Raad Ahmed
November 30, 2021

📖 Book Brief: Courage

“Book Brief” is a paid-subscribers only series where I share my notes on inspiring ideas from books I read.

Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously

ISBN: 9780312205195

Length: 208 pages

Date read: January 7, 2020

Format: Kindle

Published: 1999

Go to the Amazon Page for details and reviews.

My responsibility is toward my heart, not toward anybody else in the world.

Would you like this life to be given to you again and again?

So remember, in the ultimate reckoning no effort is ever wasted; all efforts contribute to the ultimate climax of your growth.


So thinking goes in a circle, goes on knowing the known again and again and again. It goes on chewing the chewed. Thinking is never original.

The experience does not depend on the object. The experience depends on the experiencer, on the quality of experiencing.


In fact, the mind that is always after explanations is an afraid mind.

And this I call maturity of mind: when somebody comes to the point of looking at life without any questions, and simply dives into it with courage and fearlessness.

All beliefs are borrowed; others have given them to you, they are not your flowerings. And how can a borrowed thing lead you toward the real, the absolutely real?

You believe in God and just by the death of your beloved the belief is destroyed? It is not worth much. Trust can never be destroyed—once it is there, nothing can destroy it. Nothing, absolutely nothing can destroy it.

Trust is personal; belief is social. Trust you have to grow in; belief you can remain in, whatsoever you are, and belief can be imposed on you. Drop beliefs.

Intelligence is intellect in tune with your heart. The heart knows how to trust.

When I say the word trust I mean the eyes of the heart. And when I say doubt I mean the legs of your intellect.

Wisdom comes through the meeting of the heart and the intellect. And once you have learned the art of how to create a synchronicity between your heartbeats and the workings of your intellect, you have the whole secret in your hands, the master key to open all the mysteries.


You have only future, no past. That is the meaning of innocence. So first try to understand all the meanings of innocence.

So this whole possessiveness becomes your identity. It gives you a false sense of being. That’s the ego.

You don’t know who you are, so some false identity is needed as a substitute. Your possessions give you that false identity.

mind is there, then peace is not. If peace is there, then mind is not.

Wise people are very reluctant to give you advice because a wise man certainly knows that the only thing in the world which is given freely is advice, and that which is never taken by anybody is advice, so why should he bother?

the mind is that mind is the accumulated known.


And because you cannot grow you have to find substitute growths. You cannot grow, but your bank balance can grow—that’s a substitute.

Newness comes from existence. Mind is always old. Mind is never new; it is the accumulation of the past.

Utterly abandon yourself to the moment—and you will find every day new openings, new light, new insight. And those new insights will go on changing you.

Memory is a content in consciousness, you are consciousness itself. For example, you see somebody


And a fearless person is one who never creates fear in anybody and who never allows anybody to create fear in him.

For a lover there is no death. For a nonlover, every moment is a death because every moment something is being snatched away from him.

You desire because you don’t have. You desire because you think that if you have something it will give you contentment. Desire comes out of discontent.

*No boundaries*

The more fearless a person is, the less mind he uses. The more fearful a person, the more he uses the mind.

When everything is going well and there is no fear, the mind lags behind. When things go wrong, the mind simply jumps ahead of you, it becomes the leader. In times of danger it becomes the leader.

and love is rebellion, because love listens only to the heart and does not care a bit about anything else.

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?

*Raising a child*

If the child is helped to be in harmony with nature and in harmony with himself, if the child is in every way supported, nourished, encouraged to be natural and to be himself, a light unto himself, then love is simple. One will be simply loving!

*On hate*

If you hate somebody, first you have to wound your own soul in so many ways, you have to be so full of poison that you can throw poison on others.

They are afraid if they become healthy they will be nobody again.

The moment one is alone, one starts feeling a strange craziness.

but relaxing is fearsome; the false personality disappears.

*Get away from the crowd*

The crowd is an essential for the false self to exist. The moment it is lonely, you start freaking out. This is where one should understand a little bit of meditation.

You are the one when the false has gone and the fresh, the innocent, the unpolluted being will arise in its place. Nobody else can answer your question “Who am I?”—you will know it.

You were born, you have come into the world with life, with consciousness, with tremendous sensitivity. Just look at a small child—look at his eyes, the freshness. All that has been covered by a false personality.

When there are many numbers, people feel good. Vast numbers make people feel that they must be right—they cannot be wrong, millions of people are with them. And when they are left alone great doubts start arising: Nobody is with me. What is the guarantee that I am right?

