On feeling insecure

The other day my daughter asked an interesting question. She said: How come you didn’t feel insecure when you landed in India from the USA without a job. Yes, that was way back in 1982. Myself and my wife returned from the US determined to stay back. As luck would have it, I was jobless for the next 6 months. I was just going from one job interview to another. Rejecting some offers and rejected by some employers for being overqualified, it was certainly not a great home-coming! But, did I feel insecure? I didn’t seem to be bothered one bit.  I clearly remember travelling from Chennai to Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad etc job-hunting. In between the trips I was also thoroughly enjoying myself  holidaying either at my in-laws’ place or in my native place. All the while my wife was at her parents’ place expecting our fist baby.

Since my daughter raised the question about financial insecurity, I began wondering how it never occurred to me that I should feel insecure! I guess my rural upbringing was part of the reason. In a rural setting,  one doesn’t become overly ambitious and is largely content with whatever one gets. In contrast a city-bred boy would certainly set his sights high at an early age and would perhaps have every reason to feel insecure if he were jobless. Having said that, I think the question deserves further exploration.

Insecurity, like anger or jealousy, is an addiction arising out of conditioned reactions. Conditioned reactions, in contrast to conscious actions, are controlled by that part of the brain (mid-brain)which runs on auto-pilot mode. One needs to distinguish between action and reaction, facts & fiction. Joblessness is a fact. Insecurity is a fiction – a reaction, which is a mechanical happening. So are the other emotions anger and jealousy. I find it funny when a person advises another person not to get angry or depressed. No one gets angry or depressed by choice. It just happens. If one is conscious of the fact that one is angry or depressed, he would at once figure out the stupidity of it all.  It would be instantly realized that these emotions make our minds foggy and deprive us of clarity of thinking which alone can help us take the right steps if we are jobless, for instance. In other words, these emotions can be conquered only if we succeed to bring them into our conscious part of our minds. However, it appears impossible to become conscious of our emotions given the fact hat they run on an auto-pilot mode.This is a typical catch 22 situation.What do we do then?

Let us now go through the following thought process as an experiment. Let us say I’m insecure. Who is this ‘I’? Our Vedanta says this I is  complete by itself(POORNAM). For a moment let us accept this and proceed to see what happens. So, how can this ‘I’, which is complete by itself  feel insecure? So, if  ‘I’  is not insecure, what is responsible for this feeling? It’s the mind. What’s mind? It’s nothing but a bundle of all kinds of thoughts including the thoughts of insecurity. When I say I’m insecure, the mind is cooking up a credible story based on our conditioning that I’m trapped in a helpless situation, that I need to fulfill others’ expectations and so on. Once I see the mind with all its fictional stories, the ‘I’ becomes a SAKSHI or a witness and we create a space or separation between our real self and the emotion of anger or insecurity. In other words, the ‘I’ dissociates itself from the emotion and instantly the latter loses its anchor or support and is cut off . It vanishes magically and the mind would get tremendous clarity. While Zen masters also practice this, they are silent about this ‘I’ whereas Vedanta emphatically declares that this ‘I’ is the all-pervading Self or the Consciousness.  In this particular example being discussed, it’s this ‘I’, the Consciousness which gets enmeshed or superimposed with the feeling of insecurity and makes us lose perspective. The moment one manages to separate the Self from the emotion, one experiences a sense of victory over the emotion. One just has to experiment and try this out.

Our scriptures describe a mythological bird known as HAMSA, which is known to be capable of separating milk and water in a mixture. This is perhaps symbolic of our ability to distinguish between the real and the unreal.

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Published in: on February 8, 2014 at 3:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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