A Deep Dive into Courage

Start Date:01-Feb-2024

End Date:02-Feb-2024



“Courage and love are the only indispensable virtues; even if all the others are eclipsed or fall

asleep, these two will save the soul alive.”  -Sri Aurobindo.

The two-day workshop “The Mother’s Symbol-A Deep Dive into Courage” an Art- based workshop organised by NAMAH, the journal of Integral Health with Dr. Shubashree, was an amazing workshop where she led the seekers into a very practical and collective art-based exploration into courage in every aspect of life, e.g. health, work, relationships and inner progress, wherein we discover and embody courage. Almost 20 people registered for this event. It is very much essential for the emotions to occur, where we can free up that space, so that light can enter. Whenever there is an emotional release, painting those emotions, or writing those emotions helps us to be held and grounded. Art is the only form where we can express our emotions and still stay grounded.

 The first day was mainly an art-based exploration of the essence of courage, what Mother has said about courage and what we feel about courage and what emerges out of each seeker.

We started with meditative practices of silencing our body and mind and gathering ourselves, connecting to oneself with the gentle touch of our fingers and the warmth of our hands. Giving oneself a very warm and gentle hug. Letting go off all identity and connecting to the presence within. This process of the gentle touch to the body, can make the body feel very safe, where there is a sense of warmth. Courage should also come from that space of warmth. The body feels very calm, rested, rooted, cheerful and relaxed. The gentle touch of the fingers on the different body parts has a very magical Effect on the body.

Holding the intent of courage in our heart, we slowly started embodying a very loving courage. See the courage like a flame, which is getting brighter and brighter such that the entire body is engulfed with the flame. Observe the different parts of your body when it is embodied with courage. Observe the qualities of courage.

Courage has only one aspiration, the Divine. The entire body is covered with courage and aspiration for the Divine. It is from the Divine that courage flows through us.

By staying connected to the body and the experience and holding the intent, “I am courage flowing from the Divine”, where there is no space for fear. Hold this intent, till it feels very close to us. Be with the silence, and being grounded and calm, stay with the qualities of courage that you are embodying. Ask yourself – how did you feel in the process?           

What are the qualities of courage you felt in your body?

We were asked to write down and draw the qualities that each one of us felt, starting as "I am courage, I flow from the Divine." Hold this essence of courage and embody it.

The Mother says, “the courage to constantly love the Divine is enough, everything will fall in place.” The root of all our aspirations (like courage to accept myself, accept others, my past, the courage to live my highest calling,) is the courage to love.

A sense of being full of courage was felt. Courage felt like a river, flowing deep and steady, unaffected by the hindrances that it faces, but quietly keeps flowing, ever forward, without ever looking back.

Mothers talks about the various types of courage:

1. Passive vs Active Courage.

2. Ignorant vs True Courage

3. Vital vs Integral Courage

The only courage that Mother speaks of which she asks us to embody is integral courage. There are different types of courage one can embody, but the true courage that will help us is integral courage, where there is a constant calm, assurance and certitude.

The Mother on Integral Courage says,” Whatever the domain, whatever the danger, the attitude remains the same- calm and assured, with a constant consciousness of the Divine Presence, a total self-giving to the Divine, and the whole being unified in this will.”

The second day’s session is about how we hold the beautiful qualities of Integral courage in the different context of the challenges we are facing.

Dr. Shubha gave us lovely examples on courage in identifying the clutters and decluttering. The ‘clutters’ here are the negative emotions in us like attachment, desire, ego, hate, etc. Consider these clutters as babies who need to progress. The mind as usual always plays a game and thinks that one is progressing and the clutter is not there, that one is perfect in all aspects, or it tries to ignore things by saying that they are impure or hardened, just trying to put it under the carpet and say that is not me. But in actual, that clutter is part of me – the pain, the attachment, the desires are like chaotic babies which needs to be attended to and addressed. This session is about courage to identify oneself and declutter. It is forming the inner perspective of holding them with a lot of warmth, love and kindness. We will invite different essences in us and look at them with total love and courage and declutter all the negative emotions.

1. Consider this as a drama stage, where children come and enact the skit. Make a drama stage on a sheet of paper and we will invite the children to perform one by one. Holding the question –Who am I and what role do I play? We will start drawing these roles that I play (e.g. a mother, a sister, a friend, a seeker, etc.) with different attires. Keep holding a lot of love, lot of silence, warmth, very compassionately. Not to be overwhelmed, just take it very patiently and be in the moment. Art helps us to connect to the heart

2. Inviting one role at a time, let’s explore some attachments which might predominate and bring in some acceptance and courage. Each role comes with a lot of emotion, there is a lot of attachment, a lot of memories, concepts, beliefs which have shaped these attachments and it requires a lot of courage to see it and accept it. We will first ground ourselves with the silence and love before we explore them.  Our desires or attachments shape our actions, decisions or the way we think throughout the day and these actions happen very unconsciously, because there are some unconscious attachments.

When we are inviting them consciously every day, we begin to see a lot of changes when in action, because we are aware from where it is coming. Only when we are not aware from where these actions are coming, then there will be fear or the negative emotions arising.

