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Question: Acharya Ji, how to move beyond the pointlessness of existence?
Acharya Prashant Ji: If you move beyond the pointlessness or even the relevance of something, you would move into the relevance, or significance, or need of something else.
(Acharya Ji referring to an example quoted earlier in the Satsang)
Remember the hall with the mirrors. You shatter the mirrors on one side. There still are mirrors surrounding you three-sixty degrees. You would have something else that is staring back at you. Don’t you it is you who is moving beyond?
Who has been conserved? You have been conserved.
So when you ask, “How does one move beyond the pointlessness of existence?” you are still not asking, “How does one move beyond one’s own pointlessness?” You are wise and courageous enough to see that existence is pointless. But you are still not fearless enough to say, “I am pointless.”
So you are saying, “How do I move beyond existence?” Existence can be left behind, ‘I’ must carry forward. Now that is not very wise. You want to leave existence behind while carrying yourself forward. And if you carry yourself forward, you have in fact carried the entire existence forward.
So nothing is pointless.
Pointlessness would always evade you as long as you are carrying yourself forward. No point breaking or shattering a few of the mirrors. It’s the one standing in the mirrored hall who is the culprit.
He is not merely standing in the middle of the mirrored hall, he has actively constructed the mirrored hall. As long as he is there, he will keep finding more and more clever ways to construct new and newer mirrored halls.
Is man not always progressing intellectually, technologically? Those are just mirrored halls that man just keeps building for himself. If you have to see the pointlessness of something, do not hanker after the pointlessness of something. Ask: “Whose existence?”
Existence is not that surrounds you, existence is that which looks at the surroundings.
If the looker is not there, would the surroundings really exist?
Would they really exist for you if you are not there?
So you are the one who must be at the centre of your question.
“How do I move beyond myself?” Right now you are so interested in the question. So how are you existing? Through your interest in the …..
Acharya Prashant Ji: So how do you move beyond yourself? By losing interest in the question.
See that the question is existing just to preserve you. And see that self-preservation has not served you so far. Has self-preservation been of any great help so far? If self-preservation has not been of any great help so far, why do you want to preserve yourself through this question?
Don’t you see that all our questions, at least most of our questions, are just clever tricks of the ego to preserve the status-quo?
Acharya Prashant Ji: Therefore in Spirituality, great emphasis is laid on the intent of the question. The seeker must look very sharply at his curiosity. What is he curious about – Liberation or preservation? And a question could aim at either of these – Liberation or preservation.
What do you want to achieve through your question – Liberation or preservation? And the ego, as we all know, as we all know about ourselves, is very-very smart. In the garb of seeking Liberation, it can actually just plan for preservation. When I say, “Ego,” I do not mean some entity outside of ourselves. We, the ego. We, as we are. The ego is extremely stubborn as we all are.
Irrespective of what life is really showing us, we want to assume, maintain, insist and think that we are right.
We want to assert that even if we are wrong, we have not gone fully wrong.
Therefore, we are never fed up of ourselves.
Therefore, we are always hopeful about the future.
And therefore we want to preserve ourselves to move into the future, and enjoy the fruits of our clever actions.
Hope is a very important word with us. We never go fully discontent with ourselves. We have a great self-belief.
Therefore, even if we are facing humongous troubles, we still do not want to give up. Therefore letting-go is so very difficult. Hence all our efforts, thoughts, feelings, actions, even spiritual questions, are aimed not at dissolution but at preservation.
Why dissolve something if you are still hopeful about it?
You are still hopeful that your old car can turn new and take you around the world in twenty days. Would you junk it? Would you? You still are hopeful that the car can be repaired, serviced, and brought back to running condition. Such is your attachment with the car.
If that’s how stupid we can act with respect to just an old piece of metal that has been us for let’s say eight or ten years, think how attached we can be with a bigger piece of flesh that has been with us ever since we have known ourselves.
We are reluctant to give up hope even on furniture or the car. Is that often not the case, or at least sometimes? How would you give up hope on yourself? Therefore, even if you are troubled by yourself you still want to improve yourself and repair yourself. You do not want self-dissolution, you want self-improvement.
And self-improvement is such a dirty trick. You say, “I want to get better,” you do not say, “I just want to disappear.”
Unless you are prepared to disappear, you will not get better.
And as long as you are hopeful about getting better, you won’t get any better.
It’s a bit of a paradox.
If you want to get better, you will keep getting worse.
And when you know that you can’t get better and you simply give up, that’s when something beyond betterment occurs.
That is called ‘renewal’, that is called ‘rebirth’.
In negative language it is called ‘dissolution’, in affirmative language it is called ‘rebirth’. But both happen only when you honestly admit that your ways cannot succeed because they operate within the limits of failure.
That is which is being done strictly in the dimension of failure can never take you to the dimension of success. You may try your hardest, you may try your cleverest, but you are always trying in the dimension of failure.
And in that dimension everything is condemned to keep failing.
Once you honestly, wisely admit that, then Real Improvement occurs. And that is not incremental improvement. Then you don’t improve by ten percent. Then that’s a ‘Total Renewal’.
But the ego does not quite enjoy the prospect of ‘Total Renewal’ because Total Renewal is preceded by Total Death. Ah! Too bad.
Ego does not relish that prospect. It says, “I am fine. I am fine as I am. At least I am alive.” The ego says, “I want treatment, I do not want rebirth.” You go to a patient in a hospital and ask him, “What do you want – treatment or rebirth?” what answers are you likely to get?
Acharya Prashant Ji: Rebirth. Seriously? Which hospital are you talking of? The graveyard dispensary?
Go to hundreds of patients in a hospital and ask them, “What do you want – treatment or rebirth?” and they will say, “Treatment.” That’s the ego, even at a physical level.
Now please do not go to a doctor and say that you want rebirth. I am not talking of physical disappearance, I am talking of psychological renewal. Physically let this body remain whatever it is. We are talking of things internal.
Question 2: Acharya Ji, does this renewal happen suddenly or slowly?
Acharya Prashant Ji: (Acharya Ji lifting a cup) This happened suddenly, but this was preceded by many-many things.
The gross happening, the precipitation might appear to happen suddenly, but the fact is that it is a net result of a lot of discontentment and related preparation.
(Acharya Ji, again holding the cup in his hands)
Obviously I will not pick this up in slow motion so that it appears to happen continuously. I cannot make this happening stretch continuously over a period of thirty minutes. This happening would occur instantaneously. Talking, talking, talking no cup, no cup, no cup. Cup.
So it looks like happening instantaneously, but it is really not instantaneous.
Do not buy into the stories that suggest that without any preparation or without any thirst the cup would suddenly jump to your lips. It won’t. The tea needs to be made. The cup needs to come to you from someone who cares for you.
And then one fine day it appears that it happened suddenly.
It is not sudden.
It’s like a heart-attack. You prepare for it for many decades, and then the miracle happens.
Yes, Enlightenment is as much a miracle as a heart-attack.
It requires a lot of preparation.
Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session video: How to move beyond the pointlessness of existence? || Acharya Prashant (2019)
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