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Question: What role does the word ‘meditation’ has in us increasing our chances of Liberation?
Acharya Prashant Ji:
If ‘meditation’ is Freedom from bondage, if that’s what your meditation honestly is, then obviously meditation will help in Liberation. But if meditation is just another thing, then what does it have to do with Liberation?
We very well know that if we have to be liberated, then we have to honestly admit and challenge our bondages. So that is what you must ask yourself. “Is my meditation really challenging the real bondages of my life? Or is meditation just a small thing, in a small part of my life, very distant from, very removed from the part of my life where strong bondages actually exist?”
Mostly the kind of meditation that we practice is ornamental. It really does not address the core problem. It is like a tribute paid to Liberation – a ceremonial thing, not actual.
Man has a great capacity to co-opt even Freedom into his slavery.
A lot of times what we call as ‘spiritual practice’ exists just so that we don’t have to address the real problem. Addressing the real problem requires guts and Faith.
And it’s not that we are so naive that we don’t know where and what the real issue is. We know that, but we fail to summon the courage and Faith to take the bull by it’s horns.
We would rather meditate.
When the enemy is knocking on the door, meditation lies in fighting, not in receding to a corner of the room, closing your eyes and chanting some profound mantra.
Remember that meditation is for Liberation, meditation is not an end in itself.
Meditation that does not address and challenge the real bondages in your life, is not meditation at all.
And that is also why meditation has to be a constant and unending thing. It cannot be a one-hour thing in the morning, because one is being challenged twenty-four hours. Therefore, meditation, the right response to challenges too has to be continuous.
Meditation is meant to rid man of his slavery, but an hour of meditation everyday becomes an excuse holy enough to allow you to continue in your slavery. One is able to justifiably say, “Am I not meditating? So that box in my life is ticked. Now having meditated I can continue with business as usual.”
Meditation then allows a bit of temporary peace, and a lot of moral relief.
One says, “Life might otherwise be full of disquiet, violence and dishonesty. But see don’t I devote an hour to meditation? Am I not devoted to Truth? That one hour is the proof that I love the Truth, that I am a peace-seeker.” But by devoting one hour to Truth and Peace, one has actually reserved the remaining twenty-three hours for something else.
Obviously if one hour belongs to Truth, that’s what it has been earmarked for, “6 to 7 a.m. in the morning I will be peaceful.” Then what are the remaining twenty-three hours for? And if peace is indeed so lovely, then how can the process of peace stop at 7 a.m.?
We co-opt even the Highest, and make it serve the lowly.
Question 2: Acharya Ji, from what you just said now about meditation, I could understand three things. One – meditation. Second -awareness. Third – withdrawal.
So what I have understood from what you have said just now, is that we can be meditative if we are aware enough. Our daily life requires actions. And if those actions come from awareness, then I can say that I am meditative.
But sometimes I feel the need of the withdrawal of senses for that one hour, because the body and mind feel tired.
Acharya Prashant Ji: What are you withdrawing from in the first place? And if there is a need to withdraw from something, should there be a recurrent need to withdraw from the same thing?
Please appreciate the question.
You find a man running crazy and you ask him: “What are you doing?,” and he says, “A bull is chasing me.” So he is running away from a bull. Two hours later you spot him again, and huffing and puffing he is still running madly. You ask him, “What are you doing?” and again he says, “I am being chased by a bull.”
Now bulls usually don’t have such fondness for any special person, specially of the male breed. and that too of another species.
How is it that the same bull is chasing you hour after hour? Why is there a recurrent need of running away from something? I am speaking in context of ‘withdrawal’.
I can understand if once you have to withdraw from something. But if something is worth withdrawing from, then why is that thing again and again present in your life? Why are you calling it as ‘normal life’ in your own words? Why are you maintaining your normal life if it is worth withdrawing from?
That is dishonesty.
On one hand you support that so-called ‘normal life’, you work hard to maintain and support your normal life. Don’t you? If somebody asks you, “What do you work for?” you will say, “I work to support my normal life.” And then every morning you want to withdraw from that normal life for one hour.
What kind of self-deception is this?
If this normal life is so ugly that there is a need for withdrawal, why don’t you let it come to an end? Is there no other life possible? Is that not what Real Liberation is? But most meditation is nothing but a continuation of bondages.
Question 3: Acharya Ji, in Patanjali’s eight limbs of Yoga, one of them is ‘withdrawal’.
Acharya Prashant Ji: ‘Withdrawal’ is wonderful. But recurring withdrawal? If the bull chases you, you do run away. But how is it that you are always found with a bull behind you?
Withdrawal is alright. But how many times do you want to withdraw? Patanjali never knew that withdrawal would become a way of life. We are so adept at co-opting even the Highest words for our own little purposes.
Real Meditation is the courage to let life change.
If you keep meditating without allowing life to change, then this meditation is merely self-deception.
And when I am saying that life must change, I am not talking of something imaginary, I am talking of things very-very tangible. I am talking of your relationships, your job, your house, your surroundings, your attitudes, your ideologies.
That’s what your life is.
That’s what the whole content of consciousness is.
If these things are not changing, if your dealings with your customers are not changing, if your relationship with your kids and your neighbours is not changing, if your dietary habits are not changing, if the way you spend money is not changing, if the way you look at the universe and the environment, and the monkeys, and the animals, and the fish, if all that is not changing, of what point is meditation?
Question 4: Acharya Ji, is ‘Awakening’ a one time thing, or it is a gradual process?
Acharya Prashant Ji: No, it’s a continuous thing. You can never get rid of awakening. You can never be done with it. Done, dusted, and sealed, awakened for life. No.
Question 5: You have been talking about ‘Freedom’ and ‘Liberation’, what exact do you mean by that? Liberation from what?
Acharya Prashant Ji: Bondages.
If there are no bondages, then ‘Freedom’ is just a word.
Freedom is meaningful only to those who first of all experience and admit bondages.
Spirituality begins from there.
All this is nothing but a rebellion against hand-cuffs.
Question 6: Acharya Ji, since our conversation yesterday, I have a few questions bothering me. What is the difference between ’emotion’ and connect’? How can I connect without emotions?
Acharya Prashant Ji: This ‘I’ that wants to connect, had it been one solitary, constant thing, then there could have been one uniform answer to this question. But this ‘I’ is itself very fickle.
The one who would be looking at the grass now, would not be the one who is looking at the grass an hour later. Therefore, ‘I’ really does not connect to anything. ‘I’ being a constant hollowness merely uses and projects itself on everything.
It’s your mood that decides the greenness of the grass, it’s your mood that decides the lustre of the grass. On another day, in middle of another emotion, you might find the grass totally unattractive.
How then to really connect?
Real connection is not possible with emotions or ‘I-ness’.
Real connection is when you are alright within yourself, when you don’t have the need to use anything outside for the sake of your fulfillment.
Then there is a relationship.
This relationship is now friendly.
It is not opportunistic or exploitative.
Otherwise, we utilise even the poor grass for our own inner compulsions.
To really connect, do not be.
When there is nobody inside with a need to connect, then Real connection happens.
As long as somebody inside is craving for connection, there would be a connection, but the connection would be shallow, transient and opportunistic.
Watch the session video: Does meditation help in liberation? || Acharya Prashant (2019) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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