[Four Steps] How to Be Strong and Be Courageous
By Alan Davidson ©
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—
not absence of fear.”~
Mark Twain, author of Huckleberry Finn
“Practice makes perfect.
Careful what you practice.”~
George Leonard, author of The Five Keys of Mastery
Fierce strength and unshakable courage are qualities of every modern Mystic, Saint, and Sage. That fierce strength and courage serves their core values of Love, Peace, and Joy. An Evolutionary Mystic taps her strength and unshakable courage so that she can stand-up against Fear, and its tentacles of cruelty, hatred, and violence of ALL kinds (thought, word, and deed).
When I was on the Board of Directors for Ken Wilber’s Center For Integral Wisdom, we called ourselves an ‘activist think-tank.’ With other board members like Barbara Marx Hubbard, John Grey, Michael Beckwith, we talked about demonstrating courage when it counted…not just lip service with thinking and talking. But being strong and courageous in living rooms, churches, YMCAs, and on the streets when the “call for courage” occured in the real 3-D World.
Dahlink, Let Me Tell You a Story~
In this good ole US of A, we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. King, following in the footsteps of Henry David Thoreau, and Mohandas Gandhi, led peaceful, civil disobedient actions to protest the cruel, hateful, and violent treatment of African Americans in the Deep South.
Eye on the Prize, the PBS series on the civil rights movement shares an interview with John Lewis, now a longtime congressman from Georgia.
In February of 1960, Lewis joined a group of other well-trained black students to protest. Dressed in their Sunday-go-to-Church-finest, they resolutely took seats at white-only lunch counters in downtown Nashville.
Refused service by the white managers and waitresses, the students did homework or studied. They refused to give up their seats to white people. Confusion from the waitresses and other white patrons often turned to fury and rage that these young folk would dare challenge the superiority of white society.
Mobs could gather, hurling insults, spitting on the protesters, often with white police officers standing to the side. But the protesters were strong and they were courageous. They were physically, emotionally, mentally, morally, and spiritually tough. They took the abuse from their white neighbors without getting angry; without resorting to violence of any kind.
These acts of strength and courage were the beginning of the end of Nashville’s segregated downtown lunch counters.
These Sunday-dressed black students were trained for this. They were toughened up emotionally and mentally rehearsed. They had practiced how to be strong and courageous. They had rehearsed how to live their values with love…in the face of extreme anger and often violence.
Teaching Point~ You Can Practice How to Be Strong and Courageous
The Heath Brothers in their excellent book, The Power of Moments, write about “practicing courage.” I love that…practicing courage.
Most often, life gives us unpredictable moments for strength and courage. But those moments for courage can catch us off guard. They can fly by. Leaving us asking, “Why didn’t I say something? Or why didn’t I do something?”
An obnoxious family member belittles someone; a coworker suggests something slightly unethical; a client makes a racist or sexist remark; and you’re so caught by surprise, you’re temporarily mute…and thus, do nothing. Only ten minutes later your Inner-Critic kicks in to curse you for not acting. You missed your moment.
Here’s the important thing; your courage can practiced; your strength can be rehearsed. So when a moment for courage demands it, you can and will be ready.
Mary Gentile, an Ethics professor at the U of Virginia Darden School of Business discovered “People often know what to do. The hard part is acting on that judgement.”
You know how you want to live your values in the world. You just may get caught off-guard, or second guess yourself.
Gentile became convinced that ethics should focus on ‘HOW can I get the right thing done’…rather than ‘WHAT is the right thing to do.’ She created Giving Voice to Values. At the heart of her strategy is practice.
- Identify situations where strength and courage may be needed (obnoxious family member, unethical co-worker, racist client, etc.)
- Anticipate the rationalizations you may hear (Did I hear that right? Is that what they really mean? Is it my place to call them on this behavior? Other people will be annoyed I’m rocking the boat for no good reason?)
- Script your response and action;
- Practice with your peers.
These are similar steps that John Lewis and the other lunch-counter protestors used to steel themselves when their Moments for Courage counted the most.
To prep for the onslaught of white anger, the black students practiced their strength. They rehearsed their courage.
They had dress-rehearsals in church basements. Organizers hired white actors to come in and hurl insults at them. The actors spat on them and tripped them when they stood-up to go to the bathroom.
The students practiced what to say when furious white people hurled insults. The students rehearsed how to act when things got violent; and what to do when the police arrested them.
These strong and courageous sheroes and heroes were as ready as they could possibly be. We can all take a page from their play book.
- Identify, 2) Anticipate, 3) Script, and 4) Practice.
You may never have to endure the kind of anger, hate, or violence that those young black protesters did…God willing. But you will have Moments For Courage…over and over. You can practice your strength; you can rehearse your courage.
Your Take Away~
- You Can Practice How to Be Strong and Courageous.
- The experience of Divine Love, Infinite Stillness, and Bliss recharges your core values of Love, Peace, and Joy.
Call To Action~
I talk often about the mystic’s rituals to Recenter & Recharge. Your regular rituals of meditation and movement plug you back into the experience of Divine Love, Infinite Stillness, Peace, and ecstatic Joy. They recharge your core spiritual values of Love, Peace, and Joy.
The experience of Divine Love, Infinite Stillness, and Bliss recharges your core values of Love, Peace, and Joy. These spiritual values are every mystic’s North Star. They are the values that fuel your Strength and nourish your Courage.
You can also add regular Moral Rituals for practicing strength and courage in the face of adversity. Find a like-souled person and work through these four steps; 1) Identify, 2) Anticipate, 3) Script, and 4) Practice.
The fastest way I have found to access the infinite, eternal, and blissful states of being is using Evolutionary Mystic Meditation.
You can check it out here: