Question: How to find the courage to live by the Heart?
Acharya Prashant: First of all, you tell me, how do you not have that courage? Even the birds live by the Heart. How is it possible that you have lost that courage? The question of re-finding it is a secondary question. First of all, you must figure out, where that courage was lost.
L1: In the past. We are clinging to the past. It was all our past failures; all our past sufferings. And so, we are afraid of the future. And we are looking for all this confidence, all this awareness, the things we had, and we lost, we can say.
AP: Okay, let me ask a little more directly. Is courage more natural or is fear more natural? And you will have to decide, you will have to acknowledge it, you will have to say yes to something.
Yes, is courage more natural or is fear more natural?
L1: Courage; because as children, we were not hesitant to start new things.
AP: So, your acceptance makes it more natural. Yes, courage is more natural. If courage is more natural, then surely fear is external. And if it is external, why can’t you drop it? It comes from somewhere. It enters your life from somewhere. Why do you allow it to enter?
Why do you allow it to enter?
You allow it to enter because fear does not enter as fear. Fear enters as something sacred and holy. Fear enters your life in the garb of godliness. Fear enters as responsibility; fear enters as attachment; as duty; as religiosity. Had fear tried to enter as fear, you would have blocked it. You wouldn’t have allowed it. If I say, “Come to me. And I will implant fear in you”, would you come to me? But if I say, “Come to me. I will show God to you”, and in the name of showing God, all that I give you is fear, then my rues would have succeeded.
Haven’t you heard the expression – ‘God fearing’? Now do you know where fear comes from? In the name of God, all that you are given is fear. Fear is not intrinsic. Fear has been imposed upon the psyche, and you can immediately rebel against that imposition and cast it off, like this – “I drop fear. I leave it. I refuse to be subjugated. I won’t take the rubbish anymore.”
Fear comes when they tell you that you must have a life insurance. Aren’t the commercials always telling you that? And so dumbly we continue to look at them. Fear comes when you are told that you must have a life partner so that you have a nice old age. Fear is there when you accept a job because of the career progression it offers. Fear is there when you offer to marry your girlfriend because now you need to legalise the relationship. Don’t you see that fear is coming as love? Don’t you see that fear is coming as security? Don’t you see that fear is coming as job, career, future? Fear never comes as fear. But whenever fear comes, I repeat, it would make you uneasy. Your uneasiness is the hint.
Stop, and pay attention.
Attention is your friend. Attention will expose all the mischiefs. Are you getting it? Just stop and pay attention. All will be exposed.
Is there fear without thought? Is there fear without future? Is there fear ever in what is going on? Fear is always a prospect, a possibility. And if you are someone, who must take care of the future, who lives in hopes, then you are also someone who lives in fear. But you have been taught the virtues of hope, right? You have been said, “Never drop hope”. If you never drop hope then you also never drop fear. Two ends of duality. Aren’t there enough people who keep on telling you to remain hopeful? That’s how fear enters you. If you hope that you will get something, then parallelly you will have to be afraid that you may not get that thing. That’s how fear comes to you.
But they all pretend to be your well-wishers. They all say that “We want to help you”. First, see, whether they have been able to help themselves. Ask the guru, “Guru Sir, you tell us that if you just touch us, we will be liberated.” I asked in the morning, are the wives of all these gurus enlightened? They have been continuously touching them, in all possible ways. They should have been enlightened long back. You crave for a mere touch of their fingertips. “O’ please give me darshan (auspicious sight). Just touch me, once.” Their sons must be some thirty-forty years now. Are they enlightened? Their sons were born out of their deep touch. But you crave for touch as if you know…!
Go for the facts.
You are so powerful actually that you are scared of yourself.
That’s a very strange situation!
What if I start assaulting myself? “I am so powerful. I don’t want to look at myself”. “I am so beautiful, I don’t want to acknowledge it. What if I fall in love with myself?”
You are your own best-kept secret.
When you meet a person, meet in friendliness, meet in love. Meet to share. Meet to play. Meet to rejoice. That’s a right relationship. Don’t meet to sit at that person’s feet. That’s vulgar. You don’t need to sit at anybody’s feet. I repeat – this head can bow down only in front of one authority, and nobody else. With everybody else, let there be love, not submission.
L2: Everything is holy.
AP: Yes, holy. But first of all, accept that we are holy. How can everything be holy, when the eye that is looking at them is not holy? First of all, accept the holiness in your eye. Don’t be shy of it.
L3: So, how do we help others to see the Truth?
AP: First of all, help yourself. “How do we help others to see the Truth?” What do you know about others? When there is so little that you know about yourself, what do you know about others?
When you are at peace with yourself then you become a cause of peace for the entire universe.
First of all, be at peace with yourself.
We do not know peace. We know agitation; disturbance; turbulence. When it is there, then admit it, acknowledge it. Don’t pretend that it is not there. Don’t escape away to a fancy destination. Don’t run away to a shopping mall or to a temple or to an ashram.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Shri Prashant: How to get the courage to live by the Heart?
Advait in Everyday Life
Advait has since long been revered as the crown jewel of all spiritual philosophies. However, there are very few books, if any at all, that practically demonstrate the presence, applications, methods and benefits of living as per the golden teaching of Advait-Vedanta.
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