Question: We understood in our HIDP class that ‘fear’ is a ‘state of mind.’ But Acharya Ji, different kinds of fear generally arise in a human. It is natural to a human. For example, fear of getting low marks or fear of losing our near and dear ones. So Acharya Ji, can we completely come out of these fears ever in our life or is it not at all possible to come out of it?
Acharya Prashant: What’s your name?
AP: Nitesh, the different kind of fears that you are talking of are just like different leaves of the same tree. It’s a very horrible tree. The tree of fear. Now, you can either keep plucking each single leaf and there are thousands and thousands of such leaves.
You can either keep plucking each single leaf, trying to get rid of, trying to destroy the different kinds of fears
or you can strike straight at the root.
And remember even if you keep plucking the leaves, leaves have a way to emerge again, as long as the root is there. Right? One leaf is gone, two leaves are gone and you find four new leaves have arisen. What is the root of fear, let’s look at that.
All fear arises from a sense of cultivated incompleteness. Will you attend to this phrase, ‘Cultivated incompleteness?’ All fear arises from a sense of learned inadequacy. Both mean the same, cultivated incompleteness and learned inadequacy.
We have cultivated a feeling within us that we are incomplete and that incompleteness is to be filled with objects brought from outside, thoughts, ideologies, people, relationships, money, respect, qualifications.
We want to keep acquiring these in order to fill an assumed inner incompleteness. All the urge to achieve is based on an assumption. That assumption is, that I need to achieve.
Do you see this?
The urge to achieve, accomplish, acquire, become something, that is based on an assumption that I need to achieve, I need to become. We never question, enquire or challenge that assumption.
The need to become, the need to achieve, arises from the cultivated thought that there is something missing within me. Remember, it is a cultivated thing, it is not a fact. It’s not existential, it’s social.
Are you getting it?
It’s not existential, it’s social. Existence didn’t give it to you. It’s man-made. Systems around us, education, society, they gave it to us. That there is something missing within us and we need to achieve in the World in order to fill that missing stuff. As if there is a hole in the heart and you need to plug that hole with accomplishments of all kinds.
Now, what happens is, when you have this feeling that I am inadequate, I am unworthy, so I need to be ambitious. So, I need to achieve more and more, then you have based your self-worth on things acquired from outside. Things, ideas, relationships that are all external.
Your entire sense of being, your entire self-esteem, self-worth, self-concept is now dependent upon the World. All identities are coming from outside.
Everything that you think is precious is now coming from outside.
Because what have you told yourself? What have you assumed about yourself? That I am fundamentally unworthy and I will become unworthy only when I acquire such and such stuff from the World! And remember, this is cultivated. This is a part of the conditioning that is given to the child that you don’t mean much. You are unworthy. Unless you go out and achieve in the World, you are not even worthy of Love. Forget about rewards, you aren’t even worthy of Love if you aren’t an achiever.
So, alright the child goes out and he does achieve. But now his entire sense of being is dependent upon achievements. And all achievements come from? The World.
What comes from the World can always be taken back by the World.
Fear is the name of this thought. That I can lose that, which is essential. Fear is the thought that I can lose that which is central, essential and most important. And I am repeating that it’s a cultivated thought. It’s a man-made thing, it is not existential. It has been implanted within us by those who are ignorant.
That is the root of fear, the assumed sense of inner incompleteness.
It shows up in many ways. We want to look good, for example. We want to pretend that we are worthy. We use makeup in all kinds of ways. Not only upon our face but also upon our mannerisms, on our CVs. This feeling that I require to be made up, is a deep inferiority complex. It is that cultivated helplessness, cultivated incompleteness that I am talking of. There is something wrong with me and unless I do something about it I will remain unworthy. That is what this feeling says.
Are you getting it?
And no child is born with this feeling. This feeling is gradually, surreptitiously inserted into the mind. And the child is small, helpless, ignorant. He can’t even know that this is being to him. Forget about the child, this is being done to people of all ages, all stages, at all times.
