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Question: Acharya Ji, Namsakaar!
I want to get rid of some compulsive habits and some compulsive thoughts. There are some aspects of my personality that I do not like, I want to get rid of those aspects.
Also, I want to know how to develop unwavering attention.
Acharya Prashant Ji: It’s such an easy demand, you know.
It’s a small question.
You are what you want.
If you want to change who you are, then you will have to want something radically different.
Your destination, your desire decides your constitution.
You become what you intend to achieve and be.
If you love the mud, you will become an earthworm.
If you love the Sky, you will grow wings.
Your entire personality will change.
That’s what you want, right? The entire personality must come apart. Then you have to change what you Love.
If you love the mud, then you cannot grow wings. Can you? If you love the mud, all you will get is a mud-worm. Do you have love for the Sky? If yes, the personality will change, the wings will appear.
The desire, the target has to be there.
You have to submit yourself to something tremendous.
Your goal will decide your life.
Instead, we let our life decide our goal.
And that is such a costly mistake.
If you want to let things continue as they are, then let your life decide your goal. Things will remain exactly as they are, the status-quo will prevail.
“This is how I am living, and hence this is where I want to go.” That’s how most people live. Don’t they? Their goals are a product of their ways of living, therefore they do not bring about any change, any fundamental change in the way they live.
If you really want to fundamentally change the way you are, then you have to have a goal that is tremendously brilliant, supremely attractive, and Surrender to it.
Your entire system will then be forced to adjust itself, rather take a re-birth in order to achieve that goal.
The goal must not be what your system is already programmed to achieve, the goal has to be such that it causes a breakdown in your system. It tells your system that it is beyond the capacity of the system, therefore the system will have to re-configure itself.
And that re-configuration is what you want, right? A total change in personality. That can only be brought about under tremendous pressure. Unless that pressure is there, things will just stay the way they are.
But why will one tolerate so much pressure? Pressure is not welcome to the system, right? Who loves pressure? Nobody. Therefore, there has to be an overpowering Love. Only when there is such great Love, that one wants to take that kind of pressure.
One says, “For the sake of the Beloved, I am prepared to die. I am prepared to take that pressure. I will be shattered, and I do not know whether I will come up again.”
It has to be something overwhelming, it has to be something that numbs down your intellect. It has to be something that challenges your reasoning, it has to be something that goes beyond your reasoning. If it is within your reasoning, then your reasoning will shoot it down.
Otherwise, personality is a tough nut to crack.
Cosmetic changes in personality are easy to bring about. You can grow some hair, or you can grow a beard. You can start wearing some western outfits, or you can lose or gain some weight, or you can get a good tan, or get yourself tattooed. You can learn a new language, you can develop new skills and hobbies. Such superficial changes in personality are easy to bring about.
But if you want a total re-constitution of the self, then that requires a change in the center itself.
And the center is that which you live for.
You have to start living for something very-very different.
The purpose of life has to change.
When the purpose of life changes, then the personality of the living one follows.
I assure you, most people carry the same personality that they are born with. You might find it surprising. You will say, “Oh, but the child undergoes so much. There is surely a great difference between the personality of the seventy-year old and the seven-day old.”
No Sir. The personality of the seventy-year is in many ways just a continuation of what he was when he was a seven-days old. Nothing changes – the same instincts, the same basic tendencies. Only cosmetic and peripheral changes happen. Deep inside, the same thing – fear, want, greed, comparison, anger, hope, despair, lust. What has changed?
And that’s terrible, because man keeps wanting change all his life.
What is each fellow working for? Change. We all want some betterment, we all want things to change. Right? And here we are saying that the seven-day old is the same as the seventy-year old. Then what have we worked for all our life? What was all the striving, all the effort for? It has all gone down the drain, because the center of the newly born, and the center of the seventy-year old remains the same.
The seven-day old is driven by the prakritik (natural) center, the center of the body. And so is the seventy-year old. Both are driven by their respective bodily centers. So the personality too remains the same.
Yes the height changes, the weight changes. But do you call that ‘a change’? That’s no change. The eyes remain the same. If you look at photographs of a fellow over the various points in his life-cycle, the face keeps on changing, the eyes do not change. Do they? Because the eyes reflect the mind a lot. The mind doesn’t change, fundamentally it doesn’t change. But you already have a goal, and that goal in your eyes is justified.
To want something different, to take something totally different as your goal, you will have to go against yourself.
You will have to bear that suffering.
A while back we talked of ‘pressure’. You will have to take that pressure. And that pressure is difficult to take. Let’s know the facts.
Do you have the kind of Love that will enable you to willingly pass through that suffering? That’s the question that you have to answer. Only in Love can there be a radical transformation. Most of us are loveless, dry beings.
Unfortunately that’s not our destiny, but that’s how we have made the choice. They say, “It was the love of the flower that turned the caterpillar into the butterfly.” Without that love-affair, the metamorphosis won’t have happened.
Go, find a flower!
Watch the session video: If nothing succeeds in changing you, try Love || Acharya Prashant (2019) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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