Listener (L): Sir, there are certain reactions within that I can see but cannot control. For example, whenever my wife speaks anything about business, I just go mad. I’ve tried to look at it also and at times, I see that and I relate that to she feeling that I am incompetent but somehow I am not able to help it. That reaction is so instant that the moment she says something about business and I just shout, I just scream.
Acharya Prashant (AP): When you feel more sure of yourself, then this tendency will reduce.
If I really really know that I am beautiful, you cannot make me feel ugly but I must then be in total sureness. I cannot be in total sureness if I am worrying a lot about my business, if it means a lot to me, because in worrying a lot about the state of my business, I am actually worrying a lot about my capacity to handle my business, which means I am not very sure of my own capacity to live with the business, to manage it, to come out unharmed, untouched by it.
I take business now as a challenge, as something that can really overpower me or dominate me. It now becomes something very meaningful. Now, I have given it a place that it does not deserve. Now, I have made it some kind of an equivalent of Truth and when something becomes an equivalent of Truth, you become too small in front of it.
That is called living in inferiority complex.
When you are feeling inferior, then even an innocuous touch can hurt you. The other one had no intention to rub you the wrong way but you find that you have been bruised for no reason. It has nothing to do with the intention of the other person. It has much more to do with your own self-concept.
At the risk of sounding impractical, let me suggest that one must treat all business with a little contempt. All business! Even the business of life and death. When you can treat all business with a little contempt, then the business is not bigger than you, then the business is not your God or Truth. Now you are bigger and bigger you indeed are.
Now when someone comes up with a suggestion, given, if the suggestion is a stupid suggestion and even if the person is your wife even, still take it, bear it, live through it. Tolerate it with a pinch of, whatever, salt or spice or turmeric, something. There is a lot of that in your house.
Do you see this?
I cannot be bruised or wounded unless I am prepared for it.
Nobody can hurt me without my consent. It is impossible.
It is only when you have something within which is ready to get wounded, then the other can wound you, and the other will wound you even without wanting to wound you.
I repeat, it is not about developing your skills as a better businessman because howsoever skilled you are, situations, circumstances can always defeat you. It does not matter how deep is your business acumen, you can still end up in a loss. So it is not at all about being so skilled that you feel confident.
I am not talking of your confidence arising from skill or knowledge. I am talking of your confidence arising from the realization that no business is God and that the Truth remains with you even if your business fails and the Truth does not get amplified, even when your business prospers.
Do you see this?
Meanwhile, as time passes, as you gain an experience or skills, of course, your business acumen, your deftness will keep deepening, sharpening and god-willing you will anyway prosper. But whether you prosper or you stagnate, remain full, remain contended.
AP to listener’s wife: I’ve done something for you. Now, you can go to him with a few more suggestions.
L: Even though I understand, I don’t know why but at that particular moment, it just triggers. Even I am able to see it afterwards that it was all with a well intent but at that point of time, it just triggers. That is just one example, certain things with my mom, certain things with my brother. Somethings some small things.
AP: It is the same way with everyone, and those moments are a very good opportunity to know of our hidden tendencies. You know thoughts are easy to detect because they are in the conscious mind. Tendencies, latent tendencies are deeper than thoughts, they are not detected so easily but these impulsive reactions are a very good opportunity when your deep tendencies are exposed. So take these as opportunities. The moment they show up, catch them. Oh, just caught a glimpse of you. I know now what is sitting deep in the basement of mind.
Listener: There is a pattern.
AP: There is a pattern, yes.
Listener: Such things happen and the reaction is same the hundred times. It happens hundred times and the reaction is same.
AP: You know, it will remain the same even if you continue to know it. So, do not expect it to change.
For example, you are sitting in a cinema hall and a three-dimensional movie is being played and you very well know it’s just a movie and from the screen a giant boulder, stone comes towards you and what do you do? You very well know what the stone is but the evolutionary instinct is so strong, the instinct to preserve the body is so strong that you still do this (gesture of dodging). You know, in the conscious mind you are operating from the subconscious and subconscious is stronger than the conscious.
So it will continue to be that way.
Listener: So in that aspect, you are trying to say that it is preserving the self?
AP: Of course. It is preserving something that evolution wanted to preserve — the mind, the body, the tendency to further the body.
You see, success in business is the evolutionary equivalent of success in hunting. Today, businessmen fight over success in hunting down profits. That is the evolutionary equivalent of the ancient man competing with the other man to hunt down an animal. Hunting down an animal ensures your physical survival. It was so important to you that is why success in business continues to be so important to you. It is that same age old instinct. It will remain. Do not expect it to just go away. And be comfortable with it, laugh at it.
The more you go into yourself, the more you are seated and devoted and surrendered to the Truth, the more these tendencies will become meaningless to you. Now, the stone still comes and you still try to dodge it but now it is happening like a machine. The body is acting like a machine and is responding to a threat just like a programmed machine does.
You are free of it.
You are with your beloved.
It doesn’t matter so much.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.