The courage to somehow act outside of the box of expectations that one’s family and one’s culture and one’s society imposes upon one.
Another kind of courage is the courage to trust one’s own judgment, the courage to be true to one’s own convictions that have arisen out of one’s own inquiry, one’s own experience, and not to simply submit to the greater authority of a tradition.
Both of these are extremely important in my transition: I am leaving behind the path of expectations and finding – making – my own path. This requires an inordinate amount of unlearning. It is so much easier to just do what is expected and ignore our better judgment. Even with my relatively short dabbling in this, I am finding, though, that it is so much more rewarding to live our own life!
This then touches on the other thing Batchelor mentioned that I found helpful: To think of faith more in the line of confidence rather than something religious or spiritual. The confidence that we can indeed do this, that we can live an authentic life that leads to greater happiness than the expectation filled life. And people like the Buddha fit in here as well: They are not The Enlightened Ones, i.e., venerated and put on a pedestal, but rather they are people who have struggled through this before us and made it (whatever that really means). So, they are inspirations, people who show through their own lives that what we aspire to is possible – giving us great confidence.
Since I am a notorious skeptic, I’ve already lived a lot of the great doubt Batchelor mentioned but within reason. I don’t doubt for the sake of doubting. We simply accept that we don’t know a lot of things and that this is okay. This is also a very freeing way to live! We don’t have to make up stories – about the origin of the universe, for example, or where exactly our path will lead us – we just relax into the “don’t know” and accept that we don’t know. The path will be obvious as we walk it. The universe exists now, we don’t need to know exactly how it originated.