Calm as the cornerstone of courage

Ernest Hemingway once said that 'Courage is grace under pressure'. We are all born with innate courage; however, because of the way we are wired, it is a skill that needs to be unmasked and cultivated. The main prerequisite for courage is a calm, imperturbable mind. A calm mind allows you to think decisions through and then respond in the most effective manner instead of getting in your own way by reacting emotionally to a situation.

The best way to cultivate a powerfully calm and aware mindset is to engage in some practice of mindfulness regularly. To this end, I recommend two means: yoga and meditation. Yoga, especially the very vigorous forms of hatha yoga, cultivate a strong, calm center that develops over time into a serene yet responsive mindset. When practiced regularly, it also gives you a lithe, strong and flexible physique. To get noticeable benefits out of yoga, I recommend three 1.5hr sessions a week, with two sessions per week being the lower limit for deriving tangible benefit.

Meditation has many forms and advocates. In its simplest form, it is a focusing of your attention on something of your choosing while clearing the mind of all other thoughts. Sometimes a mantra, a repeated phrase, helps to cement in the meditative mindset. In the next exercise, I describe an advanced and very effective meditation technique derived from kriya yoga -- the Hong-Sau technique.

Exercise 2. The Hong-Sau meditation Sit on the floor or on a chair, with your back straight and your hands on your lap. Do not do this meditation while lying down; it is important to have the spinal column vertical. Now close your eyes and focus your attention on the space between your eyebrows. Notice how doing that creates a shift in the feeling tone of your mind. Now, in your head, without saying it out loud, with each inhalation, say the syllable 'hong'; with each exhalation, say the syallable 'sau' (pronounced like 'saw'). Continue to do this for 15 minutes at first. Then, when you have gotten better at the technique, do it for 30 min. For maximum benefit, it is recommended to meditate daily, so set aside a time, ideally right after you wake up, to do the Hong-Sau meditation. If you can't do it daily at first, do it 3 times a week, then 5 times a week, then every day. And if you want to get serious about it and do it the way the kriya masters recommend, do the meditation once in the morning and once in the evening.

The people who have a daily meditation practice say that it's the most important thing they do every day. The best way to find out why is simply to do it for yourself and experience the benefits firsthand.

Meditation builds the foundation for the calm mindset which forms the cornerstone of courage. This is because once you cultivate the calm mindfulness, you diminish the distracting power of emotion-based responses, acting instead upon instinct and intuition.

One of the best ways to think about courage comes from the Taoism-based martial art of Wing Chun. The first of four fighting principles of Wing Chun says, 'when the way is clear, move forward.' This principle is applicable to all aspects of life, but since this Mindtrack is about dating, let's see how it applies to that.

For example, let's assume you're on a date with a woman, and you're wondering when to kiss her for the first time. There will be a moment at which will be appropriate for you to kiss her, and the more relaxed you are in yourself, the more centered you are, the more likely you are to seize that moment. You will sense the moment because of intuition; you will act upon it based on instinct. Because of your meditative practice, the clouding influence of fear will be nowhere in sight. Instead, you will have courage. Courage is the seizing of that moment, and because you have done your homework, you will have it in plentiful supply at the moment you need it.

In dating, as in life in general, there are many turning points, and as the man, it is chiefly your responsibility to make those transitions successfully. Effectively none of them involve a threat of physical harm, for which the sympathetic nervous system was originally designed. By developing your courage, you will be in a position to grasp opportunity as it arises before you, acting the same way you would if you saw a hundred-dollar bill on the ground: all action, no hesitation. When the way is clear, move forward. This is the way of the Tao.

The power is within you,
Dr Alex

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And if you enjoyed this article, I have many more useful tips for you like this one. To get a free copy of the special report 'The 9 Top-Secret Goldmines for Meeting Quality Women', visit To learn more about the scientific basis for success in dating and business, visit

Dr Alex Benzer is the author of 'The Tao of Dating: The Thinking Man's Guide to Success with Women', the companion booklets 'The Tao of Sexual Mastery' and 'The Tao of Social Networking', and the audio course 'The Tao of Persuasion'. He has an MD from UC San Diego Medical School, an MPhil from Cambridge University and an AB from Harvard College. He is a certified clinical hypnotherapist and NLP Master Practitioner based in Los Angeles. For a free download of one of his hypnosis audios, visit