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Acharya Prashant: What is meant by ‘Success of this moment’?
Rajat is asking, “What is meant by succeeding in this moment?” Why was the statement like “If you are not successful right now, then you are not successful at all.” Why was the statement like that made? What is meant by succeeding in this moment? What is it? What is this moment? It’s a very simple and very obvious thing. This moment is the only reality, The only place where we are. In this everything is happening right now. Everything else is a complete imagination. The past is just images, memories. The future again is images, born out of past. Now I ask you, for you, the success is something real or imaginary? What kind of success do you want?
AP: Can you have real success in an imaginary future? We said, “Only this moment is real, everything else is imagination.” It’s a simple statement, is the import totally clear to all of us? Only this moment is real. Only this moment is when life is. All else is just conceptual imagination. Is this much clear? Even as a concept, is this much clear? No? This is when you are alive. Everything else is just imaginary. Now, If you really do want success, Do you want, real success, or imaginary success?
Listeners: Real success.
AP: Can you have Real success in an imaginary future? Of course in this moment is the only reality, then success too must be Right now. But you see how the mind will resist this. How will the mind resist this? The mind will say, “No, success is not right now, success is somewhere else.” Now, the mind will say success is somewhere else because the mind itself is always somewhere else.
Look at the trick of evolution. Because the mind itself is always somewhere else, so the mind is incapable of saying that success is Right now. Is the mind ever in the present? You may have life in the present, but is the mind in the present? Is the brain programmed to be in the present? The brain itself is always in past or future. So, for the brain success will always be in?
Listeners: Past or future.
AP: Guys, If the brain always in past or future, then for the brain success will always be in?
Listeners: Past or future.
AP: So, the brain has been programmed to deeply resist the realization that success exists right now. Its such an easy thing, right? Something just to be picked up. That success is right now, take it. This will make life so easy for us. Shouldn’t it? We strive for success, we do so much for success, we plan then we make so many efforts, and what is being said is “Success is here and now”. It’s there for a taking. Go and pick it up. but the brain will resist it. The brain does not like simplicity, it likes complexities.
Now, because the brain itself lives in time, in past and future, so, it just cannot accept that success is right now. That success is right now. But I have asked you a very fundamental question, right in the beginning that: do you want a real success or an imaginary one? All success sitting as you are here. All success of the future will necessarily be imaginary. Because the future itself is imaginary. The only real moment is this and the only success can be right now. That makes life so simple for us, Right? Doesn’t it? Absurdingly simple. Its here, right now, take it.
This is it, as obvious as this. But the moment you accept that success is here. Life is not an examination where you go, write a paper and then the papers are collected by somebody, and then the results are declared, then you come to know whether or not you are successful, and the entire process takes months, No. Life is a very simple affair in which the examination and the results are concurrent. They are parallel, they happen in the same instance. When is the examination?When is life?
Listeners: Right now.
AP: When is life? When are you alive? How many of you are breathing in the future? How many of you are breathing in the future?
Listeners: No one.
AP: So, When is life?
Listeners: Present, Right now.
AP: Hence, When is the examination?
L2: Right now.
AP: When is the result?
AP: That’s how simple an affair life is. Now is the examination, Now is the result. Whereas brain lives in the way our colleges and universities live. They say, “A date will be announced, then the exams will be taken, then somebody else will correct your answer sheets, evaluate them, and then it will be declared whether or not you have been succeeded.
In life, there is no place for two entities – One: Time, Second: Others. The examination is right now, you are the evaluator, there is no space for any other evaluator. Now is the examination, you are the evaluator, you declare the results right now. And that is happening every moment, every moment, every moment, every moment. And in all these moments, one thing is constant, What is that? Moments are coming and going, but one thing is constant, What is that? Whenever you are, you are in the now. So, across all those moments, that now-ness is a constant. Are you getting it? Moments are changing, but Is the now-ness changing?
AP: The now-ness is not changing, Whenever you are, you are in the now. Right now, or one year later, that now will not go away. Moments will come and go, now will not go away. So, Now, in that sense is a constant reality. Are you ever at any time except the NOW? It’s not a question of this moment, Even one year later, you would be in the now. Right?
