The false promise of fulfillment through experience || Acharya Prashant (2014)


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Question: Sir, does fulfillment come by experiencing everything completely?

Acharya Prashant: What is everything? Do you have to go somewhere and experience it, or is it anyway happening daily? Whenever somebody says, “I need to go out and experience,” then he is directly suggesting that, “Right now life is shorn of experiences, and I need to do something special. Experiences are there somewhere in the distance.”

I mean, whatever is happening right now, do you consider it a lesser experience? When you say ‘everything,’ then what is ‘everything’?

This is everything!

Where else is everything? In the distance, in the future?

But then that is what we mean?

What you mean by experiencing? What kind of experience do you want? And when you say, “I want to experience,” then ask yourself, are you not saying that you prefer one kind of experience over the other.

“When I say, ‘I want to experience something,’ I am probably saying that ‘I want to go and jump into a waterfall’.” Now, are you not already labeling that as an experience and this, right now, as a non-experience? You have already decided! And this decision is an experience which you do not know to be an experience.

Are you getting it? What is the mind doing? The mind is saying, “Waterfall is an experience, and this right now, is not an experience.” And you are not realizing that the mind that is deciding this, is in itself an experience. Experience that!

Not getting it? There is something happening. What is happening? There is a judgment happening. And who will experience that judgment? To experience something, is to become one with it. Experience how the mind is in search of the far and the illusive, of that which cannot be obtained. And the mind is going after that continuously.

When we say, “Be open to experience,” that does not mean that go and run to some far-off place, travel to the Mars, or jump into the Pacific Ocean. No, that is not what is meant. Being open to experience means: to be open right now. Everything is an experience.

Listener: I had meant to ask about conditioning. Does everything include conditioning? I get to hear that you don’t experience sadness.

AP: Even conditioning, tell me when does it work? When is the work of conditioning happening?

L1: Right now.

AP: Right now. Even if conditioning is to be experienced, all that experience has to be right now. Are you not seeing the game of conditioning right now? Is conditioning not at work right now?

I want to face my fears. Now will the fear pop up at some point in time? Are you not afraid right now? Have the fears gone to sleep right now? You are afraid even right now. Face it. Look at it. Live in it.

L2: Why is man always in search of that adrenaline rush? Why do people always want to experience something like Bungee Jumping, or this and that? They always want to experience something extraordinary . . .

AP: Because something extraordinary is there to be experienced.

(Smilingly) ‘It’ is waiting to be experienced. See it’s like this: there are these two nostrils that you can breathe from, right? What happens when one of them is choked? How do you feel?

L2: Hard breathing.

AP: But will you die?

L2: No.

AP: But how will you keep feeling?

These are the two dimensions in which man must live: the dimension of duality, and the dimension of non-duality. And they are simultaneous. If you start living only in one dimension, you will not die physically, but you will keep feeling choked and suffocated. So then there is a desperate attempt to do something about it. You take a stick and poke it into your nose. There are many kinds of things that you want to do. That’s what people are doing.

The only problem is: one of them is choked. And you know which one? You very well know which one!

Not only that one of them is choked . . . what happens when one nostril is choked? What effect does it have on the other? The other one will be over-worked, and you cannot even enjoy the other one. Probably the other one will become inflamed after a few days because of the extra work.

So there has to be this world, and in this world, a constant remembrance of what this world is. I am not using the word ‘other world’. I am saying, ‘this world’ and a constant remembrance of what this world is. And in this remembrance there is the other.

L3: Does this apply to rebellion also?

AP: All is part of this world, nothing is prohibited as such. And it is happening. You have no control over it. It is happening. It is just that when it is happening, know that it is happening.

That is it!

– Excerpts from a Clarity Session held at Advait Sthal.

Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi: The false promise of fulfillment through experience

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