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Question: Acharya Ji, I have fear of my future. I don’t have a lot of money, not much material security. How to overcome this fear?
Acharya Prashant: If you have none of these (money, material security), then you do not have any future. What are you worried about?
If you have no money, no wife, or have a very small family, or very little material at your possession, then do you have a future? What is meant by ‘future’? Something that carries forward from today into tomorrow. You have so little that is carrying forward, you don’t have any worries. What are you worried about?
Those who have a lot have to exist till tomorrow, to protect what they have. They not only have stuff, they also have worries related to that stuff. The one who has nothing, has nothing to care about, nothing to worry about.
Or are you just worrying in imitation of others? “Because it is fashionable to worry, so let me worry as well.”
You are free, you are blessed.
Questioner 1: (Referring to Acharya Ji’s article on ‘anxiety’) I liked what you said about a lot of our anxiety being due to imagination. That was good.
Acharya Prashant: And even imagination requires stuff. You cannot imagine with nothing at the centre. That which you are, the True Self, is not a thing, is not material. So it cannot be at the centre of imaginative worries, or worried imagination.
At the centre of worries are things that can be lost to time. ‘Future’ means time. If you have very little stuff that time can take away, then what are your worries founded on? Take care of today, and that is sufficient.
Somebody is extremely happy with you; he has not saddled you with unnecessary burden. Usually it is the other way round. Those who have a lot, they come to me talking about how what they have is now clinging to them always, which is always the other way round; they are clinging to what they supposedly have.
But they would say, “We have a lot, and now there is a lot of clinging and a lot of concern about security and future.” Rarely does it happen that someone comes and says, “I do not have much, so I am worrying about future.” You are taking totally needless worry upon yourself.
Roam like a child upon the Earth.
Fly without a bother.
There is nothing to hold you or chain you.
You are blessed!
Remember that little story from the ‘Sermon on the mount’? So Jesus is walking with his bunch, and they look at little lily flowers. And Jesus pauses and turns to the chaps, and says, “You know what, these flowers, they have more splendor than the Kingdom of Solomon. And you know why dance and smile and exuberate like this? Why? Because they worry not about tomorrow. The King has to take care of so much. How can he rest in peace?”
These flowers, they delight in their little present. And the fact of their life is that they won’t be there tomorrow. A flower is such a delicate thing; everything that is beautiful is also delicate. What do you want to be – a rock that lasts through time but is just a rock, not dancing, not smiling, not getting wet in the rains? Or a flower that lives a couple of hours, or for a couple of days, or a couple of weeks, and really lives? How do you want it to be? Your choice.
Questioner 1: I know that I have the power to just stop this imagination, or just turn my attention from.
Acharya Prashant: You have the power to stop this imagination. My wonder is: how do you imagine when you do not have material stuff to found your imagination upon?
If I have twenty cars, I have material stuff. And my imagination will be built around that. I have something, on which to weave my dreams. If you don’t have twenty cars, what are you imagining about? Others’ cars? You are worried about their future? The future about the planet Earth, the future about the species going extinct, what is it that bothers you?
Questioner 1: Are you asking me?
Acharya Prashant: Of course. Because you are worried.
Questioner 1: I only want to say that my imagination is powerful. I can dream up anything.
Acharya Prashant: Yes. But you must question the centre, the stuff of imagination. Does it really exist? Does it really exist?
Questioner 2: How can we do that Acharya Ji?
Acharya Prashant: By asking, “Does it really exist?” You see, it was declared that the kingdom is being attacked by a hostile army, and the beggar got the cardiac arrest. He said, “Now all my riches will be plundered away.”
That which you are imagining as threatened, does it really exist? The rule of thumb is: If it can be plundered away, if it can be threatened with destruction, it really does not exist. Question the existence of that, which is in danger of slipping away into non-existence.
Questioner 2: Acharya Ji, then everything is in danger. If you have a car, it can go. If you have a house, it can go. If you have a wife and sons, they all will go. What is the point then?
Acharya Prashant: The point is: Do you want to live in sorrow? The point is: Do you want to lose your peace by considering foreign stuff as yours? You know it doesn’t belong to you, you know that it would be taken away, and yet you are getting associated and attached to it. At your own peril, you are inviting trouble.
Don’t you love relaxation? Don’t you have something for your peace?
Questioner 2: But we love enjoying those things too.
Acharya Prashant: Then you have to make a choice.
Do you love the titillation of the moment, and the long sorrow that follows it?
Questioner 2: The sorrow may follow, or may not follow.