L2: Yes sir.
AP: So, moments are coming and going, but the now-ness is not coming and going. That is the reality, that is the only reality. And because we all, as young people must have real success, all that success must come in the now. What is meant by success in the now? What is meant by success in the now?
L2: Now means what we want right now.
AP: Is there time for wanting in the now?
L2: No sir.
AP: In the domain of the brain, success consists of getting what you want. And that requires time. Hence, in the area of the brain, success is always in time, in future. Because the brain will say you are successful when you get what you want. So, the definition of success as per brain is “If I get What I want, then I say I am Successful.” And that will always be in the future. In the now, is there any time to want? Because if you want, the now is gone. So, what is success Right now? What is meant by instantaneous success? It is not about wanting, it is about something else. Happiness, Do you have the time to experience happiness? By the time you discover thought that I am happy, gone.
Listeners: Sir, living in the moment.
AP: What do you mean by living?
L2: Don’t take it as…….
AP: He says in the reign of life, not in the reign of the brain. In the reign of life, success consists of living every moment. What is meant by living every moment? It is just an antique phrase, is it? That so many movies start telling. That I live my life to the fullest. Just an antique phrase or something more than that? What is meant by living life fully? And life is this moment. What is meant by that?
L3: Do, what you want.
AP: Do what you want? (laughs) Is that a language of life or of the brain?
AP: What is meant by living this moment fully? No, it’s not about you have seen the ad about fizzy drink manufacturer, which says “Life abhi hai” or something like that. NO, that is not living right now fully, it does not mean that you go and grab a fizzy drink. That’s not that.
L3: Sir, But it means that you enjoy the moment.
AP: But what does he feel? What is the purport? Pick it up and drink. That’s a very distorted interpretation.
L4: Sir, but they just want to show us that, live life to the fullest of that moment.
AP: Yes, but what is the color which has been given? Living life fullest means consumption of a particular kind.
L3: A Particular moment like a cricketer is dancing, dance at the particular moment.
AP: Yes, but if the dance is like the dance of a child, you know a child plays into a dance abruptly, without reason and does not dance to any particular tune. If the cricketer’s dance is like that of a two-year-old kid, then it’s a different thing, but is he dancing because of that or is he dancing to somebody’s tune? Or is he dancing out for a particular achievement? The memory of that or expectations of bigger things in life?
L3: Sir, he is acting out.
AP: What does he trying to show?
AP: Happiness of what kind? Enjoying the moment is not about consuming the moment. Please understand this. Enjoying the moment is a very distorted meaning given to the phrase that “Live in the moment”. I Understand, so many of us often use this. That you know I live in the moment. And whenever you say “live in the moment”, you know most often what do you mean? You mean to consume the moment. You mean fulfill all your desires.
In fact, there is a particular song which says, “Aage bhi jaane naa tu, peeche bhi jaane naa tu, yehi waqt hai, karle poori arzoo” Now this is a very distorted meaning. There was a Hindi movie, a few decade back, which said, “Aage bhi jaane naa tu, peeche bhi jaane naa tu”, till this point is alright, “Yahi waqt hai” even this is alright, this is the only point when you are alive, but the next moment the female singer says “Karle poori arzoo”, now there is a great problem. Living life fully does not mean consuming this moment, does not mean that satisfy all our desires, it means something else, the success of the moment is not about fulfilling all our desires in this moment. That is something else. What is this? The success of the moment? What does it really mean? What does it really mean? Success in the moment. Right now, how are you successful? Right now, how are you successful? Yes Right now, right now, how are you successful?
listeners: We are not.
AP: That’s a brain talking because its desires are not fulfilled. How are you successful? What is meant by the success of this moment? Alright, let me pick up the words of one of you, he said: “Success of this moment is living it fully”. Let me pick up that word,”Life, living it fully”. What is meant by being alive?
