The Meaning of Courage

A Conversation with Darcy and Parvati

Darcy and I spoke on a regular basis. Many of our conversations were tactical, addressing how to ensure the swift realization of MAPS. Many were spiritual, on the importance of cultivating our inner peace sanctuary. Others were simply the talks of two longtime friends.

The following exchange is a synthesis of multiple conversations between us about courage.

Darcy: Before going to meet Al Gore, or to COP 21 or COP 22, I would have rather done ANYTHING than experience the feelings of resistance that were coming up. This work just brings those things to the surface.

Parvati: I get it. You know this work to serve MAPS just takes us out of our comfort zones. It’s like a medicine that brings a boil to the surface. Our suffering has been within us, all along. It’s better to see it because when we do, we can understand our painful tendencies, witness them with compassion and choose consciously to let them go.

D: Right. So, I need be willing to see them.

P: Yes, and we can do that with humility. Because to resist them would only create more suffering. But to accept them requires a courage that we can find when we tap into our interconnection with all that is. We’re not pushing at or pulling from suffering. When we are humble, we soften and open. And that’s the foundation of our spiritual practice. With humility, we become receptive and non-resistant to that which is. Then we dance with the angels.

D: Yeah, maybe for you, Parvati. You see these things that seem obvious for you. But okay. I’ll take your word for it. And yes, I’ll continue to witness. I can do that. I’ve been practicing this for a decade. Mindfully understand, witness, release, lather, rinse, repeat until knowing arises.

P: [Laughs]

D: What are you laughing at?

P: I am just enjoying you. You are just so perfectly Darcy.

D: Uh… okay…

I could hear the smile in Darcy’s voice.

P: You are beautiful. There’s no self-judgment, no narrative, no story when we witness. We are simply present and honest. That’s true courage. It’s in the heart and the heart is honest. Courage calls for gentleness. In gentle honesty, we can watch our resistance and unwillingness, then ask ourselves: “Is this real?”

D: Right. I know the answer is no. Buying into it won’t make me happy.

P: Yeah, it’s courage to soften to that realization; to let go of thinking that our ego has all the answers; to understand that it is part of the illusion of separation that we have been buying into. When you think about it, it’s pretty funny, isn’t it, the idea that this limited “me” could possibly be the entire universe?

D: I know intellectually that it’s funny. My ego is so small and insignificant compared with the vastness of the universe. MAPS is just showing me over and over that my ego’s way won’t work. The only way is to surrender, which feels terrifying. So it comes back to courage.

P: Oh, Darcy, you show so much courage, it is inspiring! The commitment to a global, timely movement like MAPS means shifting how we see ourselves, each other, and the world. I know that the work takes us to our personal edge. We are just called to meet the moment, open and soften. In that softening, we discover the energy and possibilities that have been waiting for us all along—we were just too busy looking for happiness in the wrong places.

D: That’s such a different meaning of courage than the one I used to believe. Instead of fighting, resisting, defending, I just be with it all.

P: Isn’t that real courage? We return to interconnection. Then our actions can spark from that deeper, more powerful place. I often remind myself that the root word of courage is heart—cor. So courage is to live with heart. It’s about compassion for all that is. It’s to recognize that we are one.

D: Any time I’m feeling a sense of fight against what is, I know I am off path. I just let it go. When I’m all in, I’m focused and energetic and there’s a real sense of effervescence, interconnection and compassion. I can see how I’m a part of everything. Then it all flows.

P: Exactly! That flow is dancing with angels! We are not alone, never have been and never could be.

D: I get it. It’s easier than I thought!