True self-confidence is a great resource that gives strength and inner calm. But, I'm not talking about the usual sort of self-confidence that is dependent upon achievements, looks, success and other circumstances. This circumstance-dependent self-confidence is fragile and subject to collapse if circumstances change – which they usually do.
There is another sort of self-confidence that is absolutely unshakeable. This type of self-confidence is built upon experience of the True Self. Here follows a story by Swami Rama that illustrates this independent sort of self-confidence. It’s from his book Samadhi, The Highest State of Wisdom, Pp, 101-104:
"When I was at a small resort called Bhawali in the Himalayas, one of the British generals there had a pair of Great Danes. I used to do a practice to find out the subtle fragrance that remains dormant. For that I needed flowers, so every morning I would go to the resort and pluck some. I was just thirteen years of age and did not have the sense that it was somebody else's garden. One morning when I was plucking the flowers for my morning puja, that general warned me, 'Hey, young swami. This is my garden. Don't trespass. I have dangerous dogs and they will kill you. I will not be responsible. If you trespass again, I will inform the police and you will be arrested.’
"I said, 'Just let me pick the flowers and don't worry about the dogs. I will handle them.'
"He informed the police that a young swami came every day, plucked the flowers, and went away. The police were very kind to me and they just smiled and ignored this. The next morning the general let his dogs loose. When they saw me they started barking and coming toward me. I stood and said, 'Don't do this. What have I done to you? All I do is come to pick flowers. You are obeying your foolish master.'
"They stopped. I whispered something to the dogs and petted them and showed them that I respected them. They both lay down and I took away my flowers.
"After that when their master would call them, the dogs wouldn't go to him. I pointed out to him that the dogs wouldn't bark unless I said they could. The next day there was a Rs. 25,000 suit filed in the court against me that I was a magician who had hypnotized the dogs and now they had become useless. I did not use hypnosis. If it was indirect hypnosis, then I'm sorry. I did not know.
"One of the police officers came quietly at night and said, 'You are creating problems. You are trespassing and plucking flowers. This is illegal and you know it.
"I said, 'Yes, but I want to set this man right. He is too proud and he hurts many people. Every day he gives a report against someone to the police. He harasses everyone. I am the fittest person to fix him. I am going to set him right.
"I had to appear in the court. The judge said, ‘Swami, have you hypnotized the dogs?’
"I said, 'I do not know dog hypnotism, and I do not hypnotize. I confess that I am guilty of plucking some flowers, and if you want to fine me, I will pay you.’
"The judge knew me, so he dismissed the case.
"I have but one rule in my life. That is called self-confidence. That self-confidence is not built on ego or on having wealth, family, or many friends. Confidence comes from within. Whatever you do, do it in such a way that you are confident of your actions. You can have self-confidence by becoming aware of the immortal Self that is within you. I don't have self-confidence in my body, senses, or mind. I have confidence in my Atman—my soul—and the cosmic soul. Confidence comes when you go to the source that is the immortal part of your being. That which does not have its own existence cannot give you self-confidence. When you know the immortal part of yourself, then you become confident. The more you become aware of the Reality within, the more confident you become. If you are not aware of the Reality within, you will remain ignorant. Self-confidence means having confidence in the real Self of all, the very source of light and light within you."