Tag Archives: Fear

Deep seated problems

I was to attend a Conference in Mumbai last week along with a colleague of mine. We were to catch a morning flight to Mumbai and decided to share the same taxi to the Airport. To confirm the plans, I rung her up the previous evening and told her that the taxi would pick me up at 6.00 AM and she should be ready by 6.15AM.
I was somewhat surprised when she asked me if we shouldn’t be leaving earlier than that( We had a 8.30 flight and the Airport was approximately 1 – 1.5 hrs. of drive from where we were. Considering all this, I had booked the taxi at 6.00AM which would give us some buffer in case the Bangalore traffic throws up some surprises). I told her that we would be there well in time and asked her why she felt we should leave earlier.
‘I want to check in my bag’ she told me
That was ridiculous. We would be in Mumbai for just two days, and in no way I could imagine that someone would carry a bag that couldn’t go in as cabin baggage. When I asked why she was carrying so much stuff just for two days, she clarified that it was because she wanted to carry some perfume in the bag. That sounded a good enough reason, as liquids more than 100ml wasn’t allowed in the cabin baggage. Not wanting to change the plans, I suggested that she either carry a small bottle or buy one after we land in Mumbai; in case she was very particular.
She agreed to this, though I couldn’t help feeling somewhat puzzled at this strange (at least for me) conversation.
So we were there at the Airport the next morning and were about to board the flight. While at the queue, she requested a help from me. Once we were inside, she wanted me to help her put her bag in the overhead lockers (She was very short and couldn’t reach the lockers herself). I was happy to help, but then another problem arose. As per our allotted seats, she had to use the front door and I had to use the rear door. While I was about to leave her towards the rear door, she quickly handed over to me her bag and told me that she would collect it when we reach Mumbai.
So here I was carrying two bags plus my laptop bag, trying not to look like a porter. I was a bit annoyed. While I was happy to be of any help, this was going beyond the limits. Any co-passenger would have helped her put the baggage in the lockers or she could have asked the air hostesses to help her.
That moment everything connected together in a flash. I understood the whole problem. As I had told, my colleague was very short and apparently was very conscious about it. I realized that that was the reason why she wanted to check in the baggage in the first place; to avoid being uncomfortable while trying to stove it in the overhead locker. That was also the reason for her almost impolite behavior of handling it over to me.
I have come across several such instances where people (including myself) act in strange ways to cover up such deep complexes and fears and also to fulfill deep desires. I remember when I had purchased my first car in 2004; my father was the proudest man on earth. He grew up in poverty and had to toil hard his entire life to make a living. I am sure a Car would have been beyond his dreams. We drove to the market in my car. The weather was very hot and I wanted to turn the a/c on. But my father suggested that we roll the windows down to get some fresh air. Soon I understood what was in his mind – he wanted everyone to see him travelling in his own car. I saw him beaming and smiling at friends and acquaintances throughout.
These deep desires, fears and complexes create our lives and influence the way we think, react and make decisions. And most of the time we don’t get to set them right because we constantly justify our behavior and put in all our efforts to ensure that they aren’t threatened.
Note: I am just setting up my website ( http://sajeevvk.com/) which exclusively will contain my thoughts on mind and its working. I welcome you there and would be grateful for any feedback and comments.

The Law of Attraction

Over the lunch I was listening to the story of my friend caught and ‘fined’ by the traffic police.

This was not the first time that my friend was caught by the traffic police; I have listened in the past too to several such stories. In one case he was actually fined in another state; the reason – the size of the letters on the number plate of his car was not as per the specification.

It would be appropriate at this point to also mention about how the traffic police operate in India. Ideally one would expect that you violate a rule and the police catch you. But it’s actually the other way round. They catch you and then try to find a reason to slap a fine. And commuters are not actually caught for violating the traffic rules (in India rules are more of a matter of convenience) but for not carrying the relevant documents.

But then, a large number of drivers in India do not carry proper documents with them; at times by mistake and at times deliberately. This has, over a period of time led to two things: Firstly, police have figured out a way to identify who is having documents or not, just by scanning the commuters’ faces. Secondly, the people have figured out how to ‘sense’ the presence of ‘traffic police’ on the way; if there is ‘police checking’ ahead, the traffic takes a specific pattern that people have learnt to sense. 

Back to the story. Typically, this is how the traffic police conducts their operation. Two policemen step on to the road and scans the drivers by looking at their faces. They stop the suspects who need to then go to the team (normally the head of the team) who stands by the parked vehicle.

But my friend actually travels with all the necessary documents. But then if he was being stopped by traffic police so often, it does mean that by looking at him the traffic police gets a feeling that he does not have the documents.  

I told my friend that there must be something in his ‘face language’ that’s giving him away. But that actually seemed a remote possibility, because he had all his documents with him. But then where is the problem?

