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Question: Acharya Ji, Pranaam! I am damaging my future with my own hands.
Acharya Prashant Ji: Abhay (the questioner), do you seriously believe that your hands are so powerful? Send me a photo of your hands, I would be interested. Which gym you go to?
Questioner: Acharya Ji, I don’t feel pain when I lose money on stocks. I am losing repeatedly. When I see the loss increasing from -30 to -70, my mind doesn’t generate any alert signal. I don’t feel pain when I don’t act to maintain relationships, I don’t act despite repeated failures, I feel I am a drunkard lying in a roadside drain.
I want to crib, but won’t act at any cost. I am unable to get rid of the feeling of being victimised. What should I do so that I can observe my thoughts and actions as a third person?
Acharya Prashant Ji: It’s okay. Had the loss been substantial, you would have cribbed. Don’t talk about what you are not cribbing about, see what you are doing. You are cribbing about not cribbing, and then you say that you are not cribbing.
You have lost something. So? Must not have been material, must not have been important. And that’s why you are not moved, shaken. Does everything move you? You would not be moved or shaken if the thing is trivial.
It’s like saying, “Acharya Ji, a fly came and sat on my shoulder and I didn’t do anything. I have become such a lousy drunkard.” What must you do? Call the CIA? Dial 100, or 911, or 901, or whatever? A fly is a fly, it sat on your shoulder. That’s all. When somebody makes money in stocks, somebody loses money as well. Right? Is that not so?
Money changes hands. How many people can cry and crib? Nothing special is happening to you. Everyday more people lose money in the stock market, than is the number of those who make money. What’s special? Why do you think that some great spiritual calamity has fallen upon you?
But we want to feel special, don’t we? “You know what, I lost money in stocks. But I still didn’t get a heart-attack.” Why must you get a heart-attack? It’s a small matter, let it happen. It’s okay.
You are earning, every month you get a decent salary. Of course your salary does not go directly into stocks. What is there in the stock market? The money that you have saved, needlessly saved. You should have blown it away. Had you rightly consumed the money, it would not have been there in the stock market.
The very fact that it is there in the stock market partially suggests that you didn’t need that money. Had you needed that money, how would you have managed to put it in stocks? So you didn’t need it. You invested it in stocks. So it’s okay.
Had it grown, that would have been a bonus.
It didn’t grow, that’s not a calamity.
Enjoy the game.
Does your salary directly go to the NSE (National Stock exchange), or BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange)? It doesn’t, right? You take your salary, you consume as much as you want to, and then you still have money left. That in itself is a scandal.
Why do you have money left? That means you are unnecessarily selling your labour, you are earning more than your needs, and nothing comes for free. That means you are needlessly investing your time somewhere and earning more than your needs.
This that you have as a surplus, a part of that goes to the stock market. There it may rise or it may fall, depends on your calibre, and random chance as well. Forces beyond your control. If it rises, say “Thank you,” and if it falls remember that it was just the surplus. You anyway didn’t need it. It was just the surplus. Now why are you cribbing?
And stocks don’t always fall. Nobody invests in just one stock, it’s always a portfolio. You invest in ten stocks, three or four might have fallen, the others are rising. But you won’t talk about them because I am the agony aunt. You have to come and cry on my shoulders. You don’t have to give me any good news.
The fact is that the sensex has been rising and rising. I have seen it climb from three thousand to thirty thousand. And people are still complaining – “I am losing money. I am losing money.”
Do you choose stocks with great care? Do you specially choose stocks that would sink? You have some insider information? How do you manage to lose money? You are saying, “I am losing money on stocks, and losing repeatedly.” That’s a miracle. How did you make it happen?
If you know which stocks are going to sink, surely you know which ones are going to rise. Over the last ten or fifteen years, the sensex has gone from three thousand to thirty thousand. How is Abhay (the questioner) repeatedly losing money? I want to know. It requires a special skill.
Next you are saying, “I don’t feel pain when I don’t act to maintain relationships.”
You want to feel pain? Come over to Ashram. We have a special department of pain here. If somebody says that his relationships are a cause of pain, I appreciate it as a Teacher. Fine. The fellow has come to me to be relieved of pain.
But here is somebody who is saying, “I don’t feel pain when I don’t act to maintain relationships.” Obviously you must not act to maintain relationships. And it’s a great blessing if you live an authentic life, and yet not feel pain.
Many people when they begin to live authentically, feel deep pain. What you are telling me is that you are living genuinely and yet not experiencing pain. That’s wonderful.! Congratulations! Why are you worried then?
Next part of the question is: “I don’t act despite repeated failure.”
Sometimes it’s a bigger failure to act. Keep sitting still. Sometimes that’s the right policy. Sometimes that’s the wisdom – to not to act.
You are bench-marking yourself against the people around you. You are seeing that everybody is a compulsive actor, so you feel bad when you see that you have now a semblance of stillness.
You don’t anyway have too much of it. But the little that you have, you are turning it into a trouble.
It’s okay to sometimes not act.
In fact, most of the times it’s better to not act, than act.
Only the one who knows when not to act, would act rightly and vigorously when the right time comes.
Next part of the question.
“I feel that I am a drunkard lying on the roadside drain. I want to crib, but I still won’t act at any cost. I am unable to get rid of the feeling of being victimised.”
That’s the thing, that’s the crux of your question. The only genuine part.
You are unnecessarily victimising yourself. And that you are doing because you have trained yourself to look at yourself as an achiever, upon fulfillment of certain conditions. And if those conditions are not fulfilled, then you call yourself ‘a victim’, or ‘a loser’.
You are living in Bangalore, it’s a city of new achievers. No wonder that when you don’t find yourself running along with the rats, then you feel an outsider. You may even feel that you have been forcefully ostracised, because everybody is busy running haphazardly, madly causing traffic-jams.
You say that you feel like a drunkard who is good for nothing, and who is lying in a roadside drain doing nothing.
May be it’s time for you to change your company. And by ‘company’ I mean both – the workplace, and your circle of acquaintances.
You are doing the right thing but not finding validation of it from your peers. So in spite of doing the right thing and living rightly, or at least beginning to live rightly, you feel as if something deeply wrong is happening with you.
It’s a bad situation.
It’s bad when somebody going down the wrong path feels that he is going the right path.
And it’s worse when somebody who has begun to walk the right path, feels that there is something wrong about him or his path.
Change your company.
Don’t let them tell you that you are a loser, or good for nothing, or a drunkard, or whatever. For a change, something good is happening to you. Why do you want to convince yourself that life is bad?
I will tell you the reason.
There are too many people with distorted imaginations of ‘good life’ hanging around you. They keep on teaching you, they keep on educating you, they keep on cultivating the wrong ideas in you. They keep on telling you what ‘good life’ is like. And you don’t find your life concurring with their idea, their concept of ‘good life’. So you have begun to feel as if you are stuck and miserable.
You are not.
Have a certain sureness, have a spine.
Stand up to the idiots.
Don’t allow them to scandal you or belittle you.
Have Faith, first of all.
Watch the session video: When one is destroying his own life || Acharya Prashant (2018) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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