Courage: c. 1300, corage, “heart (as the seat of emotions),” hence “spirit, temperament, state or frame of mind,”from Old French corage “heart, innermost feelings; temper” (12c., Modern French courage), from Vulgar Latin *coraticum (source of Italian coraggio, Spanish coraje), from Latin cor “heart” [source]
If I ask you to place courage or love somewhere in the body, I believe that most of you would associate both of them with the heart. An organ that we don’t control and that relentlessly pumps life in our body.
There is a powerful connection between courage and love. They are both about surrendering to something bigger than ourselves.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this morning reflections. It all started with my morning Be The Change card that has the word “Courageousness” on it. The drawing that accompanies the word is a human being with a stream of energy flowing through his core.
And I thought that love is the same; a stream of energy flowing through all of us, connecting people.
So, maybe to be courageous is just to open up my heart so love can freely flow through.
“The opposite of love is not, as we many times or almost always think, hatred, but the fear to love, and fear to love is the fear of being free.” — Paulo Freire
“A map is not the territory it represents.” — Alfred Korzybski
We love shapes and forms because they answer to our need for predictability. They create order and help us understand reality and make informed decisions. They can also be measured, so they allow us to gain clarity about where we stand. They defined boundaries.
However, we should always be aware that the shapes and forms that we used to interpret reality, are products of our mind.
Countries, religions, organisations, social norms.
They are all shapes and forms that we put on top of reality to make sense of it.
But they are not reality.
When we convince ourselves that those shapes and forms are the reality that they become cages, taming our human potential.
“Perception always intercedes between reality and ourselves.” — René Magritte
This is why art is vital.
Artists remind us to look beyond shapes and forms to see the infinite essence of everything.
“We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.” — JFK
It’s a gorgeous morning here on the hills in the North East of Italy.
I’m sitting outside, writing this post on a bench surrounded only by the sounds of nature. I can’t say how many different animals are singing from the woods around this place. There are no other guests, and the people working on this farm haven’t arrived yet. So, I can savour every bit of this moment. The crispy breeze, the warming sun, the goat staring at me from her corner and the peacock walking around as if I’m just an accessory to his world.
I am the witness of a morning party celebrating the beauty of life. And out of the blue, this scene from the Peanuts appears in my mind.
Charlie: “Someday we’ll all die, Snoopy!”
Snoopy: “True, but on all the other days we will not.”
“Everything in Life is Vibration” – Albert Einstein
Yesterday I wrote about our natural frequency.
This morning in my meditation, this idea of vibrations came back to me. I remember reading on Rupert Spira book, The Nature of Consciousness that “The body appears in the mind as a series of sensations and perceptions, and the mind is a vibration of awareness. As such, the body is not something solid made out of matter but a condensation or localisation of and in awareness.”
If everything I experience – myself, others, the world – are different and unique modulations of the same awareness, then to hurt anyone or anything means to hurt myself.
I believe that when this awareness grows in us, then peace is the natural outcome. It is so simple, yet not easy.
To most of you, this thought may sound naive.
Though, I believe that only if we realize that we are one, a sustainable transformation will be possible.
“If we understand and feel that every animal, person and object is our very own self, we cannot go wrong. That is the experience of love.” — Rupert Spira
How often are you asked to be objective?
Particularly at work, we are often told that to do a good job, to make effective decisions and, in general, to see things as they really are, we must be objective.
To be objective means to be unbiased. When you’re objective about something, you have no personal feelings about it.
Is it really possible or are we just lying to ourselves?
To ask someone to be objective is the same as asking to avoid being human. How can we fully experience the world if we try to strip away or hide a large part of who we are?
Anytime we think we are making objective decisions we are just lying to ourselves. So, what if instead of trying in vain to be objective, we acknowledge our subjectivity?
Even more, we explore it. Through introspection, we shift our attention from the known to the knower, from the observed to the observer.
“We see the world not as it is, but as we are.” ― Anaïs Nin
If you struggle to get a sense of the reality in which you live, it may be worth to turn your focus inside.
Who do I serve?
Last week, during a compelling conversation with a dear friend, this question came up for me.
This is not an easy question yet I feel it is a fundamental one.
We all live and work in this tension between our inner purpose, needs, desire and the purpose, needs and desire of the world outside.
At the beginning I thought that I should be able to sacrifice my own needs for a greater good; to move from ego to eco. But then I realised that the answer was coming from my desire of feeling one of the good ones.
My second stage of this self-inquiry brought me back to the self. To serve others, I must serve myself first. So, through serving myself, I will be able to serve others.
Still, I wasn’t satisfied. Why does it have to be either/or? What if it’s an and? What if I can serve both myself and others at the same time? But how is this possible? What does it mean when my purpose and the purpose of others is different? Should I dedicate myself only to causes that are aligned with my own needs and desires?
Something was missing so I kept exploring, and then I read this sentence from Rupert Spira: “If we understand and feel that every animal, person and object is our very own self, we cannot go wrong.”
If I remove the boundaries between myself and others, that tension disappear. It’s no more about helping one or another. It’s about serving a higher vision. One the goes beyond this tension.
Rupert Spira wrote that “love is the experience of that oneness of being.”
Then the way forward is through love. Or, as Saint Augustine said:
‘Love, and do whatever you want!’
Every morning I do this small ritual using the Be The Change cards.
I sit down with my eyes closed, and I shuffle the cards.
The intent for this ritual changes every day; an inspiration for my writing, a new perspective about something that it’s stuck in mind, or just an idea to kick off the day meaningfully. Then I pick a card, and I let it sink in my awareness for a few seconds.
This morning I went through my ritual as usual with the intent to find inspiration for this post.
But I while I was observing the card that I picked — Deepening into own wisdom — I realised that I chose two cards. There was another one stuck behind.
As you can see in the picture above, the second card has the word “Soul”.
The invitation from the cards is so vivid and compelling that I don’t think there is much I can add.
More and more in the last months, I’m becoming aware that my path to wisdom is taking me beyond my mind, my knowledge or my understanding.
It is a journey of the soul and into the soul.
“It’s the heart that knows the path. The mind is just there to organise the steps.” — Jeff Brown
“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”
According to the gospels, the one above is the sentence that Jesus used to answer to someone asking if it was lawful for Jews to pay taxes to Roman’s empire.
Where I grew up, this sentence was often used to explain that spirituality and reality are two different worlds. On one side the real world, made of matter, in which we live. And above that the realm of the soul.
I thought spirituality was a journey of elevation.
And that same thought pushed me away from any spiritual work for a very long time. I couldn’t handle that fracture anymore. I couldn’t understand the kind of spiritual schizophrenia of people praying for love and acting with hate.
It took me years, a lot of falls and some inspired teachers to find my way.
Now I know that my spiritual journey is one of integration.
“Or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts.” ― T S Eliot, Four Quartets