Excerpt About Courage
Courage and InquiryI call this the socratic method because Socrates was the first major figure we know who engaged this process directly, who sat down with people and asked them pointed questions such as, what is courage? Everybody thought they knew what courage was, but he led them in inquiry, first showing them that they did not know, and then guiding them through questions so they could find out for themselves. He knew the answer for himself, but when he asked the question, he asked it from the place of not knowing. He knew, but he knew that he didn't know everything, and because of that his inquiry was always alive. That's why so many people flocked around him; they were excited by that energy of inquiry. He could have just told them the answer, but they wouldn't have learned anything, for the important thing is to learn how to inquire, how to ask questions... ...Activating the red latifa provides the soul with the strength and capacity to reach and discern what one loves and wishes to unite with. It gives one the energy and fire, the initiative and courage, to go after one's heart’s desire.... ...At this juncture of our unfoldment, we need even more strength in order to go forward. Here strength appears in another form that is necessary for our inquiry. When there is fear, the quality that is needed is fearlessness. Fearlessness does not mean the total absence of fear reactions, it means that fear does not scare you away from your inquiry—you still go on. At such times, you need courage to keep looking at the truth even if it terrifies you—to face the fact that you’re going to feel insecure as you go forward into the unknown. It takes a daring attitude to cross that threshold. In other words, for us to continue with inquiry when we are afraid, we need to be courageous, we need to be strong of heart, we need to become lionhearted. But what we need to become lionhearted about is the truth. All kinds of things can happen—disruptions, hardships obstacles, fears, and inadequacies. You might feel helpless for a few days, or a few years. Some people can go crazy on the spiritual path, and some people even kill themselves. These difficulties of the inner journey are well known and have been documented throughout history... Bold Openness This is the time when we need tremendous courage, immense strength, and an adventurous attitude. For the true explorer, the bold voyager, risk is always a part of the adventure. So if you are truly interested in the farthest reaches of reality, and the inquiry is a blazing fire within you, then you too will experience this boldness. If your heart is open, this openness will manifest as courageousness. It will become a courageous, bold openness, a daring openness. In fact, you can become so courageous you dare reality: "Show me! Let me see into your mystery!" We’ve seen that openness appears as love, as curiosity; with the red latifa, it appears as courage and daring, an adventurous attitude. Without this quality, you will tend to stay with what you already know or believe about reality. Then openness will have limits and boundaries to it: "Yes, I'm open, but only if what happens confirms what I already know." You might feel this way especially when you’ve fallen into the ocean and you feel like you’re drowning—it can be hard to stay open to see what’s true. You think, “I’m going to die, to disappear. I’m terrified!” But if you let go and let yourself disappear, you might find, “Oh, I didn’t die, I’m water—amazing!” To surrender in this way when we’re terrified requires courage—not just love, and not just trust.