We are being continuously told that there is something seriously wrong with us and we must do something about it. You don’t have a house? There is something wrong with you. Your car is small? There is something wrong with you; come, buy our new product. Oh, you don’t wear clothes of our brand? Ah, you don’t deserve to be called a human being then! You aren’t earning this much? Why are you alive? People don’t chase you, people don’t propose to you? You don’t deserve to live. That’s what’s being continuously told, that your entire self-worth depends on what the world gives you.
There was nobody and there is hardly anyone today who comes and tells you that you are complete, beautiful and wonderful, as you are.
That your essence lacks nothing. That you might be deficient in skills or knowledge. But still, at the core, at the center, you are just complete. We do not get this message ever. All messages that come to us, from media, from education, from all the social systems; all the messages that come to us are messages that try to make us inferior in a covert way.
Remember, they don’t dare to tell you on your face that you are unworthy. They don’t dare to do that. So, what do they do? They do it in a very hidden way. They will tell you that if you wear our brand of clothing then you are the complete man. Indirectly they have told you that if you aren’t wearing my brand of clothing then you are an incomplete man. Now, this fellow, this advertiser, dare not come on your face and say that you are an incomplete man. But indirectly he is suggesting to you, and because we are not attentive enough, we fall prey to such mischievousness. And that happens all the time.
You look at all the commercials, you look at how people are venerated in the society, you look at how the entire game of respect and reverence plays itself out. And then you will come to the fact of how this artificial sense of unworthiness is instilled into us.
Whosoever wants to control you, can control you only if you feel small about yourself.
So, there are many a people around you whose only task is to continuously tell you that you are a small, small, a dwarf, a pygmy, not fit to be called a human being. Not only do they tell you that you are incomplete, then they also tell you fake ways to become complete. What are the fake ways? When you get that kind of a job, then you will be worthy of respect. And when the entire society is respecting you then you will be worthy of my Love.
Nobody comes and says that you are unconditionally beautiful. Nobody comes and says that you are so charming even without makeup! That is the root of fear. The assumed incompleteness. You have assumed that there is something missing in you, that hole in the heart, which is not there, but you are assuming that it is there. And you are unnecessarily trying to fill that nonexistent hole with a false medicine.
The disease itself does not exist! Why are you treating yourself with all these fake medicines?
Ambition, accomplishment, recognition.
All these are false medicines for a non-existent disease.
That is fear.
Something will be taken away from me. The World will take back, what it has given me.
The World has accorded me respect, the World will take back the respect. The World has given me a purpose for living, the World will take back that purpose.
Whatever the World has given you, Yes, you are right, it can always take it back. That is why you will always be afraid.
Fear is nothing but the thought of losing something very precious. The thought that I will lose something very precious is Fear. If you pay attention you will see that that which is really precious can never be taken away from you. So, there is no need to fear. Only small things can be taken away. The really important can never be taken away. Hence, there is no need to fear.
The really important was never given to you by the World, so how can the World take it back?
The really important is something so intrinsic, so innate to your being that nobody can touch it.
They may take back the money they have given you, they may take back the recognition they have given you, they may take back everything else. But all that is any way trivial, of not much importance, let them take it back!
The secret of living fearlessly is to be not to be dependent upon the World. The more you are dependent upon the World, the more afraid will be your life. You depend for money on somebody, it is inevitable that there would be a lurking fear in your mind. You are attached to somebody? It is inevitable that fear will keep rising now and then.
Those who want to live fearlessly must get rid of their dependencies. And you can get rid of dependencies, only when you first realise that you don’t need to dependent.
That you are good, complete, alright.
Perfect as you are.
Remember, you may lack in a few small matters here and there. Knowledge, skill, this and that. There is no end to them. There is no end to knowledge, there is no end to money. But all that is superficial. The center of your being is always good, brilliant, perfect. The one who lives in this awareness, cannot be afraid. Fear will come, but it will not touch him at the core, it will remain at the surface of the mind and vanish from there.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: How to completely drop fear?
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