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Question: How can I understand my ‘calling’ in life?
Acharya Prashant(AP): What do you mean by ‘calling’?
The question is: “How do I understand my ‘calling’? How do I decide what to do?”
Do you mean in terms of profession, or career? Are you already not confused about whether to do this or that? Are you asking from clean slate?
Questioner: I am confused.
AP: If you are confused, that means you already attach importance to two or three options, right? And you are confused only because you cannot choose from in-between those options. That is your confusion. Correct?
AP: You are confused because you cannot choose between Wine, Vodka, Gin, or Whisky. And even when you want to ask regarding your calling, you want me help you, put your finger on one of the four bottles, right? Wine, Vodka, Gin, and Whisky.
That is the reason behind your confusion. What is the reason? You have these four options. Now where is the apple juice? Where is the apple juice? Unless you first remove these four, would apple juice ever figure in your mind? That is what is meant by – asking from a clean slate.
Whenever you ask a question, you already have a set of ready-made answers. All you want from this speaker to do, is to help you choose from A, B, C and D (Wine, Whisky, Gin, and Vodka). Now had these A, B, C, D not been already there with you, you would have anyway not asked the question, because there would have been no confusion.
Instead of trying to know your genuine calling, just remove all the options that are there in your mind. Just remove them.
Now that appears so dangerous. You will say, “I am anyway not able to figure out when I have four options. How will I figure out when I have zero options?” But that is the beauty of the game.
With four options, all you get is – confusion.
With zero options, all you get is – direction.
The solution to the confusion that four options cause, is not a fifth option, not a sixth option; not eight options.
When four options are causing confusion, the solution will emerge when you remove all four. Remove all four, and now you are free to know. Now a decision will arise from your Freedom. As long as these four options are available, there is no possibility of any kind of solution.
That is the thing with questions. They have preset answers ready with them. The question already decides the scope of the answer. And when the question has pre-decided the scope of the answer, then the answer cannot dissolve the question. Then the answer is just a continuation of the question.
And the question is a problem. So the answer then, is the continuation of the problem.
Remove all the options that you have.
See that you are just newly born.
See that you have no experiences.
See that you can decide on a totally clean slate.
That totally clean slate, is called ‘the Self’, or ‘the Atman’.
And now see what is possible for you.
Don’t imagine about it. Just keep all your existing priorities away, and then ask yourself, “Had these not been in my life, how would have my life gone?” And then you would know what to do with your life.
As long as you keep deciding from within your existing priorities, you will only get that, which is anyway already existing in your life.
For a moment set aside all of this, and ask yourself, “Had all of this not been there, how would have I lived?” Then you would know what calls. Then you will know the meaning of ‘calling’. Right?
A fellow comes to commit suicide, and you are on the other side of the counter. And he is asking you to choose between four kinds of poisons. Is there any real choice involved in this? Would you say, “I am helping him choose rightly. I will give him the best kind of poison”?
Choice can happen only when there are no choices.
Remove it from his mind that he needs to be poisoned, and then see what is the fresh decision that arises. Then he will know how to live his life.
When you are shopping for a car, may be what you actually need is a bike, or a cycle. There is no point in asking for expert advice to choose the best car.
The real thing that you want, may lie outside the domain of your choices, the whole set of your choices.
Watch the session video: How to know one’s calling in life? || Acharya Prashant (2017) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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