Listener: Sir, how important is not playing safe in life?
Acharya Prashant: How important is it to not to play safe. What’s your name?
AP: Bilal. What are you trying to secure? When you say that there is something that needs safety, what am I trying to save? What is it that demands protection? Only something that demands protection needs to be saved, am I right? Is that not obvious?
L: Yes, Sir.
AP: What is it that is so much at risk that you want to save it? What is it that is so threatened that it demands security? What is it? We all have this sense of being under siege. You understand siege? We are surrounded by enemies. Under siege. And I need to be safe. We all have that feeling of being threatened as if something is about to be taken away. As if something is about to be lost, and I must protect it before it is lost.
But we hardly ever bothered to inquire, what is it that is about to be taken away? Why do you feel so insecure? Why do I feel so insecure? That insecurity expresses itself in many ways.
“I want to have a degree.” Why? “So that I will feel less insecure.”
“I want to be with someone that makes me feel less insecure.”
“I want to argue a lot. I want to prove my point. That makes me feel safe.”
“I want to have money. I want to have a large house, so that I feel safe.”
“I want to surround myself with people who think like me, then I feel safe.”
“I want to remain part of the crowd that makes me feel safe.”
“I want to belong to a society that makes me feel safe.”
In several ways, in a thousand ways we want to feel safe.
But why do you want to feel safe? Why are we afraid all the time? That’s the question to ask. Only an afraid man searches for safety. What is this fear? Why are we so afraid? What is this fear?
L: That something can be lost.
AP: Yeah, what is it that can be lost? You’re very right. Fear that something can be lost. But what is it that you can lose?
AP: Good. You said reputation, let’s take that forward. Whatever comes from outside can be lost. Only that which has been given to you by others can be taken back by others. You said reputation, you’re right. Who gave you reputation?
AP: So who can take away your reputation?
AP: That’s why you are afraid. That’s why you search for safety. Reputation is just an example, you take everything else. Whenever you will give a lot of importance to what others give you, you will be afraid and then you will want to play safe. Make a list of all that others give you – company, attachment, reputation, and these are the things that are at the core of your fear.
Wherever there is the other, wherever there is dependence on the other, there is fear and hence a search for safety.
Are you getting this?
I’m dependent upon the industry for my self-worth. Let them come and give me a job that makes me feel safe, right? And not just one job offer, I want to have two. One in hand, one in pocket. Now you’re dependent, severely dependent. How am I looking? I depend on somebody else to approve my looks. You’re playing safe. So, whosoever advocates safety, is first and foremost a man who is afraid. Because the real need not be saved. The real is never threatened. Only the unreal, the borrowed stuff is threatened.
The real can never be taken away. Never. No one can take it away from you. What can be taken away is anyway borrowed. Let it go. What was never yours, what is the point in protecting? What was never yours need not be protected, and what is yours can never be taken away. So, all fear is stupidity. No point playing safe. That does not mean that I am asking you to go and stand in front of a moving bus. I’m saying, “Be situated in your essential nature.” Don’t be trembling all the time. Let the feeling that some loss is going to happen not trouble you all the time.
“Something is missing. I need to get it in the future. Life will be good when I get a job. Something is missing. Unless I have a good husband and a good family, my life will remain incomplete.” That is the deep sense of incompleteness, of insecurity. That troubles the mind so deeply. Now you are making yourself dependent. Now you are making yourself available to all kinds of hurt. Are you getting it? The key to fearlessness is not being dependent. Those of you who want to be fearless, how many of you want to remain afraid? How many of you want to remain free of fear?
So, those of you who want to be free of fear must remember this. Remove your dependencies. Minimize the borrowed content in your life. Then you will not need to run after safety. Clear?
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: How important is not ‘playing safe’ in life?
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