today's meditation

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
— Anaïs Nin

Courage is that part of ourselves that says, "I know the risks, but I'm going forward anyway."  It's that something inside of ourselves that allows us to do things that at different times, we might think we can't do, or shouldn't do because the risk is too great.  But our courage definitely is one of the most important elements of the creation of our lives--if we have courage and exercise it, we can make our lives deeper and more full of meaning by attempting things that will expand our experiences, our learning, and our horizons.

Courage isn't necessarily something that we're born with, and it's not blind--sometimes courage takes a great deal of effort to exercise.  Sometimes we have to spend a lot of time talking ourselves into doing something courageous, but that doesn't mean we have any less courage.  In fact, simply considering doing something outside of our comfort zone is courageous in itself, and the extra time necessary to decide to do so doesn't indicate a lack of courage at all.

Our first step in being courageous, then, is considering doing something that scares us, that makes us feel uncomfortable.  We won't always do that thing, but when we decide to do it, we're allowing our courage to shine, and we're expanding our lives by being courageous enough to try those things that we're afraid of, and by dealing with pain without allowing that pain to control who we are and who we become.

Life doesn't expand for everyone.  Not everyone is willing to at least consider making changes that are frightening or intimidating, and their life experiences shrink into complacency and conformity with their refusal to exercise their courage.  I want a life that expands, though--I want to allow my courage to be a major influence in my life, and I want to look back on my life one day and think, "I might not have done as much as others, but I did have the courage to try and do new things when the chances arrived."  Otherwise, I'll have to ask myself just what I contributed to my life, if I didn't have the courage to contribute in the first place.

Questions to Consider:

• What does the word "courage" mean to you?
• Why do so many people not explore their courage at all, ever?
• How can you make your life expand through the use of your courage, right here and now? 

Courage takes many forms. There is physical courage, there is moral courage. Then there is a still higher type of courage—the courage to brave pain, to live with it, to never let others know of it and to still find joy in life; to wake up in the morning with an enthusiasm for the day ahead.
— Howard Cosell

Posted on May 19, 2015 .