Courage is about acting from your heart and spirit—from the center of your being—the true identity hidden beneath the false self of the ego. By delving into the heart and spirit of your true identity, you begin to recognize your innate courage as well as the ego’s insidious control mechanisms, which capitalize on fear and insecurity. As you recognize the fears that the ego uses to justify its self-importance, you undermine the ego’s power to dominate your life and begin to manifest your true identity. You discover the personal truth within your being and recognize courage as the key to spiritual truth.
Fear Paralyzes the Heart
What percentage of your life is filled with regrets? Regrets represent times when you allow fearful insecurities to undermine the courageous choice. Recognizing regrets, you can cultivate courage and trust that going for it is better than dying without it. This is the difference between heart and mind. Learning to stay centered in the present may not banish fear or blame, but you will diminish the tendencies that keep you stuck in fear. Fear blocks and paralyzes the heart; therefore, fear blocks courage. Slowing down puts you in touch with reality—your own issues—releasing you from inner tyranny of fear-based habits and scripts, uncovering a deep set of self-actuating principles. In The Gift of Change, Marianne Williamson writes: “We are lifted from weak to strong; we are lifted from lack to abundance; we are lifted from pain to peace; we are lifted from fear to love. None of this happens in an instant, but over time, through the daily process of living.”
Many contemplative practices can help initiate this transformative process—sacred reading, chanting, Tai Chi, hiking, a silent retreat. Any choice that moves you beyond words and thoughts and into the inner silence of the heart enables the fears created by the ego to dissipate. “Within each experience of pain or negativity is the opportunity to challenge the perception that lies behind it, the fear that lies behind it, and to choose to learn with wisdom. The fear will not vanish immediately, but it will disintegrate as you work with courage. When fear ceases to scare you, it cannot stay,” says Gary Zukav in The Seat of the Soul. The stillness found in contemplation provides a maturity to your inner experience thereby accelerating your spiritual courage.
Courage Cradles Your Actions
Fear is a man-made creation—just like slavery, apartheid, and poverty. The dualistic concept of fear versus courage keeps you stuck within the mental limitations of ego. When you claim your courage, you begin to experience the heart and spirit truth that transcends the duality of the mind. In recognizing transcendent truth, you begin to see that fear is simply an illusion used by the ego to maintain its position of control, and this recognition dissolves fear, allowing love to fill your heart. This is the experience of “dying to self.”
As courage consciousness matures in your life, you’ll notice huge shifts in your perspective about fear. You will find courage cradles your actions, allowing you to validate the choice of courage consciousness over attachments that trigger life’s unwanted fears. Soon, with an inner gaze, you discover that there is courage in the midst of fear. It is found in the simplicity of being quietly centered in God’s light, and that takes courage! In the Bible (Ezra 10:4), we read: “Rise up; This matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.”
Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™. She is an organizational effectiveness consultant, speaker, trainer and courage coach. She is the internationally published author of bestseller COURAGE (2001), recently released STUCK:12 Steps Up the Leadership Ladder (2010) and FACE IT! 12 Obstacles that Hold You Back on the Job (2011). She is certified in the Enneagram and MBTI®. Please visit www.sandrawalston.com.
Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert
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