AP: Breathing. You can have a very good machine that breathes. Afterall breathing is a purely chemical process. A mixture of gases goes in, Out of those gases, one is absorbed in the organic system and then out. Yes, you can have a very good machine that breathes. So, is it breathing that makes you alive? If breathing is what makes you alive, what is meant by being alive? If living life fully is about being alive, fully alive. What is meant by being fully alive? And people want to be fully alive, not half dead. Or any of are interested in half dead or three-quarters dead? I really hope nobody. What is meant by being alive? What is meant by being alive? Eating, walking, talking, sleeping, running.
AP: Fear? Fearlessness, well yes fearlessness is being alive. What is that fearlessness?
L4: Sir, at a particular moment we are doing that thing that we love.
AP: Particular action? Being alive is a particular action.
L4: The moment when you start feeling that you can’t lose anything.
AP: You see, you are talking about thoughts. Thoughts do not make you come alive. Understand the distinction completely. Thoughts do not make you come alive.
L4: But sir, human body tends to make thought.
AP: Not only a human body, Even a machine can be made to think.
L4: How can you say that?
AP: Because thought is just a mental activity.
L4: Thought is a mental activity, restricted to mind.
AP: No, not only in mind. No, no, no, no, no. If you ask any neuroscientist, you ask any neuroscientist, he will be able to tell you that thought is a purely mechanical activity. After all, what is thought? There is some information available from the past, there is some information available in the machine, from the past, then there is a stimulus that comes to the machine, and out of that certain movements start happening in the mind. And all of this is completely predictable and completely mechanical. Any good machine can be made to replicate thought. Because thought is a purely mechanical activity. Thought is not a sign of you being alive, please. The more we study the brain, the more neuroscience goes into how the functioning of this is? The more it is obvious that thought is a very-very mechanical process.
L4: Sir, what do you mean by Self-introspection?
AP: What do you mean by…?
AP: Self-introspection is about thinking about the self or is it about attending to the self? When you say, “I am introspecting”. Are you thinking about the self? or are you attending to it? Firstly have you understood this?
Listeners: Yes sir.
AP: Do you see where the question was coming from? You are thinking that even attention is thought. Are you listening carefully to me at this moment? Any of you? As you are listening to me, are you also thinking? As you are listening to me, right at this moment when you are listening, Is there also thought there?
Listeners: No sir.
AP: Is there a thought these when you are deeply listening?
L4: No sir.
AP: Thought cannot be there when you are attending. Similarly, when you are really introspecting, it is not thought, it is attention; thought is mechanical, attention is real. Those of you who are really listening are not thinking, and those who are thinking cannot listen. So, thought is not a sign of being alive. Neither is eating, walking, whatever. A good sufficiently advanced machine can do all of this.
What is it that qualifies you to be called alive? Alright, let me, this video camera is recording all that I am saying. Now, the same waves that are falling upon your retina and upon your eardrums are falling upon this camera as well? In fact, it is registering them with greater allacity than you ever can. Right? You are taking in half and the other half is lost in distraction, It is storing everything. Correct?
But you will walk out richer from this room, you will walk out ‘with’ something. And this keeps recording whatever I say, yet it never gets anything. That is what is meant by being alive. You can have a greatly advanced camera, yet that camera will never understand even two hundred years from today what I am saying. That camera can do a thousand things with the recording, but can never understand what I am saying. You can understand what I am saying, that is what is meant by being alive. No supercomputer can ever understand what I am saying, but you can understand, that is what is meant by being alive. The capacity to understand. So, then what is the success of this moment? What is the success of this moment then?
Listeners: Being alive.
AP: Being alive, alert in this moment. Not sleepwalking, that is what is meant by being successful in this moment. I am not sleepwalking, I am not half dead. I am not like a corpse, I am not like a machine programmed to enter a classroom, so I enter the classroom. I am programmed to sit on the chair, so I sit on the chair. I am programmed to search for the back seats preferably, not the front seats, so I chased the farthest seat at the rear. That is mechanical, that is the function of the brain. No, not that. To be alive in the moment means to be really awake. Really awake. And then that wakefulness, there is freedom, there is joy, and only that is their love possible, of tremendous interest to young people. Getting it?
Watch the session video: What is success of this moment? || Acharya Prashant (2013) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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