Monday, November 30, 2009

Courage - committing to a higher purpose

We come to the end of my posts on courage, for now. It was revealing to me to ponder the nature of courage and its importance. I never thought about it much before. Now I see that it makes ALL the difference. I see that courage is the cure for many evils including sadness, despair, laziness, and of course fear. Just think of the word 'discouragement’: the taking away of our courage takes away all our power and brings us low in spirit. To raise our spirit up we must find a goal, a principle, a reason to put BEFORE our sadness, our jadedness, or our comfort - that is the definition of courage. Then we will harness the power of courage in our lives.

Everything good in my life is a result of chances I took, goals I worked for, sacrifices I made. And the reverse is true: what is lacking is a result of chances I did not take, bold efforts I did not make, fears I did not break. When I feel down or in a rut or blocked, I know now with absolute certainty that it is my courage which is flagging.

I am reminded of a quote of W.H. Murray speaking of the power of courage from his book The Scottish Himalayan Expedition:

… when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money— booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth… that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

I know now that to get what I want from life I will have to cultivate more courage than I have been doing. I will have to get more buddy buddy on a daily basis with courage. There is no substitute. Nothing else will do the job. Then and only then may I one day get to change my blog name to Healed Philosophy.

You are only as strong as your purpose, therefore let us choose reasons to act that are big, bold, righteous and eternal. Barry Munro

Who dares nothing, need hope for nothing. Johann Friedrich Von Schiller

Whether you be man or woman you will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honour. James Allen

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

Great things are done more through courage than through wisdom. German proverb

Spiritual cowardice is not only weakness but wickedness. G.B.Gambrell

Knowledge without courage is sterile. Baltasar Gracian

Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men. George Patton

He who loses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he who loses his courage loses all. Cervantes

Wealth lost - something lost; Honour lost - much lost; Courage lost - all lost. German proverb

May you live all the days of your life. Jonathan Swift

For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, "It might have been". John Greenleaf Whittier

A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves obscure men whose timidity prevented them from making a first effort. Sydney Smith

Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to the dark place it leads. Erica Jong

We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world. Helen Keller

Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm. Robert Louis Stevenson

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, to sleep in peace. God is awake. Victor Hugo


Anonymous said...

is it a bit strong to say sadness is among evils?

Alex said...

Hmm, perhaps, depends. Nobody wants to be sad, or angry or any negative emotion. So in that sense it is an evil in that we try to avoid it or learn from it and move on past it if we can't. That's what I meant and that's what this blog is all about. Does that answer your question? : )

Mariana Soffer said...

I liked a lot the proverbs, really nice to read. Let me write you something:
People can make you feel as misserable as you let them.

Alex said...

Mariana, that is so right. Shakespeare/De Vere put it like this: 'thou hast not half the power to hurt me as I have to hurt myself'.

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond