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About the book

Courage is not the absence of fear, says Osho. It is, rather, the total presence of fear, with the courage to face it. This book provides a bird’s-eye view of the whole terrain–where fears originate, how to understand them, and how to find the courage to face them. In the process, Osho proposes that whenever we are faced with uncertainty and change in our lives, it is actually a cause for celebration. Instead of trying to hang on to the familiar and the known, we can learn to enjoy these situations as opportunities for adventure and for deepening our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

The book begins with an in-depth exploration of the meaning of courage and how it is expressed in the everyday life of the individual. Unlike books that focus on heroic acts of courage in exceptional circumstances, the focus here is on developing the inner courage that enables us to lead authentic and fulfilling lives on a day-to-day basis. This is the courage to change when change is needed, the courage to stand up for our own truth, even against the opinions of others, and the courage to embrace the unknown in spite of our fears-in our relationships, in our careers, or in the ongoing journey of understanding who we are and why we are here.

Buy book: Amazon

Year published: 1977


Quotes from the book

Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously (Osho)

  • The more fearless a person is, the less mind he uses. The more fearful a person, the more he uses the mind.
  • Life is not a problem. To look at it as a problem is to take a wrong step. It is a mystery to be lived, loved, experienced.
  • Fear is nothing but absence of love. Do something with love, forget about fear. If you love well, fear disappears. If you love deeply, fear is not found.
  • If a man knows what peace is, and what mind is, he cannot write a book entitled Peace of Mind, because mind is the cause of all unpeace, all restlessness. Peace is when there is no mind.
  • Why does one feel bored? One feels bored because one has been living in dead patterns given to you by others. Renounce those patterns, come out of those patterns! Start living on your own.
  • Boredom simply means that the way you are living is wrong; hence it can become a great event, the understanding that, ‘I am bored and something has to be done, some transformation is needed.’
  • Committing many mistakes, one learns what is a mistake and how not to commit it. Knowing what is error, one comes closer and closer to what is truth. It is an individual exploration, you cannot depend on others’ conclusions.
  • You cannot bring the new in your life; the new comes. You can either accept it or reject it. If you reject it you remain a stone, closed and dead. If you receive it you become a flower, you start opening… and in that opening is celebration.
  • You cannot be truthful if you are not courageous. You cannot be loving if you are not courageous. You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous. You cannot inquire into reality if you are not courageous. Hence, courage comes first and everything else follows.
  • Love is not a relationship. Love is a state of being; it has nothing to do with anybody else. One is not in love, one is love. And of course when one is love, one is in love—but that is an outcome, a by-product, that is not the source. The source is that one is love.
  • To me, to be blissful is the greatest courage. To be miserable is very cowardly. In fact to be miserable, nothing is needed. Any coward can do it, any fool can do it. Everybody is capable of being miserable, but to be blissful, great courage is needed—it is an uphill task.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Insecurity is an intrinsic part of life—and good that it is so, because it makes life a freedom, it makes life a continuous surprise. One never knows what is going to happen. It keeps you continuously in wonder. Don’t call it uncertainty—call it wonder. Don’t call it insecurity—call it freedom.
  • All that is beautiful and all that is good and all that is divine can be felt only by the inner sense. Stop being influenced by people’s opinions. Rather, start looking in… allow your inner sense to say things to you. Trust it. If you trust it, it will grow. If you trust it, you will feed it, it will become stronger.
  • Only at the moment of death do [people] recognize the fact that they have not lived. Life has simply passed as if a dream, and death has come. Now there is no more time to live—death is knocking on the door. And when there was time to live, you were doing a thousand and one foolish things, wasting your time rather than living it.
  • It is difficult to love real people because a real person is not going to fulfill your expectations. He is not meant to. He is not here to fulfill anybody else’s expectations; he has to live his own life. And whenever he moves somewhere that goes against you or is not in tune with your feelings, emotions, your being, it becomes difficult.
  • To live dangerously means to live. If you don’t live dangerously, you don’t live. Living flowers only in danger. Living never flowers in security; it flowers only in insecurity. If you start getting secure, you become a stagnant pool. Then your energy is no longer moving. Then you are afraid… because one never knows how to go into the unknown.
