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Finding spiritual courage
Global speaker Sandra Ford Walston, known as The Courage Expert, is a human potential consultant who studies courage. She wrote a great article entitled “Practising Spiritual Courage to Find Answers” which I would like to share.
“Looking to retire? Or maybe find a new job? Want to transition to something new? First, start by asking yourself some worthy questions:
• Where do you seek security? Through an attachment to your home? Your ethnic group? Your denomination? Your job title?
• Do you have a staunch attachment to some belief that prevents you from manifesting your courage?
After over 20 years of extensive and original research on a simple word, “courage”, I have been amazed how people have difficulty claiming and applying the original definition of courage, “heart and spirit” (the spirit and the heart are one). Perhaps it’s because no concrete tool has been available to distinguish the actions of courage such as simply the willingness to give yourself permission to claim your courage or instilling self-discipline to finish (or start) a project. Trapped in attachments, our hyper-individualized culture does not support taking time to reflect and notice how often throughout the day we say, “I am so busy...” Then there is the issue of “needing” more and more stuff and activities to confirm our “identities”—the right car, the latest technology gadget, the trendy new workout or incessant text-messaging.
This attachment dilemma starts with a slogan I use in my training programmes that reflects a cultural mantra: “Have, do, be.” Merging your professional and personal life you will find that, with courage, you are able to transcend the “have, do, be” focus of society to achieve the “be, do, have” mode of living that leads to personal fulfillment. In the spirit of “be, do, have” you are making a gift of your life and ultimately, that choice touches all of mankind. This is not an easy task when society values what you have and what you do.
So to begin this type of learning, you need to cultivate a contemplative dimension grounded in a practical conviction of being. In spiritual courage, there is acceptance in every circumstance, including death.
Acceptance should not be confused with resignation; to the contrary, acceptance is the ability to accept what is at each precious moment. You can begin to do this by asking a couple of questions:
“What can I control at this moment?”
“What prompted me to create this circumstance?”
A person aligned with his or her true self accepts rather than resists the answers. They give their fullest attention to their emotions and what lies underneath them.
• Do you operate in scarcity mentality and unconsciously stay attached to the almighty pay cheque while your dreams wither for lack of spiritual nourishment?
• Are you willing to let go of your possessive attitude toward everything (or everyone)?
• What do you pine for?
• What thought patterns keep you up at night?
Try making a list of the things to which you are attached. Review the list and assess where and how these attachments found a home in your psyche. After identifying your attachments, the next step is eliminating this draining energy, which requires stopping—taking a step back from the busyness of thinking and doing to allow time for contemplation. Stopping helps you learn to become indifferent to the outcome, which should not be confused with loss of spirit or passion but rather with a keen sense of discernment. Spirit and passion remain constant, only regrets diminish.
The spiritual journey requires being in the present. It is a trust in faith that propels you to continue growing. You become a “witness” to your attachments and learn to self-correct. You surrender your ego to a higher level of consciousness, and you begin to exist in a place “where courage meets grace”. As all this happens, humility steps in to replace arrogance and self-righteousness. The sacred within awakens and reveals your spiritual intelligence.
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