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Question: I believe that I like the ability to trust people. I like I found myself trying to flirt with fake as I say. There are times when I find myself desiring or trying or making a very good effort to be in faith and then there will be time and suddenly I’ll be put off completely. But that was my past. But this is something that I feel now that I probably like the ability to trust people. I don’t know what to do about it? Whether I should trust people or pay attention to it or not? I don’t even know what to do with it.
AP: Man has this ability, a very unfortunate ability to come to a temporary stability in an unstable equilibrium. Because you come from an engineering background so I use this example. You can have a chemical which is unstable but is not coming in contact with something to react with. Now, it can conveniently remain isolated, secured, in its own high energy unstable position. Right? It can remain so for years, for decades, for a lifetime. Now, how does that chemical gain a more stable, more peaceful, a low energy equilibrium? How?
How does that happen in chemistry?
Listener: A reaction.
AP: A reaction! It can either react with something else or it can be given situations in which it breaks down, decomposes and then energy is released and what you get is a stable equilibrium. The inner fire, the energy, the restlessness of the chemical is released in the form of temperature, heat and sound whatever.
For this release, for this peace, what is necessary? A reaction. If the reaction doesn’t happen, then the chemical will remain explosive but still apparently peaceful. It will contain all the fire within it but the fire will not emerge, the fire will stay within. Are you getting it?
But the moment it gets a chance to react, it gets into something that is more peaceful, more stable. The reaction is the key. How does a chemical in nature get to react? It gets to react by just being.Water carries it somewhere, soil makes it mix with other elements. Time, situations, small forces, large forces, tectonic forces – they all expose the chemical to reactions, to experiences.
A reaction can happen only as an experience. Right!
One chemical experiencing the other, coming in touch with the other. It comes in touch with something then there is a chance of a reaction and the moment there is a reaction, there is a chance of the excess fire being released. Then there is chance of a more stable equilibrium. Right?
Experience is the only way. One thing with conditioning is that, it cannot bear exposure to fact. All kinds of conditioning thrive only in environment suitable to them. And if they are expose to environments that their underlined assumptions do not allow, then conditioning collapses.
For example, your conditioning might be – the world is a bad place. So, you will necessarily in order to support your conditioning, surround yourself with people who hold the same assumption. You will necessarily then, watch news that uphold your belief about the badness of the universe.
Because, if you expose yourself to the alternate facts then this conditioning will crumble. If you come across someone who is doing selfless service, if you come across someone who knows loving relationships, then your assumption that the world is a bad place cannot hold anymore. You will have to change. So, what will you do? You will avoid coming in touch with any such person who knows love and you will deliberately watch news channels that talk of arson, murder, rape, suicide, anarchy.
Do you see that happen?
You deliberately confine yourself in environments that are suitable, conducive to your views about the world.
Have you seen that happen?
If you are for example a religious fanatic, with whom do you live? You live with like-minded people. Right? You live with more fanatics like you. So, what do you hear every day from them? The same views that you uphold.
Listener: Do you uphold your views yourself?
AP: Wait. You keep hearing only such stuff. The moment you are exposed to something outside of your own deliberate confinement, something happens, something has to give way.
The chemical must come in contact with something outside of itself. The chemical cannot remain in an environment that guarantees its safety and hence the instability that lives within it.
You see that is how people continue to remain conditioned for long periods of time. They will just not allow any dangerous experience to touch them. They will just not allow news of other world to reach them. If you look at the world today; I was reading news, a cleric from a particular says that it is just right that women should not be allowed to drive cars because their anatomy does not allow them to be good drivers. In that country, women are not allowed to drive.
Who do you think this cleric is living with? Female car racers? Would he be able to survive their company? And there are female car racers, there are women. Who it is? Would this cleric ever allow himself to come in touch with them? He will not. Because the moment he comes in touch with them, his conditioning will have to collapse and he knows that. We do the same. We create our own personal universe which is very very conducive, very much aligned with its own center, with our deepest beliefs. We create that mental universe.
And that mental universe is such a trap, even right now as you are listening to me, all of you are not listening the same thing. We are listening from within our personal universes. Not all of you are present in the same room. This hall is different for everybody, this speaker is different for everybody. You have given that color to me which suits your biases.
For example, if you have a deep belief in your conditioning you have an equally belief in your personality. You will take yourself as a person who has arisen out of situations, circumstances and if you take yourself to be a person and a personality then you will be compelled to take the speaker too as a person. Then instead of listening to me, you’ll be more interested in knowing personal details about me.
Do you see what you’re doing?
In seeking personal details about me you are assuring yourself that, this that you’re hearing is the voice of a person and hence a conditioned voice. You’ll not want to know me, you will read about me. It is so foolish and yet so inescapable. We easily fall prey to this.
Come in touch with people, life, experiences that lies outside the rigmarole of your daily living. If you continue to live within your four walls, you will continue to be the prisoner of those four walls then your identity cannot change. Experiencing, touching, feeling, smelling, travelling – that is why they have a great importance. You come to see that, which violates your prejudices. You’re compelled to confront that, which does not match with your assumptions. When you are compelled to confront that which does not match your assumptions, what happens to your assumptions?
They have to go away.
You say that you have conditioned to not to trust then surely you are parallely and deliberately living in a self-created world in which there is no room for trust. Then you would have built walls around you, then you would have surrounded yourself with relationships that are not based on trust. So, now what you are eating, smelling, inhaling, breathing day in and day out?
Distrust! Distrust! Distrust!
I believe that life cannot be trusted so I start living in an environment of distrust. Now, everything around me is touched by distrust, formed of distrust and that reinforces my belief that life is distrust, not trustworthy at all. The only way to check your assumption, the only way to challenge your belief is to come out these four walls that contain only distrust. Outside, you may find trust. Outside, you may find that what you were seeing within was not right, inside you are settled. I am not challenging that but this settlement is the unstable equilibrium of the reactive chemical. Outside too you would be settled but that settlement would be a stable equilibrium of a peaceful chemical.
The stable equilibrium by definition is something that time cannot challenge, it is stable. This, that is unstable is waiting to go because it is unstable; it has to go. Get that which is stable. And when you look at stability in the real sense of the world, it means timelessness. It means that which is beyond time, beyond thought, beyond change but all that later. First of all, move out of your closed confines.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session video: Acharya Prashant: How to learn to trust people?
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