“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. This means that to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy” ~ Jerry Seinfeld
Have you ever wondered why so many people are afraid of public speaking? It is because it brings up all of their insecurities:
• what will people think of me?
• will they recognize that I am not really confident within myself?
• what if my mind goes blank and everyone laughs at me?
• what if my talk is so bad that everyone leaves in the middle of it?
• what if I have a heart attack?
Ultimately, what public speaking does is that it activates the imposter syndrome within. And this fear of being a fraud is more deep-rooted than most people realize. It can be tracked all the way down to the very first thought of separation.
When you believe yourself to be a separate person identified with the mind (i.e. conditioned patterns of thinking) and the body (i.e. feelings and sensations), an immediate sense of separation ensues. With this belief, your well-being is dependent on the circumstances of the outside world – relationships, jobs, wealth, or fame. This fundamental and illusory sense of separation is accurately brought to the surface through public speaking. Suddenly, you – a separate, limited, temporary person – have to perform in front of an audience comprised of many other judgemental people that may easily see through your insecurities and fragility.
However, have you ever questioned the belief that you are the mind/body through self-inquiry? Let us do it now:
• Are you a thought?
• Are you a sensation?
• Are you a feeling?
• Are you the body?
Since thoughts come and go, and you remain, you are not your thoughts. The same is true for feelings and sensations. But what do they appear and dissolve in?
The only one worthy to be called ‘I’ is the one in which the totality of experience appears and disappears, who remains present and aware under all circumstances. As such, the body is also a part of the experience – just like thoughts, feelings, and sense perceptions.
How is this relevant to public speaking? It is relevant in the following way: once you know your Self as infinite and eternal Awareness, all things appearing within you are one with you, and yet cannot change or affect you. As such, the true experience of public speaking is one in which you are only looking at, and speaking to, your Self. There is no sense of separation, no place for fear, and only absolute peace.
Once you know your Self, all thoughts, feelings, actions, and relationships begin to be aligned with the state of undisturbed peace that you find yourself in. Public speaking is no longer something to fear, since there is no difference between speaking with an audience or speaking with a friend – all you know is your Self, and there is nothing outside of you.
Can you imagine the beauty and simplicity of an effortless life like this?
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