Questioner: The reading has this quote that,
‘Solitude is in the mind of a man, that it is an attitude of the mind.
A man attached to things of life cannot get solitude wherever he may be.
A detached man is always in solitude.”
So it doesn’t depend on the location, the place where he is at, but how he is in the mind. I would want to understand more of this, what does this solitude mean?
Speaker: What does solitary mean?
Listener 1: Alone.
Speaker: Alone, One. The mind is usually divided among a thousand things. Have you experienced it?
Listener 1: Yes.
Speaker: What are the things among which the mind is usually divided?
Listener 1: In the middle of search and conflict always, what to choose, what not to choose, between here to go or there to go…
Listener 1: One object or the other.
Speaker: Even if there are not many objects that are simultaneously parallely attracting the mind, even if there is just one object, can we say that the mind is in solitude?
Listener 2: No, there will be lots of thought about this or some other things even while looking at that particular object.
Speaker: Let’s say there is just one object and one concentrated thought, even then would you say that the mind is in solitude?
Listener 1: It has that object.
Speaker: Yes. So there is one object. Would you say that mind is in solitude?
Listener 1: No.
Listener 3: Because mind is dependent on that object.
Speaker: So, dependent on one. Would you say that the mind is not dependent on one? Solitude is a certain aloneness, oneness, which is usually not available to the mind because mind is divided among a thousand objects. We are trying to explore whether a concentrated mind that is looking only at one object could be called in solitude?
What happens when due to the force of desire or due to the practice of concentration, the mind becomes filled up with only one object. Could it be called as an instance of solitude?
You are stuck here because the nature of duality and the nature of all objects is not fully clear. Any object and all objects are in duality, what does that mean? It means that they are limited and have a boundary, outside of that boundary, there is no object. So even when you are thinking of one object, you require it to have a boundary outside which it would not be there. So along with the object comes, even if there is just one object, along with the object comes?
Listener 2: The outside.
Listener 1: The mind itself.
Listener 3: Subject.
Listener 4: Limitations, boundary.
Speaker: Yes, the boundary is there.
Listener 2: Duality.
Speaker: The absence of the object, which is not the object. So there can never really be one object, please understand this. You can never say ‘you are concentrating on something’ if you are concentrating on this tree, is it possible to not be aware of the sky behind the tree? The tree by definition is its outline, its boundary, its limits. The tree and the not-tree have to exist together for the tree to be there. Are you getting it?
So, usually the mind would have many objects and even if it has just one object, it would have the dual opposite of that object necessarily present. Just as when you are concentrating on hope, fear is lurking in the background. So, it is clear that if solitude is the quality of the mind devoted to the one, that one cannot be an object, because objects can never be one. Objects by definition will have to be a minimum of…?
Listeners: (All together) Two.
You can never say I am seeing one object, that is a misuse of language. You can never say that you are seeing one thing, even if you are concentrating hard on one thing, you are surely seeing at least?
Listener 1: Two things.
Speaker: So, solitude is not possible. Solitude is not possible with respect to?
Listener 1: Object.
Speaker: Objects. How is solitude to come then? For solitude, surely the mind will have to go beyond itself. Why beyond itself? Because all duality is…?
Listener 3: In the mind.
Mind going beyond its dualistic contents, into its non-dual Source, that is Solitude.
Because only That can be one. In the world of mind, you will never find oneness, at best you can find?
Listener 1: Two.
Speaker: Do you get what is solitude? So, if you are talking of going to a particular place for solitude, it is impossible to be at a place, feel good about that place and forget everything else, because this feeling good is surely in comparison to how bad you feel when you are at your regular place. So solitude is not possible even if you go to the most tranquil of places, most isolated of places. You will go to an isolated place and you will say “How isolated!”. Pay attention to this, you say “How isolated!”, why do you say ‘How isolated!’? Why this excitement?
Listener 1: It’s in comparison to the populated.
Speaker: Because it is isolated in comparison to the crowded environment from where you are coming. So is the place offering solitude to you? Is the tranquility of the place giving you peace? Or is the tranquility significant only because you still remember the chaos of your usual life? What makes the hills special? Because here you do not have that noise which usually fills up your daily life. But, til the moment, the hills are special, it is guaranty that you remember that noise, otherwise the hills could not have been?
Listener 4: Special.
Speaker: Special. Place cannot give you solitude because a place itself exists in duality. Place itself exists in duality. Concentration cannot give you solitude we have already talked about it. External silence, that too cannot give you solitude because what you refer to as silence is just the interval between two periods of speech, again dualistic. Be careful when you use these words – Silence, Solitude.
So the mind by definition will be working on and working with the world, and the world is dualistic, nothing exists without its opposite. Whatever you are working on, whatever you remember, you will have to simultaneously remember it’s opposite. So the mind will remain occupied with all these things, but even as the mind remains occupied there, it is permeated by a realization that there is something more fundamental, something more important; more important not in a comparative sense, please do not misunderstand, when I say more important, I do not mean that if the other things are important to the extent of ten units, then the non-dual is important to the extent of thousand units.
When I say more important, I mean dimensionally different, something more fundamental. When, as the mind remains occupied in all this, it is still absorbed in the one Source, that is solitude. The mind will again, and again, want to place its primary concern in dualistic stuff. Why? Because the mind itself is dualistic stuff. So when the mind places the primary importance in dualistic stuff, what exactly is the mind giving importance to? – To itself.
