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Question: How can one be in the sense of ‘presence’? How can one get rid of anxiety?
Acharya Prashant (AP): First of all, I do not think that there is any magical formula to it. There is a part of anxiety that is related to ‘facts’, and there is a component of anxiety that rests upon ‘imagination’. We have to deal with them differently.
What is purely imaginary, will lose its sting, the moment you see that it is merely ‘imaginary’.
The part of anxiety that is merely arising from projection, just projection – and the mind is very fertile, the mind can really imagine anything – that will lose its venom, its hold on you, the moment you see that – “I can go on imagining anything, and there is no end to the self-inflicted anxiety that I can cause to myself.”
There is another component of anxiety that is related to ‘facts’, where there is a ‘cause-effect’ thing. You know that the cause has taken place, so the effect is bound to surface. And the effect might be impinging on your self-interest, so you are anxious. Right?
Now this is the part that probably all of us have to bear. If the arrow has left the bow, it will travel the distance. Since it will travel the distance, one may as well say, “There is no point worrying now.” It is a fact, one can’t do anything about it. It is done. And when one can’t do anything about something, then minimize your losses. Why put more investment in something which is already a lost case?
But this part of anxiety, we simply have to bear. And we need to have the courage to go through it, to pass through it; nothing can be done much about it. The good news is – the bigger component is the imaginary component. And the imaginary component can be gotten rid of, almost totally.
With some of us, and your own experience would probably vindicate it, the imaginary component might be eighty-ninety percent, or the totality of your anxiety. That is really good news. It means that with some of us, our anxiety might be totally unfounded. And if it is unfounded, fine; we can just dispose it away.
Let’s say, I am scheduled to have an operation tomorrow; the surgeon would perform upon me. And the surgeon has told me as a fact that I have just X probability of survival; it is a fact. Now I am already not in a very good position, because I do not know whether I will see the day after tomorrow, right? And I will have to go under his knife in any case.
This is the factual part of anxiety.
I may as well say, “This is bound to happen. And if it is bound to happen, and I know that it is not a very pleasant thing that is going to happen to me, then why make it all the more unpleasant? It is already not very pleasant.”
Anxiety is thought.
The presence of thought implies the lack of attention.
All anxiety is imagination.
In understanding of the present, energetic action starts and anxiety disappears.
Watch the session video: What to do with fear and anxiety? || Acharya Prashant (2015)
The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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