Being Courageous: A Spiritual Path

four agreements
[Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements]

Courage comes from doing the thing that is right, no matter what is going on or what someone else wants you to do. You do it from your true, authentic self without thought.

It is important to be separated from what others think of you. What some one thinks of you is just their opinion, and has nothing to do with who you are!

No one can make you into what you are not, just because that is what they think you are. No one else is responsible for your actions and thoughts except you. All you can control is yourself and how you act on a day to day basis.

We all have egos and it is good for many things. But your ego is often at odds with universal laws and principles. Take the time to identify when you are acting from ego (“I need to be important”) and when you are acting from your authentic self (“I need to be me.”).

Your ego wants you to feel special, better, and different than others. But the truth is that you share more in common with others than differences. You can only offer to another person the part of you that is true.

There was a young boy many years ago that lived in a small town. He was fortunate to have a newspaper delivery job. While collecting from the customers in his neighborhood, he stopped by the home of one of the women who lived nearby his house.

The woman who lived there came to the door in tears. She spoke rather disjointedly, but the boy was able to make out that she had just learned of the sudden death of one of her grown children. Since he was only about twelve or so, the boy had no idea what to say or do. But when he returned home, he found his mother who was busily working in the kitchen and told her what had happened. As soon as she heard the news, his mother immediately quit what she was doing, threw on her coat, and hurried over to the neighbor to provide company and solace. She didn’t think about it; she didn’t say, “Gosh, I should go comfort her, but what would I say?” she just went.

The boy, who had felt so incapable of action, was most impressed by this example of human compassion and selflessness. He saw his mother responding as her authentic self, and he learned much that day.

Could it be that we are always struggling to know the authentic self? Many of us only need to recognize the strength and courage we have always had, but were afraid to see. As we are trying to understand ourselves, we struggle with our fears, and failures – our weaknesses.

Through some kind of events (such as the newspaper boy had), these weaknesses can have the chance to turn around. After looking at yourself and understanding the reason you are doing something, or having a comparison of another’s actions, we look long and hard at ourselves.

This gives us a chance to change. A transformation occurs.

A weakness is merely an asset used in a fearful way. We have constant opportunities to make magic in our lives because the universe is constantly giving us new dilemmas to work with.

[Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements]

Special Olympics

Young boy, named Jay, loved to be in the Special Olympics every year. He planned for it and talked about it all year long. He wanted the gold medal.

His family was always there to support him. But this particular time his mother got sick and had to stay at home. His father went with him and she waited to hear the story when he got back.

They finally came home. Jay had a silver medal around his neck. Mother was worried that he was disappointed that he had not won the gold medal. But he had a beaming smile.

His father said, “Tell mom what happened.”

Jay told the story: When the shot rang out to start, he hesitated and was fearful since his mother was not there. And all the other runners moved ahead of him. But he was so excited just to be in the race, he forged ahead and eventually was the lead runner.

As he got to the finish line, he heard all the cheers of his friends, neighbors and family for him to cross the finish line.

And he stopped.

He just stood there. He stood there and enjoyed the moment of completion. Crossing the line did not make him a winner. He was already a winner by running the race; by doing something that many people didn’t think he was capable of doing; by forging ahead and following his heart.

Maria Shriver has been first lady of California, Kennedy family member, TV journalist, and bestselling author. She has had her share of fame, and then some. But when she heard that the main goal of today’s kids’ is to ‘be famous’, she had to speak up.

The speech below, delivered at her nephew’s high school graduation is included in her new book, Just Who Will You Be?

“Famous people always seem to look happy. They always look rich. The always look thin. If they’re fat, they’ll be thin next week. But for whatever it’s worth [and since I’m kind of famous, it might be worth something], fame isn’t a worthy goal. Fame can’t make you happy, in and of itself. It can’t make you feel worthy. It can’t give you life of meaning and joy. That, I’ve learned, is strictly an inside job. The only way you can come to feel good about yourself and to find a life of meaning and joy is to find your own path. Live your own life, not an imitation of someone else’s.

“We live in a world that seems to put a premium on the trappings of fame. But figuring out who you are and fulfilling your own dreams —that’s a worthy goal. The people I’ve met who are happiest in their lives, famous or not, have done just that.

“So ask yourself what you want to be famous for. And set your sights high—because you can be famous for doing something that matters: something that makes life better. We need famous people with integrity, character, and vision, people who want to lead, who want to make the world a more peaceful and compassionate place.—where people feel accepted and valued for who they are.”

Be courageous. Follow the spiritual path of who you truly are: Your Authentic Self.

~ First presented at Unity Community in Dunedin, Florida, May 2008

Blessings, Melissa

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