‘Tomorrow’ makes the mind wander || Acharya Prashant (2013)

Question: I very well know that the present moment is important or the immediate event is important, but yet I am unable to bring my mind to the center. The mind keeps wandering at all places. Why does this happen?

Speaker: He says, ‘I very well know that what is important is happening right now, yet the mind is such a rascal, it keeps going round and round and keeps wandering at all places.What to do?

First of all, it has to be understood that we were not born this way. This is an acquired disease. We were not born with it. We were born simple and innocent. Have you ever seen a two-year old or a four-year old wondering about what will happen ten years later? The two year-old or the four-year old lives fully in the present, he lives fully in the present. When he is happy, he is happy. When he is crying, he is crying.

There are two things that he is not really bothered about. One- about past and future, second- about others. You may be an authority in the world, but if he wants to pee on your shirt, he will do that. You may be anybody, but your shirt is gone and you cannot do anything about it, and the child will clap. The child looks very harmless, but when he wants to slap, he slaps and you cannot do anything. He does not even feel guilty. He slaps and looks the other way.

Sometimes he will slap and laugh. Sometimes he will fall down and will cry. Right? And then he will again be busy, he will not be preoccupied with memories. He will not be preoccupied with the past or the future. He will not say, ‘I am angry with you because you did something to me one month before.’ We are angry with people because they did something to us ten years earlier. Right?

‘Ten years back I was offended by somebody, and I am still reeling under the impact. I am still angry.’ The child is not angry after two days. You do something to him, he will feel bad, he may slap you, or he may cry, or he may go away. Tomorrow he will come back and he would have forgotten it, totally forgotten it. And if he is dancing and laughing, he is dancing and laughing. He has no concern about what is going to happen tomorrow.

Then, the child goes to school. And what does the mother tell him? Stop dancing, tomorrow you have an exam. And now a new thing comes to the child’s mind -tomorrow. What is this animal called, ‘tomorrow’? And this ‘tomorrow’ is a very dangerous animal. What is this tomorrow? Papa comes and says that do something so that tomorrow you may benefit. The child says, ‘Till this date I was doing something and benefiting right now. If I was dancing, I was enjoying it. Right now. It never happened that I danced today and enjoyed tomorrow. But today something new is being told to me. Mamma said that study otherwise you will fail tomorrow. Papa says that complete your education so that you may get a job tomorrow. What is this ‘tomorrow’? What is this ‘tomorrow’?’

The teacher says that why didn’t you do your homework yesterday. The child does not know the second animal, ‘yesterday’. He says that if I didn’t do my homework yesterday, then you should have given me a zero yesterday. Why are you punishing me right now for something that is not happening right now? The child says, ‘This is very strange. When I used to fall down then I would be hurt at that moment itself. It has never happened that something is happening right now and the punishment is taking place later on.’

Something new is happening. The society is introducing time in the student’s mind. What is the society doing? Introducing time in the student’s mind, ‘yesterday and tomorrow’. ‘Yesterday and tomorrow’ and this process keeps happening and happening and happening. ‘Study so that you may be placed tomorrow, live so that you may be happy tomorrow, work hard so that you may take a holiday tomorrow. You must try to succeed because, you were a failure yesterday.’

Now all his life has been filled with ‘yesterday’ and ‘tomorrow’. And what has gone away? Today has gone away. Nobody is talking to the child about today. Nobody is talking to the child about today that how are you feeling right now. Nobody asks him. Everybody is so bothered about his future. Now is it any wonder that the child is continuously filled with ‘yesterday’ and ‘tomorrow’? He has been filled with it. He was not born with it. He was born quite happy, self-sufficient. He has been made dependent on tomorrow.

And we all are dependent on tomorrow. We have become so dependent, that there is nothing in our life which can be called free. Even our love is dependent upon tomorrow. She is not worried about what is happening right now, that whether this is a moment of love. ‘When are we going to marry?’ And you are cursed if you say, ‘I don’t know.’ And you are dead if you say, ‘Who bothers?’ She is not worried about this moment, whether this moment is full of love or not. ‘When are we going to marry? How many kids will we have?’ Now there is no marriage, no kids because they are anyway imaginary. But what was real has also gone. In thinking about the future, the present has also gone away.

‘How can I get my next job?’ Now the next job has not yet come, but because you are all the time thinking of the next job, what happens to the present job? You are given many reasons to leave it because that’s what you have been wanting all along. It’s deep-deep training, very deep training, extremely deep training and the society is reinforcing that training through several means.

What are all the insurance companies telling you? ‘Zindagi ke saath bhi, zindagi ke baad bhi’ (With life, after life).Tomorrow!!! You watch those movies and there is that idiotic character that comes with that placard- ‘I love my family’. Have you seen those ads? It’s some insurance ad in which there is that idiot who says, ‘So that my wife can keep spending even after I am gone. I have bought life insurance’, and he is holding this placard-‘I love my family’. Tomorrow you will be dead, then what will happen to your family? And all the time the society is giving you all these messages. ‘Tomorrow’ that ghost, the dangerous animal called ‘tomorrow’. Laugh with me on this ‘tomorrow’ because you are so afraid. All the time we are afraid of ‘tomorrow’.

Afraid of tomorrow, attached to yesterday, no today.

You are born and daddy says, ‘I want my child to be an engineer.’ Tomorrow!!! You are studying, you do not bother whether you are enjoying that book. What do you bother yourself with? The result which is ‘tomorrow’. Now the book does not matter, the subject does not matter, the topic does not matter. What matters? Tomorrow – the result. The funny thing is that when the book does not matter, what will be the quality of the result? Bad. And then we wonder that why is it that tomorrow is always so bad? The tomorrow always turns out to be bad because we are obsessed with tomorrow. Note this as a basic rule of life.

Whenever you are obsessed with tomorrow, you lose the tomorrow, and the present as well. Whenever you are obsessed with tomorrow, you lose the tomorrow, and obviously the present. So what are you left with?

Listeners: Present

Speaker: No, that too is lost because your mind was busy with the tomorrow. So what are you left with? Nothing, absolutely poor like a beggar. ‘The today was all I had and I lost it because I was busy with the tomorrow.’ When you realize this clearly that in thinking of this and that, I am losing that which I already have, and it is such a poor deal, it is such an unprofitable deal, then the mind relaxes. When you see the truth of it then the mind relaxes. But, you need to clearly see the truth of it .

-Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

View the session at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJ2TpG9Jk_s

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