Key to Fearlessness is Independence

We do not mind at all when somebody tells us in the morning that you are handsome, you are looking wonderful. We think that this is what I am.

But you do not pay attention, you do not realize that, now you have given this person the license to say something to you in the evening. In the morning the fellow told you that you are looking wonderful, and in the evening if the same fellow comes and says that you are stupid, you have to take that in. You have made yourself dependent on him.

 

By accepting what the world is saying about you, you make the world your master. ‘I am brilliant because my entire batch is telling this to me. If I am brilliant because my entire batch tells this to me, then I will be an idiot if I my batch tells this to me. I need to be afraid of my batch. I cannot offend my batch anymore. If I offend them, they might call me an idiot.’

When we grandly accept it, then we have made that fellow our master. We have no eyes to see ourselves directly. We look at ourselves through the eyes of others. Whenever we have done this, we must realize that we have made the other, our master. Now we are dependent on others.

 

Whenever there is dependence, there is fear. And that is the reason why you are afraid of others. That is the reason why anybody is ever afraid of anything or anybody. That is dependence. If you want to live fearlessly, then stop being dependent on others.

Find out your dependence. Find out in what ways you are dependent and on whom. Look at your dependencies. Try to find out. Wherever will be your dependency, there will be fear because you will be afraid that the fellow can take something from you. The more dependent you are, the more afraid you will be. The key to fearlessness is independence. The key to fearlessness is freedom.

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~ Excerpts from the article, ‘Why can’t I speak in front of others?‘. Edited for clarity.

Faith does not answer questions, it laughs at them

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,

the evidence of things not seen.

– (Bible, Hebrews 11:1)

Question: Sir, how is faith different from superstition? How do I know that I am not landing in trivia?

Speaker: A similar question was posed to Jesus. He was asked, “How do we know that your Father’s Kingdom is just as you describe? Can you give us a proof? Can you show us a sign?” That was the exact question asked to him, “Can you show us a sign?” And this got Jesus upset. He said, “With your faithlessness you are asking this question, how will you ever see a sign?” And he walked away. He did not stop at that place. He went away. He said, “I can’t even talk to you.”

Then he said that “The only sign is – the dead will come alive. That is the only sign, but to see that sign, you will have to die. And you won’t die because you are faithless.”

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When you chase something, you will get its opposite as well

Drunks fear the police but the police are drunk too.

~ Rumi

Speaker: We are prone to thinking that a ‘thing’ is cancelled or neutralized by its opposite and our superficial experience in the world supports this kind of thinking. When cold water is mixed with hot water what you get is water that is neither cold nor hot. When a force toward the left meets a force towards the right, what you get is equilibrium. So it is no wonder, that we think that the opposite of ‘something’ neutralizes it, finishes it, dissolves it.

If the day is hot, we wait for the night. We say, “The day is so hot, the night might bring us some relief.” And when the night comes, we are glad to say, “The night brought us relief from the heat of the day”.

For us, a ‘thing’ finds its end, its deliverance, its solution in its opposite. If the day troubles me, then my deliverance lies with the night. If white threatens me, then my succor lies with black. If going upwards, I find suffering then the correct way for me is to go downwards. That is the way of the Samsara (World). That is what our ‘normal’, everyday experience has taught us.

But the wise man looks attentively at the world. He asks, “Is really a ‘thing’ finished by its opposite?” He probes deeply into life and what he sees is that the deeper is the pain, the more is the search and the memory of pleasure. And the more is the pleasure, the more is the urge to consume the pleasure out of a fear of pain.

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A confidence independent of knowledge

Question: Sir, how to get confidence that is not based on knowledge?

Speaker: (Laughingly) Just say that even if knowledge is not there, no harm will be done. Simple!

How did you associate confidence with knowledge? You did that, right? By unnecessarily saying a few things to yourself, over and over, again and again. You repeated falseness like a mantra. You repeated lies like a mantra and it came to a point where you started believing in your own lies. That is the simple story.