“It does not matter that the whole world is against me. What matters is that my experience is valid. I don’t look at the numbers, at how many people are with me. I look at the validity of my experience—at whether I am just repeating somebody else’s words like a parrot, or the source of my statements is in my own experience. If it is in my own experience, if it is part of my blood and bones and marrow, then the whole world can be on one side; still, I am right and they are wrong. It doesn’t matter, I don’t need their votes for me in order to feel right. Only people who carry the opinions of others need the support of others.”

And nobody can come home with a crowd. Everybody can come home only alone.

*Listen to your inner self*

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.

The crowd cannot do anything unless you cooperate.

It’s better to be a naked tree without any leaves than to have plastic leaves and plastic foliage and plastic flowers; that is ugly.

There are only two types of people in the world. People who want to live comfortably—they are seeking death, they want a comfortable grave. And people who want to live—they choose to live dangerously, because life thrives only when there is risk.

Reaching higher, going farther away from the settled, the routine life, you again become wild, you again become part of the animal world. You again live like a tiger or a lion, or like a river. You again soar like a bird into the skies, farther and farther away. And each moment the security, the bank balance, the wife, the husband, the family, the society, the church, the respectability—all are fading away and away, distant and distant. You become alone.

That is the meaning of Buddha’s term anagamin—one who never returns. It is going to such a height, to a point of no return … then one is simply lost. One never comes back.

don’t make your tomorrow predictable. Expect nothing and be ready for everything. That’s what I mean when I say live dangerously.


Work—work is needed—but don’t let work become your only life. Play should remain your life, your center of life. Work should be just a means toward play. Work in the office and work in the factory and work in the shop, but just to have time, opportunity, to play. Don’t let your life be reduced into just a working routine—because the goal of life is play!


Of course, your life will always be in risk, in danger. But that’s how life has to be. Risk is part of it. In fact the better part of it is risk, the best part of it is risk. The most beautiful part of it is risk. It is every moment a risk. You may not be aware … . You breathe in, you breathe out, there is risk. Even breathing out—who knows whether the breath will come back or not? It is not certain, there is no guarantee.

To live dangerously means to live life as if each moment is its own end. Each moment has its own intrinsic value, and you are not afraid. You know death is there, and you accept the fact that death is there, and you are not hiding against death. In fact, you go and encounter death. You enjoy those moments of encountering death—physically, psychologically, spiritually.

But remember one thing: never forget the art of risking— never, never. Always remain capable of risking. Wherever you can find an opportunity to risk, never miss it, and you will never be a loser. Risk is the only guarantee for being truly alive.

Ideas are substitutes for where life is mysterious and you find gaps that cannot be filled by reality. You fill those gaps with ideas; and at least you start feeling satisfied that life is understood.

Buddha says: Durangama—be available to the beyond. Never remain confined to the boundaries, always trespass boundaries. Make the boundaries if you need them, but always remember you have to step out. Never make imprisonments.

The ego does not allow you to be true, it goes on forcing you to be false. The ego is the lie, but that one has to decide. It needs great courage because with it will shatter all that you have been nursing up to now. It will shatter your whole past. With it you will shatter completely. Somebody will be there but you will not be that person. A discontinuous entity will arise within you—fresh, uncorrupted by the past.

*On being fake*

All our formalities are nothing but helping each other’s ego. They are lies. You say something to somebody and he returns the compliment. Neither you nor he is true. We go on playing the game: etiquette, formalities, the civilized faces and masks.

you have come to feel that you are carrying a wall around you, drop it! Jump out of it! It takes only a decision to jump out of it, nothing else. Then from tomorrow don’t feed it. Then whenever you see that you are again nursing it, stop. Within a few days you will see it has died, because it needs your constant support, it needs breastfeeding.

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 livingyou are still killing time. Can’t you see that really time is killing you?

*Pleasure v. pain*

Your pleasures were nothing, just signatures made on water, and your pain was engraved on granite.

You are clinging to the past and you are afraid to move into the unknown. You are clinging to the known, the acquainted. It may be painful, it may be ugly, but at least you know it. You have grown a certain kind of friendship with it.

Do you think deep sleep is something painful? But they are not concerned about death, and deep sleep, and pleasure; they are worried about the known that is slipping out of their hands. Fear means only one thing: losing the known and entering into the unknown. Courage

Always be ready to move from the known to the unknown, in anything, any experience.

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.

*When there’s a choice, choose the riskier option*

Start with a simple exercise: always remember, whenever there is a choice, choose the unknown, the risky, the dangerous, the insecure, and you will not be at a loss.

Always choose the unknown and go headlong. Even if you suffer, it is worth it—it always pays. You always come out of it more grown up, more mature, more intelligent.

The only way to be fearless is to accept fear. Then the energy is released and becomes freedom. But if you condemn it, if you suppress it, if you hide the fact that you are afraid—if you armor yourself and protect yourself and are defensive—then guilt arises.


