August 14     

Today's quotation:

If you summon your courage to challenge something, you'll never regret it.  How sad it would be to spend your life wishing, "If only I had a little more courage."  Whatever the outcome, the important thing is to take a step forward on the path that you believe is right.  There's no need to worry about what others may think.  It's your life, after all.  Be true to yourself.

Daisaku Ikeda
Buddhism Day by Day

Today's Meditation:

Which path do you think is the "right" one for you?  Why is it so easy to stay on other paths that simply aren't the right one?  In my life, I think that any one of several paths can easily be a right one for me-- this world offers so many different possibilities that it's impossible for me to think of doing just one thing or traveling just one path.  But Daisaku is right when he says that it takes courage to step out on such a path.  I've avoided some paths because I was afraid of what would happen if I took them and things didn't work out.

Courage isn't reserved for emergency situations.  It's not something that comes out just at wartime, or when danger is present.  Courage is something that we must have if we're to step out on a path that's risky.  We have to show courage to make it through things like depression and anxiety, or to end harmful relationships or begin new ones.  It's starting school again after many years, or telling something important to someone who's important to us-- and knowing that doing so will probably change the nature of our relationship.

Courage is a trait that we all possess, but not one that we all exercise.  Some of us allow our fears to overwhelm our courage, and we can pay a very high price for doing so.  Things go undone that would be wonderful for us-- people remain unmet, jobs go unsought, tasks remain unstarted.  Our fears are a natural part of us, of course, but so is courage.  Why, then, are our fears so often so much stronger than our courage?

Show some courage today.  Do something that makes you feel unsure of yourself, intimidated, or even afraid.  It won't be the end of the world, and just doing what you set out to do-- or even having the courage to try it-- will prove to be a very positive experience in your life.

Questions to consider:

Why do our fears win out so often over courage?

What things have you done in the last month that have required courage?

What are some of the possible benefits of showing courage?

For further thought:

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.  The brave person is not the one who does not feel afraid, but the one who conquers that fear.

Nelson Mandela

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