Heaven and Hell Within Part 3 12

Heaven and Hell Within - 03

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On the other hand, if a religious head asks you to be polite and to keep your ego under check, he’s also bound by the same rule. If you find him taking pride and pleasure in controlling the people under his command as he may have a number of people under his command; he’s certainly a hypocrite. This is because he’s telling you to be polite and he’s himself being harsh to his subordinates, especially when there is no valid reason for this act of harshness and it is only being practiced in order to satisfy ego. Hence he’s expecting the others to do one thing and he’s himself doing the opposite thing.  This is what makes this religious head a hypocrite.

As you may have understood by now, the word hypocrisy rules a big empire in today’s world and there’s almost no field where hypocrisy is not being practiced in one form or the other. Taking a brief look at some other common examples of hypocrisy; not doing your job properly and expecting an early promotion is hypocrisy, making excuses instead of offering help when your friends are in need and expecting them to help you at the earliest when you need such help is hypocrisy.

Similarly, getting offended when someone parks his car in your parking space and missing no opportunity to park your car into other people’s parking lot is hypocrisy; listening to relatively loud music till midnight when you feel like doing so and prohibiting the other members of your family to do so when they feel the same need but you don’t like it is hypocrisy; expecting people to love you truly when all you do is pretend to love them is a common form of hypocrisy; expecting to be respected on account your age like being a 70 year old person while behaving like a complete idiot or nonsense is once again hypocrisy.

Likewise, not giving equal rights to women is hypocrisy; talking ill about most people when you want them to talk only good about you is hypocrisy; buying an expensive house in order to compete with a relative when you really can’t afford it at all is hypocrisy and then there are millions of such examples from each sphere of life. In the last example, if you choose to buy a house even when you know you won’t be able to pay the installments on time, you’re a hypocrite. This is because you are aware of your incomes and accordingly you know how much extra money you can afford to pay the installments.

Your financial status doesn’t allow you to engage in this purchase but you still trouble yourself in order to appear richer than you are. Since you’re taking all this trouble to look what you are not and you duly know this fact, this is what makes you a hypocrite. If you’re an honest person, you’ll purchase a house which you can comfortable afford and you won’t land yourself as well as your family members in financial problems, only in order to look richer than you are. I guess the world hypocrisy has been understood in its deeper sense and hence we will move ahead.

Going back to the scientist, he’s obeying a rule to finish his project and he’s breaking the same rule in many other spheres of his life. This is what makes him a hypocrite because if he believes in the rule of finish what you start, he should properly finish all other duties started by him. Hence the excuse given by his ego through his intellect is once again not a valid one. Though there may be a number of other such excuses, we’ll skip them and we’ll now discuss the real reason.

The true reason behind this act is that with the development of his intellect, his ego has also developed. Ego also lies on the same level which is the second level and it has a strong ability to feed on all the entities lying on all the levels. It means your ego can feed on your physical form, it can feed on your intellect, it can feed on your emotions and surprisingly, it can even feed on your conscience at times or so it may seem to do. This is why ego is considered as the most difficult hurdle on your path to liberation because it keeps bothering you even till the very end.

If the journey of spiritual growth starts from 0 and libration lies at 100; your ego accompanies you till 99.9999999999~. It means your ego accompanies you almost till the end. In fact, as soon as your ego leaves you or you are able to leave it, you see the end of your journey at the very same moment. It is only because of your ego that you’re not able to reach the end of your journey of liberation.

This is because one of the most important conditions to achieve liberation is that you can go there alone and no one can accompany you, which means nothing should be attached to your soul. Hence as long as your ego is attached to your soul, you’re not free and you simply can’t reach the destination called liberation. As soon as your soul detaches itself from your ego, the journey ends and your get a pass to the land of the liberal or so to say, the land of the free souls.

As I mentioned, your ego feeds on all other entities in your body and hence you don’t need hard effort to grow it as it keeps increasing its size by feeding on these entities. On the other hand, hard and dedicated effort is needed when you want to stop your ego from feeding on the other important entities. Starting from your body, if there’s anything worthy of attention in your body, your ego may feed on it. This means if your face is beautiful and other people keep telling you this, your ego may attach to your facial beauty and it may start feeding on it.

