Befriend the mind, and it will be your best friend || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Question: Pranaam Acharya Ji.

Acharya Ji, you mentioned that mumuksha is what matters when we choose a path for Liberation. Mumuksha is a deep desire for Liberation. But the mind is always playing games. Once I do things against it’s comforts, it tries to make up stories and create random, non-existent problems for me.

Shall I listen to my mind, or should I ignore it? Should I be neutral to what it does and just watch? Please guide.

Acharya Prashant Ji: This is how you are looking at it.

You are saying that whenever you try for Liberation, whenever you move towards Liberation, the mind tries to disturb and distract you. You are saying, “It cooks up stories, it creates random, non-existent problems. And it starts playing various games to disturb and distract you.”

That may not really be the case.

You see, it’s like this.

The mind has had experiences. It proceeds only on the basis of experiences it has had. It has nothing else. The little self, the ego is nothing without time. And what it has been doing through the course of time? It has been interacting with the world.

Time means – a relationship now, and a relationship then. Something happening right now, and something happening later on – that is ‘time’. So the mind is all full of experiences. And the mind’s experience has been such that whenever it has wanted to quench it’s thirst, it has never had pure water available. It has never experienced pure water at all.

Probably pure water is something that cannot be experienced. So what has the mind had? Soda water. What has the mind had? Soda water. So what has the mind learnt? That when you are thirsty, you should have soda water. Even in soda water, what is the mind really looking for? Water.

So it brings the soda, and in the soda, what is it that it finds useful? The water. But it does not (emphasising on the word ‘know’) know water; water has been outside experience. What has been within experience? Soda water. So now the mind’s conditioning is: when thirsty, get soda water, or some coke, or some canned juice.

Now it’s ‘your’ mind, not really separate from you. I say that the mind is your own shadow, which means that your fundamental desire, and that of the mind cannot be two different. In fact, they are just the same.

It’s just that you exist as ‘I’, and the mind exists as the experiences that the ‘I’ has had. You, the ego, exists as ‘I’, and the mind exists as the sum total of experiences that this ‘I’ has had. ‘You’ are conscious, the mind is not; just as the man is alive, the shadow is not.

The ‘I’ is conscious, the mind is not really conscious.

The mind is a dead pattern.

The mind is mechanical.

So you may decide to move towards pure water. Consciousness gets elevated, it comes to see that pure water is what would quench the thirst. It tries to move towards pure water. It tries to move towards the pure water, the centuries old conditioned mind obstructs the way. It says, “No, no pure water. We must have soda water.”

And then Saurabh (the questioner) says, “Whenever I try to do something good, the mind tries to distract me.” Is the mind really trying to distract you? Now you and the mind are fighting. You are saying, “Water,” the mind is saying, “Soda water.” And then Saurabh sends over the question: “The mind is so foolish and so evil. It does not let me do my sadhana (spiritual discilpline). I have mumuksha, I want Liberation, the mind only want bondages. I want water, the mind says, ‘Coke.'”

What you do not see Saurabh, that deeply behind whatever the mind is saying, mind wants exactly the same thing as you do. There is no divergence at all, there is only lack of understanding. And that onus of understanding is upon you. We said, “Mind is a machine.” Can a machine understand? The machine will not understand.

You have to see that what all your conditioning, all your habits, all your patterns, are crying for, is really redemption.

It’s a strange thing to hear probably, but even your patterns are crying for Liberation. It’s just that they will not spell ‘Liberation’ as L.I.B.E.R.A.T.I.O.N. There spelling of Liberation is different, just as the mind’s spelling of Water is C.O.K.E.

But you are consciousness, you must understand.

If the mind is saying, “Coke,” it really wants water. If the mind is saying, “Mocktail,” it really wants water. Instead, you are complaining, “I want water, mind wants soda.” That is not the case.

The mind is really you in a frozen form.

Mind cannot want anything that you do not really want.

It’s just that you are a bit intelligent, and the mind is dumb, and frozen, and unconscious, and stupid.

Co-operate with your mind, learn to take the mind along. Mind is not evil, it’s just stupid. You cannot put somebody to the sword just for stupidity. And how will you kill the mind? Does the mind stand independent of you? Does it?

The mind is your shadow.

If you change, the mind will change.

And that’s what I am advising you.

Prove that you have changed.

If you have changed, you will be able to convince the mind – just as the shadow changes when the man changes, just as the world changes when man changes.

Don’t dismiss the desires of the mind.

Look at those desires.

Go deeply into those desires.

And behind each desire, you will find only one desire – the desire to be free.

Watch the session video: Befriend the mind, and it will be your best friend || Acharya Prashant (2019) The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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