Do not be wary of a particular type of thought; be wary of thinking itself || Acharya Prashant (2015)

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Question: Tired of thinking about love, my mind still wants to make concepts about it. I know I cannot understand, howsoever much I try. Sir, I want to be in it; whatever it will take, I am ready to surrender. But I don’t know how to? I heard you say that one needs to kill himself. I want to know what is there to kill and I need to know where do I stand and who am I?

Speaker: You started by saying that you are just tired of thinking about love. One cannot be tired of thinking about any one subject in particular. When one is tired of thinking, one is tired of thinking itself. Otherwise, thoughts just run from one topic to another topic which does not appear like the first one. But the second topic have a characteristic that it is not the first topic. So, the second object of thought is related to the first one in the sense that it is not the first one. The mind thinks that in this way, it has avoided a particular topic, a particular object. It does not see that nothing has been avoided. The second is but a shadow of the first. The second exists only because one wanted to avoid the first. So, in rushing to another thought, you are still in a way present with the first thought.

This is why, the tricks regarding mind control and positive thinking etc. are all false and misleading. Because thought is a network; because thought is in a way independent of object. It does not really matter what you are thinking about. You may be thinking about the deity or the devil, you may thinking about the day or night, you may be thinking about white or black. There is not much difference. The only difference is between the mind that is thinking and the mind that is not thinking. Please remember, there is hardly any difference between the mind that is thinking of love and the mind that is thinking of hatred. The mind that is thinking of love is anyway thinking of hatred in the background, and very soon the hatred would also become exposed.

In fact, if the definitions could be changed then, what is love would not even take time to be seen as hatred. One could just change the definition and come to a point where the boundary simply disappears. That is the thing about duality. The thing and its opposite are not really different. But yes, there is a space outside the thinking mind, and it is not an imaginary space, it is not a space where another thought, another imagination pervades.  It is simply a space of silence. You have asked you want to surrender, but you do not know how to. This space of silence, this space of non-thinking, is also the space of surrender.

SurrenderYou do not surrender by thinking about surrendering. You do not surrender by declaring yourself to have surrendered. You do not surrender because surrender is good. You do not surrender out of some virtue contained in surrender. You do not surrender because you have thought it through. And you do not surrender because surrendering takes you to some divine peaceful point.

You surrender because you are really tired of fighting. You surrender because you see the stupidity and the limitation of mental effort, of your calculation, of your analysis, of your entire thinking process.

I said the entire thinking process. I did not say you are tired of thinking about a particular object. But you have started off by saying that “Sir, I am just tired of thinking about love.” If you are tired of thinking just about love, you would surely be finding pleasure in thinking about other things. And as we said, thinking about something and thinking about things that are not that thing, are not really different.

From love the mind hops to the next things. Thinking of this, the mind then starts thinking of that. And when the mind is thinking of that, it thinks that some great change has come because it is now not thinking of this. This is an illusion. It consoles, you feel good about yourself that now you are not having those particular thoughts. But it is just an empty consolation.

People come and talk gleefully, saying that, “Sir, we used to have very depressed thoughts. These days we don’t at all have depressed thoughts.” Alright, so what do you have now? “Oh Sir, nice, great thoughts of excitement and energy and hope.” And they probably think that something has changed. No, nothing has changed. Nothing has changed. What you called as depression has just been given other name. The tendency of mind to think is very much there, intact.

The ego that sits at the center of all thinking, too is very much there. Rarely, do we have a man saying that, “I am free now from both depression and excitement.” The mind does not really get tired, even though you have claimed that you have grown tired of thinking about love. The mind only gives an impression of being tired of a particular thing. Do not believe this impression. The mind does not tire at all. The mind just wants to turn away to something else. Deception, mind’s own entertainment. You are tired only when you are not turning away to the next object. You are tired, really tired, only when after love, not even detachment appeals to you. If love appealed to you yesterday and detachment appeals to you today, then the mind still has a lot of wasteful energy left with it.

When the mind refuses to take on the next object that is when you are really tired. Now, why does the mind move from object to object? All objects are within the material domain, they are within the mind’s purview of thought. The mind moves from object to object because it is restless. It is restless and it has a belief that its restlessness will get its cure within the area of its own movement. And the area of its own movement is the material area, it is the area of objects, it is the area of concepts and thoughts. That is the only place where the mind can move. So the mind’s belief that the next thing, that the next object, that the next effort, that the next material will bring peace, rest, solace to it, makes it move from one objects to the next object to the opposite object.

“I did not get it here, I’ll get it somewhere else. I did not get it there either, I’ll get it somewhere else. There, too, I met disappointment, doesn’t matter, I will get it somewhere else.” Like a man who hops from one shop to other to buy something, like a man who jumps from one relationship to other in search of love, like a man who hops from one job to other in search of peace. Have you not seen such people? They clearly sense that something is missing from their life and to get it they keep jumping from one place to the other. One cannot fault them, at least to the extent that they realize that something is indeed missing from their life. But what they have missed is the point regarding what really is missing, and whether it can be obtained within the mind’s own area of movement, of circulation. Are you getting it?

