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Question: Acharya Ji, when I think of the future, it becomes slavery of the past, because future emerges from the images of the past. But at the same time there is a fear that – if I do not think of the future, from where will my actions come?
Acharya Prashant: Pranab, it is actually very simple, not at all complicated, if you look at it carefully.
Future is automatically, naturally flowing from the present. At this moment, several of us, it is evident from our faces, are listening carefully. Right? You are still and listening carefully. In this process of listening, you are not thinking, not planning; just listening. You are just present, and future is being created. Have we not moved in time in the last few minutes? Even as you are listening, is future not happening? Moment by moment, are we not moving into the future? We are, we surely are. And it is happening on its own, without needing any interference from our side.
But what do we think? Our usual conception is that – “Unless I create a future, future will not come.” Correct? Our conception is: “Unless I create the future, the future will not come.” Or let me put it this way: “Unless I create a beautiful future for me, there would be no beauty in the future.” Is that more correct? Is that the way you think? – “Unless I create a beautiful future for me, there would be no beauty in the future.” That’s the way we think. Correct?
Now going back to the example in your question. Considering this moment, the next second is the future, the next minute is the future, the next hour is the future. Consider this second itself, which is very much available to us. Are we not constantly going into the future peacefully, without problems, without any effort, just presence, just attention?
Let me take another example.
Let us have a seed with us. The seed’s nature is to grow into a tree. It is the seed’s very nature to grow into a tree. You do not need to imagine a future, so that the seed becomes the tree. What do you require? You just require that in the present moment you are with the seed, and you take care of it, and you give it water, give it sunlight, nourishment. And that will happen if you love the seed.
The equation goes: seed, plus air, plus water, plus sunlight, plus soil is equal to the tree. But in your mind, the equation has another variable. The equation in your mind, the equation is: seed, plus air, plus water, plus sunlight plus desire, is equal to tree. You feel that – “Unless I desire the seed to become a tree, how can it become a tree?”
It will become a tree on its own.
The present will become future on its own. You just take care of the seed; you just take care of the present, future will come on its own. A beautiful tree will be born, a beautiful future will be born, you just take of the present. The future will be beautiful, the seed will become a tree. You just take care of the seed, a beautiful tree will grow.
Is two plus two equal to four?
Acharya Prashant: But you will say, “Two plus two, plus desire, is equal to four. I (emphasising on the word ‘want’) want two plus two to be four.” If you have clarity, if you are looking at it correctly, then two plus two will be naturally four. Do you require a desire for it to be ‘four’? There is no need. All you need is appropriateness in looking at ‘two plus two’, and it will by itself come out to be four. It does not need your interference, because it is ‘four’.
A beautiful present is a beautiful future, because future is nothing but the present. The present of the next moment is the future of this moment. Is it not? Is it not? So don’t feel guilty at all that you are neglecting the future. In fact, if you are thinking that you are neglecting the future, you are still thinking about the future, still obsessed with it.
You do not need to desire it to be beautiful. Think about only present. The present of this moment is the future of the next moment.
In this also there is a slight misconception that needs to be corrected.
We all have the ability to forecast. Forecasting is one thing, and desiring from the future is another thing. You see, based on how economy is going, the economist can forecast how the production would be in the next year. That would also be looking into the future. But that is not the same as being future-oriented. We become future-oriented.
You have the weather department. What does it do? It keeps forecasting the weather. That is one thing, that I have the capacity to project the future. That is one thing. But to be obsessed with the future is an entirely different thing; an entirely different thing.
To make the future the centre of your action, is totally different. There are two ways of acting. One is – “I am acting right now, and out of this a future comes.” And the other is – “I already have the image of the future in my mind, and based on that image, I am working in the present.” Unfortunately, ninety nine percent of us work according to the second model.
See, the first model says, “I am in love with my books and studies in the present, and because I study well in the present, hence I will do well in the exams, which is in future.” The second model says, “When the examinations will be announced, when the exam dates will be put up, then to do well in that exam I will start studying. To do well in the future, I will start studying.”
That is the way of our life, that is the way of ninety-nine percent of the people. Future comes first for you, and then present comes from there, which is an absurd thing. You are reversing the flow of time. What comes first- future or present?
Acharya Prashant: But in our minds, future comes first. We say, “That’s where I want to go, so today I must be here,” “I want to succeed in that examination, so today I must study.” The appropriate way of living is: “Because today I am studying, hence I will naturally do well in any exam. I am not studying for the sake of exam; I am studying because I love to study.”
Would it not be beautiful if you could live this way? Then marks would just be a byproduct. You may not top, but there would be sufficient marks. We anyway don’t top; not all of us are toppers here. But you will get decent enough marks. Marks would not matter, what would matter is the time that you spend with the books; the thrill, the joy, the fun with the books that was there. Getting it?
Questioner: So can we say that we should not be bothered about the direction in which future is coming?
Acharya Prashant: Yes. Lovely! Feel free, let it come. Fearlessly let it come. Have deep Faith that – “I am capable of handling whatever will come.” As they say, “Bring it on. Bang! Bring it on. I am not afraid, I am not scared. Not shivering. Just bring it on. Let it come. I have the wherewithal to respond to it. My Intelligence is adequate. There is a challenge, I will respond.”
The world is not a threatening place. Please! We think that unless we secure ourselves well, the future can harm us. Right? That is what we think, that if we do not secure ourselves well, there may be some danger in the future? Correct? And to take care of ourselves we must wear some kind of armor, we must enclose ourselves.
Right? Is that what we do?
The word is not a dangerous place. Had the world been a dangerous place, how could you have been born? The very fact that you are here, means that existence has no enmity with you. This air that is available for breathing, did you plan to get this air? Does existence have enmity with you? You can hear, you can see, you have become young. Your arms are powerful, you have energy. Does this come to you because asked for it? Did you desire it?
You have eyes, you have eyesight, is it because you desired it? Did you ask for it? Existence has given this all to you, how can existence be hostile towards you? The past was not hostile, the present is not hostile, how can future be hostile? Why are you so afraid? You understand ‘hostility’? What is ‘hostility’? Enmity.
All that there is, if it had any enmity with you, then could you have survived? We are all such small beings. One meteorite, all everything would collapse and vanish away. There is a very small range of temperature in which man can survive. If the temperature crosses the upper limit, everyone will be burnt to death, and if the temperature goes below the lower limit, we all will be frozen to death.
Existence has given us all favourable conditions. Is it true or not? If the percentage of Nitrogen changes from seventy eight per cent to ninety eight percent, will we all die or not?
Is the world really a hostile place? Is it? You may say, “It is not the world, but others are our enemies.” Was it not the others who taught you to walk? This language that you are listening and I am speaking, this language, was it not given to us by others? This paper that we use, this too was invented and given to us by others. This fan, these clothes that we wear, are these not inventions done by others?
Acharya Prashant: Essentially, in all planning for the future, is the fear of the future.
Watch the session video: Plans of future come from fears of the past || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2013)
The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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