All that you are carrying in your head, you were not carrying it 15 years back. You acquired it during the journey and you kept acquiring and kept acquiring and you kept preserving it, you kept safe-guarding it, with the result that now you feel that it is really something precious.

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Forget the imaginary, just attend to what is

Question: Is death, as an event, good or bad experience, if we dissolve our self in the universe after death or to the bigger Self?

Speaker: See, you are sitting here. You are writing something. You traveled a particular distance. How is all of that any less important than an imaginary moment of death? Nobody ever seems to ask, “What will happen, when I will sip the next cup of tea?” Nobody seems to ask, “What will happen when I will breathe next?” Are all these things any less important? But we all seem to be asking about death.

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The only way to help the world is to leave the world alone

Question: Sir, why should I care about global warming or any political situation in a country? If the world is unreal, then why do all these things matter?

Speaker: You don’t care about global warming. Do you?

Listener: But still, why should anyone care about global warming?

Speaker: You forget about others, because you do not know others. But you anyway don’t care about global warming, do you? So, from where is the question ‘Why should I care about global warming’ coming?

Listener: Sir, then should I forget about it?

Speaker: You have already forgotten about it. Being what you are, do you have an option? You are asking as if you can care about global warming. Who can care about global warming? Global warming, remember, is nothing to be taken care of. You stop doing what you are doing and global warming will take care of itself. You don’t have to take care of global warming. What do you take care of? You only take care of yourself. When you take care of yourself that’s when global warming happens.

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How to deal with anger?

Questioner: In spite of keeping all watch and vigil, anger comes and leads to wrong actions on certain trigger points and situations. After that it is realized that a slip happened. What is the way?

Speaker: There is nothing in existence that is unnecessary, totally useless, needlessly there. It is good that we are talking of anger, its causes and its consequences, the harm that it does. But that also might be because firstly anger is very gross, very visible. There is a clear sensual expression of anger. So, it becomes very obvious that we are angry; it cannot remain hidden. And secondly our education or morality has constantly taught us that anger is something bad. So to the problem of anger, we seem like being alert. But are we equally alert, let’s say, to the fact that even in those moments of the day when everything appears normal, we are actually feeling a little down, a little dull, a little bored, a little short of energy; that we do not consider a problem as big as anger, again for those two same reason. One, anger is gross and that constant sense of background boredom is subtle. In anger you shout, your face turns red, your blood pressure rises. In boredom, well, there is not much that happens that can be caught or traced by senses. Now you are just sitting, you are weary, you are yawning, and it doesn’t seem that there is much wrong with yawning. In anger, well you are beating people up. It seems that there is so much wrong with anger. And secondly, we have been taught that anger is bad and boredom is a much smaller evil. But is that so?

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How do I get rid of my restlessness?

Question: Restlessness doesn’t really leave me. Why am I so restless? How can I get rid of my restlessness?

Speaker: Cars these days come with the auto-pilot feature. You can put the car on the cruise mode, especially on long drives, and the driver can relax. There was a research conducted on the vehicles that have this auto-drive feature.  It was found out that people who buy cars having this facility do not really use it. Read more

Confidence is fear || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Question: What is the difference between confidence and over-confidence?

Speaker: It seems that this question is important to many of us here. Right?

Listeners(everyone): Yes, Sir.

Speaker: What is confidence? On a normal day at home, do you require confidence to speak to your parents, to other family members? Before you speak to them, do you gather courage, do you gather confidence and then go there? No, you don’t. So, you don’t require confidence at home. You must be having some friends? When you are speaking to your friends, do you require confidence? No. But you surely require confidence when you are speaking to an interviewer. Then you say, ‘I require confidence’. Correct?
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Happiness cannot be the purpose of life

Question: Sir, what is the purpose of life?  Is it earning money, or happiness?

