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Acharya Prashant: The question is that how to stay at the center when there is so much that takes the mind away from the center. How do you know that you are away from the center? How do you know that?
L: By realizing sometimes…
AP: So it’s a thought?
AP: ‘You are at the center’- this is a thought and ‘you are not at the center’- this too is a thought. I will repeat this five times so that it goes as deeply into the mind as possible through the words. You say, “You are at the centre, you claim that you are experiencing peace.” That is a thought. You say, “You are disturbed.” That too is a thought. Your affirmation has only as much value as your denial because the tool that you are using to either affirm or deny is not an appropriate tool.
You take a microscope and you use it to gaze at the skies and then you say that Saturn has twenty rings and then after a moment you say that no… Saturn has no rings. Do either of these statements has any value? You are using a microscope to look at the sky. Once you said that Saturn has twenty rings then upon another observation you said that no there are no rings at all. Do any of these observations have any value? Do any of these observations have a value higher than the other one? Be certain please, it is very important.
L2: No Sir no value at all. The tool is wrong.
AP: The tool is wrong. You are using a microscope to look at the Saturn and now whatever you will say will be just absurd. You are not authorized to say anything about the Saturn using a microscope. Are you getting this? Somebody takes a thermometer and uses it to say that your blood pressure is high and the other one takes a thermometer and uses it to say that your blood pressure is low. Which of these two statements is correct?
L: Neither of them.
AP: Somebody uses a thermometer to say that your blood pressure is lower than normal and somebody else uses a thermometer to say that your blood pressure is higher than normal. Which of these two statements is correct? Neither. In fact you’ll not pay any attention to the content of the statement. The moment you come to know the basis of the statement you’ll reject all such statements. You’ll say that I don’t even want to know the substance of what you are saying is. When the foundation itself is misplaced, shaky, then why must I bother about the rest of the story? When the beginning itself is so terribly wrong then why must I listen to the rest of what the mind has to say.
So if the mind says anything about the center, if it says, “I am at the center” or “I am not at the center”, whatever the mind says about the center, in either case the statement is?
AP: Absurd. The statement is invalid. There is a basic error with the statement which is that the mind is not capable of saying anything about the center. When you will be at the center the mind will not know. When you will be not at the center then there will be mind and it will keep knowing a lot which leads us to only one thing – ‘It is not what the mind says about the center that is important, because the mind cannot say anything about the center but there is something else that is much important which is that- ‘Is the mind is saying anything?’
It doesn’t matter what the mind is saying. The mind may say, “I am feeling blissful or I am feeling awful.” The most important question is if the mind is saying something that proves that there is a mental activity going on. Even if the mind is saying that it is experiencing absolute joy then rest assured that it is just disturbance. Even if the mind is saying that it is experiencing disturbance then of course it is disturbance. But even if the mind talks of other experiences kindly do not give those experiences any credibility.
Real home, real core, real center, real peace is not something which the mind grasps or constructs or within the scope of mind’s detection.
Now our friend asked that how to bring the mind back to the center, what to do when the mind is not at the center? Do not believe in this conclusion, this is what you can do.
The microscope is telling you that tonight the Saturn has forty rings and you are coming and asking that what to do, so many excess rings have come up or the microscope is saying that tonight the Saturn has no rings and you are coming in a very worried way and asking me, “what to do, all the rings of the Saturn has been stolen. Some cosmic thief has come and stolen all the rings of the Saturn, what to do?” What would I suggest? Do nothing, for your observation itself is misplaced.
You are never away from the center. In fact the thought that you are at the center or away from the center is what is responsible for you to believeing that you are away from the center.
Do not take these this thought seriously, reject it, discard it. Have tremendous faith, so much faith that you refuse to touch Godliness, your center, your core, your essence, your home with anything. You say that the mind is entitled to talk about all the worldly affairs and I listen to the mind. If the mind says that there is a shop on the left hand side, I will look at the left hand side. If the mind says that I must pay attention to the car that is coming from the other side I will listen to the mind. Whatever the mind says about the affairs of this world, I can listen to the mind but I will not listen to the mind if it tries to talk about the essentials of life.
If mind tries to talk about love I will say, “Shut up!, not your zone.” If the mind tries to talk about freedom I’ll say, “Get lost, beyond your province.” If the mind tries to talk about God I’ll say, “Go away, you have no locus standi in this.”
In peripheral things, in trivial matters you can go with the mind, you can read what it is saying but when it comes to real things in life, when it comes to the essential, when it comes to the absolute, when it comes to realization then kindly do not allow the mind to interfere. Interfere not only in the sense that the mind says that God is not there. It is a bigger trap of the mind when the mind says that the God is there.
