When we say to replace fear with courage, it can be a little misleading. From what I have come to understand about fear, it exist in all of us and a part of our human makeup from beginning of mankind to safeguard us from certain dangers. But I believe we may be tapped into our fear emotion more than its original intent to keep us safe from immediate harm, while not balancing or strengthening to the same degree other skills, such as, patience, trust, faith, or courage. It seems like today fear has taken over our lives in many forms (more on that below). And my Yoga practice has given me the capability to recognize and learn how to make space in a way so the fear can stay, but it has to coexist and be lessened by the quality of courage.
Firstly, let me clarify what I mean when I say fear. I am referring to the state of anxiety, concerns, worries, and other heightened emotions we feel about things big or small in our lives. We may not even realize we have a fear mentality until we really stop and consider our thought process around anything from social acceptance, job/career stuff, money concerns, our children, etc. I would say things that keep us up at night, or weigh heavily on our hearts (especially the ones truly out of our control). But usually these feelings come up because we are exploring the “what if” mentality, “what if this goes wrong” or “what if that doesn’t happen”. We have replaced faith and trust that things will work themselves out for the best while doing our part, with worry and fear. It happens to us all, our mind fogs up with these concerns and we start to take everything onto our own shoulders. In these moments, the virtue we need to cultivate depends on our personal journey but it can certainly begin with Courage.
Now comes the process, and the work on ourselves. No one was born immune to the stuff of the mind, but we are all born with the attribute of courage, but to exercise it, we have to cultivate it and uncover it when it takes a backseat. As in prior posts, the first step to driving a change is to know that it is okay to feel the way we feel; remember your fear is ultimately there to keep you safe. But we also need to recognize that we don’t have to wallow and drown ourselves in its grip. Recognition is the first step to getting mindful and making space from it. In order to drive this change, we need to take action and do things that make us feel balanced, empowered, and into a different head space. This practice has to be daily (if possible). Many people tackle their fear through prayer and replace it with faith; some people do physical exercise to feel stronger and empowered; some people meditate to reduce the clutter and to find clarity; some people do charity work to feel part of something bigger than themselves; and of course there is Yoga. For me Yoga is a chance to get out of my monkey mind, by using the movement while focus on the breathing to come into harmony with what is. Ultimately, the reminder I need is that courage and fear can be two sides of the same coin. Even if I feel a sense of unease about whatever is present, I have to remember my own shakti (strength) and give myself the opportunity to move through it with grace. Cultivating the virtue of courage isn’t always easy, and it’s not a one-time fix, like all things it’s a practice. What do you do, what helps you to cultivate courage over fear?
PS. I have missed you all, I was away for a little with new life stuff happening and it is nice to get back in touch in this format. Let me know if there is anything else you want to hear more about. Also, if you liked this post please subscribe to get future post updates and share with your friends. Also find me on Instagram for more consistent in between blog post updates.