Friday, May 29, 2009

Fear and Courage and Love

Photograph by Eric Stephens

This book was suggested to me by my psychologist in understanding my own courage. When faced with a serious medical situation, I had fear, fear of the unknown, but somehow I quickly moved beyond those fears. I was optimistic...and I was continually hearing from nearly everyone around me how courageous I was. I didn’t know how else to do it. It seemed natural to acknowledge fear and let it go, but I was told not everyone reacts to a life changing event and challenges in the way I did. I do see that now.

This might not have been a book I would have picked up on my own, but I am finding it rather interesting. One of my late friends admired this man’s work and while living in Sedona I knew a couple of others who had studied his spiritual philosophy. The book is “Courage, The Joy of Living Dangerously,” by Osho, an Indian mystic and spiritual teacher, also known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh during the 1970s and 1980s, He had taught Philosophy at a University for a number of years at one time. He took the name of Osho in 1989. I do recall when he was deported from his place in Oregon and sent back to India in about 1987, and there was a lot of rumor and controversy about his “group.” He died in 1990. There is an Osho Foundation in Sedona, Arizona.

This is an excerpt from the opening chapter, What is Courage?:

“Courage means going into the unknown in spite of all the fears. Courage does not mean fearlessness. Fearlessness happens if you go on being courageous and more courageous. That is the ultimate experience of courage—fearlessness. That is the fragrance when the courage has become absolute. But in the beginning there is not much difference between the coward and the courageous person. The only difference is that the coward listens to his fears and follows them, and the courageous person puts them aside and goes ahead. The courageous person goes into the unknown in spite of all the fears. He knows the fears, the fears are there.

“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 is 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. The fears are there, but if you go on accepting the challenge again and again, slowly, slowly those fears disappear. The experience of the joy that the unknown brings, the great ecstasy that starts happening with the unknown, makes you strong enough, gives you a certain integrity, makes your intelligence sharp. For the first time you start feeling that life is not just a boredom but an adventure. Then slowly, slowly fears disappear; then you are always seeking and searching for some adventure.

“But basically courage is risking the known for the unknown, the familiar for the unfamiliar, the comfortable for the uncomfortable, arduous pilgrimage to some unknown destination. One never knows whether one will be able to make it or not. It is gambling, but only the gamblers know what life is.” ~Osho

It takes a lot of energy to be caught up in fear, in negativity, in a depressed state. I am always reminded of the words of the late Psychiatrist, Author and Radio and Television personality, David Viscott, M.D., "If we each used our feelings as a guide to reach the path for becoming our highest selves, we would at least be on the way to finding fulfillment in our own life, and the greater world would begin to make sense." That is from Viscott's excellent book, The Language of Feelings. He also wrote:

"The light you are seeking is inside. The light is life, is love, is you. Find it, nurture it, share it. To seek it is to take part in the infinite." ~David Viscott, M.D.



Lover of Life said...

Wow, very important words. Thank you for sharing. I couldn't tell if you are facing some health issues, or have already been through them. But from what I have read of your writing, you are a very focused and enlightened person. I love your blog.

Linda Pendleton said...

Lover of Life,
Thanks for your comments (and concern). Been through them. In Nov. 2007 I had surgery to save my leg. It did not work and in Dec 2007 I had a below the knee amputation of my left leg. I spent three months in skilled nursing rehab and recently ended physical therapy after 15 months. I'm doing great...walking great, and it has been an incredible year or more for me, filled with inspiration and beautiful people. Medicare paid for my psychologist in the hospital. She's great and I continue seeing her to explore other life issues.

I'm glad you enjoy my writing and I enjoy reading your blog, too.

Anonymous said...

This has such meaning for me -- my whole life has been about going into the unknown. Rarely do I take the safe or well-trod path. But I've learned to love the free-fall into God that is this plane. Blessings. :)

Linda Pendleton said...

Naomi, Glad you found something there for you...and I suppose life is full of unknowns.

Ronda Laveen said...

I remember the Bhagwan and all that was going on up in Oregon at that time. We heard a lot of the controversy as we lived fairly close. I wish that I had been able to meet him. Avoidance reinforces fear just as facing it takes the charge away. I enjoyed this very much.

Linda Pendleton said...

Thanks, Ronda. I have to admit I was a little reluctant about ever learning more about Bhagwan. Although I don't agree with all he says, most of what I have read or heard is good stuff. But then again, seems at times we can life so complicated when it may really be simple.

Cynthia said...

Hi Linda, so true what OSHO says...I have read many of his books and am always surprised at the reaction others have to him. He has a reputation for being a spendthrift, con, and promoting sexuality...especially here in Puerto Rico, people think he promoted free for all sex but if you read his words he's very traditional in his philosophy. (He does often focus on the tantra aspect-understanding of spirituality.) I enjoy his talks (transcribed) the most because you can see his tolerance for his followers and their weaknesses-especially in the 70's. If you like philosophy, "Finger Pointing the Moon" is beautiful. I hope your full health has returned. Thanks for posting...<3

Linda Pendleton said...

Hi Cynthia,

Yes, he received so much bad publicity at one time but I find his teachings not as far out as I used to think they might be before actually encountering them.
Thanks for the suggestion of his book.
And yes, my full health has returned and am doing well... thanks.