As with any other disease, treatment depends on removing the cause. Removing the cause of cowardice involves bringing out the irascible motives in a proper way - that is, by making a person sufficiently angry about his own state and weaknesses so that he will wish to change, using the poison itself as the starting remedy. Where there is a sickness therein lies its cure.
Certain masters have used the remedy of deliberately subjecting
themselves and their followers to situations where dangers were faced, or embarking on perilous journeys. They placed themselves in situations which brought about a natural confrontation with their own fears and cowardice - as a result, they set in motion a course of events that brought out their irascibility, of which courage is the ultimate virtue. Subjecting a person to these conditions in a properly guided manner can awaken and cause to grow in one that appropriate energy of anger, which is now used in a predetermined channel for a positive and balanced outcome.
from The Journey of the Self by Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri Pg. 137
When there was a fire in the caravan in which I was living, I wasn't there at the time fortunately, most of my books were utterly consumed, hardbacks amongst them. What was spared was badly damaged too, so much so that I got rid of them as too depressing to handle. One little A5 plastic covered notebook was preserved with just the slightest filagree of scorching: my journal of the journey from India to Ireland. As my last 13 rupees were stolen by a pickpocket in Allahabad that travelling was mostly by thumb.
It seemed to me then that my resolve after my conversion to make my way home as a pilgrim was going to be demanded of me whether I liked it or not. The meaning of a conversation that I had with my teacher or rather that Wendell had on my behalf, implied that I would make it after many adventures. Hanuman in the Ramayana had to go to Ceylon to rescue Sita.
I was in the darshan line with my letter asking permission to go in the normal way of Indian etiquette, which was not automatically given if the time was not auspicious. Baba came and stood before me and took the letter. I couldn't speak. Wendell took up the conversation:
- He's going home to Ireland Baba.
- Yes, yes he's going to Ceylon
- Not island Baba, Ireland.
- Yes, Ireland but first he's going to Ceylon.
At that Baba put his hands over mine which were joined in Namas pushing them down. I had an experience of a fragrance and the depression of the mental pause button. The following morning the pujari of the temple came over to me with some coconut prasad as a blessing.
Meditating under the pipal tree on the hill I had heard quite clearly in my head 'Take the reins', a reminder of the injunction of Krishna to Arjuna. I took it to mean that this abode of peace had to be left behind and it was time to engage with the world again.
I know where that journal is.