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It Takes Courage to Be Free… But Oh, the Rewards!

We all know the feeling of wanting to break out of our skin, to drop all the self-limiting ideas that hold us captive, and be who we really are.

But when the moment of challenge comes, it seems so much easier to just go down the usual path. To fawn before that intimidating person. Or follow that old self-harming habit. Or just not do anything to rock the boat.

And just to be clear, we’re talking about inner freedom here, such as finally letting go of past hurts, or accepting responsibility for our own feelings instead of blaming others. We long to drop these inner shackles and act in a way that fosters our own greater freedom, but it isn’t easy. It takes courage to be free. But why?

It’s because our usual ways are so deeply ingrained in our ideas about ourselves that to abandon them feels like we’re abandoning ourselves — abandoning who we are.

We don’t see our beliefs and behaviors as nothing but habits we’ve developed over time. They are not our essential self, but they feel that way. If I have ideas of who I have to be to keep myself safe, or how I should see other people to either get what I need from them or protect myself from them, doing anything different may feel like jumping off a cliff.

And yet, for the man or woman who has gone through a period of self-discovery, and has begun to see that many of the old ideas have no validity, and are actually harmful, there’s a possibility of seeing life with new eyes. And with that new seeing comes the understanding that although it takes courage, a new path must, and can be taken.

This is the discovery the great sages throughout time have come to. Their wise words prove the universality of the dilemma of wanting, and at the same time fearing, to be free. And they encourage us to take the leap, to risk what might happen in order to reach a new and higher level of ourselves.

Here are some examples:

Dare to be wise! — Horace (65 – 8 B.C.E.)

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C.E. – 65 A.D.)

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult. — Seneca (4 B.C.E. – 65 A.D.)

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

The way of love is not a subtle argument. The door there is devastation. Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom. How do they learn it? They fall, and falling, they’re given wings. — Jalal Al Din Rumi (1207 – 1273)

Without courage, there cannot be truth, and without truth there can be no other virtue. — Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832)

So, in regard to disagreeable and formidable things, prudence does not consist in evasion or flight, but in courage. He who wishes to walk in the most peaceful parts of life with any serenity must screw himself up to resolution. Let him front the object of his worst apprehension, and his stoutness will commonly make his fear groundless. — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)

Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910)

In fearing to make an effort to escape from conditions that are fatal to us, because the future is obscure and unknown, we are like passengers on a sinking ship, who crowd into the cabin and refuse to leave it, because they have not the courage to enter the boat that would carry them to shore. — Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910)

To become the better people we want — and are meant — to be, freer to act from our true nature, we must have the courage to go against what our old nature is urging us to do, for example, to hold on to anger and resentment, or refuse to admit we were wrong.

It may seem difficult at first, but take that first step, and the next will be easier. With each step forward, your essential self will be more fully revealed.

If you would like help in this upward journey, I’m happy to tell you about a very special series of ongoing talks…

OneJourney Founder Guy Finley Gives Free, Livestreamed Talks Every Week!

Join us for our free ongoing livestreamed talks by OneJourney founder Guy Finley, every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening.

Guy Finley says that not only is it possible for us to establish a “direct connection” with the Divine, but opening this line of communication is part of our purpose for being here on earth. The steps needed to create this order of spiritual alignment are the focus of Guy’s ongoing talks.

Guy explains that the key to developing a connection to the Divine lies in gaining control of where we place our attention. When we’re not aware, we’re easily dragged down into tormenting memories of the past, or worries about the future. Forging a link to the Divine requires keeping our attention in the present moment, which has been a keystone of Guy’s teachings for over 40 years.

Guy is known for his practical approach to spirituality, and at the end of each of Guy’s talks you will have specific practices to follow that will help you deepen your relationship with celestial forces.

Click here for all the details and to register now >>

During the livestream you will be able to see and hear Guy online, and share in the live Q&A session following each talk.

Once you are pre-registered you will be sent a reminder email with the link right before each talk.

And don’t worry if you can’t make the live talks. You will receive a link to watch each talk at your convenience.

Here’s a final note on what it takes to be free. Guy tells us we can only be as free as we’re willing to be truthful about ourselves. Self-honesty takes courage, but it opens the door to the life of freedom we want. These encouraging words from Guy reveal an important secret about the beautiful process of becoming who we really are:

Guy Finley (1949)

When you realize no one else on this earth can be like you… that no other soul may know the beauty, sorrow, light and darkness you alone are given to see… then you will no longer want to be like anyone else on this earth. You will, at last, be the fearless individual your Heart of hearts has called you to be.  — Guy Finley

Submit a Quote From Your Favorite Tradition to Our Living Book!

Do you have a favorite quote from your own tradition that speaks of the relationship between courage and freedom? Please share it with the OneJourney community. It could help others to take courageous first steps to a new life.

Click here to submit your quotation go to the OneJourney Living Book.

Best wishes,

Dr. Ellen Dickstein
The OneJourney Project

P.S.: I hope you will join us for Guy’s free livestreamed talks. To see all the details and to register, visit

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