How do you increase your courage in handling life?
Sheer bloody minded determination.
Hi Kathy, FOS, Andrew, Mendy & Deb
I agree with Andrew that often courage is not enough, and courage is certainly needed.
It seems to me that reality is so big, that what is possible within it is so vast, that one can pursue mastery of any discipline or any level of awareness, but one cannot pursue all disciplines or all levels of awareness.
Thus it is possible for individuals at any level of awareness to have a mastery of some discipline at that level of awareness that gives them an edge in reality during conflict. To illustrate what I mean, consider a master strategist verses a singular master of martial arts. The master strategist can bring armies to bear in a way that is unstoppable, but if the master martial artist can get close enough to the strategist, then (s)he becomes unstoppable and can take out the strategist.
There is no one thing that trumps all others in all situations.
Raw physical power always has a power of its own, irrespective of one’s level of intellect or technology or spiritual development – even Plato in his “republic” was clearly aware of this distinction.
And from a different perspective, I align with almost everything Mendy said.
As I see it, the ideas of divine and universal spirit are mistakes, and they are understandable mistakes.
What seems to be the case is that our brains have many systems, including the neocortex with its hundreds of billions of sets of neurons arranged in pattern recognition systems, each connected to thousands of other pattern recognition systems, allowing hierarchical arrangement and distinction and abstraction. Every one of these systems is updating itself about 100 times per second (every second, waking or sleeping).
It seems that our consciousness is an emergent property of this vast processing system.
Our consciousness can only handle a few items of information at a time.
Our conscious thought processes are relatively slow.
Our subconscious processes are so much vaster and faster that they can appear to be all knowing and all seeing (they are not, but it is a reasonable first order approximation in most common situations).
When we look at another person very few people are consciously aware of the tiny changes in the shape and colour of the other person’s face as the heart pumps and blood surges. We can be taught to consciously make such distinctions, but few are.
Fewer still are taught about the subtle changes in the frequency of light emitted from the face due to changes in skin electric potential.
Yet all that information is there, encoded in the photons entering our eyes, and available to the trained subconscious (heart rate, blood pressure, galvanic response). The cues are subtle, and they are present.
Similarly with all aspects of physical reality.
So we are bombarded every millisecond with more information than we could consciously comprehend in a day.
Our subconscious does all the sorting and presents us with what it considers most important.
The more we train and cultivate access to this subconscious (through meditation and other techniques), the more we can perceive of this reality we find ourselves in.
The evidence is now overwhelming that the world each of us get to perceive is a model of reality that our brains create for us that is informed in part by the information received by our senses and in part by our memories and in part by the distinctions and abstractions that we have made over our lifetimes (most of which we have inherited from culture at some level).
So – yes – courage is required.
And – yes – courage is not enough alone, there is always the possibility of error at some level (it is almost certain at many levels, and the degree of importance can vary hugely with subtle changes in context).
And without courage, without taking a chance, without giving it our best shot, defeat is almost certain.
If we give it our best shot we can still fail, and if we don’t give it our best shot we almost certainly will fail.
Life seems not to give out absolute guarantees, it seems to only deal in probabilities. And the more of those deep probability curves one can get on one’s side, the greater the chance of success.