“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” – Anais Nin

Sometimes the smallest things in life are the hardest to find the courage to face.  The most troubling of those, the 100-headed dragon, is the simple act of letting go.  As a child, all the joy, the fun and the wonder was in letting go and just being a child; being curious, being wild and untamed, not harboring a care in the world.  We were the wind that rocked the trees and billowed the sails of life.

But something happens as we age.  Life goes from being an unexplored beach of soft sand and whimsical sea creatures washed ashore to something hard and cold and formidable that must be shoe-boxed, pigeon-holed, alphabetized and ultimately controlled.  We find we’re no longer the wind but the tree struggling not to be rocked by it.  Our sails become tattered and torn.  Simply put, we go from letting go straight into resistance.  And if Life teaches us anything, it teaches us that resistance is futile.

What is it we’re holding onto so desperately?  The illusion, or perhaps better stated, the delusion that we’re in control.  Unfortunately control isn’t something tangible; you can’t hold it in your hand.  It’s an idea much like the color blue.  It doesn’t actually physically exist.  It’s merely an idea.  How do you control an idea?  You might as well try holding smoke in your hands.

Sometimes the delusion succeeds.  We get lucky and that thing we’re trying so desperately to control goes our way.  Victory!  Nothing tastes sweeter than victory, does it?  We congratulate ourselves on a war well fought, a job well done, and take up arms ready for the next life event we must vanquish.

Other times luck isn’t on our side and things don’t go our way.  Things are out of control.  We feel defeated.  We “should have…”  “If only…”  Shoulda-coulda-woulda.  Time to beat that sense of control right back into ourselves so we don’t mess up again!  Grab that wheel!  Hoist that sail!  Tiring isn’t it?

I won’t deny that some things can be controlled, somewhat, by things like foresight, planning, acquiring skills, and saving but these things aren’t even guarantees.  They may better your odds a bit, but they’re still not a 100% guarantee of much of anything other than at some point Life will turn a corner you hadn’t planned on and you’re spinning out of control again.

The truth is Life has its own currents.  It’s a wide and amazing river we’re all traveling.  We can neither see the currents nor can we control them.  All we can do is go along for the ride.  The beauty is that we can at any time re-find the courage to become like a child again; to be the wind.  Instead of tirelessly paddling against the tides we can simply ride them, hands in the air, embrace the adventure and wonder at the vistas.

Let go.  Go with the flow.  Be brave.  Bloom.

30 thoughts on “Courage

      • Here’s a tip: The thought of forgetting your childlikeness, the idea that you forget to be like a child — those, too, are just illusion (or delusion, if you wish). Only the remembrance of the true Self, the eternal child in you, is real. Becoming aware of that makes it easier to remember.

      • You asked me: “Have you read Sri Ramana Marharshi by chance?”

        Yes, Jean. I studied his teachings years ago. I even featured him at my WordPress blog site in a line-up of true mystics whom I acknowledge as my spiritual teachers. I encountered him in the course of my research and studies in mysticism.

        Share with me your own impressions of him. How much of his teachings are you familiar with, and which ones resonate strongly in you? How long have you been drinking from his fountain of wisdom? How much of a role does he play in your own spiritual development?

        Thank you for your lovely Web site, Jean. It is a veritable spiritual oasis in cyberspace, especially when one considers the enormous volume of secular, mundane, or profane sites and pages that proliferate online. Even among those that profess to be “spiritual,” not many will stand out for their adherence to nondualist oneness and authentic mysticism. How lovely is the light shining inside your soul!

      • I became aware of Sri Ramana about a year and a half ago. My husband was reading some of his teachings and mentioned his inquiry-based approach to me. When I he said “who am I” all kinds of bells and whistles went off because it reminded me of a game I played with myself as a child. Unknowingly, I did exactly what he teaches and had some very deep experiences. At the time I was too young to really process what I was experiencing, not that it was necessary. I’m not a follower-type. It’s a very rare thing for me to find anyone who’s approach resonates on such a deep level with me, but his no-nonsense, practical inquiry method really does the trick. I must confess I have not studied him in depth, but I have done some reading.

