We have what appear to be challenges in our lives. I don’t think anyone is exempt from that. We have narrow passages; things to move through that take care, delicacy, determination and courage. It seems to me that, as a nation and as humanity, we are in that kind of time. We are all sharing that in common. And while our individual lives are different, on the larger scene there certainly is a need for courage for the human race—the courage to fully embody who we each are as a human being. It is the courage to say the truth and to be the truth of who you are. It takes courage to embody on the outside what has been hidden on the inside.
I do believe that, for most of us anyway, this takes conscious and deliberate choice. There are decision points when we could hang back, when we could try to dodge the issue and perhaps hide. Those are times when there is something in ourselves or something in our world that calls upon our courage, and we have to move through what is right there in front of us. Perhaps we have to expose parts of ourselves that we have been unwilling to embody and express up to that point.
By its very nature, the courageous thing to do or say is not necessarily what seems to be the easy thing. Most often it takes not only going through whatever factors might be there in the circumstances of your life, but also going through whatever veils might be present in your own heart and mind that are telling you that it’s impossible to do the thing that you’re being called to do.
For all of us, we are being called to something. What are we being called to? It is different for each one of us, but here’s what it is in common: We are called to life. We are being called to live, and to live fully. We are being called to live the life that is ours; to embody the beauty that is within us and to express it.
In the world in which I live, I could name all kinds of things that appear to be threats to that beauty, from the micro to the macro—all the little dramas of daily life that can rear their heads, fires in the Amazon, crazy politics in the United States of America and elsewhere. When faced with threats to the beauty of life, say what you have to say, punch through the veils, move through the lies, starting with the lies of your own heart and mind that tell you you can’t. Those are the lies that tell you you are chained and unable to live life free.
Baby elephants are trained with a peg in the ground, to which is attached a chain linked to the elephant’s leg so it can’t wander off. The little elephant becomes a big elephant who never realizes that the peg that held the baby is way too small to hold the mature animal. Here is a metaphor for us as human beings.
That peg and chain can be a lot of things. We live in a world that dictates to us the limits of what is possible. It tells us what the destiny of this planet is, or what is possible in the world immediately around us. And the culture at large, in all its nuttiness, starts to tell us what living a normal life looks like. The culture at large promises a happy life, infatuated with external things. It also has subliminal messages, or sometimes not-so-subliminal messages, about our incapacity to live fully and freely as a human being.
In her presidential campaign, Marianne Williamson recently repeated a phrase from the United States Declaration of Independence, “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The pursuit of happiness is answering the call to life that is within us. To do that, we have to walk through any fear or any apparent terror in our lives. Fear and terror can show up in all kinds of ways. Little things can become terrible. There can be the terror of relationship, the terror of family, or of just getting up in the morning. Then there is the terror of predictions about the future of the planet and of humanity. It takes courage to walk through those terrors, to be brave, and to declare what is true.
People can go to destructive places when they think they are being truthful. They can end up telling each other off: Let me tell you what’s true about you! I don’t know that that gets us very far. I don’t really think that takes too much courage. We live in a world where so many people are telling each other off, and in some cases getting commendations for having done it.
The truth to be spoken is the liberating truth of what it means to be oneself and express oneself. The liberating truth is that we are called to life and there is nothing stopping us from living our life and living it fully as who we are.
It blew my mind when I realized that the courage to live our human life fully, in all the facets and dimensions of it, is what creates a container that can hold the magnificence of who we are. It is how it works. And when you reflect on it, it makes sense that it would be that way. If what created you and what created me is the magnificence of the Divine Being, from whom is born the very power and wisdom that created the whole universe, and if that power and wisdom decided that it wanted to incarnate in a human form and express itself in a human form and live on this magnificent planet, doesn’t it make sense that it would take quite a human being to accommodate and then express and embody all of that power and wisdom? If all that magnificence, all that glory, all that love that created the cosmos, decided that it wanted to incarnate as you, wouldn’t you have to be a huge human being to express and embody that in your life? And how are you going to be that huge, magnificent human that could allow for all that wisdom and all that power and love to flow through if you don’t have the courage to embody it? A withdrawn human being can’t do it.
