A leap of faith always begins with a courageous heart.
Love conquers fear using courage as its weapon, words can console or be used as weapons, wounding us deeply. It takes courage to resolve differences without resorting to insults, threats and hateful words. Violence comes in many degrees, ranging from humiliating insults to nuclear explosions. It also takes courage to face illness, shame, ridicule, debt and so much more. We don’t usually think of courage like this, but it does take courage to overcome whatever you’re facing.
Courage becomes bravado when our intention comes from excessive pride or vanity. Our intentions always determine the outcome of our efforts. Sometimes people believe that courage is about killing the enemy, it can be or not. It takes courage to protect ones country, family and ideals. It takes bravado to want to exterminate one’s enemy. To want to cause harm isn’t the same thing as facing the fact that you may have to cause harm to protect living beings. Love and the desire to be violent never occupy the same space.
Courage requires the surrendering of one’s ego. Bravado requires ego. It takes courage to forgive, it takes bravado to retaliate. It takes courage to be patient, it takes bravado to show off. It takes courage to speak up and it takes courage to face your inner saboteurs, your bad habits. Without courage, we just keep hiding from our self.
Virtue is Faith
Sabateur is Self Doubt
Faith and doubt are but a breath apart.
The Yogi’s teach us that self doubt is the greatest hurdle on our spiritual path. When we have self doubt we also lack faith in our own Divine lineage. Faith empowers our human efforts to make all things possible. Without it, we remain the same. We don’t explore, we don’t create and we don’t intuit. Faith leads us to courage and vision. Faith in oneself can take us from doing what we think we can do, to doing what we haven’t even thought of doing. We are prompted to fulfill our potential rather than merely satisfying the expectations of others.
VIRTUE is Character
SABOTEUR is Infamous
Character reveals who we really are.
Character may seem like an old fashioned word but the meaning is always in style. Character is what makes a hero a hero. When a hero falls from grace he becomes infamous. The archetype of the hero is one who embodies character. Character is the result of a strong and balanced mind led by a kind heart. If a person has a strong mind but it hasn’t been tempered then that mind may become cruel. If a person has a kind heart and experiences the challenges of betrayal without realizing the power of love, then kindness turns into weakness. The hero has wisdom because he has been tested through time by a wide variety of experiences.
Life throws many storms our way and if our only response is to merely storm back then we’re not ready to play the part of the hero. The spiritual journey is the path of the hero/heroine. The great Yogi’s teach us that we must be strong, confident, disciplined and kind. These are the traits of character, the spiritual warrior, the Yogi.
Virtue is Purity
Saboteur is Contamination
A pure heart is strong and kind.
Purity of heart reflects purity in character, much like the source of water determines the quality of life. If water is polluted, all who drink the water are prone to contamination. It is difficult to know if water is contaminated merely by looking at it, so we have developed research to test the water. Likewise, it can be difficult to know the quality of the results of our actions without self inquiry. Self inquiry is a deep investigation of our motives in life. The Yogi’s teach us that our emotions determine our intentions, and our intentions can be unknown to us, just like the microbes that are unseen in our drinking water. It seems that our thoughts and actions are only as pure as the emotional intentions behind them.
Whenever we’re in a disagreement it is normal to feel that the other person doesn’t have clear motives. It’s normal to feel we do, of course. Normal and natural aren’t always the same thing. Normal just means that “most people do it this way.” Normalcy can be bad for us. It’s normal to be stressed out, but it isn’t natural. What’s natural is good for us, what’s normal doesn’t have to be good for us. It may be normal to have bad drinking water, but it certainly isn’t natural. Natural spring water is clear and good tasting. It nourishes us and keeps us clean from the inside out. Normal city water with all its runoff from daily life isn’t good for us. Therefore, we have to treat it, to make it as good as natural water.
Virtue is Love
Saboteur is Desire
Love is the answer to everything.
Love is the reason for everything, and so, we wonder why we have pain in the world. We say, there can’t be a God, because the evidence of pain makes that true. But pain is the source of compassion. It is the reason we are able to experience healing. Love is healing, it is also the process. Love comforts pain, it laughs when the lost is found. Love weeps for those who seem forgotten, it awakens and renews. Love’s life partner is pain. The two are entwined throughout eternity. Pain knows love and teaches us to never let go of love. Pain reminds us that we have taken one step too far away from the warmth of the light of love, and stepped into the shadow, where pain resides.
Love is always hidden in plain sight. It’s always there. When your heart is taut and hard because of someone’s words, love is present and well hidden. When you feel you must teach them how it feels, and you hurt those who have hurt you, your heart will remind you that love was always present, but you forgot to choose it. Choosing love saves, choosing pain delays. The pleasure of love is always a choice away.
Virtue is Freedom
Saboteur is Confinement
Discipline leads to freedom
The truth sets us free from what? Is your love free from expectations and conditions? How does discipline lead us to freedom?
When I read that the word free is derived from an Indo-European root meaning to love I began to ponder on the relationship between love, truth and freedom. I began to see that giving love without expectations and conditions requires a very disciplined heart and mind. Perhaps truth is another word for love. We seem to be truly free when we experience the absence of fear and hate.
Spirituality is the experience of love. It is the journey of knowing that love is inherent in all things, that love is our true nature. Love is the antidote to everything that confines us because the nature of love is to expand, not to contract. An expanded consciousness opens our hearts and minds to create solutions to poverty, ignorance and disease. Love is the medicine that frees us from disease. Love is the education that frees us from ignorance. Love is the food that frees us from starvation. Love is the wealth that frees us from poverty in the world and of the spirit. Love expands our consciousness so that these ideas flow freely from one another allowing us to lead healthier, happier lives. Love frees us to experience tolerance and mercy.