  • Those who are courageous, they go headlong. They search all opportunities of danger. Their life philosophy is not that of insurance companies. Their life philosophy is that of a mountain climber, a glider, a surfer. And not only in the outside seas they surf; they surf in their innermost seas. And not only on the outside they climb Alps and Himalayas; they seek inner peaks.
  • To grow to your destiny needs great courage, it needs fearlessness. People who are full of fear cannot move beyond the known. The known gives a kind of comfort, security, safety because it is known. One is perfectly aware, one knows how to deal with it. One can remain almost asleep and go on dealing with it—there is no need to be awake; that’s the convenience with the known.
  • Whenever you have been in love with someone, even for a single moment, was there any fear? It has never been found in any relationship where, if even for a single moment, two persons are in deep love and a meeting happens, they are tuned to each other—in that moment fear has never been found. Just as if the light is on and darkness has not been found—there is the secret key: love more.
  • The word courage is very interesting. It comes from the Latin root cor, which means ‘heart.’ So to be courageous means to live with the heart. And weaklings, only weaklings, 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.
  • Everybody is afraid—has to be. Life is such that one has to be. And people who become fearless, become fearless not by becoming brave—because a brave man has only repressed his fear; he’s not really fearless. A man becomes fearless by accepting his fears. It is not a question of bravery. It is simply seeing into the facts of life and realizing that these fears are natural. One accepts them!
  • Nothing can be secure, because a secure life will be worse than death. Nothing is certain. Life is full of uncertainties, full of surprises—that is its beauty! You can never come to a moment when you can say, ‘Now I am certain.’ When you say you are certain, you simply declare your death. Life goes on moving with a thousand and one uncertainties. That’s its freedom. Don’t call it insecurity.
  • That is one of the problems: people have been taught never to do anything wrong, and then they become so hesitant, so fearful, so frightened of doing wrong, that they become stuck. They cannot move, something wrong may happen. So they become like rocks, they lose all movement. Commit as many mistakes as possible, remembering only one thing: don’t commit the same mistake again. And you will be growing.
  • The way of the heart is the way of courage. It is to live in insecurity; it is to live in love, and trust; it is to move in the unknown. It is leaving the past and allowing the future to be. Courage is to move on dangerous paths. Life is dangerous, and only cowards can avoid the danger—but then, they are already dead. A person who is alive, really alive, vitally alive, will always move into the unknown.
  • They say all that is old is not gold. I say, even if all that is old is gold, forget about it. Choose the new—gold or no gold, it doesn’t matter. What matters is your choice: your choice to learn, your choice to experience, your choice to go into the dark. Slowly slowly your courage will start functioning. And sharpness of intelligence is not something separate from courage, it is almost one organic whole.
  • You were born as a no-mind. Let this sink into your heart as deeply as possible because through that, a door opens. If you were born as a no-mind, then the mind is just a social product. It is nothing natural, it is cultivated. It has been put together on top of you. Deep down you are still free, you can get out of it. One can never get out of nature, but one can get out of the artificial any moment one decides to.
  • [Listen] to the heart consciously, alertly, attentively. And follow it, go wherever it takes you. Yes, sometimes it will take you into dangers—but remember, those dangers are needed to make you ripe. Sometimes it will take you astray—but remember again, those goings astray are part of growth. Many times you will fall—rise up again, because this is how one gathers strength, by falling and rising again. This is how one becomes integrated.
  • In India it is common wisdom that the world is like a waiting room in a railway station; it is not your house. You are not going to remain in the waiting room forever. Nothing in the waiting room belongs to you—the furniture, the paintings on the wall… You use them—you see the painting, you sit on the chair, you rest on the bed—but nothing belongs to you. You are just here for a few minutes, or for a few hours at the most, then you will be gone.
  • Have you ever gone climbing the mountains? The higher the climb, the fresher you feel, the younger you feel. The greater the danger of falling, the bigger the abyss by the side, the more alive you are… between life and death, when you are just hanging between life and death. There is no boredom, then there is no dust of the past, no desire for the future. Then the present moment is very sharp, like a flame. It is enough—you live in the here and now.
