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Acharya Prashant: Want to begin this morning by talking of living in facts versus living in thoughts.
Is not, the whole system, the being, personality, even the face, very different when you are there connected to the fact? You visit a shopping mall. Have you observed our behavior when we are there? Have you observed the expression on the face; the whole drive, the whole energy? You want it. Now you are not looking lost, wondering, assuming. Have you ever seen somebody maintaining a safe distance from the goods while standing in a shopping mall?
You go to buy clothes. What do you do? Do you stand at a distance and look at them? What do you do? You go and touch them, right? You go close. You want to know what the whole thing is about. You want to know the price, you want to know the quality. Or do you stand five meters away? And what I am talking of is a fact. And the next fact is – it is a very common fact. You are aware of it. I am talking of your own behavior. So you surely know this. You very well know what happens to your behavior when you are genuinely interested and not faking.
You go to watch a movie — one of these common movies that we watch — and have you seen how your eyes are glued to the screen and how your ears hear nothing except the soundtrack, the dialog? How many people have you seen in a cinema hall looking the other way while watching the movie? Or even looking downwards as if they are introspecting? So in a cinema hall, you very well know that you ought to look at the screen, right? And again I am talking of a fact. And again I am talking of a very common fact. You need not even be taught about this. When you visit a cinema hall, you very well know that it is common sense that when there are visuals, and audio, I will look at the visuals and I will listen to the audio. There you know. And we are talking of — I repeat — one of those common movies that hold really so little value.
Ever seen somebody sitting in a cinema hall and introspecting? There you very well know that, that kind of introspection will be foolish. Even the thought does not cross your mind to stare at your hands or your pen when the visual is right there in front of you? The visual is there. Are you getting it?
All these abnormalities in our behaviors will be so easily discernible, so clearly detectable if only we just look at the fact of what we are doing right now. Most people keep saying, “All that we get is world, world and more world. Where is the divine? Why don’t we get that?’ Is the answer not obvious? When the world comes in front of you, your eyes are all open; and you are dying to come close. “Let me touch that skirt, feel it, let me try it out, let me know; let me pay attention to the movie”’
Ever seen a man looking towards the walls when the screen is that side? Ever seen that? Then why does that happen in the sessions? When the speaker is here, how can you look towards the mountains? (Indicating towards one of the listeners) Why does that not happen in the cinema hall? But see. In the cinema hall, do you ever do that? When you are teaching your students, professors, do you look at the walls? And would you like it that when you are teaching, your students are looking at the walls? Then how could you be right now looking at the mountains? (Indicating towards one of the listeners) And am I not talking of simple, basic, obvious facts? Am I not?
Lao Tzu will not come to tell you this. He assumes, he believes and he knows that we all have the capacity to display basic intelligence. These basic things need not be told. Is it due to some great divine conspiracy that we miss the divine? Or is it because of this common place, daily stupidities?
I had said earlier that we are not missing any secret. The Truth, the divine is not some complicated puzzle.
We are not missing the secret. We are missing the obvious.
Had there been a secret, it could have been revealed. Had there been a puzzle, it could have been solved. But the trouble is that there is nothing left to solve. Everything is laid open – bare, resolved, right in front of you. And now nothing more can be done. So, if it is not happening even now, then it is just because of your own mischief. Now you cannot site any other reason. Now you just have to say that-‘only that is happening which I want to happen,’ and you wanted this to happen. You wanted this suffering to happen and continue and so it is happening. Now there is no question of relief. What relief? You are already getting what you want. Now relief from what? Relief from the fulfillment of your own desire?
When you are reading a book, do you look heaven-wards? And then if you are talking to the heaven, why do you look book-wards? When you are reading a book, you do not look at the skies. Do you? Then when the sky talks to you, why do you look at the book? And then you say the book is unable to take me to the sky. The book is an obstruction because you are looking at the book when the sky is talking to you. And you are looking at the book hoping that the book will take you to the sky. Raise your head, look upwards, the sky is talking. You are not listening precisely because you are looking at the book. And then you blame the book and then you blame the sky.
Am I talking anything that requires great intelligence or is it all just obvious? Does one require complicated, cutting-edge research to say and see all this? Yes, does one? Am I coming from somewhere special or am I just saying these things as one of you? With a little bit of honesty and intent, would you too not say the same things? Would you not? Does it require a special teacher to be sitting on this chair? Are these not all very simple matters? Are they not? We were talking yesterday on how we give preference to the trivial and miss out on the important. How the time goes towards the needless; and this is not a concept. What I was saying comes out of, and is proven by the common, recurring, very present facts of life.
How many of us miss the Shanti-path this morning, or at least a part of it? And what is meant by missing out on the important and catering to the trivial? What is meant by that? It is happening; it is happening even now.
We are just drifting. Sir, we are just drifting, waiting for the current to carry us somewhere. And we are living in an illusion that I know where the current would carry me next because the current is flowing according to the schedule prepared in advance. We are drifting for one thing to be over and next thing to get start with no thing meaning anything to us.
