(Enhancing Courage in Our Lives)
Joyce C. Gerrish
Life takes us by surprise sometimes. Life simply isn’t always predictable even though most of us may wish that it would be. We do what we can to insure that events will unfold predictably. We take out various types of insurance to help prepare for the unexpected. As hard as we may prepare, there simply will be those times when we are faced with the unexpected. In truth, it is very important to consider the unforeseen as a normal part of the rhythm of life.
Life flows in certain rhythms. There is comfort in steady rhythms, like the steady beat of one’s heart. There is peaceful stability in the progression of the days of a week, and in the seasons of a year. One hopes to be able to count on those rhythms – – and build one’s life around them. In reality, though, it is important to remember that we all have periods of our life which don’t seem to fit within the comfortable flow. These may come from within our own body, from our interaction with other people, from unusual phenomenon of nature, or in other ways. Some people actually like to live on the edge of their comfort zone. Facing the unknown may sometimes feel simulating to some people. How do you feel about this?
In past times people didn’t assume total security and safety from birth to death. There was often potential danger; it was understood to be within the nature of reality. Travel was mostly by foot or on horseback or in simple wagons. Even when just traveling to the market place or church they had to keep an awareness of possible danger from people who might try to rob them, from severe weather, or from animals that in certain conditions might attack. Also, disease was not as well understood then as it is today. Even though they did have herbal medicines and certain aspects of natural healing, they didn’t really understand very well about germs and true sanitation. Water wasn’t always sufficiently clean. In the eighteen century, people often didn’t live much past forty; frequently they tended to succumb to disease or danger or accident before that. That was accepted as the way it was.
People in the past tended to have a fairly stoic attitude about life. That was partially why the elders were so highly respected in many cultures. The elders were seen as the heroes because they were victors in the journey of life – – having survived through many trials that were at times against stiff odds. The wisdom of their stories of successful accomplishments was eagerly sought. People needed to be courageous just to go about their daily business. They prayed that all would go well. Sometimes it did and sometimes it didn’t. Couples tried to have numerous children. The children were to hopefully take care of the parents in old age or if there were severe injury. Courage was second nature. It was the way of survival. What I have just described is also true in significant parts of the world today.
When life is very predictable and comfortable, people may become a little complacent and expect events to occur pretty much as planned with what they consider a reasonable amount of effort. That may work well for a period of time, but eventually the law of averages will most likely bring some serious challenges. That is the time to hold steady and persevere with courage – – and to not lose faith. Courage is a beautiful quality to cultivate. With calm steady courage, a challenge has a good chance of resolving itself – – or a person can grow through the situation.
Visualize two or three people in a canoe. As you probably are very aware, a canoe is not a highly stable boat. If you have ridden in a canoe, you know that any significant movement by someone inside the canoe can throw off the balance of the boat and everyone in it. The same is true for waves that may approach the canoe – – caused by other boats or by naturally occurring waves. To stabilize the canoe in those types of conditions, the people in the canoe need to stay steady while the boat regains its balance. Panic can make things much worse. As the canoe rocks, in order to regain balance the people inside of it need to calmly lean in the direction away from how the canoe is tilting. This may mean that the people inside the canoe shift their weight back and forth a few times to compensate for the disruptive rocking until balance is once again achieved.
When one is accustomed to this process it becomes second nature and may be barely noticed. If one panics and becomes stiff, it could cause the canoe to capsize. The same is true with life in general. If a person panics when confronted with an unexpected change or challenge, it can make the situation worse. Staying calm and courageous allows one to spontaneously and intuitively respond as needed to regain balance within a reasonable period of time. The attitude of courage is not based on knowing precisely what is needed in a situation. It is based on trust and faith in the Divine and willingness to do the best you can to bring resolution. It involves an attitude of humility of being willing to learn something in the situation. Rigidly attempting to hold on to status quo may not meet the needs of the moment. One needs to have the courage to intuitively bend and to listen and to grow in the situation. Such is the crucial role of courage in the midst of life’s ups, downs, and twists and turns.
It is not always easy to carry on when your plans are disrupted, it fact it can sometimes be very difficult. It can feel like your life is torn asunder. There are unfortunately times when much of a person’s life may actually have been devastated. There aren’t really any guarantees on planet earth, much as we may wish there were. We do the best we can. What is extremely important is to know that you are not alone in this world. Humans aren’t just left wandering alone on this whirling planet Earth. The Divine is watching over us. Sometimes that may seem hard to believe, I understand. Life is precious. It is perhaps all the more precious because it is to a certain extent vulnerable.
We have support from the Spiritual levels of existence. This support comes from God and from the higher levels of our consciousness where we are one with God. It also comes from the Angels and Saints and Divine ones in service to God. This is sometimes referred to as Divine Grace. Spiritual Faith helps to draw this Divine Grace into our life
I will seek to explain somewhat this phenomenon of connecting to Spiritual Grace and Spiritual blessings. It is an aspect of Spiritual science and of the Spiritual laws of cause and effect. When we keep our consciousness Spiritually uplifted and strongly linked to the Divine, we are connecting ourselves into the Spiritual source. It could be said that we are “plugging” ourselves into the Spiritual energy source, like a lamp gets plugged into an electric socket. It’s not a vague wishy-washy concept, it is very real. When we connect our consciousness into the Divine Source, Spiritual energy flows through to us and our life. Visualize this, if you will. It is a very important concept. Visualize a lamp: imagine it as a very special lamp. Imagine it very attractive in whatever way pleases you, such as similar to a beautiful stained glass Tiffany lamp or a lamp with an artistically carved wooden base and a nicely textured lamp shade. You might gaze at this wonderful lamp and admire it for a while. Then you might think, “it is should be turned on so it can fulfill its purpose as a lamp. A lamp isn’t just supposed to be attractive; it is supposed to provide light.” So you turn the switch and nothing happens. You might wonder, “What’s wrong with the lamp? It isn’t providing light like it’s supposed to!”
Then the awareness dawns that the lamp isn’t plugged into the electric socket and energy source. You plug it in – – then “lo and behold” it glows forth radiant light and fulfills its purpose. That’s the way it is with people. We need to plug into our Spiritual energy source in order to light up our consciousness and our life, and to illumine our path as we open to the next step of our life purpose. How do we do this? We plug into our Spiritual energy source through prayer, meditation, devotion, faith, and Divine Love. This is esoteric Spiritual science, and it is also taught in most major religions.
We can support and encourage each other in this process of staying connected to our Spiritual Source. There is a whole different quality of life when we are radiantly actualizing the truth of our being rather than just going through rote actions of surviving from day to day. May we joyfully connect to our Spiritual Source in quiet Sacred moments every day – – and periodically throughout each day. It can be an attitude of radiant joyful courage wherein we know that the Divine is transforming each situation for the highest good. At the time it may not always seem as though our life is transforming for the highest good, but as we pray for and allow Divine Light and Grace to flow through our life – – the way forward can manifest itself more clearly. Sometimes it may involve our own reorienting and lifting our way of perceiving life on planet Earth. Many aspects of Earth life are fueled and sustained by illusion. They need to be understood for what they are. Then we can rise above the negativity and not be dragged down by it. May we put our faith in the Divine and stayed plugged into our Spiritual Source to empower and bless our life. Peace be with you.