Fear has its domain, but there is a vast world outside it || Acharya Prashant (2015)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.

Question: For a mind that is always fearful, what would saadhana (practice) be?

Speaker: Does fear remain the same, if it is no more an object to be loathed, an object that is spiteful, that must be gotten rid of?

Listener 1: One does not remain fearful.

Speaker: So what starts as a particular movement of chemicals in the brain, can be made to remain, just that much, right?

Listener 1: Yes.

Speaker: To a great extent, what happens in the brain, is just so automatic, that it is outside the volition of man, right?

Listener 1: Yes.

Speaker: So, this light that is falling on your face, on your retina, and you have so little control on how the chemicals inside the eye are responding to it. In fact, you probably have zero control. If we have just had the food, a while back, we almost have zero control as to how our body is ingesting it. We, in fact, have no knowledge.

So, there is the physical, the mechanical component of fear, and that depends on one’s conditioning, which has its physical representation in the structure of the brain, right? You have these many cells here (pointing at one part of the head), which are related in a particular way to the other cells, and so many other things. All of that has come up, through your experiences, through your evolutionary journey, your genes. You can’t do much about it.

There are kids born, that are afraid of particular colours, right since day one. There are a thousand kinds of phobias, you must have heard about them. Strange phobias! Somebody is afraid of the sound of a whistle, somebody is afraid of water. Somebody is afraid of buffaloes, and the fellow has no problem with cows. But buffaloes, they simply make a jerk out of him.

Have you any power over this physical apparatus that you have been just given, blessed with, or cursed with, or loaded with. Have you any control over it? Anybody?

Listener 2: No.

Speaker: So, let things happen. Let the physical apparatus do, what it does, but what ‘you’ can do, is to avoid giving it meanings. So there is a particular sensation, its name is ‘fear’. Full stop. There is a particular sensation; its name is ‘fear’. “I wake up, there is this sensation. What does it mean? Fear.” Now, full stop. Let it not become a declaration on your being. Let it not become a label on your existence.

Are you getting it?

Listener 1: Yes.

Speaker: So, till a particular there has to be a fluid, direct, obstruction-less acceptance of – what is happening.

What is happening? A headache. What is happening? Pain in the thumb. What is happening? Gastric trouble. What is happening? Toothache. Simple. Nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to be hidden. I just read that one particular woman, she ran the London Marathon, while menstruating. Now, what is happening? Nothing, a physical process, a bodily thing.

“I am running, the body is doing a particular thing. I didn’t ask the body to do it. And I have no problems if the body is doing it. But whatever is happening, cannot become an assessment of my worth. It cannot become any kind of measurement of – who I am. It does not enhance me; it does not limit me either. IT makes me go weak in the knees, right. Nobody likes fear, It’s not a pleasant sensation. We all know that, right? It’s alright.

“So, what is happening to you?”

“Well, I am afraid.”

Simple and direct. Fear does not like such simple and direct acceptances. It likes that you lie about it. So, you are trembling, and somebody asks you, “Hey, what’s it with you?” And you say, “Nothing. I am cool.” Are you cool? It is very obvious that you are even sweating.

But you feel an urge to deny fear, right? And why must you deny the fact of ‘fear’? Because it take it as incumbent upon your very sense of self. “Fear is something bad, and fear is happening to me, which means I am being belittled, reduced, as a person.” It’s alright, you are afraid. That means nothing about who you are.

Fear 2So, two things. One, stop fighting fear. Second, stop making fear bigger than what it is. You will never be able to beat fear. Your every cell is composed of fear. (Addressing the questioner) Your’s and mine, both.

To be born, is to be born in fear.

You can relate this, to the various pronouncements, of the ancient scriptures. “To be born is sin.” The very concept of the original sin in Christianity. And all the Indic scriptures that are all the time talking of only vaasnaas (desires) and vrittis (latent tendencies) being born.

So fear is born. You are born with fear, you are born as fear. You can’t do much about it. And when you can’t do anything about something, then you just take it. You have no option in the deal. Sign it. And having signed the deal, remember, that the deal neither enhances you, nor belittles you.

Are you getting it?

Do not be one of those idiots who say that they don’t feel fear. Do not be one of those courage-mongers, who say, “Fear is a thing for the chicken-hearted, and one should never be afraid.” You are going to be afraid. Fear is the primary motivator of the ordinary man. And we all are ‘ordinary’, right?

You are going to be afraid. And not only’ fear’, you are going to experience all that which you usually call as ‘negative emotionality’: temptation, jealousy, greed, insecurity, possessiveness.  All that will come to you.  But remember, your resistance to all that, is the energy that inflates it up. Don’t resist fear, and you will find that fear is just a thing in the brain. Don’t have pretensions about jealousy and possessiveness, and you will find that they don’t really have too much power of their own. Are you getting it?

When these things come, know that they are a part and parcel of being born as a human being. You cannot escape them. There is no point avoiding them. Sitting over here, if the temperature rises above a certain point, you will sweat. Now what is the point in denying it, or fighting it?

Fear is like sweating. You are a body, you sweat. You are a body, you are afraid for its security; that is fear. Stop giving it meanings. It is just this much! It is just this much, and you are not just this much. You are – a little beyond this much.

So fear has its province, its legitimate province. Let it go around in that province. Let it roam freely in that province. It has a right. Don’t deny it that right.

“You go around in your province. I will stand a little away, and watch. In your province, you are the king, and I don’t want to take away that authority from you. But even as you are the king in your province, there is a world beyond your province.” Getting it?

Become friends with fear. (Laughingly) It’s not so terrifying.

Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi: Fear has its domain, but there is a vast world outside it

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