How does one stay calm? || Acharya Prashant (2015)

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Question: How does one stay calm?

Speaker: What takes away calmness? When you are sleeping, deeply, then are you calm? You are asking, “How does one stay calm?” Aren’t you calm when you are in deep sleep?

Listeners: Yes.

Speaker: You are calm. And then you wake up, and you become anxious.

Listener 1: It is because of the thoughts.

Speaker: It is because of the world. You can become anxious even while sleeping. In sleep if you are anxious, it is because while sleeping there are dreams. So if the world intrudes even in your sleep, then you become restless even while sleeping. The world itself is the reason for anxiety, for losing your calmness.

Stay calm-3Do not allow anything worldly to become too important for you. I know that it is not easy. It is because we have practiced the opposite since many years. It is easy, but we have lost that ease. Till the time anything is important to you, tension, nervousness, panic, anxiousness are inevitable. The world itself is the reason.

Live in the world, talk, eat, sleep, do whatever you want, but do not let anything become important for you. Have a certain disregard.

Listener 1: But then there will be no scope for passion.

Speaker: Passion can come only with disregard. It is because if passion starts regarding ‘this and that’, then ‘this and that’ will dominate the passion. Let us say that you are passionate about something. What if you start regarding what people say about your passion? What will happen? What if you start regarding how much you get paid for your passion? What will happen? Sooner or later you will compromise and lose passion.

To be passionate, actually, you have to be a little indifferent to the world, at times even contemptuous. “Who cares”? The scriptures call that – beparwaahi, indifference. “I do not bother”.

Listener 2: How to decide when to be indifferent, and how much to be indifferent?

Speaker:  When it starts encroaching on your peace, then that is the moment to let it go. Till the time it is keeping you busy, till the time it is a plaything, till the time it is more like a game, remain occupied. But the moment it starts violating your inner space, drop it. Draw the line there.

Listener 3: If we talk about today’s job scenario, people encounter such events. But they also cannot leave their job. What to do in that case?

Speaker:  You mean that in job there is a direct payoff? Things keep encroaching upon the peace.

Listener 3: Yes.

Speaker: You have to value peace. You must know the value of peace. You have to come to the fact that peace is invaluable. And if you do not come to this fact, if you do not make the right decision, then the penalty is that you will suffer.

The tension itself is the penalty. Don’t you see? You did not take the right decision, now live in tension.

Stay calm-1Listener 3: Sir, you are an IIT-ian, you have also graduated from IIM-A. You also worked for some years. What was that thing that made you quit all these and take ‘clarity sessions’ and interact with students like us and make this your profession?

Speaker: There is nothing called ‘your profession’. I was never born with a profession.  The profession came to me at one point in time, and it can go away at another point in time. There is no need to say ‘my profession’ and get attached to it. There is nothing sacred about it.

Life is sacred. The various objects in life are not sacred. They are all dispensable. The flow of the life is important, not pictures of the flow, not the individual currents. The totality of the flow is important.

IIT and IIM should be things that empower you, not degrees or facts that become millstones around your neck. Coming from an IIT one should be more free, not less. Coming from an IIM one should be more fearless, not less. But the opposite happens.

Coming from an IIT you say, “Because I am an IIT-ian, how can I do anything else?” Is it not? If whatever I did does not empower me then what is the point in doing all that? You look at a man who is illiterate, a man who does not have any power, or knowledge, or realization. This man will be under compulsion to do what the society tells him to do. Is that not so?

After gaining all the knowledge, after reading the wisdom literature, after seeing a few things, if I am still bound by the society, then what is the point in taking that education?

Education must liberate, not make a man bonded.

~ Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi: How does one stay calm?

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