What Is Courage?

Did you know that the single most common regret of the dying was wishing they had the courage to live a life true to themselves and not the life that others expected of them, because when people realize that their life is almost over, they look back on it.

When you are about to die, there is a clarity that only exists in that precious moment. Everything pales in significance, and only that which truly matters is able to remain on the mind. Most people die knowing that they didn’t go for it. It is your life. When you die, it’s a journey you will make on your own. Only you will have to deal with the consequences, so make your own decisions.

Our life is changed the five second paused it takes to make a decision. You must make the decisions that are true to you. This requires courage. And for courage to exist, there must be risk and fear. One push at a time you must have the courage to make the right choices.

Because courage involves risk and fear, you will never feel like doing the thing that is required. If you accept the discomfort and lack of confidence and move forward anyway, things will get done and people will respect the person they think you are. You will be courageous, it just feels different than you think. It does not feel empowering; it’s moving forward with a knot in your gut and your knees wobbling.

It’s not courage when you go into battle as a strong and capable warrior, that is confidence. Courage is stepping forward to battle when you are sick, ill and weak. It’s doing what you must when there is risk. That is courage, and it’s required for an excellent life because you will not always be dominant in every situation. You will need to get things done when you are the weaker, the ill one, the old man.

Should you hesitate in saying the thing that needs saying? Should you hesitate and edit yourself when you’re talking? No. You shouldn’t, but we all have because in doing so, we’d take a risk. A risk of harm, loss, a failure, stepping into danger, whatever.

Courage is the ability to put yourself into action, to exercise your will, despite the risk.
The greater the personal danger, the greater the courage required.

Men who are forced to fight are less courageous than those who demonstrate courage in battle of their own free will. Men who have taken beatings in battle yet go back in, are courageous. One who has nothing to fear, because he has never suffered loss, cannot be courageous.

The courage of man is not merely a tool to be used in the service of others. A man should fight for himself, to compete and look after his own interests. It is not the best leader who leads, it is the man who takes the lead who will lead. You must take the risk of losing it all when pressed backward from your own interests. You must push forward with threat of domination because at it’s root, all is given to the greatest threat. As a child you submitted to the wrath of your father, not his kind words. You need the absolute commitment to the fight in the face of pain, of disfigurement, until death.

This indomitable spirit is a major theme in every heroic journey. A journey I say you are already on the path of.

It is sad that men seldom curate the courage to become what they are, to do what they were created for, what their bodies vibrate to perform. Two men I knew both said the same thing. Charles Bukowski and Jack Donovan, “Men chain themselves to a stake in the ground—left to the madness of barking at shadows in the night, taunted by passing challenges left unresolved and whose outcomes will forever be unknown.

Having The Courage To Be Yourself

Carlos Castaneda Thinking Your Life Is A SongWarning: Alternative Thought Ahead – I am reading Carlos Castaneda’s “The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge“ in the backyard. Its 4:10 in the afternoon and the sun is about to go behind the big poplar tree by the back fence. The breeze and temperature are perfect thanks to the wonderful Canadian summer climate.

My girlfriend is asleep for an afternoon nap. We both are getting a little tired on our herbal cleanse. I got up about half an hour ago.

Life comes in moments.

In this moment reading page 110 of Castanedas book, I realize I am really just a part of the universe’s big musical production. We are little songs.

Your life plays out, moment by moment. Your life plays out note by note. When this work of art is done, the performance will have been a series of moments, of notes, strung together. This will be your song. When the song is replayed, it will have color, harmony, emotion, and dynamics. You want the song to be original and bold. A great song causes a change of state. It takes a sad person and makes them happy or comforted. It can cause a happy person to become melancholy or to jump up and dance. Perfect balance is perfect stagnation.

Your body, the instrument you have been given, has internal qualities that will affect the song that is you. In the way, a drum creates music a flute cannot, there is a creative sound that is you. Your song is special.

We learn to play, to express the notes we feel inside in an outward creative action, as we get older. Some lucky ones know their song very early.

Get your song out there. You want the fire to grow. There are bars and measures to be played. Your life so far has been an intro, and now the whole band is on stage waiting for the drop of your baton. At first, your song was struggling to be heard, until the rest of the instruments joined in. We are one big orchestra in a concert with many songs.

So many songs. So many notes. Many styles and expressions to be played… and heard. There is no right song or wrong song. There are merely songs of expression. Many notes, instruments, and songs can be on one stage. Enjoy the chaos because soon there will be only silence.

