What’s behind great acts of bravery?

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A four year old boy is inches from falling off a balcony. Then a stranger starts to climb the building. The video was filmed in Paris. The 22 year old stranger is Mamoudou Gassama and he is an illegal immigrant from Mali. He scales the building floor by floor and manages to save the small child from certain death. “I didn’t have time to think, I ran across the road to go save him. I just climbed up, and thank God, God helped me”. Later he received a Gold medal for his heroic act and citizenship.

You often hear of similar heroic deeds. Of some brave person who at personal costs to their own lives, dived into the sea to save someone, or run across a busy highway to help someone in an emergency. Ever wonder, what really inspires such people? Do they have special qualities?

Truth is, all such people when interviewed, did not consider their acts out of ordinary: they did not believe they were doing anything special or extra-ordinary. Nor did they think they were special in any way, different characteristics from many others. Turns out they saw themselves as just an ‘ordinary person’ no different from any other, nor did they think, their act was something, someone else would not do, under the circumstances. When asked they believed that it was just the right thing to do, that seemed the only choice as opposed to just watching, or moving by. Almost as if configured in them, was choicelessness: “See emergency, Respond. Not to Think, Just Act“.

The question that now arises is how can we possibly be responsive to situations all the time: not just act in an emergency but act at all times, in complete integrity to that which unfolds before us. Fact is that despite media highlighting the horrific in a calamity, people actually reach out in more collaborative behaviours than it is made aware by the news. Yes, there are sporadic cases of arson, etc, but the majority come out more helpful and resilient together.

If as Leo Tolstoy in one of his stories confirms: the most important thing to do, is always what you are doing now, and Who you are with is the most important person, and when to do the most important thing is right now. This requires working from awareness, from naturalness, from all that is within us, connected with existence, seeing me and the other, one and the same in the larger game of life. What else is beautiful earth when viewed from space: no boundaries, no nations, absolutely no division. That exists only in the mind!

True intelligence comes from ‘choicelessness’. The phenomena presents but only one choice: responsiveness and to act, without thought about self. As of the firing of mirror neurons is, but automatic, instinctive, natural and spontaneous. Then self is obliviated to the other, the task seems just ordinary. To be extraordinary one just has to keep in mind to add the extra to ORDINARY!

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