Courage Under Fire
The Help and War Horse need no introduction. Excellent movies both, but this is not another rave review. It’s just that it got me thinking on the one single theme that resonated deeply and boldly throughout both films.
Courage to hold one’s head up high and walk in dignity in the face of demeaning cruelties. Courage to not blindly imitate the current attitudes of the day. Courage to say no to apathy.
It sometimes seems as if our world has misunderstood the essence of courage and has substituted it by becoming more brazen, brash, shameless and defiant. Being obnoxious is the new self-confidence. Being greedy and self-seeking is the new self-love. Have we relegated courage to exist only on the big screen and confined it to the attribute of super heroes?
Being courageous is never easy. It demands that self-preservation be put aside. It oftentimes means having to dig deep within for an inner strength to do the right thing. For me it is the hundred little things that happen in a day which determine if I stand up for what is right or if I am secretly just a coward inside.
Courage may be the most important of all virtues, because without it one cannot practice any other virtue with consistency ~ Maya Angelou
- Women of the world – it takes courage to develop inner beauty when sometimes it seems that only outer beauty gets rewarded.
- Fathers and mothers – it takes courage to educate your children and to impart values and virtues counter to current parenting norms.
- Married couples – it takes courage to rock the boat and take stock so that the marriage does not dwindle to become merely a means for personal fulfilment.
- Friends – it takes courage to deepen a friendship beyond pleasant formalities or easy familiarities.
- Every young person – it takes courage to independently investigate the truth. Never be afraid to see with your own eyes and not the eyes of another. Never blindly imitate.
I think the most courageous act we can ever do in our lives is the courage to look deep within ourselves.
It is always easier to justify, blame, attack and defend instead of changing ourselves. It takes bravery of a different kind to confess to ourselves that we have been wrong. It takes guts to come out of self-denial.
Isn’t it so true that the greatest prison is the prison of self.
One of the most enlightening books I have read is Prescription for Living written by the late Ruhiyyih Rabbani (1910 – 2000). In this little book packed with revolutionary world changing ideas, the author writes:
Of all the unpleasant jobs that require doing in this life, probably the most unpleasant is to sit down with yourself, remove your spectacles of self-esteem and foolish little conceits, and take a good look at your own character.
It is so much nicer to have illusions, it is so much nicer to run away into some playground of forgetfulness, it is so much more comfortable to find an excuse and say, “Well, I have not time for this today”, or “It might upset me and I cannot afford to be upset right now.”
But the trouble still is with us inside. We had better get after it. The initial wrench may be painful, but once the tooth is out the ache will go away.
In the movies, such moments of resolve and epiphany are portrayed in such a beautiful way we are inspired by the romance of being courageous. These moments are usually accompanied by soul-stirring music and thunderous applause. Fireworks and dancing follow soon.
But in real life, our acts of courage are mostly unseen, oftentimes unacknowledged and definitely absent of any trumpet sounding finale to mark the occasion. Courage is often a lonely journey and yet one which we all need to make if we are to count for something.
- What does it mean to you in your life right now to be a person of courage? I would really love to hear from you and any thoughts you might have on this subject after reading this post. Thank you!
I try hard to be brave but often fail. The world can be a scary place. Our own hearts can be scary! Thanks for the inspiration!
Dear Karyl, I totally hear you! And all we can do is to try. Sometimes little stones well aimed can defeat a Goliath 😀 Thank you so much for your feedback!
I think the most courageous thing I can do in this day and age is to think for myself. With the massive amount of influence from multiple media sources,friends,work, and family it is easy to just adopt somebody else’s point of view, not just because it means less work but because you can always find channels of support and like-minded people. To really think for yourself, stand on that cliff alone and question the world around you and your own cultural and personal biases is frighting and lonely and requires a great deal of courage…
I love the beauty and honesty of you blog. Thanks for connecting!
Thank you so much for this insightful feedback. I share with you this commitment of independent investigation for the truth in all areas of life. Indeed, so much of what we do and how we live is simply and comfortably unquestioning of the status quo. I really couldn’t have said it any better!
I am enjoying your blog immensely and the delightful encounters of daily life India. So good to hear from you!
Nice post. Have you seen the movie “Courageous”? (Sherwood Pictures)
Hi Dawn! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I haven’t seen Courageous but will check it out. There really are so few good movies out there that I can always do with a recommendation!
So much truth…It is so difficult to see oneself without the denial. Great, inspiring post!
Wonderful reflection on courage, thank you. Very inspiring. Thanks again.