Sometimes the mind will say no there is no God and no Truth. Do not take that only as the insubordination of mind. The mind is laying a bigger trap when the mind says that God is there and the Truth is also there because now the mind is trying to bring the Truth and God into its own very domain. If the mind says that the Truth and God is there it must have some way of having known that but the mind has no way. The mind only has the right to shut up, to be silent and when the mind is silent how will the mind say anything about silence, for God is silence.
If the mind is silent how will the mind say anything about silence? And if it is saying something about the silence then it is certain that the mind does not know anything about the silence, it is not silent.
So this question is based on a faulty premise. The premise is that sometimes we are at the center and sometimes we are away from the center. No you are never away from the center. When you feel that you are at the center then you have just identified with the feeling unnecessarily. When you feel you are away from the center then too you’ve just given weightage to the feeling unnecessarily.
You must be in a zone where no thought about the center arises at all.
Neither do you say that you are at the center nor do you say that you are not at the center. No thought about the center at all. Neither do you say that God exists nor do you say that God does not exists. Then you’re really Godly.
We often think that those who say that there is no God are atheists, ungodly people and those who affirm that there is a God are theists, believers, people of God. This is wrong, totally wrong. Those who say that there is God are as much of egoists as big unbelievers, as those who say that there is no God. Because to say anything about God is to bring down God to your own mental domain.
The real God lover will just be silent about God. Not only he will not say that there is no God, he will also not say that there is God. He will just be silent. So when you are totally silent about God then you are in God. When you are totally silent about the center then you are at the center. When you are not totally silent about the center even then you are at the center but identified with some rubbish which you are giving attention to.
Giving importance to something is in your own hands. You give importance to your thoughts about the core or God because you give a lot of importance to yourself. In surrender the primary importance is given to the Truth and not to yourself. When you give the primary importance to Truth and not to yourself then you’ll be able to take yourself quite lightly. You’ll say that I cannot hold myself too important, I cannot give too much energy to my opinions, I cannot stay firm behind my opinions. I have come to know that my opinions are of very less value. How can I have an opinion about God? How can I even ask a question that why am I not with God? How do I know whether I am with God or not?
If there is any question about God then know it as some kind of blasphemy. I am using a strong word but do get the direction of what I am saying. The Buddha made it a point to never answer any question about God for the same reason.
Pay attention to what is going on but do not conclude. Let the bare facts be as it is, do not come to a conclusion. Are you getting it? Observation is not about coming to conclusions. Observation is not about processing information mentally. Do not start doing that. You watch something and then you integrate it with your existing knowledge and then you want to come to some kind of a summary, an answer, a conclusion. No, Observation begins and ends with a fact, that’s it, full stop.
Observation just says that Sasha is behaving in this particular way. Observation will not say that since Sasha is behaving in a greedy way hence it is proved that Sasha is away from his center. No, how does Sasha know that he is away from the center? Has he seen the center? Has he seen himself walking at a distance from the center? It is surely some conclusion coming from his mind. It is an imagination. There may be some fact corroborating this imagination but then just stay till the fact, do not exceed it. The fact is that the Sasha shouted at somebody and full stop.
This fact does not mean that Sasha is away from the center. It also does not mean that Sasha is at the center. It means nothing, it is just a fact, a bare naked fact- Sasha shouted at somebody, full stop. Now do not bring your own patterns of conclusion to come to some kind of a final statement. Are you getting it? Just see what is going on. Never use it to come to a conclusion about yourself because you are nothing but the center, the core. You cannot be arrived at through some means, through thoughts, through conclusions. It is not possible.
Nobody arrives at himself. People just drop the notion that they were away somewhere. Nobody ever arrives at himself ever, never. Nobody ever gets enlightened, people just drop the notion that they were not enlightened at some point. Nobody ever attains the Truth, people just drop the notion that there is anything except the Truth. Do not talk so much about the center, just drop your notions.
It is not a pretty thing to talk so much about God, God cannot be the basis of general chit-chat, casual discussions. God cannot be an object that you can pick up and analyze. Hold yourself form saying anything about God, even praising God. Don’t attempt even that. Don’t even try to say big and nice things about God. Even that is a kind of an apostasy. Just be silent. Just bow your head down and say that I am not eligible to say in this regard, I am not qualified, just as a microscope is not qualified to say anything about the Saturn. I am not qualified, I will not say anything. This surrender itself is a solution.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: When you are totally silent about God, then you are in God
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