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Question: Pranaam Acharya Ji. From other’s perspective I look like a cool and calm person, which I think I am at times. But I do have a good amount of ego inside. How can I be the same ‘cool and calm’ person from inside as well?
Please guide me on this.
Acharya Prashant Ji: So Narendra (the questioner), you want to be the same ‘cool and calm’ person as you appear outside, right? So you are a fan of how you look to others. Right? And why you are a fan of how you look to others? Because the others say that you look good.
Interesting matter it is.
On the outside you are somebody, on the inside you are somebody else, and then there are the others. So there are three entities involved in the show.
The others have told you that you look good on the outside. The others have told you that you have good looks on the outside. What is the definition of ‘goodness’? Cool and calm. So others tell you that you look ‘cool and calm’ on the outside. So you want to be the same ‘cool and calm’ one on the inside as well. Alright.
So the bread is burnt on the fringes, you want to burn it in the middle as well. Right now only your periphery is ruled by the others, only your external appearance is ruled by the others. But you are so enthralled by foreign rule that you want to extend foreign rule right up to your capital city.
The invaders have till now conquered just a few border areas of your of country, but you are greatly impressed by the kind of services and administration that they are delivering in the captured area. So you are telling them, “Why don’t you come over and occupy my capital as well?”
What kind of question is this?
First of all you are pretending from outside. And then you are asking, “Charan Sparsh Acharya Ji, how do I pretend from inside?” You want me to be a complicit murderer. Abetment of suicide is a cognisable offence. They will put me in jail.
Do you know what ‘coolness’ and ‘calmness’ are?
Had you really known them, then you would have been ‘cool and calm’. Now pay attention. Not knowing what ‘coolness’ and ‘calmness’ are, you still maintain a facade of ‘coolness and calmness’ on the exterior, which means that this exterior is neither cool nor calm because you do not know what ‘coolness’ and ‘calmness’ are.
It’s like saying this, “I do not know what ‘Red’ is and what ‘Green’ is, I do not know what ‘Red’ and ‘Green’ are, but I am wearing a Red top and a Green bottom, and I want to be Red and Green from inside as well.”
Now you are not even Red and Green on the outside, how can you want to be Red and Green from inside, and that too totally for second-hand reasons? The general public is coming and telling you, “Wow Mr. Read and Green, you look so handsome,” you can’t even be sure that they are really applauding you. Maybe they are just having good ticket-less fun at your expense.
How do you know that you are really ‘cool and calm’? Neither do you know what ‘coolness’ and ‘calmness’ are, nor does your fan-club know what ‘coolness’ and ‘calmness’ are. Do your admirers know what ‘coolness’ and ‘calmness’ are? Had they really known these things, they too would have been ‘cool and calm’.
And had they been really ‘cool and calm’, they couldn’t have appreciated a person who is not really ‘cool and calm’, but is just pretending to be ‘cool and calm’ on the outside. Which means neither do you know what ‘Red’ and ‘Green’ are, nor do your admirers know what ‘Red’ and ‘Green’ are, but you are saying, “Acharya Ji, R n G from inside.”
How do I help you?
And it is not just that it is my favourite way of welcoming newcomers to the group, I am serious. Do not take it as my favourite way of welcoming you.
What is ‘coolness’ and ‘calmness’? Tell me.
We know some images, right? And we say, “If you look like this then you are ‘cool and calm’.” Are you sure that real ‘coolness’ and ‘calmness’ indeed look like that? Are you sure? How do you know that, that image corresponds to reality?
How do you know?
So to begin with, forget about the exterior. Forget about what your fans say about your looks, your appearance and these things.
The mind is a simmering cauldron, always burning.
Now tell me what is ‘coolness’.
The mind is a madman, rushing about, stumbling, falling, getting up, randomly darting, hurtling.
Now tell me what ‘calmness’ is.
These aren’t things that come first to the exterior and can later be extended to the interior.
You can’t have roots sprouting from leaves, the roots are inside.
‘Coolness’ and ‘calmness’ first appear inside, and then they take myriad expressions on the outside.
The ‘coolness’ and ‘calmness’ of the wise man or the devotee is like the backstage in a great theatre.
From that backstage, all kinds of characters, in various kinds of costumes appear, play their parts, and retreat to the backstage.
Are the actors cool and calm? Not necessarily. Some of them might correspond to the classic image of coolness, others won’t. But they come from coolness and they go back into coolness.
And that’s all quite cool.
It is the backstage that matters, it is the interior that matters.
The interior must not be inflammable.
The interior must not be so light, so displaceable that it is thrown about.
The interior must not be so rootless that it is carried away by every little gust of wind.
That is ‘calmness’.
There is so much commotion on the stage – lights, sounds, drama, but have you ever heard any sounds from the backstage? It will be a very poor backstage, if it were to be noisy. The backstage is extremely silent, even if there are ten actors assembled there. And the frontstage can be very-very noisy even if there are three actors performing there.
All ‘coolness’ and ‘calmness’ is in the……interior. Even the actor playing the most violent or noisy role becomes very-very cool and calm, once he comes over to the backstage.
That’s ‘coolness’ and ‘calmness’, where you have no role or character, where you are nobody – no noise, no dialogues, no identity, no clothes, no appearance, no expressions.
Just a noiseless Silence.
Again when time comes the actor pops out. From no expression, hundreds of expressions suddenly emerge. And he might be playing a very violent man, but this violent man is still very cool and calm. The violence is merely the need of the hour.
The interiors are ice-cool, and the moment the role is over he doesn’t extend his stay for a second. The violence doesn’t overstay it’s utility. Utility gone, action gone, expression gone, identity gone, actor gone.
The old, primitive calmness is all that remains.
Instead most people think that the ‘coolness’ and ‘calmness’ are something to be exhibited on the stage. And that would make you a very-very one-dimensional and useless actor. All you know is one, dull, lazy, morbid expression that you keep displaying to the world all the time – cool and calm.
Now who would like to engage you? Who would allow you a role in the performance? The audience would be bored of you, you would be bored of yourself. So cool and calm backstage, and all colours, and all expressions, and all roles and identities frontstage.
How to learn the art of being cool backstage?
Make friends with good actors.
In the beginning they may not entertain you much, but then it is upon you to seek them, may be flatter them a little, ask for their company.
And all that hurts the ego.
The Big man is refusing you his time and you are urging him to spend a little time with you. And he being a Big man may obviously be a little occupied, he can’t spend much time with you. Now this is the point at which fatal error occurs. This is the point at which most people make the one, great mistake.
When they are not able to get sufficient time from the Great Actor, they make friends with dubious actors. And that sinks the ship.
It pleases their ego, finally somebody is giving them a lot of attention and time. Finally you have somebody who can give hours and hours to you, but it would totally sink the ship.
Don’t do that.
Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session video: How to be the real cool dude? || Acharya Prashant (2019)
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