Thank you for making your way here Carolina! It is always wonderful to connect with people around the world. I love the way you express yourself so uniquely in your blog. It is beautiful and honestly refreshing.
Thank you so much…I just started my blog in january and although the blog world is all very new to me, it has been very exciting to connect with people across the globe, read their stories, see their images and hear their insights. What a gift! Looking forward to reading more of your blog!
A wonderful blog – a terrific piece of writing. As you say, courage is one of the greatest of virtues, and a true measure of someone’s inner strength and spiritual intelligence. Pretty soon the world must wake up to the fact that we can’t be the best people we ought to be without regular meditation and calm reflection. I’m wondering whether living in remote parts of Afghanistan and Finland might be helpful – to be away from the rat race and part of a unpopulated and quiet landscape.
Mankind’s advancement in the area of physical and material achievements is unparalleled today compared to any time in human history. Unfortunately, the reality of man which is his spirit or inner-self has for the most part been dismally left lagging behind, forgotten, unrecognised and undeveloped – making us like lamps without any light shining from within. I agree so much with you and in your work that recognises that we are all made up more than just the physical shell. And just as we nourish our bodies with good food, sleep and excercise, our spirit has essential needs if we are to thrive.
To answer your question – Afghanistan was a place of unexpected healing for me because surprisingly the people despite so many odds against them were emotionally intact and wholesome. That I believe has to do in a large part to their strong network of support for each other and their unquestioning belief in the tenets of Islam and God. This made them a people deeply identified with virtues and values so absent in more modern societies.
The courage to endure physical hardships perhaps awaken spiritual courage as well. Because life there is stripped down to the barest essentials for physical living, somehow, the spirit of man rises to the occasion. What do you think?
This is the longest comment I’ve ever made! 😀 It could become a stand alone blog post! Thank you for getting me charged up over some of my deepest reflections on life. Sharon
I think you should write a blog that includes your thoughts above – on why the people of Afghanistan (and some other places?) show a spirit and an attitude that Buddhists call lovingkindness. Friends who have been to Tibet told me they found the same things there. Certainly I have found it very often on my travels in Japan, even though the majority of people there do not consider themselves particularly religious. They are definitely high in ‘spiritual intelligence’; they have a clear system of values, and they live virtuous lives. It seems that certain cultures encourage lovingkindness, whereas others do not! Stay charged! GF
It’s so true isn’t it that some of the nicest and kindest people on the face of the earth today are found in some of the poorest countries. Or those who have gone through intense physical sufferings. They exude an unexplainable lovingkindness which draws our hearts to them. And as you so rightly put it, they are rich in spiritual intelligence and awareness. One can rightly assume that ultimately when a man is given the opportunity to develop himself internally and is educated on the principles of virtues, he reaches a higher level of being than another who discards his true potential as a human being and pays attention only to his physical well being. Food for thought. Thank you for sharing your thoughts – it has been really wonderful to connect with you! Sharon
I have recently joined your blog, and i must say the purity of thoughts and words has drawn me to it.Our whole lives are spent aimlessly and wasted just because we fail to face us, with all our flaws.If we need to embark on an inner journey, we need to spend a little time on our own,- Alone, and that’s what we can’t spare.We also need genuine people in our lives who accept us the way we are:faulty and deviated, and also pull our ears to set us straight!Sometimes its the other way around too….we don’t let others take a look at the REAL us.We need to develop the courage to accept us just the way we are, and then try to improve.Then, a peep inside our characters won’t be as frightening!
Oh I so agree with you that so much of life is wasted because we live in total ignorance of ourselves. What a loss – for ourselves and those around us.
It takes courage to say no to friendships of convenience – people who will never challenge us to become better. So many friendships today lack a real love for the essence and potential of the person they call “friend”.
Thank you so much for your input and thoughts. I have enjoyed reading your posts and your sincere honesty about life has touched me deeply. Take care and so good to be connected to you! Sharon
The photo in your banner is beautiful. Where is it?
What a post… I am just so immeasurably grateful to have the opportunity to read your words and reflections. I’ll be mulling over your words all day long, and taking stock of where and how my courage stands. Thank you….
Great posts. I’ll have to check out both those movies and “Courageous” as well.
To answer the question, I think to be a person of courage one must take some risks.