3. We played the favourite game – Statue.

The aspiration here is to bring the stillness in the body and mind like a statue, so that we don’t react when the attachments are explored. When things come from the subconscious, we become shaken and can’t witness it. This game is very playful where we just embody being a statue and the courage to slow down will help us. The slow conscious movements help us to become still.

Gratitude meditation

We started with meditative practices of silencing our body and mind and gathering ourselves, connecting to oneself with the gentle touch of our fingers and the warmth of our hands The gentleness in our fingers and the gentle hug, brought in a lot of silence, warmth and love to our body. With a lot of love, we thanked Mother Earth for holding us so lovingly, for being there for us always.

Slowly, we moved our awareness to our breath. The air is quietly moving in and out, keeping us alive. We thanked the air for nourishing us, keeping us alive unconditionally.

Slowly we shifted our attention to the heart. Be with the heartbeat and the pumping of the heart which never rests. A quiet presence, quietly nourishing us unconditionally. Send a lot of love to the heart for always holding us.

Send a lot of love to the Earth, water, the air around for silently breathing air for us, to the sun, to the plants for nourishing us, so that we may grow. Send a lot of love to all the animals and all human beings, to the birds, to the insects, everyone playing their role so that we may progress. It is the unconditional love of the Divine manifesting in these forms.

May we have the courage to slow down. With the same unconditional love that has been offered to us, may we share the same love that has been offered to us quietly.

Very gently in this silence and with the quiet love, invite one role (mother, employee) that you feel attached to, and surrendering very difficult. Say these words to yourself, ‘May I be happy, peaceful, gentle, loving, courageous. May I love all my parts, as they are, unconditionally. Let me be a good guide to myself. May I come to myself and hold myself very gently. May I be courageous to be patient with myself.’ Whenever you are ready, hold the essence of love and the courage to be patient and ignore the thoughts. Just be with the heart and write or draw whatever flows through, keeping the question:

1.What are the expectations and desires of that role that is causing suffering?

2.What are the beliefs behind the expectations?

3.What are the fears, desires,memories, ambitions, judgements that have to be surrendered to the Divine?

4.What are the qualities of the roles that have a slight pride in you? If there are any attachments with the quality? Hold that with a lot of love. Be patient, honest and frank with the Divine.

Look at the qualities of the role that need transformation. If any thoughts come, go back to the intention asking the question again. Whenever you are ready, gently place your hands on the role which is on the sheet of paper. Have the courage to be with it. Be with the role, hug it. Observe the discomfort that may arise when you invite the role. Any discomfort, gently put your hands on your heart and shower it with a lot of love and be with it.

Whatever thoughts arise see that with courage and a calm certitude. See from where it is coming and offer it completely to the Divine. This is the courage that Mother is talking about. This is what we must aspire for. a total self-giving to the Divine.

The Mother talks about the difficulties on the Path to Integral courage and the resistance to change. There are aspirations on one side and the worldly desires on the other, which are not allowing us to go fully to the Divine.

First, we need to come in contact with the Divine within us, only then can we come in contact with the Divine in other forms. The courage is, coming in touch with the Divine within us. The Divine will guide us in the outer calling also. Every seeker on the path has a choice to make each moment on the journey inward and outward. Each unfolding moment offers us an opportunity to courageously surrender and stay in inner silence or get swayed by the mind and outer being. Our sadhana as a sangha has an aspiration to embody Courage in everyday choices so that we may walk steadily to pursue Sri Aurobindo's vision that, "All life is Yoga.”

Here is my feedback:

“The two days journey on The Mother’s Symbol – A Deep Dive into Courage was very informative, practical and very helpful. The processes and the techniques helped us to a great extent, to connect to our deeper self. It also helped us to develop peace and calmness and the courage to love. ‘Only if we love ourselves can we love others, to be conscious of everything around you and everything you do, to be always grateful to everything and everyone at all times, to bring in stillness in the body and mind like a statue, so that we don’t react when the emotions arise. Our desires or attachments shape our actions, how to recognise the clutters and how do we declutter, the root of all aspirations is the courage to love and last but not the least a total self-giving to the Divine, and the whole being unified in this will’ are some of the important take-aways. The guided processes were wonderful and will definitely practise dedicatedly to attain that Courage of love. The seeds have been sown, and we will definitely take it forward and reap its benefits. We sincerely thank you.”

Other Feedback

“It pushed me a bit to become my higher self”

[Benefitted most from]:

“The idea of having courage to ignore thoughts when focusing on the heart's calling. And the courage to be patient.“

“The use of art to get in touch with my subconscious.”

“A new perspective to understanding the symbol.”

“It made me understand that we all can delve into our being and find that beneath all the fears there is Courage

,if we can face our challenges it gives us courage.”

[Practical take-homes]:

“Trust, and surrender completely to the Divine.”

“Meditate on the Mother's symbol.”

[Artistic and creative spirit]:

It was quite amazing to experience creativity arising effortlessly.

“Art can be a wonderful tool to get in touch with my subconscious.”

“The workshop brought me closer to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Ma's smiling face gives us Courage.”

“Yes, both for the content and as Dr Subhashree is always very welcoming and compassionate.”

“I found the sangha inspiring.”

“Good experience. Sharing and interaction was enriching.”

“Very inspiring.”

“I hope that similar workshops will be held on the other qualities of the Mother's symbol.”