Why sometimes the Spiritual Path takes "20 Seconds of 'Insane' Courage"

Submitted by Open on Sun, 09/22/2013 - 09:21

When you look back on your life, the trials the tribulations, the challenges and opportunities, you'll probably notice the really big occasions hung finely balanced on the feather edge of uncertainty. On one side is the abyss of some indescribable failure, and the other, some seemingly monumental achievement. These moments invite something deeper of ourselves, something more authentic. If we can face them with total acceptance and commitment, then we'll connect with the full flow of the soul and it will carry us through like an unstoppable wave. This level of surrender, this level of commitment, requires something special:
"20 seconds of insane courage"...

Facing the darkness

I saw this moment of uncertainty we all face from time to time so eloquently encapsulated in a recent Matt Damon film "We bought a Zoo":

    "You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage,
    just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery,
    and I promise you, something great will come of it."
    Benjamin Mee

I can recall facing the darkness many times in my existence, before I realised I was simply creating it myself. Only later, I understood it was exactly these moments where I needed depth of soul more than anything. Yet an inner tightness and struggle - the need for an outcome - contracted my inner space so much, it strangled the very soul out of me.

If only

How many times have you said to yourself "If only"? "If only I'd done it this way, then that would have happened. If only I'd done that, then it would all have turned out alright."

    If I'd learned long ago to relax my grip on life and simply let the sweet spot of the soul sing through me, then all would have been different. But then of course, you have to know what you are not, to truly feel the sweetness of what you are.

So a point arrived in my existence where I simply decided to let go. The struggle was not worth it any more. Even if it meant jumping off that cliff edge, not knowing if I could fly, I'd simply rather jump. Have you faced times in your life like that yet? A relationship that really needs to end, a crucial change of location or leaving a job that doesn't serve? Such occasions eventually come knocking on our door.

Following the soul is just like this. It can begin softly yes. But certainly in my experience, true realignment is going to require us staring into the abyss of such uncertainty. Why? Because no matter how society conditions us to control life, nothing is ever certain to the soul.

    It is uncertainty that makes the soul what it is.

The Sweet Spot

In these moments, that's when we need to look for the courage. But courage to do what? To effort and struggle for some kind of talent, some kind of gift, some kind or reward, target or outcome? Not at all. These are exactly the things we need to let go of.

    We need to soften into these and just let go. You'll know when those 20 seconds are inviting you. You'll feel it. You'll feel the tightening in your throat which makes your voice squeaky or hoarse, the stiffness in your muscles that makes your body awkward and ungainly or the tightness of your chest that makes your breathing shallow and rapid. These are the tell tale signs that you've stepped into the 20 seconds.

And in these moments, that's when we have to soften, to soften into these symptoms. When the outer world is screaming for some kind of external reaction from you, what we really need to find is an authentic internal response:

  • to let go of the need for an outcome
  • to soften into the body, move and let it relax
  • to expand the chest and deepen the breathing with calmness
  • to open into the void of presence
  • to let the sweet shot of authentic beingness simply swing through us

The return to light

When all the pressure is on, soften, simply open and then the 20 seconds expands into an eternity. Look for the authentic feeling that wants to bubble up, the authentic expression of beingness. Let it wash through and over you. Let the swing carry you so that you may hit the sweet spot of who you are...

    In this moment, anything can happen.
    In this moment, you can truly change reality
    to something more aligned,
    in harmony with the universe
    and the essence of who you are

To me, it is the return to light...

Walking the Path

Openhand is all about helping people develop this direct approach to the path, confronting and breaking through fears...Walking the Path (with video)

from my heart to yours

(on behalf of Openhand)

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Perhaps even 10 seconds or less! I love this movie, "We Bought A Zoo." It trashes the logic of the intellect in favour of what feels "right" in the heart. Thank you for this inspiring piece, Open. x Catherine

Oh man this article hits home right now and the clip feels like I am watching myself. I am feeling this so deeply right now with intense anxiety arising in meditation and in some difficult interactions where I feel the tightness in my ribs grip my throat so tightly that it becomes so hard to say anything...Or feel at ease at all. BUT its changing...Softening and expanding into total acceptance of what I am feeling...opening the space rather than tightening or trying to get rid of the anxiety is allowing a natural expression to bubble forth even when i feel so frozen and gripped inside. Thank you for this article... It expressed just what I am feeling and feels so supportive!