Acharya Prashant: The difference between acceptance and non-resistance

Question: Its quite difficult to discuss about spirituality, because there are two worlds, the one we know, the spiritual one. When you say for example, in a spiritual way, when I do something to you, I do it to me because we are one. There is something, everyone experiences, When I give, for example, money to you, I am losing the money and you are gaining the money. And then we can…

AP: No… No… No…

We will proceed with this example, itself. Did we get what was said? What was said was that I had said, previously, that in the spiritual world, what one does to the other is what one does to the self, to himself.  Here, a counterexample is coming, he is saying, suppose he gives me, a coin, then I gain a coin and he loses a coin. Two different things are happening. What is happening to me is not the same as what is happening to him.  What is happening to me, is the opposite of what is happening to him. So he is saying that the spiritual world and the real world are different. They are not. This example is misplaced. We will see how.

Why do you remember, giving somebody a coin?

L: Because we are expecting something in return.

AP: When do you remember, giving something to somebody? When do you keep account and record of what you have given to somebody? Only then you remember it, right?

You are eating and your little child comes to you and you give half your bread to him, do you remember it? Do you remember it? But you are talking of this event, giving a coin, so surely you can talk of it only because you can remember it.  So when will you remember it? We are talking of the psychological happening, not the material happening. When will you remember giving a coin to somebody?

L: When it’s important.

AP: When it means something to you. So it is an act of ego, you are attaching value to the coin. The other fellow, if he too remembers receiving a coin, then what is happening there?

L: It has value for him too.

AP: It has value for him too. Now the same thing is happening, these are two ends of the duality. He is giving importance because he thought he, has lost something and he is giving importance because he thinks he has gained something. It’s the same psychological event that is unfolding itself. There, the insecure ego is feeling that it has lost something and hence puffing up. When you feel you have lost something, what happens to your sense of ‘I’?

You are sitting silently, by the river and suddenly you feel, that you have lost something, your wallet is missing. Now, what happens to your sense of ‘I’? Go into the event. What happens to it?

You are sitting by the river. You are one with the river. You are just sitting and suddenly, something reminds you that you have lost your wallet. Now, what happens?

L: You get disturbed.

AP: You get disturbed and the ‘I’ suddenly leaps up. My wallet, what would happen to me. There were 3 credit cards there. Do I call up my wife? Do I call up the customer care? What else was there? The ‘I’ immediately swells up. So losing of something leads to an inflation of the ego.

The ego is a strange thing.

When it gets hurt, then it gets bigger.

Hurt is a pleasure, you know. When you get hurt, the ego gets bigger. So, in losing, your ego has inflated. So now that fellow who has received the coin, he has received the coin so what happens to him.

L: Same thing.

AP: Same thing. Oh, I got the coin, there it is fear, here it is greed. Because the event means something to him. If I can get one coin, maybe I can get two more coins. What happens to the sense of ‘I’?

L: It gets inflated.

AP: So is the same event not taking place at both the ends? If you look only superficially, then you feel that you have lost and he has gained. The fact is, the same thing has happened in both the places. Such are all our worldly dealings. All our worldly dealings are of this way only. Whether you win or whether you lose, the ego only gets bigger and bigger.

You know of that, entity called entropy in physics? Entropy is unidirectional, whatever you do, it only increases. Most other quantities that you know of, they increase and they decrease. Distance increases, it decreases. Force, power, energy, velocity, current, voltage difference, magnetism. All increase as well as decrease. Entropy just increases, such is the ego.

Whatever you do, even to diminish the ego, only nourishes the ego.

If your house is burnt, the ego swells up. ‘I’ will have to do something now. And if you get a new house. The ego again swells up, ‘I’ got a new house. Such a trickster is the Ego. But that you can see only if you do not look at events, superficially otherwise you will feel I have lost, he has gained.


nobody has lost and nobody has gained. Both have just been fooled.

Yes, you are saying something?

L: So what’s the solution? The ego, if we win or if we lose, the ego gets bigger.

AP: Asking this question, could he have dropped the ego? When your whole perceptions of the event is superficial, how will you ever drop the happening? When you don’t even know the happening because the happening is a little deeper, how will you ever drop it?

When you are feeling, you have lost the coin. How will you see, that even in losing, the ego has swelled up? I repeat

The ego is an entity which increases, by any effort of yours.

Even the effort, to get rid of the ego, nourishes the ego.

Whatever you will try, to reduce the ego will only inflate the ego.  Whatever you will try, to alleviate your suffering will only enhance your suffering. So, any methods that you choose, any smartness that you try, any wisdom that you apply, will always be, delivering, the opposite of what, it is intended to deliver.

The wise man hence simply surrenders. Instead of striving any further, trying any further, he simply knows, that I am in such a situation, where if I move, I only get hurt even more.

Kabir puts it very beautifully.  He says, “this world, is a thorny bush and you are stuck in it”. “This world is thorny bush it. “yeh sansaar kantan ki jhadi” and you are stuck in it.  Now even if you try, to do something, to help yourself, you will only get, more wounds.

Ulajh ulajh mar jana hai,  yeh sansaar kantan ki jhadi, ulajh ulajh mar janna hai.” This world is a bush full of thorns, you move left you get hurt, you move right, again you will get hurt. What to do?

Not to Do. Stay still! Stay still!

But I know, how the doer mind, is reacting to this statement. The mind is saying, that if we stay still, then we will die of starvation. If we stay still, then we are just dependent, on random chance. Kabir does not look at the future. He only knows the fact of the happening. He says even, if you try, to break free of your situation, your situation will only worsen.

L: I have one question.

AP: Yes, please.

L: Agreed. Let go what goes, stay with what stays.what is the limits in accepting, what to expect. Should we accept everything?

AP: The difference between ‘acceptance’ and ‘non-resistance’ is a thin one. But, if you do not understand, or if you get a teacher, who is all muddled up himself, then he will start calling non-resistance as acceptance. Non-resistance is not acceptance. Non-resistance means I will not be there even to accept.

Because if I am there, my presence itself, is a resistance.

Non-resistance means getting rid of that ‘I’ that accepts or rejects.

If you are accepting, tell me, will you not reject at some stage?  If you are accepting, at least you know what rejection is.  You reserve to right to reject, don’t you?  You are saying, I am accepting, I could have rejected, but I am accepting.

Non-resistance is to drop the right to accept.

If you are still accepting, you are still so strong. You are the authority. You are the authority, who accepts.

L: If we drop, it means we are attached so we don’t have to as you said move to get still.

AP: More accurately it is not even about the dropping. It is about letting, the dropping happen and not obstruct it. You will drop, you will drop only selectively.

When you throw garbage out of your house, do you also throw out your television and your wife?

You only drop things selectively.

You only drop that, which you think is not valuable.

But when the dropping happens by itself, then anything can get dropped.

Then even you can get dropped out of your house. Even the dropper can get dropped.

L: Is that, dropping occurs, Ahh! gradually, gradually or at the same time.

AP: And that puts so much of pressure on you. No, it’s a relief, it’s a relief because if it happens gradually you will have to entertain thoughts of it for a long while. You will have to keep thinking, oh it is to be dropped, it is to be dropped. When the dropping just happens, then the thing is gone and the thought is gone. Otherwise, the thought will keep making life hell. What gets dropped, drops like this and you just say, Ahh…  And it’s gone, you have seen the futility of it. It’s gone. And it usually goes like a joke, with a smile. Ahh… (smiles) gone.

The Buddha would say “Gaatee gaate paraa-gaate swaha. Gone, gone, totally gone. evaporated.

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: The difference between acceptance and non-resistance The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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