99. Great Courage

The three prerequisites for practice are: great faith, great doubt and great courage.

I’ve tried to explain how faith and doubt are two facets of the one thing, but what is great courage? Is it simply the willingness to remain in this place of not knowing?

How do we become disconnected from our basic state of feeling being? It starts by judging our experience. Say that when we are little, we intuit that our mother can’t bear our distress. We learn that our experience isn’t simply a given, it’s something we can manipulate, explain, evade, build thoughts and stories around, appropriate to the self, and so on. A whole ego structure forms on top of the simple state of being feeling.

There’s always a gap–a way back into this simple state–but there’s a catch. The gap is the feeling we judged unacceptable in the first place. We can always find it, but it’s very hard for us to just stay with it, without going into the mechanism–I almost said demon–that we created to escape it.

And this simply staying with is great courage.