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Courage to Be

“This is the first teaching of the Knights: You will erase everything you had written in the book of your life up until now: restlessness, uncertainty, lies. And in the place of all this you will write the word courage.”
--Paulo Coelho

“The courageous man acts ‘for the sake of what is noble, for the aim of virtue.

“The courage to be is the courage to affirm one’s own reasonable nature over against what is accidental in us.

“…in the act of courage the most essential part of our being prevails against the less essential.”
--Paul Tillich

It takes courage to live—especially to live freely, which is a requirement of a life well lived. Without that initial step into freedom, we are mere products of whatever was previously fed into our minds.

In a world of fixed opinions, no matter how at odds they might be, one associates freedom with choosing which beliefs will define you, rather than YOU defining and shaping yourself. But even that choice can be forced upon you simply as a matter of birth and location. Stepping into real freedom can be thought of as a second birth, and it does not come without pain and challenges. It comes in the form of a daily quest from which we learn, succeed, and sometimes fail. There are risks, but there always are. The reward is human nature developed to the point of integrity—a life worth living that contributes to truth and the betterment of all. Anything less misses the mark.

In this world of clichéd and fixed opinions, it takes courage to question things, especially our prejudices and long held misconceptions. It takes courage to question the opinions of friends, family, and those whom we admire. Without such courage serving as a prerequisite, how can we deem ourselves capable of discerning right from wrong with reasonable confidence?

There is a difference between courage and foolishness. The fool goes along with anything in order to fit in and is ripe for exploitation. We see this every day.

Those who are awake to their own authenticity are not fools, but never claim to be perfect either. They claim, instead, to be real, interpreting life as a quest to learn and grow that sharpens their powers of discernment.

The mind that refuses to take this step into freedom is moribund, trapped in a lifeless repetition of prejudgments from which they cannot (or will  not) deviate. There is no authenticity in that. It is a life put on hold while awaiting its inevitable end.

The advance of human nature demands more.



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