So We Dance

Isn’t it funny that long ago, before most of us spent our days stuck in traffic, people knew the nature of reality?

That while we chase success and all our goals sparkle with allure, the power we seek is only a breath away.

The world is a metaphor and words are powerful tools that start turning thoughts into reality. Everything is vibrational and in the beginning was a word.

A thought, a word, a sound, a vibrational movement of particles. Certain vibrational frequencies producing sound through the pulsing of matter, and denser vibrations becoming matter itself. Reality is a collection of vibrations, of thoughts, sounds, it’s a song.

When I hear a song, I dance.

At The Club In Mexico

Using Death To Fuel Courage

the how gives the whatNobody likes to face death. Actually, nobody even wants to talk about it including me. There have been many a night where I was drifting off into sleep when I suddenly realized with a gut wrenching realization that no matter what I could possibly try, my existence on this planet will eventually be over.

Fertilizer.

Now what do you do with such a cheery thought? You can keep stuffing it into the back of your mind or you can use it. If you think about a lot of your actions in regards to trying new activities on going out on a limb, you probably back off frequently. Why? Because of your emotional drive for survival. At some level you see these new things as possible risks. Even though you may not tie them directly, you are fearing for your survival. You fear death and now your actions are killing your life and adventure.

You’ve given into death and not even flipped him the bird.

Let’s take this to the extreme. What if you never left the house, never tried anything risky or new until the day you died long into the future. Just maybe, because you never put yourself out there emotionally or physically, you never suffered any consequences. You made it all the way to 110 sitting on your couch. The most depressing thing? You have no stories, adventures, relationships and a ton of “I wish I had”.

Use death as a tool. It’s there and it’s not going away. Use it.

Here is what I mean. When you think of death or feel that fear, let it make you angry. Go ahead and feel that panic about the fact that time is running out and no matter what you will be snuffed from this physical existence. Then use it to motivate you for huge action.

You are laying there and you sit bolt upright with a knot in your stomach. You want to hit something, cry or simply freak out. I understand. Now what is the biggest action you could take in your life that you are scared of doing? Asking for a raise? Asking that girl of your dreams out on a date? Calling that huge company and setting up a meeting to negotiate a contract? Going to the gym in front of all those people? What about that trip you have been putting off to Thailand?

DO IT.

You have to stop being weak and face the inevitable. A coward dies a thousand deaths but the hero dies only once. Punch death in the face and use it to make this life as incredible as possible. Go places and do things that make your life a story worth reading about.

Stop surviving and start thriving. You only get one shot. At least pull the trigger.

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10 thoughts on “What Is Courage?

  1. Candice West

    Wow, this blog really puts things in perspective. I can’t say that I have been able to use death as tool yet in my own life, but what a great concept! This would really help me to focus in on what really matters most in this life.

    Reply
  2. Joe R.

    You know this is a very message. I know it will take some time to sink in but you can bet I will be thinking about this concept in the days to come. If I really let myself face the fear of death in this PROACTIVE way, my life will change. Wow, Ray, thank you. BTW, I have never ‘replied’ to an article before. This one in unique. A game changer.

    Reply
  3. charles pocock

    Ray,
    I’ve been facing a big decision for a long time. It won’t go away and you’re right. I have to do it. Thank you for the nudge in the right direction.
    All the best,
    Charles

    Reply
  4. Julie Soukup

    Ray, this blog speaks to me and I appreciate you taking the time to write about something as basic but as crucial to happiness as facing your fears. I would take it one step further and remind people of the incredible natural high and innate joy you will get from punching your fears in the face, knowing what you can accomplish and finding success…no matter how small…which will lead you off the couch and on with life! Thanks Ray.

    Reply
  5. becky

    Ray,I recently made a huge decision for my life, and seeing this has really put things in to perspective, I’m from the UK so theres no real chance of me seeing your visits… any chance you’ll come over? I have always had a fear of running infront of people for some reason, but with this I think I can manage it! thanks Becky

    Reply
  6. Raymond Burton

    Julie, that made me laugh… Becky, you can manage to do anything you want. Go run… you’ve have plenty of time to not run in about 80 years…. AND think about all the people in wheel chairs that WISH they could… I think about this whenever something is sore. At least I have the ability to feel from the waist down unlike some people….

    Reply

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