As a result, you may be able to notice that out of all your body parts, you tend to pay special attention to your face. I know everyone in general may pay more attention to his face as the attachment of ego in general is the maximum with face, when it comes to body parts. This is because among all the body parts, majority of people consider facial beauty as the most important type of physical beauty and hence everyone may feel cautious about how his or her face looks because he or she knows that most people may be judging his or her beauty from his or her face.

When it comes to ego, it gets satisfied the most when it gets to know that it has something which others don’t have or it is far ahead of other people in a race or it has some other unique advantage over the others. Hence it always encourages you to be someone special, do something special or have something special. The best way your ego may become certain that you have that extra edge in any field is through the recognition of other people.

This is the primary reason for most people to run in one type of race or the other and almost all these races end at the points where other people acknowledge that you have something special in you, whether that something special is your face, your house, your car, your job, your money, your achievements, rewards, prizes, your father, your wife, your husband or anything else for that matter. All your ego wants in order to feel satisfied as well as to grow is for other people to recognize that you have something special.

This is why when a number of other people tell you that you’re beautiful and they mean facial beauty, you become more aware about your face. This is because as more and more people tell you that your face is special, your ego attaches to it and it feels satisfied each time one such complement is given to you. As it wants to feel satisfied every now and then; it tends to pay extra attention to anything which brings it such satisfaction.

In the present case, your ego attaches to your face as it knows your face is one of those possessions of yours, which can bring complements and satisfy it through those complements. Hence it attaches to your face and as a result, it starts controlling the degree of attention you pay to your face, through your subconscious mind. It means that even if you don’t notice it consciously, you start paying more attention to your face and you start taking much more care of your face, compared to your other body parts.

This is why you may find that people who have more facial beauty than average people tend to be more cautious about their faces compared to other people. On the other hand, the people who may have ugly faces according to the standards of beauty set by society (though I don’t believe anyone or anything is ugly in reality) may be less or much less cautious about their faces. The former type of people know that their faces may bring them something to feel good whereas the latter type of people know that their faces are not going to bring them anything to feel good.

Therefore the faces of the former type are the winning horses and hence they take care of their faces, a lot more than average people do. The latter type of people know that their faces are the losing horses and hence they may not want to pay much attention to them. Since a person of the latter type may also have reasonably developed ego, his ego may find something else which is special about him, it may attach to such things and it may make him pay more attention to those things or aspects of personality.

Similar to the face, your ego attaches to anyone of your body parts which may bring attention as well as appreciation and accordingly; which may satisfy it as well as give it the chances to grow bigger. This is why people with fit and curvy bodies may tend to wear tight fits so that they may flaunt their curves, people may notice those curves and they may appreciate them. Through such appreciation whether it comes through words or looks, your ego gets its diet and it feels satisfied.

Have you ever noticed that a number of men with well built arms tend to wear dresses which put their arms on display? Have you noted that a number of females who have well shaped bottoms tend to wear dresses which project their bottoms in such a way that they draw your attention more than any other body part of theirs? Have you ever noticed that a number of people having athletic bodies keep flexing their bodies in public places in a way that lets other people know and appreciate the fact that they have flexible and athletic bodies?

There are many other such acts of physical display that all of us may engage in, from time to time. The primary reason behind all these acts is the feel good factor that comes through the appreciation of other people. Some of you may even feel that the appreciation of other people increases your confidence and you tend to do better in your life. Well, it is the time to know that this feel good factor generated due to the attention and appreciation of other people is nothing but a shade of your ego. It means the entity in your body, which feels good through all such appreciation; is your ego and no other entity.

The confidence that you gain when other people appreciate you is not the true type of confidence which is an attribute of your soul and it is instead an illusionary confidence which is the ornament of your ego. You may wonder how confidence can be true or false and you may think that confidence is confidence. However, it is not so and even your confidence can be illusionary like many other qualities of yours, though you may not realize this fact. Let’s now look at this concept in details.