  • Meditation should be an inner shelter, an inner shrine. Whenever you feel that the world is too much for you, you can move into your shrine. You can have a bath in your inner being. You can rejuvenate yourself. You can come out resurrected; again alive, fresh, young, renewed… to live, to be. But you should also be capable of loving people and facing problems, because a silence that is impotent and cannot face problems is not much of a silence, is not worth much.
  • People come to me, they always say, ‘The other is not loving me.’ Nobody comes and says, ‘I am not loving the other.’ Love has become a demand: ‘The other is not loving me.’ Forget about the other! Love is such a beautiful phenomenon, if you love you will enjoy. And the more you love, the more you become lovable. The less you love and the more you demand that other should love you, the less and less you are lovable, the more and more you become closed, confined to your ego.
  • People come to me, they always say, ‘The other is not loving me.’ Nobody comes and says, ‘I am not loving the other.’ Love has become a demand: ‘The other is not loving me.’ Forget about the other! Love is such a beautiful phenomenon, if you love you will enjoy. And the more you love, the more you become lovable. The less you love and the more you demand that other should love you, the less and less you are lovable, the more and more you become closed, confined to your ego.
  • What’s most interesting to me is how deeply connected both types of adventuring are. It is very similar to the connection between breathing in and breathing out. Adventuring on the outside is the expansion of the lungs—it is the breathing in of all that the world has to offer. Adventuring on the inside is the contraction of the lungs—it is the breathing out of all that you have inhaled and synthesized from your experiences. One leads to the other and the other leads to more of the one.
  • So much has been given to you. Do you deserve it? Have you earned it? Existence goes on pouring so much over you that to ask for more is just ugly. That which you have received, you should be grateful for it. And the most beautiful thing is that when you are grateful, more and more existence starts pouring over you. It becomes a circle: the more you get, the more you become grateful; the more you become grateful, the more you get… and there is no need to end it, it is an infinite process.
  • Drop all fears and love more—and love unconditionally. Don’t think that you are doing something for the other when you love; you are doing something for yourself. When you love it is beneficial to you. So don’t wait; don’t say that when others love, you will love—that is not the point at all. Be selfish. Love is selfish. Love people—you will be fulfilled through it, you will be getting more and more blessedness through it. And when love goes deeper, fear disappears; love is the light, fear is darkness.
  • Looking at a flower, become the flower; dance around the flower, sing a song. the wind is cool and crisp, the sun is warm, and the flower is in its prime. The flower is dancing in the wind, rejoicing, singing a song, singing alleluia. Participate with it! Drop indifference, objectivity, detachment. Drop all your scientific attitudes. Become a little more fluid, more melting, more merging. Let the flower speak to your heart, let the flower enter your being. Invite him—he is a guest! And then you will have some taste of mystery.
  • The young child is free of fear; children are born without any fear. If the society can help and support them to remain without fear, can help them to climb the trees and the mountains and swim the oceans and the rivers—if the society can help them in every possible way to become adventurers, adventurers of the unknown, and if the society can create a great inquiry instead of giving them dead beliefs—then the children will turn into great lovers, lovers of life. And that is true religion. There is no higher religion than love.
  • If love appears, who is going to go to the temple? For what? It is because love is missing that you are searching for God. God is nothing but a substitute for your missing love. Because you are not blissful, because you are not peaceful, because you are not ecstatic, you are searching for God—otherwise, who bothers? Who cares? If your life is a dance, God has been attained already. The loving heart is full of God. There is no need for any search, there is no need for any prayer, there is no need to go to any temple, to any priest.
  • Meet people, mix with people, with as many people as possible, because each person expresses a different facet of God. Learn from people. Don’t be afraid, this existence is not your enemy. This existence mothers you, this existence is ready to support you in every possible way. Trust, and you will start feeling a new upsurge of energy in you. That energy is love. That energy wants to bless the whole existence, because in that energy one feels blessed. And when you feel blessed, what else can you do except bless the whole existence?