You have a schedule with you which says today you are here, tomorrow you will be somewhere else, day after that you will be somewhere else, then you will be sleeping somewhere, then you will be catching a flight, then you will be taking a train, then reaching somewhere else, then again taking a bus and reaching somewhere and you are drifting. You are letting the schedule carry you. Where is understanding in all this? It’s like a drunk man lying in a lorry, letting the driver do what he pleases and feeling secure in that the driver has been appointed by you. The fact that it is your schedule, made by you is not a security. It is a bane because the lorry is man-made and the driver has been set by your own mind. You are the driver.
Spirituality is no abstract subject. When it is said that it comes from something that you can never know, from where the words of the Upanishads came, from where all the divine revelations came, you interpret it as meaning that they must be coming from a very esoteric source, some really deeply hidden source. Yes? Is that not the interpretation? But allow me to open it up a little more for you-if it is not already opened to the maximum. It is said that the Upanishads come from a source that you cannot know, because the Upanishads really come from nowhere.
For something to come from anywhere, the source must be at a distance from you. The source must be at least a little inaccessible, a little away, requiring a little effort to reach. But when, the happening is so obvious, then you cannot say that it has come from anywhere. The Upanishads come from nowhere, meaning-what the Upanishads are saying is just obvious, is just so simple. So what to say from where they come? They are like the palm of your hand. It is simpler to know Upanishads than to know your thumb, your nails, the back of your hand.
If you are sitting in front of me and somebody asks me, “How exactly did you learn about her?” I will have no answer because I did nothing to learn about her. What did I do? I just saw. So how can I tell you how did I learn about her? Simply, how can the Rishi tell you anything about the source of his utterances? He did nothing to know all that. He did absolutely nothing to know all that. He just saw that as true. Normal seeing is facts. A little more, dedicated seeing is Truth. But it is all just seeing. Not trying, not getting, not comprehending, not thinking, not analyzing, but just seeing that which is anyway obvious.
It comes from the Quran. A verse indicates, “Let me take you easily into the easiest.” The verse says: Let me take you easily into the easiest. That’s all. Now will you tell me why is the easy so difficult for you?
Yes? Reflections please.
Listener: Why is it difficult to accept the person or persons with whom one spends most of her time?
AP: Who choose the person with whom you spend the most of your time? Do persons arbitrarily, randomly come into one’s life? You look at your circles, you look at your relationships, you look at your intimate ones. Have they just from nowhere jumped into your life? Yes? There is an active choice involved. Your son and daughter are the persons they are today, at least partly due to your influence. You decide with whom to spend your time. You choose your boyfriend or your girlfriend, right? So all of this, at least most of this is happening as a result of my own decisions, my own choices. If I do not like my choices, then de facto what is it that I dislike? The one who is making the choice. Is it not so?
When you will change, then the very basis of relationships will change. When you will have love and acceptance towards yourself-and I am not using these two words love and acceptance in the same hackneyed sense as they are now very often being used.
Let me just put it this way that when you are a little alert towards yourself, then you will also be alert towards the choices that you are making. When you will know what you are doing in these small, daily, day to day matters, when you will know whether it is the right time to pick up a tea. Ah! We don’t know that. What do you think, only kids need to be taught these things? Adults also need toilet training. Most of us do not know when it is the right time to visit the toilet? Somebody would get in the middle of the session and that is worse than a kid wetting his pants because he does not have adequate toilet training.
An adult is missing a session because he is occupying the toilet. Is that really not worse than a kid wetting his pants? Who needs toilet training? So, when we know of these little things in life – how really to hold a tea cup, where to take off your slippers, how to sit, how to look, where to look, what to attend, what to miss, when to go to sleep, when not to sleep, when to speak, when not to speak, when to go away, when to rush forth and hug? When we will know all these things, these small matters, then we will also know how to make the so called big choices. Then we will also know how to decide whom to marry. Then we will also know how to decide where to work.
We keep asking about all the big things are missing in life and we never talk about these things. Do we? We do not know when to go and take a walk. We do not know when to appear and when to disappear. But we think we fully well know, when is the right time to have a kid. Excuse me. If you require toilet training, you are still a kid. How come you are deciding on having a kid?
Again I have to say that the matter is so simple and the solution is so easy that we feel embarrassed accepting the solution. Have you ever felt that embarrassment? I have felt that. You go to a doctor thinking you have some serious ailment and the doctor dismisses you in two minutes flat prescribing a tablet of vitamin C every day. And before going to the doctor, you have been wondering for weeks, “Is my heart sinking? Is it cancer or is it the liver, some obnoxious, genetic disorder?’ And you go to him and he looks at you and he writes Vitamins C and (says), “go away.” And he is not even saying come back for a check up. It is humiliating. Is it not? That which you think of as your great disease is actually oranges and lemons.