Anything repressed creates guilt; anything not allowed creates guilt; anything against nature creates guilt. Then you feel guilty that you have been lying to others and lying to yourself. That inauthenticity is guilt.

Don’t say to yourself that you are ugly, wrong, a sinner. Don’t condemn. Whatsoever you are, you are. Don’t be guilty, don’t feel guilty. Even if there is something wrong, you are not wrong. Maybe you have acted wrongly, but your being is not wrong because of that. Some action may be wrong, but the being is always right.

The ego is just like that. There is fear but nobody wants to show his fear, because if you show that you are afraid many people will be there who will make you more afraid. Once they come to know that you are in deep fear, then everybody will hit you hard. They will enjoy humiliating you, finding that someone is weaker. People enjoy exploiting, kicking that person …

So don’t create something against it to hide it. And when you don’t create anything against it, it simply subsides. I’m not saying you will not have any fear, I am saying that you will not be afraid. Fear will be there, but you will not be afraid. You follow me? To be afraid means that you are against fear—you don’t want it to be there, and it is there.

ninety percent of your fears are just imagination. Ten percent are real so one has to accept them. I don’t make people brave.

*Hiding and growing*

One of the fundamental laws of life is this: whatsoever you hide goes on growing, and whatsoever you expose, if it is wrong it disappears, evaporates in the sun, and if it is right it is nourished. Just the opposite happens when you hide something. The right starts dying because it is not nourished; it needs the wind and the rain and the sun. It needs the whole of nature available to it. It can grow only with truth, it feeds on truth. Stop giving it its nourishment and it starts getting thinner and thinner. And people are starving their reality and fattening their unreality.

fatter. If you expose yourself the unreal will die, is bound to die, because the unreal cannot remain in the open. It can remain only in secrecy, it can remain only in darkness, it can only remain in the tunnels of your unconscious. If you bring it to consciousness it starts evaporating.

*Exposing yourself 24/7*

It is psychoanalysis in all kinds of situations: with the wife, with the friend, with the relative, with the enemy, with the stranger, with the boss, with the servant. For twenty-four hours you are relating. If you go on exposing yourself, in the beginning it is going to be really very scary, but soon you will start gaining strength because once the truth is exposed it becomes stronger and the untruth dies. And with the truth becoming stronger you become rooted, you become centered. You start becoming an individual; the personality disappears and individuality appears.

Somehow you have managed, somehow you have created an idea of who you are, and now I tell you to drop that idea because you are not that!

No idea is needed to know yourself. In fact, all ideas have to be dropped, only then can you know who you are.

*Why you’re bored*

Why does one feel bored? One feels bored because one has been living in dead patterns given to you by others.

It is not a question of money, power, and prestige; it is a question of what intrinsically you want to do. Do it, irrespective of the results, and your boredom will disappear. You must be following others’ ideas, you must be doing things in a “right” way, you must be doing things as they should be done. These are the foundation stones of boredom.

I am not talking about duties, responsibilities, I am simply using the word in the literal sense: respond to reality, be responsible.

They say: Think twice before you jump. I say: Jump first and then think as much as you want!

Now the only possibility is that whenever you feel you are trying to escape, stick there, be stubborn, and give a good fight. Just for one month try the opposite and then we will see. Once you can do the opposite you will understand how to drop both. Both have to be dropped, because only then a man becomes fearless—and because both are wrong. Because one wrong has gone too deep in you, it has to be balanced by the other.

Once the past is clear and you have seen all that has happened, you are free of it. This is the key: if you become aware of anything in your memory, you are freed from it. *Awareness liberates, unconsciousness creates a bondage. Then trust will become possible.*

Whenever you are afraid, your breathing will change, immediately. And when you are at ease, at home, unafraid of anything, you will find your breathing falling into a harmony, in a deep accord, becoming more and more silent.

The first experience of the child is the fear, and the last experience of the man is also fear.

*The lie test*

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


Once you have understood that God is nothing but a hypothesis created by the priests, the politicians, the power elite, the pedagogues—all those who want to keep you in psychological slavery, who have some vested interest in your slavery … . They all want to keep you afraid, always afraid, trembling deep inside, because if you are not afraid, you are dangerous.

but there is no God; it is your fear. You asked for God to be invented because you could not live alone. You were incapable of facing life, its beauties, its joys, its sufferings, its anguishes. You were not ready to experience them on your own without anybody protecting you, without somebody being an umbrella to you. You asked for God out of fear. And certainly there are con men everywhere. You ask and they will do it for you.

*Grateful circle*

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 end to it, it is an infinite process.

the fear is not more than six inches deep. Now it is up to you whether you want to go on clinging to the branch and turn your life into a nightmare, or whether you would love to leave the branch and stand on your feet. There is nothing to fear.