When facing illness or end of life, courage is one of the greatest attributes we can have. The word courage comes from the Latin word cor and the French word coeur, both meaning heart. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as ‘mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.’ Courage is not the absence of fear, but carrying on despite fear or in the face of fear. We show courage by taking heart whatever the circumstances.
American Buddhist Nun, Pema Chodron, has written many books about how to live with courage, compassion and wisdom. Her books are for everyone, not just for Buddhists. In The Pocket Pema Chodron, a selection of her writings, I found the following quote on courage.
Developing True Courage
As long as we’re caught up in always looking for certainty and happiness, rather than honouring the taste and smell and quality of exactly what is happening, as long as we’re always running away from discomfort, we’re going to be caught in a cycle of unhappiness and disappointment, and we will feel weaker and weaker.
Instead of asking ourselves, “How can I find security and happiness?” we could ask ourselves, ‘Can I touch the centre of my pain? Can I sit with suffering, both yours and mine, without trying to make it go away? Can I stay present to the ache of loss or disgrace–disappointment in all its many forms–and let it open me? This is the trick.
What do you think of Pema Chodron’s take on courage? Leave a comment and let us know.
And if you enjoyed this post, please share it: just click on your favourite social networking site buttons below.