Why we need courage
Courage is much needed today, individually and collectively. We face a future seen through a lens of greater awareness of uncertainty shared by many more people. In the ‘real’ world, millions of people are displaced with little or no hope of permanent settlement. And the world is heating up: whether this is caused mainly by human activity or just part of a larger galactic cycle makes little difference - we still have to live our daily lives, make daily decisions, adopt daily perspectives. And for this we need courage.
Metaphysics and science
Metaphysically, courage ‘looks’ like a red flame emanating from our hearts, individually and collectively. For those who can ‘feel, sense, imagine or think’ into courage, it is a real part of our human nature. The science of epigenetic tells us that genes can be switched on or off, depending on the environment that they encounter. Courage may work the same way. Like our genes, it may be inherent in each of us; and, also like our genes, not always or necessarily active in our lives. Courage may need to be ‘switched on’ by circumstances around us.
Exploring the metaphor
When courage is switched on we become more fully human. Just as light illumines darkness, creating greater clarity, courage conveys to us a keener awareness of the heights and depths of human experience, of its joys and sorrows, triumphs and defeats. And just as light in the form of heat can warm us or scorch us, courage can inspire us to embrace our vulnerable lives with greater acceptance or it can lead us headlong into annihilation like moths to a flame.
Courage can be a part of us, like a gene, that is switched on in certain circumstances: courage can also be like a quality or trait or habit, like resilience, that once switched on, we can choose to encourage as we would a habit or a particular skill set.
An example of embodied courage
In conclusion, firefighters provide us with an example to emulate or model ourselves on in the encouragement of our own embodied courage. Qualities of courage that firefighters need include:
- They recognise their need for each other.
- They become very familiar with and understanding of fire and particular kinds of fire.
- They are ready and willing to update their skills and competencies to meet the ongoing and evolving types of fire they encounter.
Applying the example
As human beings who practice the daily habit of courage we also recognise that we do our most effective work when we work collectively and include others on our team.
We recognise that we are each unique and so are our individual circumstances. Nevertheless, we still need the support and expertise of others as we become very familiar with our own unique challenges and develop our own unique understanding of these challenges and what is ‘right’ for us to do about them.
Even as we accept others’ support and encouragement reciprocating when we can, and focus on our own unique talents as we encourage others to focus on theirs, we also choose to continue to expand our understanding of the world, recognising that emerging trends require and encourage us to redevelop our individual skill sets and competencies so that we may, individually and collectively, shine our flame of courage.
Shine on, flame of courage.