 After some discussions and reflections, we found where the problem is (possibly). Some years back, my friend was driving a motor bike in the city. His salary wasn’t great, so it so happened that the insurance of the bike was not renewed and the pollution test not done. This remained so for several years. During that period, he had so much fear for the traffic police and had to be constantly on the lookout for them. In his own words – whenever he would see a while shirt, a panic alarm would go off.

 Years went by and he moved to better paying jobs and now is driving a car. But the fear for policemen was deeply rooted in his unconscious mind. This fear is what the traffic police men were looking for when they scan the drivers and that explains why he was being caught so often.

 How true is the law of attraction! It’s the fear of something that attracts it – fear of danger brings danger, fear of insecurity makes one insecure, fear of  suffering makes one suffer… It’s negative spiral that reinforces itself. Here the fear actually attracts danger and the danger in turn creates more fear.

Dreams and Feelings

So much has been written about dreams, but it’s still a great experience to dream. What do dreams convey? I have had several experiences where subtle feelings are expressed in dreams. Here are two recent dreams.

1)This happened few days back. I had been working in the balcony in the evening and left my laptop there. As I went to bed at night I remembered that the laptop was left at the balcony and someone could steal it. I got up, brought the laptop in and went to sleep. And that night I had the following dream.

I had boarded a bus at a strange hilly region. The bus had travelled some distance when I realized that I had boarded the wrong one. I decided to get down. My bags, including the laptop bag, was kept at the back of the bus. As I moved to the back to pick them up, some strange people rushed past me. I reached the back to realize that the bags were missing and then it struck me that those people who rushed past had stolen my bags and laptop.

I think I woke up at that point….

2) I had an early flight to catch today morning. The taxi was to arrive at 5.00AM and this meant that I had to wake up at 4.30. Waking up early is something that I really hate.

I had set the alarm at 4.30 before I went to bed. I was in deep sleep when I heard the message alert tone from my mobile phone. I immediately understood that it was the message from the taxi company with the chauffeur details and confirming the pickup. The alarm was yet to ring (but I knew it was close) and I drifted back to sleep. Then I had this dream.

I was at some strange place with a group of friends. We were all leaving to some other place in what looked like early morning. Then suddenly I looked  at my watch and realized that it was only 1:30 AM (or so) and we had misunderstood the time. I informed my friends and proceeded to my room to sleep further.

The alarm went off and I was awake.

What had happened is when I heard the message alert tone, subconsciously I knew that I will need to wake up shortly. But then the subconscious mind expressed its desire to sleep through the dream

 What remains in the mind after the dreams is a very subtle feeling. In the first case it was fear and the in the second case it was a relief. Probably the unconscious mind attempts to express its feelings through dreams!

Superstitions and Intuition

This is an afterthought from the previous post….

Superstitions involve some beliefs that aren’t logical but yet you believe them to be true. If you observe, that’s the same case with Intuition. In intuition, you know something but may not know how or why.

There are two aspects to such ‘illogical’ beliefs. One is the ability of the mind to believe in it and second is the outcome and the environment. It’s likely that it is the same quality of the mind that believes in superstitions and also intuitive thoughts.

 What distinguishes them is fear

 Fear works in two ways. Fear comes when you already know the outcome of something. Fear restrains you from doing that activity because the outcome is unacceptable/unpleasant/dangerous. This fear is sometimes good because it helps you avoid danger and survive

Fear also works the other way. When the future looks uncertain (or the probability of success is very small), certain blind beliefs could help to reduce the anxiety. In India most superstitious people are film stars, politicians and business men; because all their professions involve a lot of uncertainty.

 But when the uncertainty is acceptable, intuition dawns. In the case of blind superstitions, you are trying to make your uncertain future predictable, while in the case of intuition, you are not conditioned by the fear about the uncertainty.

 If you basically have the quality of blind beliefs, it is likely that you can become very intuitive. It’s said that consciousness exits at three levels: Instinct, Intellect and Intuition. At the level of instinct the thinking is conditioned by fear, at the level of intellect, the thinking is conditioned by intelligence and when these conditioning are removed, you become intuitive.


A ghost story – Part 1

What happens to us after we are dead? Do we exist as ghosts? Can the ghosts come back and interact with us? Do ghosts harm us? If they do, what’s the purpose?

I know there are no right answers to these questions. But let me narrate an incident that’s taking place in our apartment complex.

I live in a 64 flat, 5 storied apartment complex. The incident I am about to narrate began about two weeks back. We have two guards for the night security. Couple of days back they started sensing something strange in the car park area. More than once they saw a shadow of a man moving in the parking area at odd hours. On many occasions, somebody was trying to open the door of a car parked in the parking area. Twice the security alarm of the car went off at night.

Two days back someone from the 1st floor called up the security late night complaining that someone was dragging a luggage trolley on the corridor and they suspected it for a thief. The security guards went to investigate and found nothing.

