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Question: Look at the facts of your life, then to let the mind be as it is. How?
Acharya Prashant: There is no contradiction between these two things. Looking up the facts, living in facts is simple and obvious. One lives in experiences, and every experience is a fact. So, living in fact is not something special. You are already living in facts, because you live in experiences. That’s what you call ordinary living as.
“This is just happening”, and how do you call something as happening? You call something as happening only when you register the happening. And to register it, is to experience it. So, living in facts does not mean that you have to go and explore the facts. The facts are already there and you know. And you know – you know by the virtue of experience, just honestly admit that you know the facts.
You do not feel alright in the company of a particular person, now do you really have to investigate anything here? You do not feel alright but for reasons of proprietary, or beautiful-ness, or righteousness, you do not allow yourself to acknowledge that you have not been feeling alright with this person. Even that thought is considered a taboo.
“How can I say that I dislike my religious scripture? How can I say that?”
The fact is, had you liked it, you would have read it at least once. You haven’t ever read it, read it fully, at least. Of course, your excuse is that one day you will read it. And we very well know that that day, you will ensure never comes.
To live in the facts, is to acknowledge what is going on. And when you really acknowledge what is going on, then spontaneous action happens. Now, you cannot hide. Now, you have acknowledged; you have admitted. Now, that you have admitted, you will have to act.
It is to avoid right action, and the perceived consequences of right action, that we suppress the fact.
The final arbitrator is peace – the final Judge.
If you are peaceful, then whatever you are doing is right.
It does not matter what you are doing.
And if you are not, then it doesn’t matter what you are doing, it’s hollow, fake and useless. You might be leading the most proper life, the most sanctimonious life, most disciplined, orderly and agreeable life, but if you are not peaceful, then that life is not for you – quit it.
No means is bigger than the end.
Peace is the beginning and the end.
One only needs to be sensitive enough to ask, “Am I alright? Am I alright?”
And usually, if you need to ask this question, then you are not. When you are really alright, this question won’t arise. If you are not alright, you don’t need to fake; say you are not, that is called faith – the ability to accept the worst of situations.
You can accept the worst of situations only when you know that you are bigger than those situations. Only when you know that those situations cannot really belittle you. You can accept the worst of so called mistakes that you might have committed, only when you know that no mistake can really stain you. No mistake is an unpardonable crime. Now you can manfully say, “Yes, of course, it’s bad. It’s bad in here.” (pointing towards the head, implying the mind) Without worrying that you are sounding like a fool, without worrying that you are not fulfilling your own expectations without worrying that your self-image is being sullied.
You know, In India, till a few decades back, many people, especially women would die rather than visit a gynecologist. They would not want to admit the fact that they have, let’s say, a sexually transmitted disease. They would keep suffering in private, but never own up the fact; such are we.
“How can I go and admit to anybody, even the doctor that I am suffering from an unspeakable disease?”
The fact is, the disease came from outside. Mostly, you have no role or responsibility in that. But yet, you have such lofty ideals — You are God’s ambassadors to bring morality to earth. How can God’s angels visit a gynecologist? (Sarcastically)
Can’t eat; can’t sit; can’t walk; can’t sleep – but won’t admit! They too, would often seek spiritual relief. It doesn’t work. (Smiles) Indirect solutions are mere escapes. Few things need direct affirmations, a direct confrontation. If it displeases you or if it displeases a few other people – so be it.
Shame and guilt are the two principle drivers of our religiosity. Remove the concept of sin and see how much of this religious structure remains. Free the mind of man from the notion that he is a sinner and then see what happens to religion. Of course, nothing would happen to the Truth, but religion will crumble. And such religion must necessarily crumble. It feeds on our sense of inferiority; it feeds on our sense of guilt; it rules us by declaring us sinners.
Spirituality begins with the realization that You are beyond all sins.
You can never be a sinner – that is the beginning of spirituality.
You are already alright and perfect – without being firmly seated in this realization – how can you even begin? But if you are coming to spirituality for self-improvement or self-correction or to absolve yourself of guilt, then you are coming just from the wrong position. You are coming from a point of un-fulfilment and what comes from a point of un-fulfilment will never reach beyond un-fulfilment.
Listener 2: Sir, are you suggesting that the failure of the ego is acceptable as compared to success of the mind?
AP: How are you differentiating between the two?
L2: Ego is the body and…
AP: Ego is your sense of who you are. Mind is the whole field around that sense, around that center of who you are. Now, re-ask.
The field depends on the center, right? The mind depends on the ego; the mind is the entire universe. The universe is centered in you; you are the ego. Depending on who you are the universe keeps changing – that’s the relation between the mind and ego.
I repeat, the mind is the field of the ego. The mind is the entire expanse, of which the ego is the center, not the proper center, mind you! And hence, the mind would never be settled, unless it reaches the proper center.
With the ego as the center, the mind remains turbulent. With the Self as the center, with the Truth as the center, with peace as the center, the mind just dissolves in the center.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Let the mind live in facts, let the mind live by faith
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A journey towards understanding every aspect of fear, toward finding whether fear is biological or social, or both, this book provides its readers the ultimate antidote for fear in the form of Faith. What is faith? How is it different from superstition and belief? Is faith sufficient to fight fear?
Acharya Prashant, the author, elucidates questions like these in the simplest possible way, ushering the reader into the fearless zone which mankind has been seeking since millennia.