  • Life can only be lived dangerously—there is no other way to live it. It is only through danger that life attains to maturity, growth. One needs to be an adventurer, always ready to risk the known for the unknown. And once one has tasted the joys of freedom and fearlessness, one never repents because then one knows what it means to live at the optimum. Then one knows what it means to burn your life’s torch from both ends together. And even a single moment of that intensity is more gratifying than the whole eternity of mediocre living.
  • The good news is that courage can be learned—it’s not something that you either have or you don’t. It’s something that can be improved upon from whatever level it is currently at. Courage is not fearlessness. It is not an absence of fear. It is not only grand, heroic gestures and actions. Courage is simply the ability to act in spite of fear. And since everybody’s fear levels are different and everybody has exercised their courage muscles differently throughout their lives, everybody’s courage should be expected to be called upon differently as well.
  • Once you have heard a truth it is impossible to forget it. That is one of the qualities of truth, that you don’t need to remember it. The lie has to be remembered continually; you may forget. The person habituated to lies needs a better memory than the person who is habituated to truth, because a true person has no need of memory. If you say only the truth there is no need to remember. But if you are saying a lie, then you have to continually remember because you have said one lie to one person, another lie to another person, something else to somebody else.
  • 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.
  • Ordinary people love only when their conditions are fulfilled. They say, ‘You should be like this, only then will I love.’ A mother says to the child, ‘I’ll love you only if you behave.’ A wife says to the husband, ‘You have to be this way, only then can I love you.’ Everybody creates conditions; love disappears. Love is an infinite sky! You cannot force it into narrow spaces, conditioned, limited. If you bring fresh air into your house and close it off from everywhere—all the windows closed, all the doors closed—soon it becomes stale. Whenever love happens it is a part of freedom; then soon you bring that fresh air into your house and everything goes stale; dirty.
  • When I say live dangerously, I mean don’t live the life of ordinary respectability—that you are a mayor in a town, or a member of the corporation. This is not life. Or you are a minister, or you have a good profession and are earning well and money goes on accumulating in the bank and everything is going perfectly well. When everything is going perfectly well, simply see it—you are dying and nothing is happening. People may respect you, and when you die a great procession will follow you. Good, that’s all, and in the newspapers your pictures will be published and there will be editorials, and then people will forget about you. And you lived your whole life only for these things?
  • It is very easy to think about love. It is very difficult to love. It is very easy to love the whole world. The real difficulty is to love a single human being. It is very easy to love God or humanity. The real problem arises when you come across a real person and you encounter him. To encounter him is to go through a great change and a great challenge. He is not going to be your slave and neither are you going to be a slave to him. That’s where the real problem arises. If you are going to be a slave or if he is going to be a slave, then there is no problem. The problem arises because nobody is here to play a slave—and nobody can be a slave. Everybody is a free agent… the whole being consists of freedom. Man is freedom.
  • There are two types of living: one fear-oriented, one love-oriented. Fear-oriented living can never lead you into deep relationship. You remain afraid, and the other cannot be allowed, cannot be allowed to penetrate you to your very core. To an extent you allow the other, but then the wall comes up and everything stops. The love-oriented person is one who is not afraid of the future, one who is not afraid of the result and the consequence, who lives here and now. Don’t be bothered about the result; that is the fear-oriented mind. Don’t think about what will happen out of it. Just be here and act totally. Don’t calculate. A fear-oriented man is always calculating, planning, safeguarding. His whole life is lost in this way.
  • When the child is ill, take care of his body but don’t pay too much attention. It is dangerous, because if illness and your attention become associated… which is bound to happen if it is repeated again and again. Whenever the child is ill he becomes the center of the whole family: daddy comes and sits by his side and inquires about his health, and the doctor comes, and the neighbors start coming, and friends inquire, and people bring presents for him… Now he can become too much attached to all this; it can be so nourishing to his ego that he may not like to be well again. And if this happens, then it is impossible to be healthy. No medicine can help now. The person has become decisively committed to illness. And that’s what has happened to many people, the majority.