What does it mean to be tired? In being tired is the simple realization that, “What I want is not really an object of thought. What will bring me peace is not something within my mental domain.” It hurts to realize this, even feels bad. There is an arrogant pleasure in believing that one’s own effort will bring him peace. And it really is an insult to the ego to realize that neither love nor hatred, neither attachment nor detachment, neither consumption nor renunciation, will bring you peace. You are tired of something only when you are tired of its opposites as well. That is the test of tiredness. If you are tired of something but you jump to its opposite, then you are not yet tired. This realization itself is surrender. The realization that what I really want will not come to me out of my doing is surrender.


You are asking, what does it mean to kill oneself? You are saying that I do not know how to surrender? You say what is there to kill? Where do you stand? And you want to know who you are? All of these are obviously related questions. This jumping around is the only thing that is there to kill. And you do not need to start, you need to stop. You have started so many times and you have stopped so many times. Fits and starts, that’s how you operate. Now, you need to finally stop. And you can finally stop only when you can see the pointlessness of jumping around. What do you need to do? Well, not much, because doing is something that you are anyway an expert at. You have already been doing so much.

When you come to me and talk to me, there is very-very little that I tell you to do. If you would note, I mostly tell you to not to do. But you are not tired of doing. You don’t need to do much, you need to just grow tired of doing. I don’t want to do any more. Enough of moving around on this circular ways, they cannot take me anywhere. They cannot at least take me to the point where I want to reach – the point of peace, the point of rest, the point of stopping. I cannot reach there using my own mind.

What does it mean to surrender? It means non-interference. When I am with you, don’t interfere with me. That is what it means to surrender. Whatever is really important and auspicious and good for you will surely happen, is always ready and waiting to be happen, but your interference spoils it all. Your smart mind comes in between. To surrender is to not to move when there is no need to move. To surrender is to not to think when there is no need to think.

All your questions are so thoughtful. Who am I? Where am I? Do not grow tired just of love as you said, grow tired of these question as well. When you have grown tired of these question, then you will realize and you will know. Right now, there is a self-conceit hidden in this question. Do you know what your are saying? You are saying that you know that if you get the answers to these questions, then you will come to peace. And if you know so much, then you must already be home. If you already have the map with you, you can also walk your way home. No, you don’t even have the map with you. This sky does not really have any maps. No question can take you to territory where there are neither questions nor answers.

But that’s the thing about mind; it becomes tired of one thing, which in your case, you claim to be love, but it never becomes tired of other things. So now, from worldly love, you have jumped on to spiritual questions. A while before you might be asking, “How do I get my lady? How can I hold her hand? How can I be with her in a secluded place?” And things really didn’t work out, in the sense that they didn’t give you peace. So, today you want ask spiritual questions, “Who am I? Where do I stand? How do I surrender?” But the mind is not at all tired of thinking. And the mind is so arrogant that it thinks that it just made a small mistake. “Oh, I knew, I almost knew, where peace was to be found; just a slight error in calculation. It was not to be found in attachment. Now, I know it is to be found in detachment. So, from sensuality I have moved to spirituality.”

You are mistaken, and it’s a grave, deep and fundamental mistake. The ego is continuing. The ego used to claim that it will find liberation in love. Now, the ego is claiming that it will find liberation in spiritual question. But the ego is not at all ready to accept that it does not know that liberation is beyond its province. And that whatever it does, liberation cannot be a result of that.

When you are tired of not one thing, but everything, to the extent that you are tired of yourself, then you have surrendered; not when you are tired of one particular thought of yours. When you are tired of yourself, because you are a unit, because you are fundamentally one deep tendency, when you are tired of yourself, when you are tired of not one particular direction of movement of yours, but when you are tired of movement itself, then you have surrendered.

And if you are not tired of movement itself, then you will keep finding new and new ways to move, new and new directions to move, you will not come to stillness. You will say, “You see, last time I failed, because I was moving in the north-west direction. And before that I failed because I was moving towards south. Now, let me try north-east. It is a new direction and if I move I might succeed.” And there are infinite number of directions. You will keep finding some direction to move; you will keep finding the next excuse; you will keep finding the next hope. You will never come to stop. Life will continue to be one restless rush. Some new avenue of liberation, some new ray of excitement, some new promise will always keep appearing on the horizon, and it will keep you busy.

Have you seen people or at least heard of them, who marry ten times, twenty times. “Oh, it didn’t work out nineteen time. It will work out this twentieth time.” Have you seen people who change ten jobs in ten years? “Oh, it didn’t work out so far, now it will work out.” Have you seen people who come here for self improvement? “Oh, this part of our being is all right, but there is something missing in this particular small part. We want to take care of it.” Like one takes care of a small dent on his car. So, he goes to a mechanic. Everything else about the car is alright, it’s just this small dent that is bothering. Everything else is alright.

No, you have to be tired of yourself totally. No direction of yours is the right direction. And it’s not that there are things about you that are proper and all right. When you are totally tired, that is when the mind does not get the next object to place its hope upon. And that is surrender. Surrender is the realization that behind all diversity of thought, the tendency to think is the same. And hence whatever I am thinking, is just one fundamental common thought. It doesn’t matter whether the thought is about black or whether the thought is about white. It is just that one common root tendency expressing itself. It cannot help me. Then you have surrendered.

The restless sensuality can become restless spirituality, and it will remain restless. Rest is something of the beyond.

~ Excerpts from a Shabd-Yog.

Edited for clarity.

View the session at: Prashant Tripathi: Do not be wary of a particular type of thought; be wary of thinking itself

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