Day before yesterday the guards heard the sound of the trolley from the first floor and upon inspection found no one there. Suddenly there was the smell in incense in the air. They heard the noise of someone banging on the plastic sheets on the terrace and again couldn’t see anyone. This happened at about 3AM. The guards were terrified and decided to stick to each other and sat on two chairs facing each other. Then a terrible thing happened. One of the guards suddenly felt someone pressing his neck from behind and froze in horror. The other guard who noticed this shook him fiercely to bring him back the senses.

There is some background to this story. One of the residents of our apartment, who was living on the first floor, succumbed to death about 6 months back. The car, around which the problems began, belongs to him. And the noise of dragging the trolley came from the floor where he used to live.

The problem got worse yesterday. We had made arrangements for all the lights to be turned on. The guards, now beyond their wit’s end, sat together on two chairs facing each other. A strange loud noise brought the guards from the adjoining complex to come to our apartment and to their horror they found both the security guards frozen with fear and out their mind.

Both the guards reports that someone caught hold of their neck from back and tried to thrust a finger in to their mouth and this time they saw who it was. It was the person who passed away 6 months back.

This is where the story stands as of now. I am not sure if the security guards were hallucinating or there is something really unnatural taking place. These security guards come from the north-east India, where such beliefs might be very strong. I don’t know.

I am leaving this post incomplete. I will continue the narrative if there are further developments.

But there is something that I don’t understand at all. Why should this gentleman, who was quiet reserved and harmless, now intend to harm someone? That too the poor guards.

Strange Dreams

Like everybody, I do get dreams. Though I must be getting several of them, I don’t remember many when I wake up. Though most them are just trivial or too cluttered, there are a few that are really interesting. These occur when my mind moves between different stages. It’s rather strange, but my mind keeps going around compulsive thinking, deep awareness and presence. These dreams are interesting because they seem very familiar, and are either to do with a distant past (that I don’t remember) or something in the future (that has happened later).

Last Friday night, I had such a dream. I was just recovering from a bad state of mind. I saw a colleague of mine in the dream. We, together with a group of people (who looked like students/tourists) were climbing up a winding pathway. We stopped twice on the way before we climbed up to the highest point. Then apparently for no reason, she just jumped down and died. I could not figure out what happened. It wasn’t clear whether she did jump herself, or was it an accident or someone pushed her. From where I stood, I could see a tall building with a garden (I think so) in front of it.

For whatever reason I believe in re-births and also strongly feel that some of these dreams are to do with some previous lives. But that’s completely illogical too if I had to substantiate it. So I deliberated on whether I should share this dream with my colleague.

 Today, I narrated my dream to her over a coffee. She seemed amused. After a pause she told me something interesting. Even now, apparently she is afraid of heights and whenever she stands at height, she is suddenly overcome by a fear of someone pushing her from behind.

Wow! That was interesting. People who believe in re-birth and past lives, suggest that many unknown elements in our personality such a fear, violent emotions etc are the result of past life experience. And the idea of Past Life Regression is that when you see it yourself, the problem vanishes.

“Was it the past or the future that you saw?” she asked me earnestly.

I had not thought about it earlier. But then it occurred to me that whenever the dreams were about the past, the person’s visual image was not clear. I just knew that it was somebody, but I couldn’t see them or I couldn’t recognize them visually. And I think (this I am not sure) there was no sound. But whenever the dreams were of something in future, I could see the visuals and also hear sound.

 “It was probably in the past” I said.

But I don’t know if there is any logic in this. Perhaps time to read “The Interpretation of Dreams”. I had purchased the book long back, but found it extremely difficult to read. But at least I am going to make an attempt now!

The origin of fear

 Where does the fear in us come from? Does it come from knowing or from ignorance?

Sounds like a very philosophical question and most of the philosophers would pick ignorance.

Let me narrate my experience. I usually take a walk in the evening in park near to my residence. I typically go late in the evening to avoid the evening crowd there, so that I can walk briskly without bumping to people. It was around 8.30PM yesterday that I was in the park. The park was mostly empty and I was walking briskly. Suddenly, I thought something touched my leg and in a reflex, I leaped forward. When I turned back, to my horror, there was a huge cobra trying to cross the jogging track. I very narrowly escaped being bitten. Needless to say, I didn’t continue any further.

I made it a point to go early today and the park was somewhat crowded. I was very cautious keeping a close watch on either side and paying attention to the slightest movement. After while, I realized that it was only me who was being so cautious. All the others were walking freely and carelessly. Of course they didn’t know there was a Cobra around. But when I thought about the risk, they and I had almost the same risk of being in danger. And then how come that only I had the fear?

Where does the fear in us come from? Does it come from knowing or from ignorance? I sat on the park bench thinking about this and watching some kids play. Then I started thinking about whether children have fear. I think they do. But then it struck me that there is a big difference between the fear that children have and the adults have. We are mostly afraid of something that might happen and children are afraid of something that’s happening. Try to make a child understand what ‘risk’ is, you will understand this.

But then does the fear come because the knowing is limited or is it a different type of Knowing that the philosopher is talking about? Perhaps.