Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Osho: "Courage" Part 2 - What Is Courage?

(Cover) Courage: The Joy of Living DangerouslyThis is Part 2 of my summary of Osho's bookCourage: The Joy of Living Dangerously.

Courage means going into the unknown in spite of all the fears... The coward listens to his fears and follows them, and the courageous person puts them aside and goes ahead... He knows the fears, the fears are there.

Accept the Challenge of the Unknown

A central theme in Osho's view is that courage is a quality of action. Consider an opportunity that is accompanied by danger and risk: fear is normal. One man will be guided by his fears and turns away. Another moves ahead despite his fears. This is courage.

When you go into the uncharted sea, like Columbus did, there is fear, immense fear, because one never knows what is going to happen. You are leaving the shore of safety. You were perfectly okay, in a way; only one thing was missing -- adventure. Going into the unknown gives you a thrill. The heart starts pulsating again; again you are alive, fully alive. Every fiber of your being is alive because you have accepted the challenge of the unknown.

To accept the challenge of the unknown, in spite of all fears, is courage... If you go on accepting the challenge again and again, slowly those fears disappear.

Why Seek Courage?

Osho reminds us that courage affords us the opportunity to experience the joy and ecstasy of the unknown. And that this very action makes us stronger, more intelligent, and gives one "a certain integrity".

"The Tao of Courage"

There is a section of this chapter in which he tells two stories to illustrate that courage does not imply being tough and unyielding, but rather that "the way of Lao Tzu" is to bend with the wind. This is a difficult thought. So for example, should one be yielding in the face of evil rather than confront and resist? But of course most of life is not about confronting, say, Nazis and Stalinists.

The second story goes on to suggest that we should be observers, witnesses of our own bodies. As witnesses to our own stories, detached, we can remove ourselves from the slavery of fear.

It is your fear that makes you a slave ... in fact it is your fear that forces you to make others slaves before they can try to make a slave out of you. A man who is fearless is neither afraid of anybody nor makes anybody afraid of him.

This detachment from my own life, doesn't that imply simply that I would be refusing to feel?

Much that I don't understand, but I can begin to imagine that instead of just being the actor in my life's story, I could stand a little aside and be the author or director. A good story has jeopardy, adventure, romance and conflict, and the actor may need some prodding to take the harder roads.

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