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Question: Sir, you say in one of your quotes, “I see that I think, therefore I am.” Please explain.
Speaker: I had said this in response to that famous quote of Descartes that the West so admiringly seems to follow. Descartes has said, “I think, therefore I am.” So I needed to say, “I see that I think, therefore I am.”
When you say, “I think, therefore I am,” what you mean is that – “I am the mind. I am the thinking mind. I think, therefore I am.” But the moment you declare that – “I see that I think, therefore I am,” you have declared yourself to be the witness of the mind. Now you are saying that, “My identity is not that of the mind, but of, the beyond mind.”
All the evils of the western civilization are contained in this single maxim, “I think, therefore I am.” If I AM only when I think, then to BE, I will have to…keep thinking. And that is hell. You cannot be silent. You are only as long as you think. So to remain, it is necessitated, that the mind remains occupied in thinking. Whosoever has said this, paid no attention to what he was saying, and its repercussions.
But when you say, “I see that I think, therefore I am,” then you have seen yourself in a different dimension. Obviously, it is not just a matter of changing words; it is not just a matter of saying one thing versus the other. It is the matter of saying, from realization.
When you realize that you can be the watcher of the mind, that you can be distinct from your thoughts, then there is no need for you to engage in compulsive thinking. Now, you ‘are’, even when there are no thoughts. “I see that I AM, when I think. And I see that I AM, when I do not think.”
“My seeing is not conditional upon thinking. The machine that thinks, is there. I look at the machine, when it is working. And I look at the machine, when it is not working. My looking is independent of what the machine is doing.”
Now the machine is not under pressure to keep working all the time, and hence burnout. Now the machine can relax. The West cannot relax. India has always relaxed, sometimes a bit too much. Do you see why the West cannot relax? Because there have been people like Descartes who have been saying” I think, therefore I am.” So, what do I do? Keep thinking.
And when you ‘think’ so much, then your thoughts become actions, you keep ‘doing’ as well. And when you ‘do’ so much, what do you get? You get storms, as you had yesterday evening. What are these storms? Where are they getting energy from? They are getting energy from human ‘doing’.
Because man is ‘doing’ so much, so all the energy that is being liberated through man’s doing, is being stored in the environment, in the atmosphere. That same energy is becoming unseasonal, unreasonable, cyclones. As climate change worsens, you will have more and more of these cyclones. You can attribute these cyclones, to people like Descartes, who said, “I think, therefore I am.”
When you think, you will also have to ‘do’, because ‘thinking’ is ‘doing’. ‘Thinking’ simply does not go with ‘non-doing’. No thought can convince you, to not to do. Yes, thought can convince you to do different things, but ‘non-doing’ never comes from ‘thinking’.
Thought can tell you, to not to do X. But when thought tells you, to not to do X, thought will parallely tell you, to do Y. Thought will never tell you, to not to do anything at all, because that is not in the realm of thought. ‘Non-doing’ is something, of the beyond. And when you are ‘doing’ all the time, when you are the Satan personified, somebody has said, “All the problems of the world come from the fact that man cannot sit silently at one place.”
That is the one reason that why there are so many problems in the world – that man cannot sit silently, and relax. You must ‘do’ something. All the time you are excited. All the time you are eager to prove yourself, all the time you are eager to change this or that. And if you are not ‘doing’ anything, you lose self-worth. If you are not ‘doing’ anything, then you become a pauper in your own eyes.
And if you escape that, then there are the mothers and the fathers, and the neighbors, and of course, the friends. “What! You didn’t do anything. Where is your productivity?” You tell them, “I will do something, rather everything that you want me to do. But now you ‘do’ what I just did. Then you will realize which is a bigger feat – to do something and everything, or to ‘do’ nothing.”
To be ‘nothing’, is the most difficult job. You may have a job in which you have to do a lot of things. It is not at all a difficult job. The most difficult job is the one in which you have to do nothing at all. Unfortunately, there are no such jobs in the West. We need a world with more such jobs, where you are essentially doing, well, nothing.
The world says, “The most difficult thing to do is the thing that you absolutely do not want to do.” Ayn Rand said, “The most difficult thing to do is the thing, that you really want to do.” And I am saying, “The most difficult thing to do, is to do ‘nothing’.” Try! Even for five minutes, ‘do’ nothing’. Try. It is impossible. See.
This urge to do something – even the most stupid thing will do, but something has to be done. Even if it is absolutely idiotic, yet it has to be done. This urge arises from a deep inferiority complex – like a whole in your soul. “Something is missing; I must act, to fill the hole.”
“I cannot relax. Something is wrong somewhere.” Now what is wrong, and where? That you have no idea of. But a constant nagging feeling – “Something is wrong, something is missing. I must take care of it. Something is demanding repair.”
So, you are just groping around – aimlessly, senselessly.
To live, you must think, but remember a few things. One, think in a way that reduces the need to think. Second, when there is no need to think, just do not think.
Firstly, I am saying, when there is a need to think, think in a way that reduces the need to think. And secondly, when there is no need to think, don’t get into the habit of thinking.
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi: I see that I think, therefore I am
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