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The month of May in our weekly #SpiritChat conversations on twitter included the topics of diversity, mothering and harmony. As I look back through the discussions, one word that came up very often in the context of “what holds us back” from expressing ourselves to our full potential is ~ fear. In fact, fear represents a wide range of feelings, emotions and beliefs that can limit us, and our spiritual growth, if we do not practice how to understand and control it.

So, how do we understand and control fear? One possible way is to get familiar with, and practice courage. For courage can be an antidote to fear when invoked at the appropriate time. The #SpiritChat community did have a conversation about courage (May 2012) which examined fundamental questions like “what is courage?” and more. The dimension that we can add to the previous discussion is in the context of “Practical Spirituality” ~ of practicing courage with commitment.

The great philosopher Plato had tried to define courage ~ albeit inconclusively (see notes on the essay titled Laches). While all of us may not agree on the exact definition of courage, perhaps the definition is not as important as the practice of courage. Our definitions my be different, but we all know courage when we see it. The courage of a mother sparrow fighting off predators to protect her newborns. The courage of a friend or family member, who is in chronic pain, waking up every morning, putting a smile on their face and facing the world. The courage of first responders in crisis situations, rescuing lives by putting their own lives in jeopardy. The courage of those who choose to be true to themselves, sing to their own tune, to honor the spirit of diversity and harmony.

I am sure that you can come up with many more examples of commitment and courage in action, in motion. One question that comes to mind in the context of fear and courage: Is courage the only antidote to fear? Are some people just intrinsically more courageous than others? Or have they developed inner strength, and perhaps more courage, with practice? If courage can be developed by (spiritual) practice(s), what are some of these practice(s)? What is the connection between courage, diversity and harmony?

As I do (almost) every week, I invite you to a conversation about courage and commitment, in the context of practical spirituality, on Sunday May 26th at 9am ET with our #SpiritChat community. Tell us about your daily moments and acts of courage, and inspire us to overcome our fears. Thank you.

Kumud

P.S. Some of you may be aware that the final Sunday in May is celebrated as Memorial Day Weekend in the USA. It is a weekend that honors the commitment and sacrifice of all those who have paid the (ultimate) price to protect our freedoms. May we pause and reflect on their courage.