What are you looking for? || Acharya Prashant (2016)


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Question: If I am honest, all the time I am looking for something, I don’t know why, or what. And I don’t feel good with that feeling, because all the time we are looking for outside. And I don’t know what I want to do or what I want? If you ask me that, I don’t have any idea. I don’t know what I am looking for. I want to be in peace only.

Acharya Prashant: You see, the question that we normally consider is – “What am I looking for?” In this question, the assumption is that there surely is something that I am looking for, that there exists something that I am looking for; the belief that something out there exists that I really want and that will really satisfy my thirst, my desire. So, the assumed challenge is to figure out what am I looking for.

But we never consider the question, whether I am looking for something?

We ask, “What do I want?” We do not ask, “Whether I want anything.” Do I really want it?

So, as long as there is this belief that there is something that one is looking for, one keeps travelling, going to places, searching, trying one thing then the next — which appears logical — because you are looking for something, so you have to hunt for it, look for it.

May be one is not really needed to look for anything. And I say this with respect for your travels, the effort that you have put in searching. But, do not forget that whenever you look for something you look ahead of yourself. You look into the future. You look towards others, you look into the world. Whenever you are looking ‘for’ something, that’s where you expect to find something, right? Outside, ahead in time, somewhere.

Maybe, just may be there is nothing that one is really looking for. Maybe one is alright as one is. Maybe it’s not needed to look for anything. Maybe ‘looking for’ is not needed. Maybe just ‘looking’ is sufficient.

‘Just looking’ means, you just have to look beyond this, all this – ‘this’, that is. You don’t have to do mental activity. In ‘looking for’ something, you always have to exercise your mind. You always have to think ahead. You always have to plan, look around.

Questioner: For sure, Yes. I get tired of this all the time.

AP: Yes. All the mental activity that tries something is always tiresome. It results in drainage.

Questioner: Also, when people say, “You have to go inside of yourself.” How shall I take it?

AP: ‘Going inside yourself’, first of all assumes that there is a solid Self. And that there is something outside of it, and there is something inside of it. This is a flawed assumption. Actually, there is nothing called ‘going inside of yourself’. This, that you see as outside of yourself, too is actually just inside of yourself.

Questioner: It’s the same.

AP: It’s the same. So, all this is inside of yourself. All this, that appears spread outside of you. Otherwise it’s a very childish thing to say, go inside of yourself. What does that mean? Go inside, one’s skin? Go inside the body? Go inside what? And if it’s about looking at the mind, if going inside the self, implies looking at the mind, then all this is just the spread of the mind. All the activities of the world, all the projections, all the appearances, all the movements, all this, is the mind. So, going inside the self, is actually quite meaningless.

If you are just looking, not looking for. If you are just looking, then you are looking at the Self. If you are just looking, without hunger, without fear, without desire, simply, simply in a relaxed way, if you are just looking, it is the Self that you are looking at.

So, Self is no great mystery, that you have to go inside it, and discover the path, and figure out what it contains and what..

Questioner: In relation to what you are saying, “You do not have to look for, you have to look.” What happens is that when you don’t have the energy to look around, which you don’t want. Sometimes to be more precise, I think OK, if I have to make a decision, I prefer to continuous live forever.

AP: It’s again very nice.

Passivity, is often a great virtue. You understand, ‘passivity’? Not being active. As you are listening to me, you require to be settled, not energetic. If you are energetic right now, then you will not be able to listen. You require a very silent flow of energy, in which there is no dissipation of energy. Getting it? So, you don’t really have to feel energetic. In action, you require great energy, but at your center, you require tremendous non-movement, a total absence of energy. At least, a total absence of movement, kinetic energy. You don’t need to have that.

There, you just need to be rock solid. There, you just need to have an unshakable space. And looking around, is not what I meant when I said, “just look.” Looking happens, even if you are not trying to look. For example, right now, are you ‘trying’ to listen to me? You aren’t trying, you are ‘just listening’. Right?

Questioner: Yeah, right!

AP: And if you are full of energy, then you will not be able to listen. You will fidget, you will move. That would be random, uncontrolled, energy. So, looking around, requires no energy. Because what I am asking you to do is not look around, but just ‘look’. “Just look.”

‘Looking around’ is not very different from, ‘looking for’.

Questioner: Yeah, I know what you mean.

AP: Yes! Just looking, just looking, without motivation, without purpose, without desire.

Questioner: What happens, what I look, I don’t like?

AP: Know that, You don’t like it, yes, of course.

Questioner: Sometimes I like it, but..

AP: It will happen, it will happen. The mind spares nothing. It either likes or dislikes. The intensity of like and the intensity of dislike may vary. But the mind is never really neutral about anything. It has to label everything as positive or negative. So, it will happen, obviously. So, you look and you find something attractive, you find something repulsive, alright, it’s there. And in finding that it is that way, if action has to happen, then pure looking will enable that action.

By just looking, you will come to know, what to do. Oh, it is not in the right place, so you just correct it. That’s all. It does not require too much of energy. And sometimes it does. And when it does, then you find that if you are just looking and then entering into action, then great reservoirs of energy get unlocked. You feel so energetic and you don’t realize where that energy is coming from.

That energy comes from realization. In ‘looking’ you realize.

-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: What are you looking for?

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