So the mind likes giving importance to something within the world. By giving importance to something within the world, the mind is actually giving importance to itself. This is not really mind’s nature, this is kind of an acquired habit. It can be de-acquired, it can be given up. Every time the mind becomes too occupied with the world, there is a need to remind it of the futility of seeking Peace and the Ultimate in the world. This constant reminding is called practice or abhyas. The habit came because of repetition, and in the world of the mind, everything is repetition.
The habit came because of repetition and the habit has to be taken care of by repetition. It is what is called constant remembrance.
Constance remembrance, spiritual practice, and abhyas (practice), these are one and the same thing.
So we have talked about solitude, and we have talked about remaining in solitude, alright?
Is that clear?
Listener 1: So the mind is in solitude, but it has acquired noise? Is that something that I can?
Speaker: You see, it is not a statement that would benefit the mind. If the mind is busy with solitude, is busy with noise rather, if the mind is busy with noise, then, for the mind noise is everything. It is like having a lot of money in your pocket, but being busy with a soiled five rupee note, thinking that, that is all you have, and that is the most important. So the fact might be, that solitude is the nature of mind, but if the mind is busy with other things, then this fact doesn’t help the mind.
If you are busy with a five rupee note, forgetting what is there in your pocket, then all the money in your pocket doesn’t help you, it is useless. So it is useless for you to say that “Solitude is the nature of mind” It has to become a living practice of the mind, not just a concept. Yes, conceptually you may know that mind must be immersed in its non-dual source. How has this changed your life? Has this made you more centered, more peaceful, more loving? It has to become your daily breathe, and as you are in your house or in the market or in a train.
If you really remember this ‘constant remembrance’, if you really remember this, only then it helps you, just as the money helps you only when you remember that you have money. The mind must remember. The word ‘remember’ is beautiful you know.
What does ‘remember’ mean?
Remember means: bringing two parts together to make them one, bringing two things together — ‘Re–member’. So just by remembering, the mind becomes one with the Source, nothing else has to be done, just by remembering.
You remember, and you are Home.
That’s why so much emphasis is placed upon abhyas (practice).
Listener 2: Sir, even though, it is like, when you go away from that environment, away, then again the full of that comes into mind, but being at that place, it is impossible to get away.
Speaker: Were those places and people always so important to you?
Listener 2: Sir, no.
Speaker: What gave them this importance? Did they suddenly overnight become important? How did they acquire this importance?
Listener 2: My dependency.
Speaker: Gradually, by repetition, you kept spending more and more time with them. You kept allowing them more and more space in your life, and today it has reached a situation that they are beginning to command your life. But it all happened bit by bit, not in one go. It happened bit by bit and it can be demolished bit by bit. Just as you trained yourself to remember them, similarly you will have to train yourself to remember something beyond them.
Of course, using the mind, you cannot really remember the non-dual Truth, because the mind can only remember duality. Since the mind can only remember duality, so try to remember something which is dualistic, but points towards non-duality.
The words of scriptures are one such thing, they are words but they point towards something else. Satsang or right company or sitting with a Teacher is another such thing. He is a physical form, he is a person, but he is also pointing towards something that is beyond personality.
Are you getting it?
The more time you spend with the scriptures or with the Teacher, the easier it will be for you to demolish the influence, that the world has built-up upon you.
Did you get what we just said?
The mind can only look at duality — the eyes see figures, the ears hear sounds, and you can only touch material.
So, find out something or somebody who is like a bridge between the dualistic world and the non-dual Source.
That will help you remember.
Listener 3: Sir, you said spending time, what do you mean by spending time? I am with the teacher and reading scriptures since a long time like I am with you for four years, so what do you mean by spending time? Quantitatively spending time?
Speaker: Yes, spend time just as you spend time there. How did the world become important for you? How did you spend time with it? You remember all those things that you are addicted to now? How did you spent time with them? What was the mind doing when it was with those things or people? What was the mind doing?
Listener 3: Giving more and more importance and value.
Speaker: Today you are obsessed with things. You might complain that those things are becoming too much upon, but you kept on giving them time and in those moments you are concentrating hard upon them. Were you not? In those moments, they were your world. So you know what is meant by spending time. Those things or thoughts or people could not have become important for you had you not made them so important, had you not been so one-pointedly with them? So you know what it means to have the mind filled with an object. You know that, right? Now go it through again, Right?
Listener 4: Sir in the last reading that we had done it was written that all consciousness is of conflict but we have read that when the work comes from our deeper consciousness then it should be considered right.
Speaker: Where have you read that?
Listener 4: Blog.
Speaker: The blog will never say that anything coming from consciousness is right. Do not attribute miscellaneous things. The depth of consciousness is the dissolution of consciousness. I have been saying time and again that all consciousness is dualistic. You are conscious of something and who is this ‘you’ that is conscious? It is called by the name ego.
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session.
Edited for clarity.
To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.
Or, call the Foundation at 9650585100, or write to email@example.com
Support Acharya Prashant’s work:
- Donate via Patreon: Become a Patron!
- Donate via PayTm @ +91-9999102998
Donate via PayPal:
(In multiples of $10)