QA113 QUESTION: What is the essence of courage in relationship to fear?
ANSWER: The essence of courage in relationship to fear is to face fear and not to push it away. Most human beings try to overcome fear by in one way or another escaping the fear. This may happen through repression, through not recognizing that the fear exists, or through talking yourself out of your fear or out of the fact that you have any reason to fear, while your heart still fears; your emotions are still in fear.
It is widely and erroneously believed courage is the absence of fear. This is absolutely false. Where there is no fear there is no courage needed. The very nature of courage is that it exists in fear – that it copes with the fear. And it can only do so by really facing it – not by saying, “I have no reason to fear,” nor by saying “there is nothing to fear” or “I have no fear,” but by saying “I have a fear of this and that. I am frightened of this and that.”
If you truly live it and meet it and go on from there, understanding your fear, understanding what is behind your fear, what desires are behind it, then you have courage. And it is this act of courage, of meeting and living and facing your fear, that will finally dissolve it.
QUESTION: Is the absence of fear already courage?
ANSWER: No, I said it is not. The absence of fear is no longer courage is needed. You only need courage when you have fear. When you do not have fear you do not need courage. Now, you may have fear and you may not have courage either. In which case you will try to run from your fear. Of course, in reality, unsuccessfully. But when you have courage you do not run from your fear. Then you meet it and thereby eventually dissolve it.
236 QUESTION: In reference to one word you used that I’m struggling with – can you amplify what the elements of courage are and where courage might be felt represented in the body?
ANSWER: Yes. The elements of courage are the ability and willingness to experience pain or disappointment and learn from it and use it as a threshold. That is courage. It is courage to risk all that rather than stand still and have the safety of a little back door open, never venturing forth completely into a new situation. That is courage.
To love is courage because the loved one may not always respond according to your desires and self-will. To give is courage because the petty heart in its negativity still believes that when you give you will lose and no one will give you anything in return. It is courage to risk finding out that your negative beliefs may not be true. It takes even more courage to not be discouraged.
You feel courage in all of your body, as you feel love in all of your body – for courage is an essential part of love. Every cell and every pore vibrates and resonates with every divine attitude that you can possibly allow to express itself through your mind, your will, your soul, and so through your entire body.
QA241 QUESTION: I’ve reached a point on my Path where it is necessary to make a deeper commitment to my love feelings, to continue my own growth. There seems to be a tremendous resistance to do so based on a strong image of self-preservation and annihilation, which is connected with my giving. I have seen how erroneous this image is. For the times I have let go and given my warm feelings freely, I have not been annihilated and have grown from it. Yet whenever there’s a frustration or the possibility to move forward – as is the case now with my relationship with my girlfriend – I instantly revert back to my case against the world and the need to control and calculate my giving. This seesawing back and forth between annihilation – which is connected with an image of my mother – and a calculated giving – which is connected with an image of my father – is very perplexing. I would just like to find myself. Can you help me?
ANSWER: Yes. I would suggest that primarily – although it may not appear that way – what is missing here and what you need to pray for is courage. It is that step into what seems at the moment, when it comes to it – even though you have experienced the safety, the security, and the richness of loving and giving – all your inner faculties are geared to not knowing.
You have experientially forgotten the experience, so that indeed it seems a totally unknown fate that you are about to approach when you open your heart and your hands and your mind and your being and your spirit and your feelings to embrace the universe, to pour out all of yourself into your environment.
It is not that you do not desire to do so at this point out of meanness – although there may be some elements left in which are angry and spiteful – but this is the much minor obstruction. The major obstruction is a lack of courage and a concomitant attitude of self-indulgence, in which you do not wish to take chances, in which you do not wish to go into an unknown psychic space – and that is what you need to do.
It is the courage to go into an unknown state because in your intellect you know it to be the state of truth, justice, fairness and beauty. And even though your feelings cannot yet go along with this knowledge, it is that you need to use the knowledge in order to fortify the will, in order to let yourself go into the feeling aspect of pouring yourself out in any given situation. You can take the smallest in your everyday life, to your total attitude towards your entire life and toward the universe and toward all your relationships.
It also includes the courage to know that you always have choices and you are never a weak victim when you mobilize this courage. Then choices become available and that loving and giving does not debilitate your wisdom to see when it is wise to give and when it is not wise to do so. Your will functions to execute this decision or this wisdom; there the courage lies. And for that you need to pray. Is that clear?
QUESTION: Yes, thank you. I feel I’ve taken that step right here and now. It’s taken me a year and a half to ask you a question.