The word confidence in its deeper sense means your ability to be aware that you can do a particular thing or you’re good enough to handle particular situations. Kindly note that it is your ability to be aware about a quality of yours or even about your overall positive or negative personality and it has got nothing to do with other people. In order to develop any ability in its truest sense, you and only you are involved and no one else is there in the picture.

If you’re a good actor, you can be confident about your acting abilities in two ways. The first ways is that you let other people decide whether your acting is good or not and based on their feedback, your confidence in your acting abilities may rise and fall. It means when a number of people tell you that a piece of acting or your acting performance in a particular movie which may have just released is good or very good; you may start feeling more confident about your acting and hence you may deliver an even better performance in your next movie.

However, if a majority of people tell you that your acting performance in this movie is very bad or they don’t appreciate your acting performance and your confidence starts going down, even when there may be no good reason for it, this confidence is illusionary and it is not the real thing. This is because appreciation from other people may build it and criticism from other people may destroy it. Hence this confidence is not coming from inside you and it is rather coming from the people around you. In reality, other people can make you feel confident at any time and they can also make you lose this confidence any time, through the type of feedback they give you.

Hence if people appreciate your performance in a particular movie, your confidence rises. If your performance is criticized in the next movie, your confidence falls. The performance in the movie after that is once again appreciated and your confidence rises once again. You face criticism for the very next movie and your confidence is lost once again. After looking at all these incidents, do you really think you have confidence in your acting abilities?

The answer as we all may know by now is no. There is no contribution from your part as long as building confidence is concerned and it is only the people around you who are making and destroying your confidence at their discretion. Since the amount of confidence you have at any time is being controlled by other people, you actually don’t have true confidence to start with and you’re only living in the illusion of rising and falling confidence.

Let’s look at another possibility in the same case. You deliver an acting performance in a movie and people appreciate it a lot. However, you already know the quality of your performance in advance as you are very much aware of the quality of acting produced by you. Hence you don’t feel your confidence is boosted a lot by their appreciation as all these people are only telling you something that you already know. Though you may still humbly acknowledge their appreciations, it may not make much difference inside you.

Now suppose your next movie fails and most people criticize your performance. If your confidence is true, you have two options from here. If the criticism generated by these people is valid, which means you also know that this acting performance was below your standard, you may acknowledge it but you don’t witness even the smallest decline in your confidence. In fact, you may already know before the release of this movie that your performance may be criticized as you feel that it is not up to the mark, due to various reasons.

Hence all these people may not be telling you anything new and they may only be telling you something that you already know. Accordingly, this criticism doesn’t do much to damage your confidence as you already know the reasons for your not so good performance in this movie and you may even have starting working on them, by the time this movie is released. In this case, the chances are high that you may come back with a very good performance in your next movie, even if no one tells you how good or bad your performance in this movie is.

The second option is that though the movie has failed, you are duly aware that you’ve done justice to your performance and there’s nothing wrong with your performance. You also understand that when a movie fails, different people blame different team members of such movie for being a not so good movie. Accordingly, some of them are blaming you for the failure of this movie as you may be the lead star of this movie. In this case, you’re once again not bothered by this criticism because you know the people criticizing you are mistaken and you know for sure that your performance is good.

Hence your confidence is once again not altered by their opinions. It can be seen that if you’re truly confident, your confidence is neither built by the people around you nor it is destroyed by them. Your confidence is coming from your faith in your acting abilities as well as from your awareness about how good or bad you perform in a particular movie. If you feel your performance has dropped in any particular movie or in any particular scene of a movie, you may notice it before other people do, you may find out the reason for this and you may hit back after taking care of that reason.

As long as the reactions of the people around you control a quality of yours, you don’t have it in true sense as these people can build or destroy this quality any time. Kindly understand that if a quality truly belongs to you, you and only you can control it and no one else can. Hence if you’re truly confident about a thing, you’ll remain confident even if the entire world stands in opposition. If the opinion of the entire world against you can destroy your confidence in a thing, such confidence is illusionary and it is not true confidence.

