Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Osho: "Courage" Part 3 - The Way of the Heart

(Cover) Courage: The Joy of Living DangerouslyThis is a continuation of my summary of Osho's bookCourage: The Joy of Living Dangerously. I'm still in the chapter "What Is Courage?" -- these notes are from the section "The Way of the Heart".

Osho takes special note that the English word courage comes from a Latin root meaning heart. "So to be courageous means to live with the heart" and "The way of the heart is the way of courage," a path of insecurity, propelling oneself into the unknown.

Since Osho makes much of the English etymology of courage, it's interesting to consider other, non-Latin, languages. The Wikipedia article on "courage" includes the following:

The Tao Te Ching states that courage is derived from love (" loving causes ability brave") and explains: "One of courage, with audacity, will kill. One of courage, but gentle,, spares life. From these two kinds of courage arise harm and benefit."

While there is no specific mention of "heart" there, I think the connection with loving and bravery amounts to the same thing. We are after all speaking of "heart" in its metaphorical sense.

The Heart Is a Gambler

Courage is to move on dangerous paths... A person who is alive, really alive, vitally alive will always move into the unknown... The heart is always ready to take the risk, the heart is a gambler.

This he contrasts with those "weaklings" who "live with the head":

Afraid, they create a security of logic around themselves. Fearful, they close every window and door -- with theology, concepts, words, theories -- and inside those closed doors and windows, they hide... The head is businessman.

The Future

In our heads we reason and "calculate", weighing risks, not meaning, filled only with what we have known. "It is the past, the dead, that which has gone." Osho argues that "The heart is noncalculating" and can proceed by love and trust as it embraces the unknown.

Head thinks about the past; heart dreams about the future.

The future has yet a possibility ... The past has no possibility, it has been used. You have already moved away from it -- it is exhausted, it is a dead thing, it is like a grave. The future is like a seed.


Freedom from the past may seem appealing, but I think in some sense man's ability to hold onto his past is essential to his humanity. I don't just mean to learn from it, I mean even allowing it to shape our identities. For example, what about the commitments we have made? To follow the heart into freedom is certainly appealing, but I've found that the most meaningful actions in my life have been those which required a long-term commitment.

But I can see that we easily cling too much to the past. What to keep and what to let go of?

1 comment:

Robert Clark said...

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