        I can say I’ve consciously focused on my spiritual development since my mid 30s. I’m chasing 50 now. There have been many hills and valleys; awake times and asleep times. Things for me have really accelerated (or the illusion of it) over the past 2 years. I’ve joined my new husband in India, become vegetarian, and can say the state of meditation has become a very natural and effortless part of my life now. It’s funny because I hadn’t originally intended any of this, but now here it is. I never even considered being a vegetarian, but when you marry one you’re kind of tossed into it. Interestingly, it has had an affect on me spiritually as well. Not necessarily on a moral level, but on a more subtle level I can’t really name.

        It’s an interesting journey. Moving from the States was very hard and that’s also presenting to be a very interesting set of “lessons” as well.

        Thanks so much for your gracious comments. It’s much appreciated. It’s very hard to know sometimes if I’m projecting my reality in a way that makes sense to anyone else. As you know, sometimes some of these things are very difficult to express in words. But if I’ve given someone else out there an “ah ha” moment, then I’m very much pleased. I just love those!

      • It is said by the sages that no one comes to live the mystical life unless one has been called to it from within, and unless one has invested previous lifetimes preparing for the illumination of the mystical life. You can be sure you have been called to it and you have the wisdom and experience of those previous lifetimes backing you up today.

        Turning 50s is a wonderful event in the spiritual unfoldment of an individual. It is for a very good reason that the 50s are referred to as our golden years. In the evolution of individual consciousness, the 50s is the time of our lives when our spiritual flowering occurs, the blooming of enlightenment in the mind; so that by the time we reach our 60s, we shall have become the sages of society.

        However, not many respond to the true calling of the 50s. Many avoid the ultimate goal of life or they outright reject and refuse to work with the flowering of the inner Spirit. Instead, they seek to push back the advance of time and aging or to regain their lost youth: They pursue the mythical fountain of youth through a variety of ways that include plastic surgery, Botox injections, seeking a younger spouse or partner, a mid-life career change, a reinvention of their human selves and lives, etc.

        Time and things have really accelerated in the recent years not just for you but also for others. We live in a special time of intense spiritual awakening on our planet. Individuals like you and me, and others like us, are participating in the illumination of the human species, in the enlightenment of the human race. The learning of life lessons is also speeding up if only because our minds and souls are being suffused with the infinite light of the true Self which we are. We are being taught a new and totally different methodology of living life — from the human to the spiritual or divine.

        Actually we are being made to realize the only lesson which matters most in life — the realization of “I”, the Self. Yet ironically, the lesson, itself, is a paradox because of the no-thingness or emptiness of this Self. There is no lesson(s) to learn then. There is only pure BE-ing.

        Rejoice, Jean. You have awakened. You are awake.

      • I agree with much of what you’ve said. The tricky thing about youth that eases up a bit as we age is our ego in this process. The tendency, through the gaining of understanding, to latch onto this awakeness as a banner to wave and a badge to wear for all to see isn’t quite what it once may have been. And as we both know, that’s disaster and sure way to go right back to “sleep”. This journey requires humility and if you’re not careful, it will beat it right into you.

        I enjoyed what you shared and I hope others do to. Thanks again so much, Marc.

  1. Gods, yes, just letting go. I’m finally doing that, bit by bit, and I just find myself S’PLODING with joy. It’s terrifying and amazing. 😀 That is why I love that quote. As you know. ❤

    • Learning to let go is much like ceasing to beat your toes with a hammer. I’m getting better are reminding myself too, but still have to go through the “owies” most of the time until I realize what I’m doing to myself. Thanks for reading!

  2. “But something happens as we age. Life goes from being an unexplored beach of soft sand and whimsical sea creatures washed ashore to something hard and cold and formidable that must be shoe-boxed, pigeon-holed, alphabetized and ultimately controlled. We find we’re no longer the wind but the tree struggling not to be rocked by it.”

    Indeed something happens as we age: The human conditioning sets in, and our attachments start to develop. We lose our childlikeness and our innocence in exchange for “growth,” which is really a forgetting of who and what we truly are . . . until we remember again. And remember we shall, as we learn to: “Let go. Go with the flow. Be brave. Bloom.”

    The words of one who knows how to live — your words — are wise and beautiful.

      • What a beautiful dance that must be. You must take some time to show me your dance. . . by taking my hands, showing me the steps, and dancing with me.

        I share the feeling of clumsiness as regards life’s journey. But, hey, every moment or episode is a new tune playing, a different beat perhaps, requiring new dance steps every time. Is it a wonder, then, that anyone’s footwork could be so clumsy? 😉

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