Helping People Heal Themselves through the Arts and Sciences.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Finding Spiritual Courage

This is an excerpt from a speech I made at Rev. Perry Lang's 5th Sunday event...
Are you prepared or are you running scared? That is the question. Over the past decade, all of God’s creatures have been physically and spiritually tested. Like every planet in our solar system, Mother Earth is going through an evolution process and experiencing some growing pains. This has resulted in changing weather patterns creating catastrophic conditions causing tremendous human suffering paralyzing local and world economies as well as the lives of multitudes of people across the globe. From the thunderous Hurricane Katrina to the roaring tornadoes in America’s heartland, to Haiti’s shattering earthquake, to tsunamis in Thailand and Japan, traumatic change has come in an abrupt way. In many of these cases entire families were not prepared to face the magnitude of this type of adversity. I’m sure on CNN or your local news station, you have viewed reports about some sensational acts of bravery and gallantry. There are, however, thousands more unforgettable stories that didn’t make the airwaves about the tumultuous fear one had to face that only spiritual courage could conquer for a major transition to take place. Many of us say we have courage, but to what extent.

Art by Wanda K. Whitaker
If one were to define spiritual courage, it is not quite the same as other types of courage.  Wikipedia defines "Physical courage" as having courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, death, or threat of death, while "moral courage" is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement. Charles Fillmore, the founder of Unity Church and the New Thought Christian Movement, defined spiritual courage as a spiritual quality that enables us to remain poised and centered in God amongst great difficulty and danger. The realization that an all mighty God of the universe is a spiritual presence that fills us with a NEW courage and a fearlessness beyond description.

I cannot expand upon spiritual courage without four other major elements. They are fear, surrender, discernment and change. Fear is a natural instinct to help you survive a dangerous situation by preparing you to either run for your life or fight for your life (thus the term "fight or flight"). It is an instinct that every animal possesses. The purpose of fear is survival. It was beneficial for human evolution and It serves the same purpose today as it did when we might run into a tiger while carrying a pail of water back from the river-- the stimuli have changed – instead of the tiger, we are scared of running into a robber coming from the corner store carrying a bottled water --we're in as much danger today as we were hundreds of years ago, and our fear serves to protect us now as it did then.    

This reminds me of a time when fear was literally staring in my face. Once coming home late at night about 12midnight from a nightclub, I parked my car where I normally park it and as I reached over to grab my purse and turned to exit my car, something was at my temple. It was a small pistol. Then came into view a young gunman about 17 years old with a brown apache scarf over his face. At that moment time stood still and I can recall looking at this young boy saying to myself, "Somewhere there is love inside of him." I looked for the love inside of him. I gave him the money he so desperately wanted, turned towards the road and took the longest walk home, praying all the way.

Just as Spirit is higher than man, so is spiritual courage above physical courage. It is of the Spirit, which operates differently, but is still a part of the whole being.  When you have spiritual courage you are able to go beyond the physical and act with a strong conviction of knowing God’s presence in the midst of tremendous fear. You surrender your ego to a higher level of consciousness. When you have Christ, Buddha or Krishna consciousness you are able to transcend and transmute. You know that God’s got your back and everything is in Divine order. In having this kind of faith you are encouraged by the oneness of who you are, the God Source. Humility steps in and replaces arrogance and righteousness. You may still have fear and doubt, that’s human nature. But in spite of the fear you find that you have a NEW courage and a fearlessness as never before. In Ephesians 3:12-13, the confident believer looks even death in the face with calmness and assurance.
Art by Wanda K. Whitaker
How do you get it? You find it inside of you. Be still and know that I am God. It is in the stillness where one finds the strength, guidance and wisdom to overcome life’s ultimate test of courage It requires one to take a risk with the understanding when acting in the midst of fear there is a sacred connection to be made and a higher purpose to consider.

In Revelations 3:8
When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust Him fully and let go, only 1 of 2 things will happen, either He'll catch you when you fall, or He'll teach you how to fly! We must have spiritual courage in order to expand and evolve.

Then there is discernment. You must know when to stay and when to go. On December 26, 2004 a massive tsunami rolled through the Indian Ocean killing more than 150,000 people in a dozen countries. Yet, relatively few animals were reported dead. Elephants screamed and ran for higher ground. Dogs refused to go outdoors. Zoo animals rushed into their shelters and nothing could bring them back out. They seemed to have a sixth sense and knew in advance when the earth is changing. They knew when to stay and when to go. Just like animals we need to know when to stay and when to go using our intuition.
Finally, there is change.  Why is change needed? Many times in order to survive we have to start a change process. We sometimes need to get rid of the old memories, habits and past traditions. Only freed from the past burdens, can we take advantage of the present.

Art by Wanda K. Whitaker
I know about transition. I went through a major transition with the transitioning of my dear mother. I was in tremendous fear of her leaving the planet. I had to decide whether to stay for six months and help take care of her or to go back to my home in Pacifica, California 3,000 miles away. For me, being an entrepreneur, that meant that I would have to take a huge financial risk. Already suffering emotionally, my stress level was high and so was my blood pressure. Up against a wall and knowing my God essence there was only one thing that I could do and that was to let go and surrender to a higher Source. I went inside of myself meditating for clarity and wisdom. Then came the blessed assurance that everything is in Divine order. Encouraged by my own divinity that somehow things would work out, I was spiritually prepared to stay. As when a tree that’s been shading the ground is removed, the earth beneath it is able to flourish in many ways.

What are you going through right now that you need spiritual courage? Are you prepared or are you running scared? That is the question.