Friday, December 30, 2011


Bravery is something you can experience on the spur of the moment, faced with danger.  To have Courage, you must think about the dangers in advance, then weight the risks, and then do what you have to do…
Young Arthur to his mentor Merlin in The Saxon Shore

At the back of my copy of Eckhart Tolle’s A new Earth there is a list that I composed shortly after my partner informed me she was leaving.
It is a list of discoveries that appalled me at the time even as they liberated:
1.        If she’s not here, I’ll have to…
2.       Hair cuts
3.       Car maintenance
4.       Telephone, the answering machine
5.       Banking, budgeting, pay the bills
6.       Cook the meals
7.       I cleaned the refrigerator once in 20 years!  My God!  It makes me cry!
8.       ** As I do the responsible duties for myself I feel more competent and alert.  I don’t feel I am aging or as old.
9.       Why do I keep thinking about a new car?
10.   **I discover she didn’t just “hold me up” – she “held me back.”

Life’s disasters invite us into the courage that is actually our birthright, and for me this was and is a spiritual adventure.  Often when life is good and comfortable we’re really not advancing all that much.
Sometimes we are cradled and held up, while simultaneously we don’t even notice that we’re holding back.

A new year is coming. What will it bring? 
On my list there is perhaps Cancer, Joblessness, Awakening… these are the unknowns.
Who knows how they will play out and what I will be asked to face and feel.
And every single person gets to have this new year – if they are lucky enough to be alive.
Merlin and Arthur were explicitly concerned with leadership and war.  That may seem something of a non-sequitur here, but then, the entire story of Bhagavad Gita occurs on a battlefield.  So it isn’t too surprising that the principles of war have a bearing upon what Maharishi called “the battlefield of life.”

Men must want to fight, they must be inspired, willing to follow their leader to the death.  That willingness to die… for another man’s purposes only results from great and inspiring leadership…
The Saxon Shore

And what is the essence of great leadership?  … funnily enough it’s love.
His men would follow him anywhere, and they don’t care that he has a wooden leg.
No they don’t, because it’s not important.  They follow what they love in him.
And that’s about all any of us can do – follow the love we find inside.
For myself, trying to find my way forward from that stark list of inadequacies in the back of A New Earth, I found courage and a willingness to die in my great desire to awaken.
Now, desire may not sound so much like love. 
But my deep desire was a passion and passion is just the frothy waves of the silent ocean of love.
To become that ocean is to awaken.
And to embody that ocean into life requires that “one stand in one’s own shoes.”
That’s how Adya says his teacher described it.
And that was what I told myself whenever I got scared.

And I love that it is doesn’t matter if you have a wooden leg.  (Who doesn’t?)

Merlin and Arthur are describing the leader that lies within us all, our true Self,
which is always and already there.
And if you don’t believe me, then take it from the archetype...
and have a Happy New Year:

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