So you are your possessions. Your name and reputation, your car and other property, the girl you are going to marry, the ambitions that you have -- you are these things. These things, together with certain characteristics and values, go to make up what you call ‘I’; you are the sum total of all this, and you are afraid of losing it. As with everyone else, there is always the possibility of loss; a war may come, there may be a revolution or a change in government towards the left. Something may happen to deprive you of these things, now or tomorrow. But why be afraid of insecurity? Is not insecurity the very nature of all things? Against this insecurity you are building walls that will protect you; but these walls can be and are being broken down. You may escape from it for a time, but the danger of insecurity is always there. That ‘which is’ you cannot avoid; insecurity is there, whether you like it or not. This does not mean that you must resign yourself to it, or that you must accept or deny it; but you are young, and why be afraid of insecurity?
‘Now that you put it this way, I don’t think I am afraid of insecurity. I really don’t mind working; I work over eight hours a day at my job, and though I don’t particularly like it, I can carry on. No, I am not afraid of losing property, the car and so on; and my fiancee and I can marry whenever we want to. I see now that it is none of this that is making me fearful. Then what is it?’
Let us find out together. I might be able to tell you, but it would not be your discovery; it would only be on the verbal level, and so utterly useless. The finding of it will be your own experiencing of it, and it is this that is really important. Discovering is experiencing; we will discover it together.
If it is none of these things that you are frightened of losing, if you are not afraid of being insecure outwardly, then of what are you anxious? Don’t answer right
away; just listen, be watchful to find out. Are you quite sure it is not physical insecurity that you are frightened of? As far as one can be sure of such things, you say that you are not frightened of it. If you are sure that this is not a mere verbal assertion, then of what are you afraid?
‘I am quite sure I am not frightened of being physically insecure; we can marry and have what we need. It is something more than the mere loss of things that I am afraid of. But what is it?’
We will find out, but let us consider it quietly. You really want to find out, don’t you?
‘Of course I do, especially now that we have gone as far as this. What is it that I am frightened of?’
To find out we must be quiet, watchful, but not pressing. If you are not frightened of physical insecurity, are you frightened of being inwardly insecure, of being unable to achieve the end which you have set for yourself? Don’t answer, just listen. Do you feel incapable of becoming somebody? Probably you have a religious ideal; and do you feel you have not the capacity to live up to or achieve it? Do you feel a sense of hopelessness about it, a sense of guilt or frustration?
‘You are perfectly right. Ever since I heard you some years ago as a boy, it has been my ideal, if I may say so, to be like you. It’s in our blood to be religious, and I have felt I could be like that; but there has always been a deep fear of never coming near it.’
Let us go slowly. Though you are not frightened of being outwardly insecure, you are frightened of being insecure inwardly. Another man makes himself secure outwardly with a reputation, with fame, with money and so on, while you want to be secure inwardly with an ideal; and you feel you have no capacity to become that ideal. Why do you want to become or achieve an ideal? Isn’t it only to be secure, to feel safe? This refuge you call an ideal; but actually you want to be safe, protected. Is that it?
‘Now that you point it out, that is exactly it.’
You have discovered this now, have you not? But let us proceed further. You see the obvious shallowness of outward security; but do you also see the falseness of seeking inward security through becoming the ideal? The ideal is your refuge, instead of money. Do you really see this?
‘Yes, I really do.’
Then be what you are. When you see the falseness of the ideal, it drops away from you. You are ‘what is’. From there proceed to understand ‘what is’ -- but not towards any particular end, for the end, the goal, is always away from ‘what is’.
The ‘what is’ is yourself, not at any particular period or in any given mood, but yourself as you are from moment to moment. Do not condemn yourself or become resigned to what you see, but be watchful without interpreting the movement of ‘what is’. This will be arduous, but there is delight in it. Only to the free is there happiness, and freedom comes with the truth of ‘what is’.
— Excerpt from Commentaries on Living I by Jiddu Krishnamurti