And this is what I call the magic of awareness: the moment you reach the basic root of anything it disappears, it simply disappears. You don’t have to drop it, you don’t have to take a vow, “I will not smoke again.” It simply drops of its own accord because you have become aware of the whole process. Now you will rather try to learn something that makes you relaxed, helps you not to be nervous.
I have seen people strangely…I used to know one of the speakers of the state assembly. He must have been seventy, and he must have been speaking for fifty years at least. He was the speaker of the assembly, but each time he stood to speak, he was so nervous that he used to keep his hands in his pockets. Those hands were just trembling.
He was also the vice-chancellor of my university, where I was teaching. One day he was inaugurating a new library building, and as he started speaking with his hands in his pockets, I approached with a piece of paper with some note on it. He had to take his hands out, he had to take the paper, and the paper went like this…and the whole audience was laughing. And there was nothing on it, just unreadable scribble.
He was very angry. He called me after the meeting into his office, and he said, “What was the need to expose me?”
I said, “It was absolutely necessary. You are seventy, you are a public speaker – forty years or more you have been speaking – and your hands tremble. Do you think nobody knows? Your hands are trembling in your pockets also. Anybody who has a keen observation can see that they are inside and trembling. I simply wanted you to be aware that hiding won’t help. Why are you so nervous?
“You are not an amateur. A new person facing an audience may feel afraid perhaps, may wonder perhaps whether he proves up to the standard of the people and their expectations or not. But you are a well-know speaker. You have proved yourself; now there is no need to be afraid. But you have been hiding your fear for these fifty years – not from other people but from your own consciousness, from your own awareness. What is the problem?
“Next time you try it: let your hands tremble but let them come out, they should not be in your pocket; otherwise I am going to come with a piece of paper again, and you will have to receive the paper, either with your mouth or with your hands.
“If you receive it with your mouth, you cannot speak; if you receive it with your hands the whole audience will see. It is better, if I am present that your hands are out of your pockets. But I would like you to go deeper into this stupid habit.”
He became silent. He had been angry, but now he was not angry because I had not done any wrong to him; I had brought something to his notice which he had been denying to himself and to the whole world. Now he was seventy and soon he would be dying.