You do not need courage, you need clarity

Acharya Prashant
4 min readJun 11, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner: I work as a software engineer. My pocket is filling but not my heart. I quit my job two years ago and volunteer for an NGO which is a spiritual foundation. But somehow there was no transformation or peace within me even after one year of volunteering. So, I went back to my job and now after one year, I feel like I want to do something meaningful again. But the past failure has left a scar in my life. Now, how do I muster the courage to try something meaningful again in my life?

Acharya Prashant: Courage is not really needed in the usual sense of the word. Usually, when you say that you need courage, you want it against a foreseen, predictable, known danger or challenge. What will you do with courage, if you do not quite know what exactly is the quality and nature of the challenge in front of you?

You might be very courageous. But how will you win, if you do not know the enemy?

Who are you going to fight? With great courage, you will fight all the wrong battles. If you lose, that is bad. If you win, that might be worse.

You probably need clarity. What is it that troubles you? What is it that you do not want to be present in your life? From where does it come? The same decision-maker, the same center of operation that chooses your usual life, if it chooses the means of salvation as well, then the chosen means of salvation will have the same quality as that of your chosen life. And the chosen life obviously is not something that you are content with.

Obviously, as you said, you can muster courage and once again proceed towards some adventure, or some spiritual place, some teacher or some book, or some other kind of change in life. But who is the decision-maker? How does he know that he is doing the right thing? Had he known how to choose a spiritual place rightly, then using the same faculty of discretion, he would have already chosen a workplace rightly.

We must wonder, what makes us so confident that we will be able to figure out a path of redemption for ourselves? Isn’t it the same kind of confidence with which we buy a TV set, a shirt in a shopping mall, decide on a movie for the weekend, decide on a…