Courage means something different for everyone. This is the first day of Journey of Courage. My approach to this Journey focuses on specifically spiritual courage. To me, the picture of spiritual courage is represented very well by Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego of the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Old Testament. They each had resolute Peace, being lead to the lion’s den and the fiery furnace, respectively. There was no fear, only peace, calm, and trust in the Lord.
We hear a lot today about courage as feeling fear and “doing it” anyway (whatever “it” is). But these four men put courage in a much different perspective. There was no fear. They were so filled with trust in God, in His plan, that whatever the outcome, their Peace was unshakable.
I think that type of courage is possible–the courage that embodies faith, trust, and the Peace that passeth understanding. That’s what I am working toward.
Take some time to think about what courage means to you, before continuing. What thoughts does your mind hold about courage? Who do you consider heroes? What qualities do they embody? Do you think there is a difference between spiritual courage and “other” courage? In what situations in your life have you been courageous? Take a moment to write down some thoughts about courage, and why you are interested in taking up this Journey of Courage. There is no “right” or “wrong”, just reflect and write. Your initial thoughts will set the tone for your Journey; they will be there for you throughout, to help you focus, to remind you about what the point of all this is.
My thoughts follow. They are here for you to see, and feel, and “use” to whatever extent that feels right, but it’s more important for you to reflect for yourself, and begin your Journey firmly in your own mind/heart.
Currently, courage means basically what I mention above: it is the unshakable faith and trust in God and His plan, so that amidst all sorts of situations or circumstances I Know Peace.
You see from my definition, that I am actually not even focused on courage itself. Courage is a by-product of a deeper relationship with God. Thus, what I am actually cultivating, in order to “get” courage, is faith in, trust in, love for, and service to the Divine.
More practically, however, I wonder what courage means for me in this time of political/social unrest. This quote comes to mind:
The greatness of spiritual Truth is not in numbers, nor in the degrees of the world’s acceptance or rejection of the Truth, nor in its popularity.
Its greatness is in its Truth.
Fight bravely against all evil and crime.
You must have the courage to do the right thing, and the bravery to resist all atrocities and falsehood.
Be watchful lest the attitude of non-violence produce a lack of discernment between good and evil.
Be a true Divine warrior against evil.
Live in Peace and Harmony, but never at the expense of Truth. Never compromise with evil, for that will lead to spiritual decline.
I am not an impractical spiritual person! I know we live in the world, with politics, people, and social systems. But I also know that the better we as humans get at living with and through principles of love, kindness, compassion, patience, harmony, the more our institutions will reflect this.
I think that right now, in this atmosphere, courage for me is sticking to my principles, come hell or high water. That means: doing what I can to be kind to everyone, and to stand up to those not being kind; to be patient and understanding, but to have the courage to disagree; to support and encourage others to find the strength to stand up for themselves and others; to conscientiously work with diverse people and situations to bring about greater understanding and harmony.
So be it.