Imagine what may happen if all seven hundred billion people on this earth start telling the Sun that they don’t like it for being a burning sphere and they want it to look cool? Do you think influenced by their opinions, the Sun will stop burning and it will start being cool like the Moon? You already know the answer and hence I won’t mention it. The Sun has true confidence that being a burning sphere is the best thing it does and hence it keeps doing so, whether people appreciate it or criticize it for doing that. This is what true confidence means. If you have it, only you can control it and no one else.

Similarly, if all people on earth start appreciating the Sun for being a burning sphere, the Sun won’t start burning more fuel and being hotter. This is because neither the appreciation nor the criticism of the others affects its confidence and hence it keeps doing what it believes in. This is what true confidence means, it rises from inside you and it remains unaffected by the others. I mean how can you call it your confidence if people outside or the circumstance outside can control it?

Suppose you’re a billionaire at a time when even being a millionaire is considered rich. Do you need to ask other people in this case whether or not you’re financially rich? No, you don’t need to ask anyone as you already know very well that you’re a very rich person according to the prevailing standards of measuring financial richness. This richness is true as it comes because of enough money and wealth possessed by you and not because of other people’s certificates. Taking a look at another possibility in the same case, do you think if a number of people start telling you that you’re a financially poor person; you’ll forget that you have billions and you’ll start feeling that you’re poor?

You know that it may not make much difference to you whether these people consider you rich or not; as you already know you’re rich. Hence you don’t need to learn this fact from other people and the money as well as wealth you have is sufficient to let you know that you’re rich. The same holds for a poor person also. It means if you have no job, not much money and no assets at all, you know that you’re financially poor according to the prevailing measures. Hence even if everyone keeps telling you that you’re a financially rich person when you don’t even have enough to eat; you won’t believe them and you’ll know for sure that you’re financially poor.

In the first case, the presence of money tells you that you’re rich and in the second case, the absence of money tells you that you’re poor. It means the presence of a quality within you should tell you that it is there and not the people outside. Just as the opinions of people can’t control the amount of money you have, their opinions should not control the amount of a quality that you have. You’re the best judge when it comes to assess how much money or wealth you have at a time since the other people may not know the exact equation of money in your case. Likewise, you’re the best judge of all other things you have like a quality; and not the other people.

As these people are judging this quality from outside which means through your expressions; they can’t assess it properly because this quality actually lies inside and not outside. Since you alone have the access to look inside where this quality actually lies; only you can judge it in the best possible way. If you have diamonds worth billions inside a locker that you only can open; no one but you knows how many diamonds are there at any point in time.

Accordingly; when someone tells you that you have 100 diamonds at this time inside your locker; you may not bother much as you know that he’s making a random guess and the number of diamonds you have is 500. Hence his opinion doesn’t matter and only your awareness about the number of diamonds you have; is the true measure of knowledge in this case. Similarly, if this person tells you that you have 700 diamonds inside your locker; even that may not make much difference to you as you know that the actual number of diamonds is 500.

Taking one more example, a baby remains truly confident of whatever he does, as long as he doesn’t develop or become aware of its intellectual abilities. For instance, a baby knows that he has the right to jump onto his mother as and when he feels in need of milk. He has this confidence and hence he doesn’t ask anyone whether this act is good or bad. All he cares for is he wants milk and he knows how he can get it.

Now try doing a thing. Don’t try to physically force this baby away from his mother but whenever he tries to feed on his mother, start criticizing him for this act and start telling him that he should not do it. Also start telling him that he should instead feed on bottled milk and feeding on his mother is essentially a bad thing. You’ll find that as long as this baby doesn’t develop intellect, all your criticism won’t affect him even in the least and this baby will keep feeding on his mother with the same confidence. Even if the whole world tells this baby that feeding on his mother is bad, he won’t stop. This is what true confidence is, unaffected by the people or circumstances outside.

