8-13-23 Bravery



Carl Jung was having a conversation with a Native American chief, “The chief pointed out that, in his perception, white people have tense faces, staring eyes and a cruel demeanor. He continued, ‘They are always uneasy and restless. We don’t know what they want. We think they are mad.’” 

Our freedom, peace and joy in the present moment, is the most important thing we have.
Peace is found only in the present moment.  Thich Nhat Hanh

What is your reason to not love yourself? Because you do not think you are deserving of your own love and respect? You are wrong. You are deserving, perhaps just afraid to trust yourself. It takes a full measure of awareness, of paying attention, to when you demean or distrust yourself. That is the time to simply acknowledge your negativity or fear, and take a small step into an open acceptance and to move through that fear. Fear occurs because we tell ourselves we need to protect ourselves. That distrust comes from old behavior and a mental process of the many reasons we are not good enough. We cannot mentally battle our egos and win. But we can accept a feeling or a fear, and instead of reacting as usual, choose to open up to a sense of fearlessness that is not the product of conscious choice, it simply is there, available. It is kindness and bravery. It is like a cool shower on a sweltering hot day.

The world very much needs people who are wholeheartedly engaged with life, brave people. Give yourself permission to be kind to yourself, you are the only one who can do that.
You can make yourself smile whenever you choose kindness and openness. Ah yes, that feels right and good.

These days I am struck by the speed of life. As we get speedier, we do things in half steps. Therefore, the practice of wholehearted engagement is important. How can we be steady and complete, and what kind of wisdom does that bring? We practice being on the spot: we do things precisely and thoroughly. In meditation, our mind and body are joined and we access and protect our wisdom-mind by being present. We then, extend our training into all other aspects of our life. Pay attention, be aware, not robotic.

Being brave enough to fully embrace our humanity, all that we see as good and bad, is how we will accomplish good things. If we seem to see the world moving in a destructive direction, we don’t throw our hands up and criticize others, we look for ways we can engage in a positive, healthy manner towards an acceptance and perhaps a solution.There is a tremendous amount of good and kindness in the world, do not be blinded by the smaller amount of destructive behavior.                                                             We don’t condone bad behavior, but see it as a lesson in what not to do, and use it to inspire us to work towards a better way. 

We may be engaged in immediate gratification, getting what we want when we want it. Manipulating others to do what we want them to, even subtly, or with deception. If things don’t happen the way we want we are unhappy and we may try to force our control on others. This shows no respect for ourselves or for others; arrogance, madness. There is no bravery in manipulation, avoidance, being flippant or anger.

What can you do today, now, that will enhance the world, your life and the lives of others. Check your attitude, are you feeling restless, not-caring, or negative? How can you turn that negative energy into a positive outlook and into action? It takes bravery to get out of our small, feeling sorry for ourselves mentality. You are the one that needs to step onto a better way, that is why we study and practice. Now you need to engage it! No one or no religion or wisdom will save you. You need to take the wisdom and practices you find uplifting and engage them. 

When we are sporting and spouting our knowledge, or trying to drop a bombshell to boost our egos, there is a sense of disconnect and isolation. It takes courage to ask questions, perhaps learn something, not always know the answer and.

In my addiction I had little respect for anyone else, nor for myself. I was trying to destroy myself because I was unhappy and did not know what to do. I have been learning slowly that I can never hide from myself, but that I must see myself clearly, with no regrets, and I can then move forward. I will then be able to see others more clearly and will not be afraid of myself or others. What a blessing to begin to step into my fears, accept them and move beyond, and not have them control me. To begin being brave.

My meditation teachers taught me that with aggression you may accomplish some things, but with gentleness you can accomplish all things. When you are fully gentle without arrogance and without aggression, you see the brilliance of the universe, life is fuller and richer, life is worth experiencing. Chogyam Trungpa 

The challenge of being brave points to one specific instruction—that we stop cowering from our basic goodness, the sunlight that illuminates everything equally, not just our restrictive, personal spotlight. To be brave is to look closely at who we are, what drives us. What are our fears and what do we avoid or grasp after that is a habitual behavior, and seems to be a necessary defense in this world we see as threatening?

You need to start being brave by not saying yes when we really mean no, and no when we should say yes. You can begin to expand your awareness of yourselves and others through meditation, through a discipline of awareness in your everyday life, and engaging in healthy dialogue with others, not just gossip or mindless chatter.  When you find yourself starting to spiral out with speed or confusion, be brave enough to –  Breathe, bring yourself back into your body and calm your mind. Relax and go forward with a flow of energy that is not taxing or draining, it is a natural flow of being and doing. It is surprising how much you can accomplish without being fatigued when you are relaxed and simply doing, with a peaceful mind.

We begin to recognize that all of our actions have an effect on others. At first this can be scary, or we deny it. As we grow, we begin to embrace the connection we have with others, and gladly take the responsibility of our actions and motives, because we know the vital importance of living honestly and fully.

Always keep going; always believe in your deepest self, that is worthy of living life fully and capable of much kindness. Stand tall and feel brave.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.