Speaker: The lady is asking, ‘What is the ultimate purpose of life?’ She has already presented us two options:

  1. Earning money or,
  1. Happiness.

But you already know. You have already discounted everything else and zeroed in on to two options. What are they? That the purpose could be either to earn money, or to be happy.

Alright. So let’s first look at these two. What does one earn money for?

Listener 1: For livelihood.

Speaker: And, why does one want a livelihood?

Listener 2: For comfort.

Speaker: What does comfort give you?

Listener 3: Satisfaction and happiness. Read more

The imaginary fear of death || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Question: Sir, my question is related to the thing that you said about death, that are we afraid of death. Is that someway related to life being transient?

Speaker: Wonderful, the question is about death. Yes, life is transient, always.

You see because the brain has nothing of its own, all it gets is what it gets from the outside, the external. The brain has nothing of its own, all that the brain gets is from ‘time’ and ‘others’. When we say, ‘space’ we mean brain gets something from another person or situation. And when we say, ‘time’, then we mean that the brain has a collection of memories in the past. So, whatever the brain has it gets from ‘time’ and ‘space’. It has nothing of its own.
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How do I get confidence? || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Question: How do we have confidence in us?

Speaker: We are born confident. Do you know that when you were a small child, you were so confident? Ever seen a kid; six months, one year, two-year old? Look at the level of confidence he has. That kid hardly ever has any doubts. If the kid wants to slap you, he will slap you; immensely full of confidence. There is no guilt, no complex in the kid. You may be wearing the best of the clothes, finest quality of suit, just acquired from the market, if the kid thinks that your suit is better suited to be his diaper, he will use your suit as a diaper. With no remorse, it will use your suit, color it. Yellow and black and whatever and then laugh at your face.(Laughs) Ha! Ha! It won’t even bother to say sorry to you. Right? Nobody is ever born with fear. None of us were born afraid. Today we are afraid. Is that not so? Fear is not our nature. Fear has been given to us. We have picked it up. From where?
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Let life be a spontaneous unplanned flow || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Question: Sir, as I am asking a question to you, I am not thinking, I am directly asking the question. This means that, I have will power. This is confidence. Suppose there is a situation where we need to manage our time for the day and we have to plan our schedule where we can manage our time for certain activities and academics.

When I make a certain schedule, that I will do this at certain point of time, I am not able to stick to the timetable and then the time-table goes into the dustbin. Why does this happen? Why I donot have willpower to follow the plan? Read more

How to get rid of fear? || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Questioner: Sir, let me give you an example. Right now I am asking you a question. Just before asking the question, my heart was pounding. When I am standing, this time the heart is still pounding but I am confident of what I am going to ask.

Speaker: Allow me to take this up. As you are standing in front of me right now, this is the situation. This is when and where the action is and you say that you are far less afraid right now. In the action, you are not afraid. In the moment of the action, you are not afraid, but you are afraid before the action. Before the moment of action, is there any action?

Listeners(everyone): No, Sir.

Speaker: But something else is there. What is there?

Listeners(everyone): Fear.
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Planning is a dirty escape from the present || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Speaker: Be present to life and that is sufficient, improvement will come. It will happen on its own. You know, there are people who when they want to reduce weight make great plans. When it comes to the moment of exercising and jogging, then I am absent. After that, what do I do? I make plans. What can the plan do? You are sitting in this building. Do you have an escalator over here?

Listener 1: Yes, Sir.

