
by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

Dr. Keshavan Nair,

With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.

I had not heard of Dr. Nair and did not know of him at all before I found this quote about courage, but it so spoke to what I wanted to bring out in this post that I had to look him up. He is apparently an inspirational speaker for fortune 500 companies. With that particular quote I can see why he would be in demand. It says a great deal in a very few words.redspottedpurple

Courage is indeed the foundation of integrity, for it takes courage to speak when others hold the opposite opinion yet, you know the truth. It takes courage to speak when you are wrong and it will hit your hip pocket to say anything because no one knew but you. It takes courage to speak when the facts you must present are the opposite of what you want them to be. It takes courage to stand alone. It takes courage to be part of a change that needs to happen.

Most of us have a “comfort zone”. Hopefully it’s within the bounds of love, peace and joy, but when we must leave that comfort zone because duty or life makes that call, no matter where that comfort zone lies in the scheme of things, it takes courage to leave that and move into a new zone. Even when our lives have been messed up with drugs or alcohol, we are in a type of comfort zone in that it is a familiar place. We know the “rules” here, if we leave this “place” we will be on unfamiliar ground. But, if we want to live a better life, if we want the voices we hear to be of clearer and cleaner source, we must leave the familiar, and dare to change our lives. Believe it or not, that takes as much courage as mounting an expedition to the antarctic.

antarctic-wonderland

One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.

Maya Angelou

Anger, there is help . . .

Dealing with my own anger issues has been one of the toughest problems, but one of the most important to accomplish. When I am incredibly angry, the “low” voices are at their strongest, and I can hear them most clearly. Their presence is uncomfortable in and of itself, and reason enough to find ways to deal with this very normal emotion.

For me, and apparently for all humans, intense anger blocks the flow of love. Now, that’s only logical, but, when you think about, and indeed consciously contemplate it, that would explain quite clearly why some one like me is particularly bothered by the angry blockage of that flow.

At the risk of sounding terribly esoteric, I will try to explain this as I understand it. Apparently, there is some sort of tear or opening in the “fabric” that protects the human entity from hearing the sounds, and seeing the events, that happen on subtler, less visible or audible layers of the universe. I wish I could put this in more scientific terms, but I am under the understanding that it has something to do with the bands of light and sound that are normally perceptible to the human eye and ear.

Now, I am not insisting that what I hear is the result of some sane and sober process, because it often feels just the opposite, and I am quick to discourage those who would willingly subject themselves to any “New Age” process that might open one to this sort of thing. Don’t do it, it’s not fun. Learning to live with it has been a harrowing process and I have made many, some disastrous, mistakes in the learning process!

Now, put that insight into practice in that this “window” or tear leaves me open to hearing “low” angry, nasty destructive voices. When I open myself, however, to love and release my own anger, the flow of the loving energy “blocks”, if you will, the sound of the “low” voices. This was one of the most important steps in my development, and happened under the minstering of “Charismatics”, which is why I will not label that way of life as evil. They did me much good. It is simply that, like all human perspectives, they are not perfect. Oooops, neither am I.

The next step in my learning, however, came from a Buddhist teacher who showed me the benefits of “letting go”, completely, of all attachment to outcomes. I will not say that I have been a resounding success at this, but most of the time I am able, sometimes with much prayer and meditation, to let go of my “right” to expect the results I want from what I do, or even from what others do. It is extremely helpful in that I get angry less often when I succeed at this, and am able to relax and let the flow of love keep the disturbing voices at bay.

It is here that the mantra, “Grant me the serenity, courage and wisdom . . .” has been of great service in my life. I am most grateful to AA for making their teachings public, and most grateful to Dr. Neibuhr for development of that prayer.

EDIT ~

12.3.2008, looking back to see what I had said, I find that I did not give the name of the Buddhist teacher whose worked helped me so much. Since his teaching is quite available to the public, that is unfair. Thich Nhat Hanh is his name, the book is Anger, Wisdom for Cooling the Flames. Excellent learning resource, and comes in CD as well.

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