Category: The Inner Shaman
In Jaguar Consciousness, we can access another very useful type of courage, that of the mind and emotions.
This is sometimes called “moral courage,” and it’s what allows us to speak up about what we believe is right and just to people who aren’t receptive to our beliefs. Moral courage dares us to risk rejection and ridicule and often contradicts mere physical bravery, which helps us do what we need to do to survive. With moral courage, we may gamble our own safety to act in alignment with our deepest held beliefs. This is the valor that firefighters draw upon when they rush into a burning building when their instincts are telling them to stay away; and it keeps lovers true to each other when things aren’t going well, instead of looking for ways to bail out of the relationship.
Moral courage requires that we be willing to admit to our failings and neuroses. If we’re obsessive or demanding, we acknowledge the upside of those qualities as well as the downside and try to be aware of how they both serve and hinder us. We’re able to experience our emotions even as we put them in perspective. After being betrayed by someone, for instance, we acknowledge that it’s normal to want to make them suffer for what they did, but we also factor in common sense and an understanding of why it’s best to let go of anger and move on. Moral courage allows us to weigh both sides of the issue and recognize that other people’s behavior is usually the result of their own psychological issues and obsession with their feelings – it’s not that they want to hurt us but that we get in the way of their dramas.
When we lack jaguar courage, we focus only on our own survival, and compassion eludes us. We don’t care what anyone else’s problem is, we just want to make sure that we’re not suffering. But when we’re at the level of jaguar, we do the right thing regardless of the risk or cost. From the point of Jaguar, our drive to be unique results in living a life of cowardice. The jungle cat insists that we recognize our sameness, that we’re all on this earth together and are brothers and sisters. Only when we recognize that we aren’t special can we truly become original; We can have the courage to look at what everyone else is looking at and think something different about it.
Jaguar consciousness can bring us back to a state of openness and eagerness, but it takes courage to act on our creativity and not simply sit and ponder what our lives might be like if we ha the audacity to manifest our vision. Jaguar courage, then, requires that we understand the limited perceptions created by our thoughts and feelings and be vigilant about not getting caught up in dreams that are actually nightmares.
Are you ready to dream your world into being with Jaguar courage?
Alberto Villoldo PhD is a medical anthropologist who has spent the last 30 years investigating the healing practices of the shamans of the Amazon and the Andes. He is the founder and director of the Four Winds Society, and author of Shaman, Healer, Sage, Mending the Past and Healing the Future with Soul Retrieval, The Four Insights and Yoga, Power and Spirit. Alberto is founder of the world-renowned Four Winds Society and of the Light Body School. In his teachings and writings, he shares the experience of infinity and its ability to heal and transform us, to free us from the temporal chains that keep us fettered to illness, old age and disease.
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