Why do I keep repeating mistakes? || Acharya Prashant (2015)

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


Question: Why do we keep repeating the same mistakes again and again?

Speaker: There must be some pleasure in repeating those mistakes. Otherwise, why would you want to do it again and again? It’s just for namesake that you are calling it a ‘mistake’. Actually, it is not a mistake at all for you. It is a pleasurable activity, may be even some kind of an accomplishment. Had it really been a mistake, would you have allowed it to be repeated?

It is just to keep a good social face, that we call it a ‘mistake’. “Dhokhe se ho gaya” (Happened by mistake). And now we are preparing for it to happen again.

(Sarcastically“Such a nice mistake. May I be mistaken again and again.”

Look into this; admit this. Do you really want to be free of mistakes? Do you really want that mistake to go away? After not waking up at five in the morning, when you wake up at eight, you say that you have made a mistake. But what were you saying at five o’clock? Was it a mistake at that time?

No. It was a decision. It was a decision; it was not a mistake at that time.

When is it a mistake, at eight o’clock or at five o’clock? At eight, it becomes a mistake. Because now you have to talk to yourself, and now you have to talk to the world, and now you have to somehow justify why you couldn’t get up at five. So, now that act becomes a mistake. Was that actually a mistake? No, it was a very pleasurable thing at that time. “Just keep sleeping, great pleasure!”

To call a mistake, a ‘mistake’ is probably the only mistake. It is never a mistake. It is always a deliberate take.

That is why it is extremely important to be free of guilt. At eight, be a man! Have the guts to admit that I decided not to wake up. And then like a man, take the consequences.

First of all you regaled yourself with the pleasure of sleeping. Right? At five, you gave yourself the pleasure of sleeping. And at eight, you want to give yourself the pleasure of feeling good about yourself.

(Sarcastically) “No, my intentions were pure. I actually wanted to get up. It was just a mistake.”

Now that you have had all the pleasure, just stand up and admit- ‘I decided to sleep. Now what is the punishment? I want to take it. It was not a mistake. I did it. And now whatever is the consequence, I must and I will bear it.’ Take it; don’t feel guilty.

You have had a hearty meal at the restaurant; don’t you want to pay the bill? Don’t you want to do that? Now, like a man, pay the cheque. Why say- ‘O my god! It was a mistake. You know, I just wanted to have lemon soda. But instead of that I ended up having a four course dinner. It was a mistake you see. I never wanted to eat anything.’

(Laughter)

Just say- ‘I was the one who opted for pleasure, and I realize that pleasure comes with pain. So I will bear the pain now. In any case I don’t have a choice.’ Having had the pleasure, pain is inevitable. So what is the point of running away?

Spirituality is not an insurance against paying bills. Most of us turn to spirituality after having had the dinner. And now when it comes to paying the bill, you want to be spiritual. Now you say- ‘Can I get rid of the consequences of my past actions?’ No you can’t. Pay the bill.

Most people turn to spirituality only for this reason. The past is full of rubbish and they are clinging to that rubbish. There are unfinished tasks, there are incomplete actions. There is a lot of carry-over, and you don’t want to get rid of it. You just want to escape from it.

Spirituality is not a refuge against paying the bill. I am repeating, whatever you did, you must now pay for it. Like a man, pay for it. But in paying for it, if you are conscious, if you realize that you are paying for it because of your own follies, then paying for it is less of a suffering.

What does Kabir say? “Deh dhare ka dand hai. Sab kahu ko hoye. Gyani bhugte gyan se, moorakh bhugte roye” (The intelligent one bears in understanding, the foolish one bears in suffering).

You will have to pay for your mistakes. Now don’t cry. Pay smilingly. Why are you crying? Don’t even call it a ‘mistake’. Calling it a mistake is a form of crime. ‘I made a mistake. I did it. I had no option, being what I was. I did it, and now I am bearing it.’ The moment you are so honest and so clean, your emancipation starts. For the first time you are not making a mistake.

In calling the mistake a deliberate decision of what you are, you are now not making a mistake. Things now change. Something happens. Again, not that you won’t have to pay for it; you will still have to pay for it. But probably you won’t be crying anymore. And that is not a small relief. That’s a huge relief.

Yes, I am paying for what I did, but I am not crying. I am standing up to it.’

Listener 1: Sir, is there a thin line between, ‘I am not feeling guilty’ and ‘I am not even taking responsibility’?

Speaker: Yes. These two statements must always come together. ‘I am not feeling guilty’ and ‘I am paying the bill.’ These two always must come together.


– Excerpts from Clarity session held at Advait Sthal. Edited for clarity.

View the session at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWOs64pdBrE

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5 comments

  1. I have experienced and encountered a CEO, who enjoys violating social norms again and again. He confesses that he has to work on himself if he really wants to be an iconic leader.

    I used to ‘coach and mentor’ him. About a week back, I decided to stop my support systems.

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