Humankind has apparently imploded into itself instead of becoming the living expression of all that beauty, all of that lusciousness, all of that magnificence and unashamed power of life within itself. That power is making the sun shine and holding this planet in its orbit around the sun. That is what is constellating through our humanity. We are made to be Beings of tremendous gravity. This is the gravity at work between us that is bringing us together.
The culture at large isn’t telling us about the superpowers that we have as human beings. It isn’t telling us that we have tremendous gravity. When we have the courage to be ourselves, we inherit a kind of gravity that draws to us the people that need to be in our life and the resources that need to be there for us. But if we don’t show up with courage, that gravity never comes in. The courage to embrace all of our human experience is what activates the superpower of gravity.
When we have the courage to show up as us, the fire of the sun is at work through us as a human being. That fire warms another human being who is near us and warms our own heart. We become radiant with love when we have the courage to be fully ourselves. It takes all of who we are to accommodate all the glory that’s inside.
And what do you think happens for us as human beings if we try to keep that glory in? Just picture it for a typical human being. There they are. They have the fire of the sun within them. They have tremendous gravity within their soul. But it’s all locked up in there, and then they’re trying to play small, keep it in, and live a happy life. What do you think happens? All that power rattles around inside. The fire burns inside. And then between us as human beings it can do the same. The internal angst increases, often projected upon other people or on the world in general. We fill our social media and our lives with those projections. And yet, there is magnificence to be embodied and expressed. And when we express it, we are creating a field in which Creation thrives.
Jesus said this:
Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:14
That is a good metaphor for the life we are leading as human beings. There seems to be so much that is dysfunctional. But there is a road to walk. It is a narrow path that is defined by the one thing we are called to do now. The narrow path has been looked at as the do-gooder’s path, or the teetotaler’s path. It isn’t. It is simply our own life path that opens up before us when we are willing to walk it.
There is a path to walk when we are called to life. There are all kinds of terrors on either side that we refuse to succumb to if we are saying yes to the one thing that matters in our life, and that is that we live and that we create life around us. And in the end, anything that is not part of that doesn’t matter very much, because without that life, nothing else means anything. We are here to be called to life and to walk the path that opens before us when we say yes to that life and allow it to come into our field.
When we have courage as a human being, we become a cup for the Divine and a vessel for Divine power and wisdom to come in. While courage or bravery looks like a strong external act—and it can be that—that strong external act provides for a gentle, reverent, internal act. When a person has real courage in what they say and what they do, and then they take all of that and offer it to the Divine Reality within them, they become that cup to hold the Divine, in essence saying:
This is yours—not mine. I am not here to make some show of myself in the world or to make a show of courage in the world. All of this is for you to come into. All of this is a container for you to enter in.
It is interesting how we use human experiences to name the Divine. The Divine Source has been referred to as the Father. If you had a good relationship with your father, that works well, and if not, maybe not so well. It is a metaphor, after all. But there is something like the experience of a father that is a way to describe the nature of the Divine. By the same token, we could describe ourselves in our humanity as the Great Mother. We are the Great Mother in living expression, here to be the vessel for the Father. And what kind of a vessel is it? A retracted human being? Our courage is what allows us to expand. Courage allows the vessel to become all of what it is meant to be.
The word courage comes from the French word for “heart,” coeur. When we have courage, the heart is expanded through our courage. Our humanity is expanded. When we have the courage to truly think, the courage to act, the courage to be ourselves in all the dimensions of ourselves, we expand, and Divine Reality enters in. It takes all of us as a human being to welcome in all of the Divine Reality of who we are. You can’t be a retracted, reactive, fearful person and then, at the same time, be the Great Mother who welcomes in the Father of Creation.
These are our superpowers, more or less invisible in the world in which we live. You can’t go out and get a diploma for attaining these superpowers, and no one is going to pay you for them. Someone could give you a certificate but that wouldn’t mean very much. But if you have the experience, it means everything. And this subtle thing is what our planet is missing. It is what humanity is missing: the courage to embrace all of our human experience and offer it up to the Divine Reality within us. Our courage becomes a cup into which Divine Reality is poured.