“And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth, 'You owe me.'
Look what happens with love like that. It lights up the sky.”
Las Pirámides Del Ka
In yoga I find a scene of belonging, a space to practice well power with self-love and acceptance, and a path to continue the rest of my day with complete bliss. I started my Yoga journey 3 years ago; did yoga and meditation course in Guatemala, along with Breath Therapy, and got to do Hatha Yoga Teacher Training in India while also practicing Ashtanga yoga.
It's a journey, and I'm fond of the idea of sharing it with other yogis.
Scott had literally never spent a moment looking at himself or at the source of his pain. The world of feelings was a place of darkness for him and, like all unknown territory, profoundly scary. But he faced his fear and not only went back to that Al-Anon meeting but decided to journey further into himself by learning to meditate. For Scott, that was about as brave an act as, say, parachute jumping would be for me.
"courage" comes from the French coeur, meaning heart. One Sanskrit word for courage is saurya, which has the same root as the Sanskrit word for sun. In fact, many ancient systems associate the sun-heart of the solar system—with the pulsing, radiant muscle at the center of our circulatory system. I like the heart image, with its implication that courage comes from the center of being, from the organ that most directly resounds with the pulsation of life.
Raw courage, for one thing, is based on emotion, fueled by anger and desire. It often acts out of noble motives—the civil rights workers of the 1960s, who were my first models of courage, were driven by the most intense idealism. Yet raw courage can also operate without morals or ethics; it can work in the service of aims that are unconscious, deluded, or even sleazy. The real mark of uncooked courage is the trail it leaves—often, a karmic minefield of misunderstanding, pain, and enmity that can injure us if it isn't cleared.
Cooked or ripe courage, on the other hand, contains discipline, wisdom, and, especially, a quality of presence. Skill has something to do with it, of course. It's much easier to act bravely when we know how to do what we're doing, like the well-trained soldier who goes into battle with a clear strategy. Ultimately, though, ripened courage rests on a profound trust in something greater than your own abilities—it lies in trusting the Self, the Divine, the stability of one's own center.
That level of trust comes only from inner experience, from spiritual maturity. Out of that trust, a person with ripe courage can often surrender both the fear of losing and the desire to win, and act for the sake of action, even for the sake of love. A famous Zen story tells of a monk whose temple is invaded by an enemy warrior. "Do you know that I have the power to kill you with this sword?" the warrior says. The monk replies, "Do you know that I have the power to let you?"
Ripe courage arises from that stillness. In the budo martial arts tradition, it's said that the source of courage is a willingness to die, to lose everything—not because we don't value life but because we've entered so fully into our own center that we know it will hold through death. In such a state, they say, a samurai can pacify an enemy without picking up a sword, because the stillness is contagious. The samurai's courage is based on Zen practice—a continuous emptying of the mind in meditation, a settling into inwardness, and finally a surrender into egoless awareness that is, to the small self, like literally dying.