How to get rid of fear?

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.

Speaker: So, what is fear? Is there fear in the moment of the action? Is this action actually fearful? No. There is no fear in actually getting up and asking. So, what is fear then? Remember he was afraid before the action, when he was thinking about how to ask the question. Hence fear is a thought. There is no substance to fear. When you are into it, then where is the occasion to be fearful? Right now are you afraid? Neither am I? There is this situation, there you are and here am I, and we are in contact, there is something going on, there is no reason for fear. But there is a thought that makes you afraid. And what’s that thought all about?

When you are saying that I am asking a question, then what is it that you are doing? You are just speaking, merely speaking; that is the action. Correct? Would you be afraid of speaking if all these people in the audience are not there? Would you be afraid of speaking had even I not been there? Assume that you are alone in this room, nobody else is there. Would you be afraid of speaking in a solitary room? You can even sing and dance, you won’t bother.

So, what is the fear all about? They said that fear is a thought. Now we are going deeper into this. Fear is a thought, thought of what? Thought about whom?

Listeners(everyone): Others.

Speaker: Had these others not been there, you would not have been afraid. Had you been speaking in front of the mirror, you would not have been afraid. But you will be afraid to speak on the podium in front of the audience. So, is the fear of speaking or fear is of the other?

Listeners(everyone): Others.

Speaker: Now that makes things simpler to see. As a young man you should have been alert by now that all fear is about being dominated by others. ‘I have allowed others so much of space in my life that they are dominating me.’ Are you getting it?

You see, the results have been declared in the university and as always there are students whose results are not up to their expectations. We have such people even from your campus and several other campuses. Many of them are connected with us. They come to us and say that we feel absolutely restless, there is no energy left in us and we are so afraid. I ask them,  ‘if you were not to show this mark-sheet to anybody, your parents, employers, friends or anybody, had the situation been the same? Would you still be nervous and afraid? No. You are afraid because you have to show this mark-sheet to your parents, friends and eventually to your employer.

So, what you are really afraid of, the mark-sheet or the other to whom you have to show the mark-sheet? All fear is of the others. But we don’t understand fear. When someone dominates us, in a very obvious way we feel insulted. If someone comes and says, ‘Stand up, walk out, do this, follow my orders’, you feel insulted and you will revolt, you will fight. But you will not understand that how deeply scared you are of all these people who are not directly but indirectly dominating you. Any of you, who is afraid of raising a question, is actually afraid of your own friends, of your own batch-mates. And this is the tragedy of our life, our friends scare us. Forget about enemies, our friends scare us and we don’t even know that.

Is this room full of poisonous animals or some dangerous creatures, about to leap at you and hold your throat? Not really, but we are still afraid. And not only you, this is the story of all of us. We think that we are afraid of some natural reason. Just because since childhood we have been brought up by fear so we think that fear is directly related. Forget about directly related, fear is nothing but ego. Do you see how ego is fear? Do you want me to take five minutes on this?

Listeners(everyone): Yes, Sir.

Speaker: Alright. You have a particular image about yourself. Let us say, there is a particular fellow here and he is one of your friends. He meets you in the morning and says, ‘Gurpreet, looking cool !’ And how does that sentence change in Gurpreet’s mind? Gurpreet takes it as, ‘I am cool.’ Now Gurpreet’s self image is dependent on the other person which means now Gurpreet is going to be forever afraid of his own friend. Sounds strange! Can you tell me why is it so? If the other person has the power to make Gurpreet feel good about himself, then he also has the power to make Gurpreet feel bad about himself.

Same fellow who earlier said that you are brilliant, can now say that you are stupid. And if you accept that you are brilliant which is coming from others, then you necessarily have to accept that you are stupid which is also coming from outside. Isn’t this ego? Your self-image borrowed from the society. We don’t know anything ourselves. The ‘Who am I?’ has not been touched by us.

So, I know myself only in terms of what others know about. So, I am always afraid because that which comes from outside can also go back to the outside, the society. It is not yours. Somebody gave it to you. Somebody told you that you are smart, brilliant, amiable, friendly and the rest of it, whatsoever is the good thing that you know about yourself. Whatever bright image that you hold about yourself, question yourself about it. ‘Did I always have it? Where did it come from?’ It came from the words and approval of others. So, if others can approve of you, they can also disapprove of you.

So, that is why you said that your heart was pumping. Your heart was pumping because you don’t know who you are. All your image about yourself, all that concept is totally dependent on these people. That’s why your heart was pumping so badly.

Listener 2: Sir, I agree that my heart was pumping. I was thinking that something will happen and I was afraid. Please tell that how can I get rid of that?

Speaker: Right now, the assumption that you are making is that there is an inappropriate thought and there is an appropriate thought, and hence you have this question that what is right thinking. There is no right or wrong thinking because what is wrong and what is right was not known to you. Even this right and wrong has come from others.

