Confidence- an illusion in duality || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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Speaker: ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are value judgments. I will not very quickly get into them because you are adults, mature adults. You can find out on your own. I can only be with you, and together we can discover what all this ‘confidence’ business is all about.

As you are asking this question, are you confident? Did that thought or concept come to you, ‘confidence’? Or did you just ask?

Listener 1: Just asked.

Speaker: Right? And let us say were you sitting there under extreme pressure of some kind of a situation, were it made mandatory that those who would not ask questions would face a particular punishment, or were you under the greed that if you ask a question, you would be given certain incentive then you would require confidence to ask.

Listener 1: So, it is how we perceive the situation.

Speaker: Yes! If the mind perceives the situation as frightening, then it will require…

Listener 1: Confidence.

Speaker: Confidence is a false medicine. The real thing is: let there be no fear. Then confidence too is not needed. But we have been brought up on a dose of confidence. “You see he is so confident.” Parents would say, “My son is so confident.” Your friends would make a hero of you. “Confident chap that one!” All this happens without realizing what we are talking about. Funny! Is it not?

confidence is a false medicineListener 2: As we grow up, we keep accumulating negative beliefs, false versions and fears from the world around us. These become our invisible fences. How to overcome all these?

Speaker: He is saying that as we grow, we keep accumulating imaginary fears. And he’s asking that how to get rid of these imaginary fears. If you are so clear that these are imaginary, why do you want to get rid of them? Were I so clear that I am talking about something imaginary, what is the need of getting rid of it?

The very realization that it is imaginary, is helping you to get rid of it. You’re done, home. What is left to achieve? You have known that it is imaginary. The real question is, “Do I know what is imaginary?” Ask that. We live a life in which we take imaginations as facts and facts as imaginations. What is non-existent as truth and what is right there in front of us, as invisible. That is the kind of life most people live. Sitting over here you are asking me, “At this moment how do I get rid of my imaginary fears?” When the fear is right there in your face, then do you tell the fear that you are imaginary? That is the moment! Then you forget that it is imaginary. Then it becomes more real than real. Then it becomes the greatest threatening reality of that moment. Does it not? And you shiver and you tremble. The most confident of you start trembling when faced with fear.

And we face fear every day in different ways – hidden, open and subtle. The key is alertness. When it comes, do not entertain yourself with the thought that this is something normal, it happens to everybody. You must say, “The thought of fear has come. ( And fear is a thought.)Let me face it like an intelligent young man. Let me look at fear. If I am really concerned about not wasting my time, not living a life of fear, then I will pay attention to my fears. I will look at them.” And when can you look at them? Sitting here or when fear is actually there? When it comes. In that moment. The moment you pay attention to it, you will find that it is just fiction, there is not much to it. And that is freedom from fear. To know that it is imaginary, right when it is there; not right now.

Listener 2: Sir, but still it is a comparative term.

Speaker: Yes, of course. We will come to that. If there is only duality, and both ends of duality depend on each other, then it is like saying that X depends on Y, Y depends on X. And any intelligent mind would get up and ask, “What do both of these depend on?” It is like you are asking me my address and I would say, “Well! I live in the house opposite to you.” (Pointing at one of the listeners)

Listener 3: And where do I live?

Speaker: And where do you live? In the house opposite to me. And where do both of us live? That we don’t know. Right? So had we paid attention to what I said on duality, we would have quickly asked, “Sir what you’re saying leads to something very interesting. Is there something non-dual as well?” But you did not ask that. So, I will not answer.

(The talk ends with a sarcastic smile by the speaker).

-Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Confidence- an illusion in duality

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