So you wouldn’t accept that prescription. You would rather go to some doctor who passes you through the most terrifying machinery and some long, incomprehensible report arrive and finally he draws the whole chemical structure of the vitamin C molecule-it’s a big molecule. And he does not write vitamin C. Instead he writes it IUPAC name. You know how long those names are for big molecules? Now you are impressed. ‘So this is my disease.’ And he says keep visiting me every seven days and keeps paying the fee.
‘You must visit India every two years.’ (Indicating towards a westerner listener) Keep paying the fee. Now you are sure that the doctor is a Gyani, “See! He is Gyani and he is a responsible one.” But if you go to someone and he resolves everything in two minutes flat…
“I am so big. How can my problem be so small? My problem must be as big as me.” Your problems are very small. And the solution is very easy. Just see what you are wearing. Just see what you are talking and you require no special lens to see.
We are not comfortable with anything. We are not comfortable with the persons we are with, we are not comfortable with our clothes, we are not comfortable with the happening because whatever is related to you is there because of you. Had you not liked it, it would have gone away. A distance would have been created.
If something or somebody is present in your life, please see your contribution in that. Then you will not feel like blaming the other. There are all kind of things in the universe. Why are you found with the wrong kind of things? Is that not a genuine question to ask? And ‘wrong’ as per your own assessment. Your own assessment itself may be wrong. If you ever find yourself struck with suffering, ask, “Is suffering sticking to me or am I sticking to suffering”
Do you know, how one sticks to suffering? One sticks to the suffering by sticking to the same breakfast, to the same way of thinking, to the same friends, same cap, same slippers.
Facts. When everything else is being allowed to remain the same, then how can suddenly the condition of your mind becomes different? For mind is nothing but everything around you and within you. Do you get this? Is the mind really something? Or is the mind the muffler, the coat, the chair, the wall, the wife, the job, the car, the flight, the tasks, the hopes, is that not what the mind is? If these things must remain the same, then would mind change? Tell me, would mind change?
Not that you can proceed through these things. Just that, those things by themselves are eager to change – for coming and going is the habit of time. All things come and go. So those things, those persons, those events, those thoughts, those patterns, themselves, by themselves would fade into history, would go away. But you are insistent, “No, you cannot go away.” You do not allow the going one to go away and then you say, “nothing changes in my life. The suffering is continuous.”
Suffering wants to go away because everything wants to go away. Have you not seen your pleasures go away? Just as everything goes away, suffering too wants to go away because suffering too is within time. But you say, “No, No! How can I let it go away?”
“This is not suffering, this is my principles.”
“This is not suffering, this is my God.”
“This is not suffering, this is my religion.”
‘What! You called her suffering? She is my darling.’
The darling is suffering. Read this sentence both ways. The darling is suffering for herself and the darling is suffering for you.
L: May I ask you how can I make the things or suffering go?
AP: If suffering is with you, then it is the substance of the mind. It does not come all of a sudden. Its presence will be visible in every action of the mind. It is just that you do not detect it that regularly. You detect it only when it becomes unbearable. You detect it only when its expression conforms to the image that you have of suffering. For example: If you are just sitting distracted thinking of your family when the session is on. You will not label this as suffering because this distraction does not agree with your definitions of suffering. You would say, “No, No! I am not suffering. Right now, I am thinking of my loved one.’ But if somebody is crying, then you will quickly say that the fellow is…
AP: Because this image of tears rolling down agrees with your image of suffering. We are suffering all the time. Is distraction not suffering? Tell me! Is it or is it not? We are suffering all the time and that’s why I am saying that the suffering is the substance of mind. So, it will be detectable in every single action that you do. So, pay attention to these simple actions.
Being there is an act of suffering. Now tell me is there any great reason behind that suffering? Simple, petty inattention. So, what great prescription, remedy, medicine can be given to you? You do not require any medicine. Nobody requires any medicine. When the disease itself is so fake and false, will it require a real medicine?
We do not tire of saying that the ego is false. If the ego is false, how can the cure of ego be real?
A false disease only requires only diagnosis, not treatment. If you are just assuming that you are diseased, then you do not require medicines. You just require the word of the doctor telling you that you are not sick, you are all right. The word of the doctor is all you need.
But you are insisting-‘no, my disease is heavy, big, real, threatening.’ Pay attention to these small matters. To whom are you talking, where are you standing, where are you going, and what are you thinking? And in this, everything will be revealed.
If you can pay attention to your slippers, I assure you that they will reveal to you, the scriptures.
But no, we don’t want to pay attention to the slippers because, “Ah! slippers. Just slippers.”
L: Just as you said that we are sticking to the suffering; so as we sit in the group and discuss, all the non-sense talks are just a way to stick to the suffering.
S: Yes, of course. But at that time, it is not non-sense talk. At that time, it is friendly gossip. At that time it is bonding. At that time, it is harmless entertainment. Is it not? Then you do not see that this that appears like laughter is nothing but the other face of sadness. With others, I would be laughing and when lonely, there would be tears. You do not see that, right?
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session video: Acharya Prashant: Living in facts versus living in thoughts
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