You think about killing a small insect. One religion would say that it is very wrong. Forget about insects, they say that when you inhale and breathe, take care of small bacterium as well. So, what do the Jain monks do? They put this filter on their mouth so that there is no killing at all. This is what is right for them. So, the right thought is non-violence. And then there is another religion in which when a particular festival comes, they slaughter and kill animals in a large number as part of their ritual and beliefs.

What do you mean by right thinking and wrong thinking? All this right and wrong is the product of the human mind. All that human mind has comes from somebody else. All your notions of right and wrong come from others. At you age, should you not enquire from where you have obtained  these notions of right and wrong? Somebody told them to you. Right? Somebody else told you that always speak the truth, don’t lie, don’t hurt others, respect your elders. And that is right. And if you steal, then that is..?

Listeners(everyone): Wrong.

Speaker: But the world is still full of thieves. Forget about theft, we have dacoits. Forget about stealing ten rupees, here the order is of billions. And all those who are stealing these billions were kids once, and they all have been given the concept of right and wrong and yet the world is full of rapists, murderers and thieves. And every rapist was once told that to hurt someone is bad. In fact, most of you must have studied a subject in school called moral science, which was nothing but a curriculum of telling you what is right and what is wrong, what is moral and immoral. Am I right? All your concepts of right and wrong come from there. You don’t understand them. There is no right thought and no wrong thought. All thought is external. Only intelligence is yours and intelligence is not a thought. Then what is it? Is there anybody right now who is really listening to me? Is there anybody who has listened to me intently even for a minute? Yes? Are you keenly listening to me right now? Are you thinking as well?

Listener 1: No, Sir.

Speaker: You are not thinking but you are listening. Right?

Listener 1: Yes, Sir.

Speaker: Intelligence is an action but it is not a thought. Right now what is happening is the pure action of intelligence. Gurpeet is so attentive, look at the way he is sitting, he is completely reclined towards me and his eyes are firm, his ears are all towards me. There is this complete, pure action of intelligence. But are you thinking also? You are not. You are understanding without thinking. In fact, thought would be a great corruption in this moment. If thought comes in this moment, listening would be impeded. You would not be listening and your understanding will evaporate. No right thinking, no wrong thinking, but hold on to this. This is the way of life. A silent, deep understanding. No right thought, no wrong thought because all thought is borrowed.

If you think about something right now, what will it be about? I am saying something, and as I am saying something, can you think about it? And if you start thinking about it, won’t you miss the next word that I will say? So, what will thought do to you? It will take away from you this moment. Isn’t that obvious if you start thinking about what I am saying, you can never listen to what I am saying? You all are adults. Pretty advance in age now. Love must have knocked your life surely. In the moment of love, are you thinking what to do and what not to do? In the moment are you thinking? And if you are, then there is a problem. Such is life, please appreciate. Thought arises as the problem solving mechanism. Thought is based on the information that you already have. And thought can only solve that problem which is related to the past because thought can go into only that which is your past. Sitting over here, please think that you are speaking in Spanish. Please do that. Please think that you are speaking Spanish. Can you do that?

Listeners(some of them): No, Sir.

Speaker: You can’t even think that you are speaking Spanish, because Spanish is not there in your past. What I am saying is also already there in your past?

Listeners(everyone): No, Sir.

Speaker: Has this moment already come to you before? Has Gurpreet asked this question to me before? This moment is new. In fact, every moment is new. So, what will thought do with that? Thought can only do that which is concerned with the past, if there is something related to the past.

Yes, do use thoughts. If you want to recall where you left your keys, please think because it is the event in the past where thoughts will help. If somebody asks you for a particular information, please think because all the information comes from the past. But right now if you are thinking then you are missing out on what is it, what is real and you are going to the past which has no relation to what is happening right now. Are you getting it?

So, there is no right thinking or wrong thinking. There is just that silent, deep understanding. Fear is a thought and that thought is of others and others terrify you because your intelligence does not look at you. You do not ask yourself, ‘Who am I?’ Instead, you borrow your sense of yourself from somebody else. Somebody else tells you that you are a Hindu and you start saying, ‘I am a Hindu.’ Did you choose to be a Hindu?

Listeners(everyone): No.

Speaker: No, but you are so sure that you are a Hindu, you are SO damn sure that you are Hindu. How are you a Hindu? Because somebody else has handed over it to you. And you want to live like this? If you live on somebody else’s notion of you, you will forever be afraid. And each one of us sitting here is deeply afraid. Anybody here who is not afraid? The objects of fear may vary but there is nobody who is not afraid.

You cannot get rid of fear unless your intelligence looks at your own mind, unless you understand yourself, the functioning of your own system, of your own processes. But that will be greatly resisted by your ego because your education and your upbringing has always trained you to always look at others, whereas real intelligence is all about looking at yourself. Ultimately, you use intelligence to look at others. Right? So, even to look at others clearly, you have to first look at your mind. Even if you are fond of understanding what the world is all about, you have to first necessarily take care of your own mind.

-Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVs6o_NOYm4

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2 thoughts on “How to get rid of fear?

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