Acharya Prashant: The question is that why doesn’t one experience so much of fear? He is quoting a specific incident from yesterday, when he saw a large dog and that aroused fear in him. Tell me – what is it that you take as a problem – the fact that you saw the dog and had to turn around, change your path or that you remember that incident even till now?
Listener: Both of them.
AP: A flying stone is coming your way, towards you. Won’t you change your position? Won’t you dodge it?
AP: How much time does that take? But what if that incidence becomes a memory, a mark on your mind?
I am fond of saying that these are the two kinds of minds: One, it is like a mirror, one in which incidents happen and are forgotten. A big dog comes in front of that mirror, it shows up in the mirror. But is the dog still in the mirror, after the dog is gone? The mirror reflects the dog only as long as the dog is there. This is the mirror kind of mind in which incidents do not leave a trace behind.
And then, there is the photographic plate – once it captures an image, the image stays on it – that is the other kind of mind. So, once a dog comes in front of it, the dog gets imprinted. Now, even after the dog is gone, the image is still there. It continues to be there. And this, that continues upon the mind even in absence of the fact is imagination. There is nothing right or wrong about responding in a particular way, but to carry that reaction into the future as a burden upon the mind, that is surely bothersome.
The more you will try to be fearless, the more you will try to analyze incidents like these – the more you will remember incidents like these. Do not try to modify your response in that moment. Let the response be there. Whatever response is there. One day, you may feel like turning back. Other day you may feel like walking on. Whatever you do, let it be in you without resistance. When it is there in you without resistance, then you feel no need to modify it. When you feel no need to modify it, it does not stay as a burden upon the mind.
“This is what I did” – that’s it.
“Looked at the dog, turned left.”
“Looked at the dog, turned right.”
“Looked at the dog, turned back.”
It just happened.
I do not have a responsibility to prove to the entire world that I am brave. I do not have to act as per the expectations of other people or even as per my own expectations, my own images of what is courageous and what is bravery.
Was it a brave thing to do? I do not know.
Was it a cowardly thing to do? I do not know.
I do not bother to know. It just happened. There is something much more important that I am always with. I have no time, no energy to spend on this matter.
It’s a mere dog and mine is a mere reaction – they keep happening. I will not read too much into them. Yes, I did note that this happened. But that noticing is not something that stretches. It is noticing in the moment like a mirror. I noticed and then I moved on. Are you getting it? This will be possible only if you notice without expectations.
If you observe with expectations, then you will find yourself under an obligation to change what you observe and change as per your own expectations and images. Observation does not mean that you are bound, obliged to set things right. Let things be as they are. You don’t have to enter and correct.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Why does one experience fear?
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 2: Key to Fearlessness is Independence
Article 3: Fearless Living
Books by the speaker: