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Question: If I have to make a decision and there are two options, my thoughts don’t bring me any further. Then I try to listen to my heart, and that also does not bring me any answer. So, how can I find a way to the solution?
Acharya Prashant: If there are two options, if there are two paths, then do not choose any of them. When there would be a right path, then there would be only one path. The right path never comes as alternative to something existing. The alternative to that which is existing, would always be related to that which is existing. In some sense, it would be an opposite of that which is existing.
A thing and its opposite are always in the same dimension, in the same plane. Never say, “I have to choose between A and B.” A and B are both in the same plane. If one side of the coin is not good for you, the other side too will not be good for you. Because with the other side will come the first side as well.
If a thing is not proper for you, mind you, its opposite too cannot be proper for you. Shun both the options.
This is the fundamental law of duality.
The two sides of duality, appear as opposites, but are always together. So, if you choose either one, you have also chosen the other one. Do not choose any of the ends, do not say ‘yes’ to any of these options.
The Right decision is never a decision.
The Right decision is a spontaneous happening.
Whenever a ‘decision’ is involved, the decision would be a flawed one. So, if the mind is hesitating, procrastinating, it is good news. Let it procrastinate even more. Let the action not happen at all. ‘Procrastination’ means, there is no inner sureness. So, it is good. When there is no inner sureness, then the action does not deserve to happen.
Keep postponing it. And one day, out of sheer necessity, under the weight of existential circumstances, action will happen on its own. And most likely that action will correspond to neither of the options you are conceptualizing. Keep postponing, don’t act at all. Why must you act, when you are not sure?
You have two proposals, and you aren’t sure about any of them, would you be happy marrying either of them? Postpone. And postponement is not an active thing. Postponement just means – “I am not budging, I am not moving. I am not compelled to act. The situation that is, is better than any of these two options. It’s okay. I am here, alright.”
Life is quite intelligent, life knows how to decide on your behalf.
If you have just a little trust on life, she will take all your decisions beautifully; better decisions than you and me can ever make.
Just trust life with the decision-making part.
Questioner 1: How do we explain that marvelous Intelligence of life?
Acharya Prashant: Is that marvelous Intelligence, higher than your own personal intelligence? Do you believe that way?
Questioner 1: Yes
Acharya Prashant: Then how would you explain it, using your own intelligence?
If you are asking me to explain, then surely there is a hidden belief somewhere that your own personal intelligence is wide enough to accommodate the existential Intelligence.
Questioner 1: May be mind is wanting a metaphorical image.
Acharya Prashant: Okay. It is called ‘Faith’.
‘Faith’ means – “Though I do not know what it is, yet I am fully sure that it is.” ‘Faith’ means – “Though I do not quite know what its nature is, but I am fully-fully sure that it is good for me. Though I do not know what it is going to do next, but I am fully sure that whatever happens, irrespective of my reaction to it, it is auspicious.” That is Faith.
Faith is – trusting in the unknown.
That existential Intelligence is not a ‘thing’ to be explained. It is an existential lap, where you can relax peacefully. It is like the breast of the mother, where you can just lapse into sleep. You cannot explain it. You can only leave yourself to it.
Questioner 1: A quotation from Osho – “Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved.”
Acharya Prashant: (Nodding)
Is it just a quotation, or is it to be lived?
Listener 1: I have Faith in that.
Acharya Prashant: And Faith is then something that breathes, something that has a heartbeat; just as you said, “It is to be lived, not just talked about.”
The whole spiritual process can so easily become another pursuit of the ego; it can just become more collected knowledge. The only thing that distinguishes egocentric activity from self-inquiry is ‘Faith’ – an ability to know, without knowledge.
Ah, what is that? It is no ability, it is blindness. It is madness; it is a kind of craziness. But you must be capable of that craziness. It is not scary, it is fun. Don’t stare at me like that. It relieves. It is alright to be not in the driver-seat sometimes.
Question 2: You have read many books, been with many thoughts before saying all this that is coming to you. Or is this coming from nowhere?
Acharya Prashant: Yes. And that is giving me words. But none of the knowledge, none of the books that I have read is giving me the centre from where I am speaking. Knowledge can give me an appropriate word, but knowledge cannot provide me with the centre from where that word emanates. May be, if I have read the scriptures, then I can come up with an appropriate quotation, a shloka, a sutra, a verse, or a doha. But even if I were to have not read that, then it wouldn’t make much of a difference. The centre would still remain the same.
Kindly do not think that you require a lot of knowledge to go into yourself. You already have a lot of knowledge, and that knowledge is sufficient. Let me ask you a question: What knowledge did the first Upanishadic Rishi have? Had he read other Upanishads?
Acharya Prashant: Yes. And if he could have it, then is it so impossible for you? Where was he getting all his understanding from? From nowhere – from life, from insects, from birds, from rivers, from the daily interactions, from man and woman, from the crying child, from jealousy, from attachment, from man’s search for something sublime. This was available to him for observation. And is it not available to you for observation?
Don’t you think that if you walk on this street, not with all your beliefs, not with all your baggage, but with your eyes really open, then you will know what the Upanishad is saying? Oh, you may not know the words, you may not know the shloka, but you have already known what the Upanishad is saying.
And you know what is amusing about all this. Only when you have known the Upanishad by yourself, then the Upanishad of the Rishi becomes relevant to you. If you have not discovered your own inner Upanishad, then the Upanishad (the book) in your hands will not really speak to you.
So, the book means nothing. The book cannot give you anything, if you have not already obtained it. In a sense, a book is just for a kind of verification. A book is just for joy, a book is just for resonance – “Ah! The same, the same, yes, yes.” So, you read that shloka and you say, “Yes, yes I know that, you are right man, I believe what you say.” It is not that you read it and then you memorize it, and then you say, “Now I know.” No. How would you know from the words, if you have not known from life? Is that not a good question to ask? – “How will I know from somebody’s words, if I have not already known from life?”
So the Scriptures, or the books of Wisdom are just to corroborate, just to support, just to validate; not to teach. There can be only one Teacher – your own life, your consciousness. You are living, you are alive.
I am not saying that the Scriptures have no value. I sincerely recommend them. I make it a point to even push my students to read them. But I also know, that –
No Scripture helps the one whose eye for honest observation is not open.
I call them the two wings of spiritual flight.
First – an honest observation of the world.
Second – a deep Faith in the words of the Scripture and the Guru.
Both must exist together.
And then you can fly.
Usually the second one is missing. In what way? Not in the way the Scripture is missing. The Faith is missing.
Practically, if the book says something, and that something is not backed by your own experience, would you be able to deeply believe in what the book is saying? Tell me. If the book says something, and that something is totally alien to you, then would you be able to believe what the book is saying? Would you? You can force yourself to believe. That’s what man has always been doing – “Oh, it’s a holy book. So whatever it is saying must be true. Let me believe.” And then, you are just divided.
Then what do you say? You say, “Spiritual life and Spiritual books are different from worldly life and worldly books. So the book of medical science may say something about where babies come from, but the spiritual books are saying something else about babies. And both are true, because I can’t reject either of them. So both are true, yet both are separate. Let me make two compartments. One is the maternity ward of the hospital, where babies are coming from. And the other is the spiritual place, where you have babies dropping from the sky.”
No, that compartmentalization is false. Break the wall, bring down the wall. Every moment of life is a spiritual moment. You might be in your office, you need not be wearing saffron, you need not be wearing a t-shirt with ‘Om’ and ‘Ganesha’ on it. Even if you are wearing a neck-tie, even if you are busy in a business transaction, still it is a spiritual moment. Do not take vacations to enter Spirituality, because if you take vacations, the vacations would end one day. Every vacation has a deadline. And then what will begin again?
Don’t take vacations.
Let your life itself be a Spiritual vacation.
Questioner 2: When we live in this world, we believe in certain things. What is ‘believing’?
Acharya Prashant: ‘Believing’ is – taking something as ‘it is’. When you attach the prefix, ‘it is’ to anything, you have believed in it.
Questioner 2: So, does it mean that whatever thoughts are arising during the day, they are all beliefs?
Acharya Prashant: Yes, they are all beliefs.
Whenever you say, that something ‘is’, you have believed in it. Now the question is about the quality of the belief. Have you believed just because you have been told that ‘it is’, or have you believed with the full power of your knowing?
When belief is superficial, very-very superficial, absolutely baseless, then it becomes ‘superstition’. When it has some basis –somebody told it to you, you read it in some book, then you can call it a kind of ‘trust’. And when the belief is again totally baseless, arising directly from the Heart, a totally foolish belief, then you can call it ‘Faith’. Faith is so much like superstition, and yet totally different from it.
How do you know that you love the right one? How do you know? Can a machine prove it? Can a chart prove it? Can a method or a formula prove it? Can your past experience prove it? How do you justify your love for a lamb? We met a kitten an hour back, and everybody was eager to hold it, to caress it. How do you know that it is the right action?
You would never really consciously know whether it is ‘superstition’ or ‘Faith’. And Faith shaken, would appear so much like a superstition. You would curse yourself. Whenever you find a reason to believe, you are in the safe zone. You are trusting some source. The source could be a teacher, a book, an experience, anything.
Faith is – trusting without a base, without a reason, without a cause. Superstition is much the same. They look so alike. Very minor differences are there.
Come on, is nobody here interested in knowing what those minor differences are?
Okay, you are not interested, so I let it be.
Questioner 2: What are these differences?
Acharya Prashant: Superstition is always about something. Superstition always has a story attached to it. It is always objective.
With Faith, there is no object, and no story. You cannot say anything about Faith. All you can say is, “It is alright.” All you can say is, “It is good, nice. Why nice? I do not know. How nice? I cannot explain. Who do you have so much Faith on? On nobody. You are faithful towards? Ah!Well, nobody in particular.”
When you ‘trust’ somebody, there is always ‘somebody’ that you are trusting. When you have ‘Faith’, then there is nobody; you are just trusting. Such is the deep trust. Trust says, “Don’t worry, you will not be harmed.” Faith says, “Even if I am harmed, it is alright.” Trust says, “Everything will happen as per your wish.” Faith says, “My wish does not matter. Whatever happens, even if it is against my wish, I am alright.”
Trust is always conditional.
Faith is free, not having any boundaries or conditions with it.
Yes, things can go bad. “See, if you continue like this, you will have to file for bankruptcy.” Trust will say, “No, that day will never come. Some money will arrive from somewhere.” And what would Faith say?
Listeners: I don’t care.
Acharya Prashant: “Even if I care, it does not matter.” It is not about that ‘I don’t care’, because sometimes you do care. Sometimes you are afraid, aren’t you? Sometimes you are shivering and trembling, aren’t you?
Faith says, “Even if I am appearing like an intimidated puppy right now, yet everything is alright. Yes I am suffering, yes I am crying, yes there is blood oozing from my sores, but it’s so cool that I can still laugh at a joke. I can still enjoy something silly. I will not get enraged. I will not say, ‘So bad is my condition, and you are playing a joke’. Yeah! A joke is always welcome. Even if five of my teeth are missing, I would still smile.”
Faith says, “Good is good, and bad is … better than good. Good is good, alright. and if it is bad, then it is equally good. Not that bad is good. Wait! I am still feeling bad.” Remember, it is not that the mind is saying that, “Everything is hunky-dory.” No.
The mind is feeling bad, the body is trembling and falling apart, yet there is something, an untouched centre which is at Peace.
The eyes might be crying, but there is something within which is totally undisturbed.
That is Faith.
Faith does not mean that you will walk around like some saint, “Oh, see the faithful one.” That is just a fanciful image. You have to live in this world, and if you don’t get food, then you (emphasising on the word ‘will’) will feel bad, the stomach will cry out. If you are insulted, humiliated, slapped, or wounded, you will feel violated. From the mind, there would be a recoil. In the middle of that disturbance, in the middle of that mess and chaos, still remain untouched. Let that be touched, whose nature is to get touched.
Whose nature is it to get touched? If I come near you, what is the maximum I can touch?
Acharya Prashant: So, let the body be touched. Whose nature is it to feel hurt very often?
Listeners: The ‘I’. The mind.
Acharya Prashant: Yes. Let the mind feel hurt. “Even when the mind is feeling totally hurt, I am still alright.” Why? Why so? “I don’t care to know. I am not even bothered about knowing.” That is Faith.
Faith does not merely say, “I do not know.” Because if you say, “I do not know,” then it means that you do not yet know, but you would be knowing in future. If you would just say, “I do not know,” that would be – trying to know. Or, that you have kept the possibility of knowing in future, open. You are saying, “I do not know, but it is not outside the province of knowledge. I will try to know. One day, it might be known.”
Faith says, “Who wants to know? Better things to do. Come on, bring the kitten. Why load yourself with spiritual questions? I am not accountable to divinity. Let God come if he wants all these answers. Why must I read one of the holy books? I would rather read a book on how to raise kittens.”
Learn to play with a cat, that is more spiritual than raising your legs and practicing breathing.
If you don’t know how to play with a rabbit, if you can’t hug a tree, then it does not matter how you breathe. You don’t have a heart. What will you do with all your breathing, if your heart is not beating? Kittens are the key. That’s the sutra.
Never forget it.
The small things, the small things; that’s where the big lies. And that is why the big is so easy to miss, because we are accustomed to missing the small.
We are not missing something which is shrouded, concealed; we are missing something which is present and apparent.
We are not missing the secret; we are missing something which is so very obvious.
And the obvious is very easy to miss when you are in search of a secret. When you are looking for something that you have lost, one place where you would never look is the ground right under your feet. You would look here, there, and everywhere, but never right under your feet.
May be it is there. May be that’s why it appears lost.
And there is always ground under your feet, whether or not it is Rishikesh (the Satsang is happening in Rishikesh). You don’t have to come to Rishikesh to search for ground; ground is always there. If you are there, the ground is there. Do you know which ground I am talking of?
That ground is also called ‘the Atman’. That is the ground of being. There is always ground under your feet. Look there, right there. Don’t search here and there. And keep a kitten closeby to remind you of this.
Oh, you wanted something big? Something from the Upanishads? Something from the Yoga sutras, something from Ashtavakra Gita, or Dattatreya? You don’t like kittens?
(Referring to the text courses to be conducted during the Myth Demolition Tour) We have those texts here. Would you rather spend the evening reading them?
Questioner 2: I love kittens.
Acharya Prashant: Ah! Yes.
Listener 1: And piglet, and babies …
Acharya Prashant: And leaves. And rotten leaves as well. Why not? And beautiful young babies. And also stinking corpses. Don’t forget them.
Question 3: The baby bird is in its nest. And slowly it is getting to this stage where it is trying to get out of the egg. It is trying to flap its wings, seeing its parents do that, and wondering when it would be able to fly. Yet the security of the nest is so alluring. Only after she gets a kick is she able to leave the nest.
Acharya Prashant: Don’t believe in special moments. There are no special moments; there is only the flow. There is no special kick that the bird needs; it is a continuity.
One day, the baby emerges from the womb; it is not a special moment. This moment was in the making since many months. If those months have been there, this moment too will be there; it is not special at all. It is a guaranteed moment. It is a part of those previous months. But if you believe in special moments, then you will pay no attention to all those months. You will believe as if something special, something unique, something different, something external is going to happen ‘one fine day’. In a way, you are hoping for that ‘divine intervention’.
Now, divine intervention is never special.
It is continuous.
Grace does not fall upon you one day.
Grace is that ubiquitous ground under your feet.
Grace is always there.
Yes, sometimes you realize it, and you say, “This moment is special. God has been so kind to me.” God has always been so kind to you, it is just that you are realizing it right now.
There is nothing special here.
Everything is so ordinary.
Learn to live in the ordinary.
If there is anything that is special, it is the ordinary that is special.
Every fragment of time, every inch of space, all of it is special. Every single relationship, every breath that you take in, every heartbeat, all is special.
You know, we make a grand mistake when we turn God into a special entity. Probably that is the first mistake that mankind made. God was the first extraordinary imagination that man had – “Ah, the special one.”
God or Truth, is not special.
It is here, there, everywhere, all around.
By making Him special, you send him away.
By seeing Him in the ordinary, you embrace Him.
You want to keep him in a special Church? Or do you want to keep him right close to your heart – In your kitchen, in your bedroom, in your bathroom, in your garage, in your playing field, everywhere? Do not give Him a special place.
No moment is special.
Nothing special ever happens.
If you keep waiting for the special, you will keep missing on life.
Life is ordinary.
I know what your next question might be. It would be on that special thing called ‘Enlightenment’. It is a myth.
You are already enlightened; Enlightenment is ordinariness.
Just accept your Enlightenment, you don’t have to be enlightened.
Just as you need to accept all the small and little things in life, similarly you have to accept another little thing called ‘Enlightenment’.
It is the littlest thing; it is the most ordinary thing.
And it eludes us, because we are searching for it – in the grand, in the ornamental, in the heavens. You won’t find it there. You would rather find it, where? In the eyes of the kitten.
Don’t miss it there.
Watch the session video: Let Faith make your decisions || Acharya Prashant (2016) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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