Often in challenging times we resort to the safe and familiar ways of reacting and afterwards regret that we weren’t more courageous. Isn’t this true? Like when you have the choice between a comfortable job that you know or a leap of faith into something completely foreign and unknown.
Perhaps the familiar situation seems so much more appealing and the unknown just makes you feel like running away?
Or perhaps there could be some day to day situations from that require courage to deal with the routines, commitments and the mundane parts of life? For instance, you had a rough discussion with a collogue at work and you gather courage the next day to face her in office?
Ever considered meditation to develop inner strength? If you have never meditated I suggest that you try it out for yourself. If you have fallen off the practice, perhaps consider picking it up again and learn how to deepen your practice to gain maximum benefit. The benefits accumulate over time so find a good teacher and see what happens.
You will find that after practicing meditation for some time that a natural love, courage and deep feeling of everything being perfect, dawns in your awareness. There is no reason to feel anxiety when the mind is freed from limitations. The feeling of separation from life and all living things becomes less and a natural courage shines through.
After many years of practice I feel that meditation has given me the confidence to live in the present moment and the contentment to deal with all big and small challenging situation that arise.
Courage just happens now instead of having to try and make it happen. Here are four ways that meditation nurtures the courage which is innately present in all of us.
#1 Meditation Makes You Stand Out from the Rest
Have you noticed that when you are lacking courage that you don’t feel a strong bond or connection with the situation? Think about it how easy it is to sing in front of a group of friends and so difficult to sing in front of a large crowd? This is because somewhere you feel your belong to your friends so you are comfortable in that situation. And when you have to sing in front of the crowd, you are worried about what judgments they might make.
The ancient Vedic and yogic texts tell us that all fear arises from the sense of separation – that feeling of disconnection between me and others.
Meditation gives us the actual experience that you are much bigger than the problem. And when that happens you tap into the wellspring of courage makes you stand out the rest.
TIP: Next time you are facing a situation where you are experiencing fear, such as when you are about to sit for an exam, take a few minutes out to meditate.
Breathe deeply with an emphasis on the exhalation. Be aware of the sensations such as butterflies” in the stomach or a contraction in the chest. Let go of thoughts about your situation and focus on the actual bodily sensations. Continue with long smooth exhalations as you feel the sensations without trying to get rid of them. Notice how you feel after doing this for a few minutes.
#2 Meditation Trains the Mind to let go of Fear
With meditation our awareness of each the moment (whether it is pleasant or unpleasant) increases. Gradually with regular meditation your mind starts becoming comfortable with fear and other emotions. When we stop resisting our fear, initially in meditation, and later in all phases of our life, our innate courage, which is an aspect of our inner being, shines through.
TIP: Make a list of things in your life that are challenging you to be brave? Then close your eyes and sit quietly for 5 -20 minutes. You could use one of the online meditations if you haven’t learnt meditation yet. When you open your eyes, without thinking about the answers, just write down the action for each point and see how the correct answer comes when you are calm and centered.
#3 Meditation Makes You Emerge Out as a Strong Person
Have you noticed that when you are worried about something that your mind is mulling over what might happen again and again? Like if you receive some negative feedback at work and then need to return to face your manager the next day. Do you think about it a lot or can you feel confident and calm regardless?
Or let’s say if you have had a bad experience with a street dog and now every time you see one walking on the road, you feel scared.
Many of our concerns, worries and fears are just the same thoughts recycling in our mind. The mantra which we use in Sahaj Samadhi meditation has the power to take our mind out of these grooves and into the space of stillness and comfort.
When the mind is in this clear, confident space it is much more likely to take appropriate action and move out of fearful mental and emotional restrictions.
TIP: When a fearful situation arises, you could do the Hmmm process.
#4 Meditation Increases Energy That Can Make Everything Happen
Prana (Life Force Energy) is what makes you strong, enthusiastic and confident. When our energy or prana is high we are naturally more courageous.
Have you ever experienced a time when you achieved much more than you thought you were capable of? Possibly it was when you were in love or totally devoted to achieving a goal? That feeling of 100 per cent commitment and being totally in the present moment is full of courage.
TIP: Meditate for 10-15 minutes before starting work. This will keep you strong during the day for any challenging situation that may arise.
Inspired by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s wisdom talks
Written by Janette Scott
Based on inputs by Chris Dale, Advance Meditation Course Teacher