Speaker: Why to use the elevator? The great opportunity is right there. Walk, run, climb. But you will make a plan; a diet plan, a calorie plan. You will not walk up that staircase that is right in front of you. The stairs are right here. You will not climb them, but you will make a plan. And the plan gives you so much of happiness. I have done it; security. You won’t study. When the moment of studying is there, you won’t study, but you will make a plan.
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There is no need to forget the past

Question: Sir, what is the method to forget anyone so that his memories do not distract our mind?
Speaker: There is no need.
Listener: Sir, if we want to?
Speaker: Ayush is asking how to forget something or somebody? How to be able to forget the past? Do you know the tendency of the mind? The mind is like a small kid, small mischievous kid. The more you tell it to not to do something, the more it wants to do the same thing. Have you seen the kids? When you tell them to not to go to one particular corner of the room, what does the kid do? It will not go to any other place, it will go only to that place.
As young men and women, what do you find the most attractive? That which you are prohibited to do. Right? And you are always thinking of those things, people, actions that others don’t want you to be engaged with. That is the tendency of the mind. The more you try to restrict it, the more it goes in the same direction. Hence, the more you are trying to forget, the more you are strengthening the memory.
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You do not need confidence || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Questioner: Sir, sometimes I lose my confidence. How can I boost up my confidence?

Speaker: Dilpreet, how many students are sitting here?

Listener: Around 100 students.

Speaker: Dilpreet is asking, ‘how can I boost up my confidence?’ Now you see, there are 100 students sitting over here. Who is the first one to jump and catch the opportunity? As soon as I asked to put up your question, who was the first one to ask? Who appears to be the most confident of you all?

Listeners (everyone): Sir, Dilpreet.

Speaker: What is Dilpreet asking?

Listener: How to boost confidence?

Speaker: Now that is really strange.
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The beautiful voice of the Heart

Listener 1: How to differentiate between the voice of the heart and the voice of the mind?

Speaker: Both have their certain characteristics, it is very very easy to distinguish between them. The voice of the mind is always coming from fear. So, whenever you hear a voice; your own voice and the voice is afraid, it is originating from fear. You should quickly understand that this is not the voice of my heart, this is just the voice of the conditioned, trembling mind. The voice of the mind always talks about hopes and the future; it is a ‘big’ voice talking of ‘big’ things. Do this, do that, achieve, hope, and build a future for yourself. The voice of the heart is a soft voice that has nothing to do with ‘this and that’, it does not build great plans, and it only lives in the beauty of the present. So, the moment you hear something ‘big’ talking within you, grand talks of accomplishments, ambitions, you must quickly understand that this too is the voice of the mind; this is not the voice of the heart.

Next thing.

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Ego thrives on appreciation and criticism || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Listener: I was given a leaflet in which it was written that when one appreciates you, then ego is born and if nobody appreciates you then also ego is born. Yesterday I appreciated one of my friends that she has a good voice but she replied very calmly and I didn’t find any ego in this.

Speaker: There are so many of you who will not get up and ask questions. They will wait till the crowd gets clear and I am alone here. Then they will come and ask the questions. Why would they do that?

Listener: Out of shyness in front of audience.

Speaker: They are afraid that the others may say that their question is stupid. Are you getting it? The fear of public speaking is considered as big a phobia as that of being caught in a burning room. Why? Because all your sense of what you are is coming from others. I come to you and tell you that you are wonderful and you start believing that you are wonderful. So, you are deeply afraid in asking a question as I may say to you that it is completely a stupid question. You will have to believe that as well. When I tell you that you are so smart and you believe it then you also have to believe that you are stupid. So people are afraid to come and speak. Read more

Plans of future come from fears of past || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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


Speaker: Pranab, you are asking that if you think of the future, then it appears like slavery of the past, because future consists of the images of the past. But at the same time there is a fear that if I do not think of the future, from where will my actions come out? It is very simple, not at all complicated. We will look at it carefully.

Future is automatically, naturally flowing from the present. At this moment, several of us as apparent from your faces, are listening carefully. Right? You are still and listening carefully. You are not thinking, not planning; just listening. You are present and the future is being created. Have we not moved in time in the last two minutes? Even as you are listening, is future not happening? Moment by moment, are we not moving into the future? We are and it is happening on its own without needing any interference from our side. But what do we think? Our concern is that unless I create a future, future will not come. Our conception is that unless I create the future, the future will not come. Unless I create a beautiful future in me, there cannot be beauty in the future. Is that the way you think?

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