Courage, Curiosity & A Sense of Humor

by meditative - March 9th, 2016

When we can smile at our adversity shows the bravery in our curiosity.

The enemies we battle and the wars we wage are often not outside ourselves, but the reactionary ‘forces’ of our habitual tendencies and negative (perpetuating) emotions within ourselves. The most significant is our fear. By facing & befriending our fear, we embrace and adopt an outlook of courage- we transform our impulse to say “no” to our adversity and “yes” with curiosity to experience the full spectrum of our lives.

Courage is the fundamental openness to face even our hardest truths- as painful as they may be. For example, old age, sickness, loss, death, etc. Aging is a natural process of impermanence. Everything is impermanent and comes to an end. Sickness is an integral part of having a body. How we accept and ultimately relate to our experience is a sign of our courage- and sustaining open curiosity to the mystery of our often unpredictable being only strengthens it. Inevitably, the journey of our passing must be alone- it is part of our life. The more we cling on to our illusion of permanence only makes our parting more painful. The beauty of our journey is embracing each moment for what is- and accepting the transition into the unknown- for we cannot look into what we can neither see nor comprehend.

Although inevitable as it is hard-wired into our nervous system for survival, the essence of our existence is not to be ruled by our “fear”, but to live fully and courageously with it- befriending & working with it. Fear can be our ally and our teacher to face & embrace the unknown as we begin to better understand the nature of how it surfaces, sustains, and passes within ourselves.

In all our bravery and curiosity to see and face things directly, we also need to come to know that ultimately some things don’t make sense- the running commentary (i.e. storyline) of our lives is really a product of our mind, and it can wander rather far from the truth of our direct experience. The incongruence or disharmony with “self” and environment can be continuously annoying, uncomfortable, and painful when there is too much seriousness placed on the experience of living. To manifest genuine harmony, peace, and joy, we need to learn to penetrate and ‘strip down’ our seriousness, with a sense of humor- and like fear, it too can be our ally. Similar to courage and curiosity it is a heart-felt quality- a smile, a “lightness”, or “warmth of spirit” that illuminates our vision and perspective. Waking from our seriousness can help to liberate our minds and bodies from the additional stressors brought on by getting too caught up in the ‘gravity’ of our own experiences. Having a sense of humor is the seed to sustaining a positive outlook despite our present-moment situations. It helps us to see the relative lightness and freshness of things as they truly are. As best we can, we must try not to take ourselves, our emotions, or our lives too seriously.

When we can genuinely smile or laugh at ourselves from our heart… even difficult situations can open us up to a better ‘place’. Smile and let your experience arise without fear… with courage, curiosity, and a sense of humor.