How to obtain a satisfied future? || Acharya Prashant (2013)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.

Question: In present college scenario there is one thing which is the academics, which I focus on or there is this equivalent pool of activities which will help me develop my personality, in a sense that if I get better in a specific activity, it might help me in future, in my life. So, in general I may have the belief that I am good in academics, I need to excel in academics but academics might not help me in my life, in my future. How should I balance and how should prioritize things? What is contentment? Is it right to compromise on contentment because I may do something particular today which will help me in future irrespective of whether it is making me happy or not? Is it the right way to lead life?

Speaker: There are two questions in this:

First: What is contentment?

Second: Can contentment be obtained by doing something?

This contentment is a thing of the future. The answer is contained in our own daily activities and what we see all around us.

What satisfies a terrorist?


What satisfies a scientist?

More time spend in the laboratory.

What is a Hindu interested in?


What a Muslim interested in?


What would be an Indian nationalist interested in?


What would be a man interested in?


Don’t you see what satisfies you comes deeply from how you are conditioned? Are you getting it? You find satisfaction only in that, in which you are conditioned to be satisfied in. So this satisfaction happens to be quite an ugly word because this satisfaction is nothing but continuation of repeated patters of the past. This satisfaction is not even yours, you are trained to be satisfied in this and that is the reason this satisfaction is never really complete. Doe it not happen that you do something and never really feel satisfied and then you hop on to something else? You reach there but that point is never final, so you hop on to something else. Had that really satisfied you, would you still have hunger to do something more and more? He wants to ask what kind of balance I should take up. What is a satisfactory balance?

The answer cannot be given directly but yes what can be certainly said is that let it not be an external influence that decides this. Let it not come from the seniors or anybody else. If it is coming from there, than it cannot be your own, it cannot be the product of your intelligence. Let it not come from a general trend. There is no fun in being a part of the crowd and it’s not fun remaining separate for the sake of it. I am not advocating that if everybody is going one side of the road, then you should start driving on the wrong side. I don’t do what the crowd does, so I drive on the wrong side. Not that, not really that. Because even in that you are dependent on the crowd. ‘If the crowd goes right, I will go left’. You are still dependent, you are still a follower of the crowd. The word satisfaction is quiet intriguing, it is always something to be obtained and it lies in the future. The word ‘future’ must ring a bell. When we say future, we mean the…..

Listeners(everyone): Time.

Speaker: Yes! And hence a hunt for satisfaction necessarily means that right now you are…

Listeners(everyone): Dissatisfied.

Speaker: Correct! Unhappy, dissatisfied. Now look at this absurd logic of the brain. It says, ‘Right now I am dissatisfied, right now there is a disease and I will cure it in the future’. If you are sick right now, then you need a medicine right now. You cannot say, ‘I am so miserable, my life is pathetic but the day I will pass out and get a nice job, then I will be satisfied and happy’. What about the remaining four years?

You live life today and you think you will be satisfied then. So do you see what you are doing in your life? You are wasting it, absolutely wasting it. Everybody who is living in dreams and ambition is making a terrible waste of life. Everybody and anybody who is running after results of any kind is surely wasting his life because chasing results means you are not in love with the moment, and in the moment there is always a process. That you are not in love with the process. It would be on one particular day that the results would be declared. Right? But life is continuous, every moment. If happiness belongs to one moment when the result is declared, then it is a very poor life. You get your salary cheque on one particular day in a month. How many days do you work? If happiness belongs to one particular day when you get that cheque, then what about the other twenty-nine days? How do you spend them? In misery. That’s what we do. We spend those days in misery. ‘I will be happy when results come, I will be happy when I beat him, I will be happy when my C.G.P.A. exceeds 8.5, I will be happy when so and so happens’, and that so and so is always in the future, and future is always in the brain.

There is no future, life is this moment and those who live in their aims and goals necessarily miss out on life. Are you getting it? Look at the poverty of those who say that this is a stepping stone and there is this ladder, the proverbial ladder of success and we are climbing up that ladder, and you put your leg on one rung and then you put your leg on another rung. What they don’t say is that you are not satisfied at any rung of the leader, you are miserable at every step and that is why you keep climbing up and up and up. There is no real movement taking place because at every step you are still miserable. Is the patient improving if day after day his condition is still improving? You go to a doctor and he keeps telling us that wait till tomorrow and there is this infinite series of tomorrow. What kind of doctor is that? Surely a quack.

Our brain is that kind of doctor, it keeps you in an illusion that there is something great in the future. And we have understood why brain keeps looking at the future. Because of its own insecurity, because of its inability to live in the present.

Listener 1: How can we condition our brain to live in the present?

Speaker: You cannot condition your brain to live in the present. You can only be aware of the processes of the brain. Brain is like a machine. Howsoever much you alter it, you may change its design, you will do a few other changes, you can entirely change its programming, but howsoever you may change its programming, it would still remain a machine bound by its programming. Old programming or new programming, programming is programming. Programming is slavery. Are you getting it?

Brain can never go beyond its programming. Yes there can be different kinds of programming, Hindu programming, Muslim programming, Young programming and Old programming, Male programming and Female programming. There can be different kinds of programming but the brain can never go beyond that programming. So don’t talk of doing too much with the brain. Talk of that intelligence that can understand this programming. The brain is programmed and it cannot understand that it is programmed. Intelligence understands that the brain is programmed. What does intelligence do? It looks at the brain and this is called witnessing. Intelligence understands that it is a machine and hence not to be taken very seriously. Are you getting it? That’s the only way you become master of the brain rather than the brain becoming the master of you.

How do you look at the brain? By looking at what it does everyday from the morning till the evening. By remaining alert, awake and conscious. You see how habituated it is. What is a habit? A repetition of the past. You see how habituated brain is. You wake up in the morning and you immediately start doing what your habit tells you. You go to the same set of people every day, you are habituated to calling up your friends. To be intelligent is to look into all this and more, the habits that the brain follow, its sense of insecurity, boredom, frustration that we come across every day. To be intelligent is to be alert right now, to observe what the brain is doing. Even right now, is it listening or wandering in thoughts?

We all know that thoughts are time. That is the only way you go beyond the brain, and to go beyond the brain is to go beyond the slavery and become a master, not by trying to alter the shape of the brain, not by enforcing some discipline upon you but by intelligently understanding the limitations of the brain. And the limitations of the brain can be seen only in its functioning, how it functions, how you get angry very soon, how lust and other impulses, of a purely mechanical nature, chemical driven, hormone driven arise in you By observing all this, not by suppressing all this, not by fighting it. You do not fight a machine. What fun is there in fighting a machine? You understand a machine. As intelligent people what do you do?

Do you fight machines? No.You understand their design, you understand their input and output methods, and then you have understood a machine, you had mastered the machine. So you understand the brain. You are sitting and a thought comes to you and you don’t become a slave of that thought. You say, ‘It is alright, now I understand where this thought is coming from, let it be there’. You become very emotional upon hearing something or reading something. You do not let the emotion over power you. You say, ‘I know what this thing called emotion is. It in nothing but the manifestation of thoughts. When the thought becomes very intense, it takes the shape of emotion and life is different, very different’. This is the way the intelligent being deals with the brain. Observes it, witnesses it, looks at it.

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: How to obtain a satisfied future? || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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