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Courage – this really made me think. I love this post for its honesty and its challenge. There have been quite a few moments in my life where I think I needed (and found) real courage but perhaps you don’t see that until afterwards when you have time to reflect.I think this will stay in my mind for some time. Thank you 🙂
Hi Sharon, this is a great post. It inspired today’s post on my blog (there was too much to leave here), and I’ve suggested my readers come here too. 🙂
Loved reading your writing on courage. Its challenged me to think differently. 🙂
You display a form of courage very regularly: Sharing pieces of your spirit with the world. And I’m grateful that you do.
Ah, but we really love it! There is not a single word in your post that I do not agree with Sharon with ‘love’ meaning ‘giving great value to’. Yes, courage is looking at oneself beyond self conceit and deception; yes, courage is the foundation of most other virtues although here I would add that it is born of awareness and self awareness – seeing things as they are – but yes, you said it: it takes courage to do that! There is a lot I would like to share on this subject as I never knew I was courageous until I saw myself being it the way you describe. And yes, the soft side of courage, the ability to say to another person, ‘yes, you are right, I was wrong.’ A lesson I never forgot was a 50+ headmaster in Oxfordshire, a man of stature, both social and physical, that I overheard saying to a five years old in the school corridors during lunch break, ‘yes, I was wrong, I was the one who did the mistake’ … I was stunned! I didn’t call it courage then, just honesty, sincerity or love. But I did when I found myself in a similar situation during one of our weekly meetings with the three young women, 22 years old, 1m50 high and 30 kg each with whom we were developing our centre in Hanoi; I remember the day they looked at me in the face and said the unthinkable, ‘frederic, you do not listen to us!’ – and I knew I was, and really bending overboard to see through the culture difference and give them the space they needed to grow and do things their own way, I knew and I wanted to yell it – and actually started to … but half way through my reaction came a pause, a silence, an opening to a possibility … breathe, watch .. look … accept … why not after all … It was lucky that one of the key components of our courses was the w.w.w. lesson that we were repeating more or less every week – the ‘wait, watch and be wise’ formula for succes in life. So I did – waited, watched and .. saw. Many thanks dear Sharon for opening this conversation. You must feel I am a bit too talkative … but it is so good to share with friends! Pure love, f
I love that you are talkative. I always look forward to our discussions and getting your feedback and listening to your life stories! Thank you for sharing these two poignant moments in your life – what a fine example of courage and humility the headmaster displayed in coming before a little child and acknowledging his mistake…
Hahaha, I just had to laugh at these tiny feisty women you met in Hanoi who got your attention with all their weight of 30kg each!! 😀 Wait, watch and be wise concept is incredible, even more so because I had written in my journal two years ago these exact same words – though in my case learnt through the school of hard knocks.
So how much you must have taught these people fortunate enough to attend your workshops some lessons in life it took me 40 years to learn firsthand! Oh well better late than never 😀
I can’t wait to delve into your posts and you can be sure they will also unleash many conversations and discussions!
Sending in return warm gratitude and pure love, Sharon
Oh, another thing, I really agree with 3D eye that it would be very good to share more about your experience in Afghanistan. And yet another thing … I hope that by next month we will have launched our website and I would love to have some of your articles in it. Let me know if you would be interested. I will soon post more info about the project on my blog so you can have an idea. All best wishes!
My dear Frederic! Thank you so much for checking out my older posts and taking the time to leave me your wonderfully valuable feedback which I love to receive every single time! My deep desire is to find the time to come sit down at your place and slowly take my time to read through all the new posts you have recently put up. Your writings deserve that kind of thoughtful care and attention by the reader to do justice to the importance of what you have to share.
I would be honoured if you think my articles would come to good use in your website. I can’t wait to see what you have been up to – I just know that I would be thrilled to be part of your projects. Let me know if I could help out also with photos, if you think there is a need for visual images. I’m still very new at photography just so you know! 😀
Dear Sharon, loving greetings from here and very happy to receive your enthusiastic reply!! I will be the one honoured if you accept to lend your articles to a noble task! If you do not mind, I will send you a description of the project through e-mail – I think Mona has your address – and she is so happy to have met you! Pure love and all best wishes always, f
Hello Frederic! That sounds excellent. My loving greetings to you both. Sharon
Reblogged this on Professions for PEACE and commented:
This is an incredible post by beautiful Sharon teaching about inner courage: “It takes bravery of a different kind to confess to ourselves that we have been wrong. It takes guts to come out of self-denial.” and “Courage is often a lonely journey and yet one which we all need to make if we are to count for something.” Every word in this insightful post touches my heart and encourages further growing. Thank you Sharon! So much. With love, Gina