Confidence — an illusion in duality

Acharya Prashant
4 min readNov 7, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Acharya Prashant (AP): ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are value judgments. I will not very quickly get into them because you are adults, mature adults. You can find out on your own. I can only be with you, and together we can discover what this ‘confidence’ business is all about.

As you are asking this question, are you confident? Did that thought or concept come to you, ‘confidence’? Or did you just ask?

Listener (L): Just asked.

AP: You just asked. Were you sitting there under extreme pressure of some kind of a situation, were it made mandatory that those who would not ask questions would face a particular punishment, or were you under the greed that if you ask a question, you would be given certain incentive then you would require confidence to ask.

L: So, it is how we perceive the situation.

AP: Yes!

If the mind perceives the situation as frightening, then it will require confidence. You see, confidence is a false medicine.

The real thing is to let there be no fear, then confidence too is not needed.

But we have been brought up on a dose of confidence. “You see he is so confident.” Parents would say, “My son is so confident.” Your friends would make a hero of you. “Confident chap that one!” All this happens without realizing what we are talking about. Funny! Is it not?

L: As we grow up, we keep accumulating negative beliefs, false assumptions, and fears from the world around us. These become our invisible fences. How to overcome all these?

AP: He is saying that as we grow, we keep accumulating imaginary fears. And he’s asking how to get rid of these imaginary fears. If you are so clear that these are imaginary, why do you want to get rid of them? Were I so clear that I am talking about something imaginary, what is the need of getting rid of it?

The very realization that it is imaginary, is helping you to get rid of it. You’re done, home. What is left to achieve? You have known that it is imaginary. The real question is, “Do I know what is imaginary?” Ask that.

We live a life in which we