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On Faith, Confidence, and Independence

Faith is very connected with confidence. And for the type of faith we are talking about here, you also need a great deal of independence. You do not feel that you are being saved by joining some organization or by following a particular pattern, and you do not need reassurance from other people or situations. You need a certain amount of faith in yourself, and you need the confidence of being willing to face, as far as you can, the crude and rugged quality of ego. You also need the determination to go through the treatment; you need to be willing to face the “kill or cure.” Without confidence in yourself, faith will be purely a substitution for parental security. It will mean that you are trying to be dependent on something else, rather than actually being willing to open yourself. So you need a great deal of independence.

At the beginning, your whole way of being is not all that genteel. Everything is quite hard in the living of life. You do not have such things as central heating or air-conditioned houses. You have to learn to love the struggle of riding on a horse, and you need to be willing to take long walks. Children must learn how to walk across a stream without their boots getting wet, to cross the stream by stepping on the stones. Little things like that mean a great deal in the larger sense of learning to be independent. That quality of independence is automatically being taught to you. Through those very small earthbound details, you begin to see your connection to earth and the solidness of it. It makes you think, makes you work for yourself. If everything has been taught in schools, if everything has been printed and published and illustrated for you, then you would not have to do anything for yourself, which is very unhealthy. If everything [in a particular spiritual path] is fed to you, you do not have to work out anything on your own. That seems to be happening in the West, and I think that is very unhealthy. It makes you softened and uninspired, because you do not have to work hard. You do not have the faith to actually go through anything.

Chogyam Trungpa
from Milarepa; Lessons from the Life & Songs of Tibet’s Great Yogi
Chapter: The Importance of Devotion

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