Question: If a person has stage-fear, how can that person enhance or extract the ‘Inner-confidence?’
Acharya Prashant: Sit. See ‘confidence’ and ‘fearfulness,’ ‘confidence’ and ‘fear’ these two are actually the two names for the same state of mind. Fearfulness says, “I’m at the risk of losing something important that something important can be anything – money, security, respect whatever relationship.” Confidence says, “these things are important but I’m not at the risk of losing them.” What is common in between confidence and fear?
I am repeating, pay attention now! Fear says, “what I have from the world is important and is at a risk of getting lost.” Confidence says, “what I have from the world is of course, important but it is not at the risk of getting lost.” Now, what is common between ‘confidence’ and ‘fear?’
Listener: Acharya Ji, the dependency on the world.
AP: Both says, “what I have from the world is surely important.”
In fear, you feel that it might be lost.
In confidence, you feel that there is no threat of it being lost.
But remember, this feeling of no threat depends on time. What is not threatened right now, will be threatened after five minutes or after five days. Confidence will surely turn into fear because you have already made the basic preparation to be ‘afraid.’ The basic preparation to be afraid is, the thought that what the world has given to me is, ‘important.’
The root is there. Confidence is the point when the root has yet not expressed itself into the tree. The root is there. The tree is invisible. It has yet not come forth.
Fear is the stage when the root has become a full-grown tree but the root of both ‘confidence’ and ‘fear’ is the same, giving importance to external attainments.
Also, try to understand, when you are speaking to a friend, do you need confidence? Contrast that to, when you are speaking to an enemy, when you are in a position where you feel something at risk, something is threatened, you need confidence then. You do not need confidence in everyday situations at your home or with your friend but in the interview room, everybody says, “I need confidence.”
When do you need confidence? When does the situation of confidence arise?
The question of confidence arises only when you are afraid.
You see the linkage between ‘fear’ and ‘confidence.’ The one which is confident is surely afraid just that he is not realizing it at that point. If there is no fear, there is no need of confidence.
I’m not at all confident as I speak to you right now. I’m just speaking, simply, spontaneously. There is no confidence involved in this. When you are with the loved one, do you speak confidently or do you simply speak? Your presence is enough, is it not or do you require confidence? But you will surely require confidence when you are going to kill someone because you are afraid.
Confidence is the shadow of fear.
But those who do not know this, they keep on saying that you must be confident. And now these thing has deeply entered our minds. It’s like saying that you must worship the color white or any other color, yellow, red, blue, black. What you do not realize is that for black to be visible on this board the background must be white. White will always accompany black, that is the fundamental law of duality. No black no white. Remove all the whiteness from the world and black will disappear. These are two faces of the same coin you remove one face of the coin and the other face too is gone. There cannot be a coin with a single face.
Confidence is a disease.
A disease that comes to those who are basically afraid you could put it the other way around as well, that fear too is a disease that comes to those who want to be confident.
Don’t ask for confidence seek simple, spontaneous, unloaded being. You do not need to walk confidently, behave confidently, talk confidently. You are alright as you are. Confidence is not needed. If you will enquire into confidence you will see that there is subtle aggression in confidence, is that not so? Look at all your image of confidence and you will see a hidden, a subtle, a fine aggression there which will inevitably be there because fear and violence go together always. And whenever there is fear, there would be aggression and violence. But our entire upbringing has been such that we have been told to worship confidence.
Don’t ask for confidence, ask for fearlessness.
and confidence and fearlessness are very different things.
Confidence means fear is present. Hence, confidence is needed and that confidence will always be a false medicine. Fearlessness is an entirely different thing altogether. Fearlessness means, fear is not there at all what will I do with confidence.
Fearlessness, not confidence. Do you understand this?
Simple fearlessness and that fearlessness will come when? When you know that nothing important can be lost. When you can very carelessly say, “take away whatever you want to take away, I will still be alright that is fearlessness.” As long as you keep giving importance to what you get from here and there you will live in fear and that is not necessary. Nobody wants to live in fear, right? Neither you want to live in fear nor do I want to live in fear, that is not necessary at all.
The more the world will mean to you, the more afraid you will be.
The more your mind is full of others and thoughts of others and the opinions of others, what the others can give? What the others can take? What they are saying? What they are looking? How I’m looking to others? As long as your mind is full of this, your face will be dripping with fear.
More is the presence of world here, more is life full of fear, more is life full of fear more is life full of fear more is the demand for confidence.
Unfortunately, confidence is no treatment for fear.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Don’t ask for confidence, ask for fearlessness
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