However, as and when this baby develops significant amount of intellect, try doing the same thing to him and you’ll feel that it starts affecting him. If more and more people start criticizing this baby for feeding on his mother and they start telling him that he should feed on bottled milk, the baby may start losing confidence and he may start hesitating to approach his mother, whenever he feels like having milk. Through a series of criticism, you can actually convince this baby to feed on bottled milk instead of feeding on his mother’s milk.

On the other hand, if you start appreciating this baby a lot, for feeding on his mother’s milk and you keep telling him that it is the best thing to do in the world, the results may change. This baby may keep feeding on his mother’s milk much longer than he may have, if outside intervention was not there to affect him. Another interesting thing is that even if this baby starts feeding on bottled milk, affected by your criticism, your appreciation or criticism for this act can once again increase or decrease his level of confidence. It means your continuous criticism can make him quit the bottle also and use something else that you may suggest.

Looking at this experiment, you’ll find that as long as the baby doesn’t develop or become aware of intellect, he remains truly confident about whatever he wants to do and feeding on mother’s milk is just one of those acts. However, as this baby develops intellect and as he starts discriminating between good and bad, his confidence may start getting affected by the circumstances or people outside. It should be noted that in most cases, the criteria for discrimination between right and wrong is supplied by you and it may not come from inside the baby.

For example, if you keep telling this baby that it is bad for a kid above one year to feed on his mother’s milk and he should start feeding on bottled milk instead, this is what the definition of right and wrong about milk feed may become, for him. It means this baby may not only stop feeding on his mother’s milk but he may also register this statement in his mind as a rule that a baby older than one year should not feed on his mother’s milk. Hence he may reflect the same opinion when he gets old and he has his own babies.

You see, you’ve conditioned this baby and you have even controlled the roots of his intellect. It should be noted that your intellect works on the basis of calculation and analysis of facts and logics gathered by it over time and hence its correct or incorrect working depends on whether such facts and logics are correct or not. Therefore, if you can control the basic facts and logics which are supplied to a kid during early ages, you can control the type of intellect he may develop.

Coming back to the example, as long as your opinions don’t affect the actions of this baby, he remains truly confident about almost whatever it does. This is why you may find that until the kids start developing intellect, they’re the happiest. This is because their confidence remains unadulterated as other people can’t affect it positively or negatively. However, as soon as they start developing intellect, the appreciation or criticism of other people may start controlling the kind of confidence they have in an activity or in their overall personality.

Though there are many other examples, but the point is that true confidence rises from inside you and it remains unaffected by the appreciation as well as criticism offered by other people. Therefore, true confidence is the ornament of your soul whereas the illusionary confidence is the ornament of your ego. Since the attributes of the soul rise from it, they remain unaffected by the opinions of other people. On the contrary, the one and only diet of your ego is the attention and appreciation of other people.

This is why it feels happy when other people appreciate you or they pay attention to you and this is why your ego feels bad when other people criticize or ignore you. Hence if other people can control your confidence, it is a sign that such confidence is coming from your ego and not from your soul. As and when you feel that your confidence in something remains unaffected by the opinions of other people, you’ve become truly confident.

This is one aspect of liberation, having true confidence which rises from within you instead of depending on other people. Liberation means freedom and accordingly, a liberated soul is free and it doesn’t depend on outside people or circumstances for anything it wants to practice or feel. If you’re dependant on other people to feel confident, you’re not liberated as you’re not free and you’re bound to these people. This is because the happiness of a liberated soul depends only on itself and on nothing else. It means whenever a liberated soul wants to feel happy, it can feel happy no matter what is going outside.

On the other hand, a non-liberated soul may not feel happy even if it wants to, if the outside circumstances want to make it sad. It should be noted that liberation is complete freedom from each and every condition; and on the opposite end of this spectrum; lies the state called complete dependence which means that other people and outside circumstances control almost each and everything that a person in such state may want to do or feel.

The ultimate journey of each soul is to start from the point of absolute dependence and reach the point of absolute freedom. On the way to this journey, there are many milestones as well as points and this is why different people on this journey may be at different points or milestones. It means a person may entirely depend on the feedback of the others in order to feel confident or happy. This person is at the beginning of this journey as the dependence factor is high.

Himanshu Shangari