Acharya Prashant: You have to decide – is it there or not? And you have to be very forthright and honest about it.
Spirituality is only for those who are fed up of their sorrow.
If you are still uncertain about sorrow, then you need to experience more sorrow.
That’s your punishment.
Spirituality begins when you say, “Enough of it. I am not meant to be buffeted by waves of alternating pleasure and sorrow.” One has to be totally fed up.
If still a green corner exists in your mind, if you still have uncertainty about whether or not you are living rightly, then you won’t be able to go through the exacting spiritual discipline that Liberation demands.
Then you will start, and lose your way.
The question is: Do you eat the bread that you have in front of you today, or today do you consume bread, a week in advance? How much can you eat today? How much can you eat today? And you require only as much as you want to eat today. If you have more food, you will have to just carry it along. It may even get stale, who knows.
Are we really worried about basic material sustenance. If that be the case, kindly go ahead and slog. Work as hard as possible. But tell me please, honestly, “Are we worried about bread alone? Is it our basic physical wants that torment us?” No. The hunger, the thirst, are not in the stomach; they are in the mind.
If you were dealing with genuine poverty, poverty of the nature where even bread is deprived to the person, then I would say, “Fight for bread,” because if you aren’t full in the stomach, there is no way even this (the discourse) can happen.
If that were the case, that actual and absolute poverty were staring you in the face, then I would dismiss this gathering and say, “Let each of us first go, and earn our morsels.” But that is not the case.
Look around yourself. Man is not really starving, I repeat, in the stomach. Man is starving in the mind. In fact, man is the only specie that is overweight and obese, and is still thinking about food.
Are you really deprived of bread? It’s a question that you must honestly ask. You know very well that you won’t starve. It is the mind that is not coming to rest. We are psychologically at war with our neighbour. We want money not just to consume, but to defend ourselves against the world psychologically.
The defence is not needed. You need money for mental aggrandisement. You need money to internally feel secure. You don’t need money to merely have bread; maybe five percent, ten percent of your money goes into your daily bread.
But look at the kind of sums that people accumulate. Is it just to eat and wear clothes, and have a roof over the head? No, not at all. It is to compensate for the lack of Love and God in their life. People want money because they do not have Love. People want more and more money because they don’t have God. And that is why this search is futile.
Yes of course, every animal – the dog on the street, the fish in the water, they all look for their daily meals. Man must also do that. But we aren’t looking for our daily meals. We are looking for something else through money.
And That which we are looking for, through money, can never be obtained through money. That is why man keeps accumulating more and more money, and is yet never satisfied. It’s like wanting the Sky, and running very hard on the Earth. You can run as hard as possible, you will never reach the Sky.
More money will never give you That, which you really want through money.
You see, mankind today, as a whole, is more prosperous than it has ever been, in its history. And I am not talking about only the developed countries. Except for a handful of places on the Earth, nowhere is man starving. And man’s wealth as an aggregate, is only growing continuously. We were never as well fed, as we are today. We never had as much social security, as we have today.
The quantum of material that man has today, he never-never had before. And yet man is mentally starved.
Questioner 1: I can say from my experience, only in the last few days I have been making progress in recognising when my imagination is running. It is almost like taking something as real, and then finding it imaginary.
Acharya Prashant: That happens when you love Joy a lot.
You must love Joy so much, that even a slight departure towards stress or tension should activate an inner.alarm.
All these imaginations that take you away from your natural Joy, the moment they arise, you must start feeling restless.
You must start feeling as if distanced from your own soul, as if you are getting divorced from your love.
And then you must quickly return.
You must say, “Ah! I don’t want this.” We must love ourselves a lot. Only then will we disallow our support to our own suffering. We support our suffering so much, how will anything else ever come to us?
Questioner 3: Don’t you think imagination leads to creation?
Acharya Prashant: No, not at all. Because you can imagine only within the stuff of the known. Your imagination can never go into the unknowable possibilities of life. Can you imagine yourself, if you are an English speaker, can you imagine yourself speaking Sanskrit?
Questioner 3: I can imagine.
Acharya Prashant: You can’t. Tell me what are you imagining. What are you imagining in Sanskrit?
Questioner 3: I am thinking about imagining a plane.
Acharya Prashant: I am not talking of plane. I am saying that when you imagine, you imagine within the limitations of the known. Imaginations, intuitions, dreams, they all base themselves only upon that which is already known to you.
Questioner 3: But creativity is based on what is known.
Creativity is a leap into the unknown.
If it is based on the known, it is not creativity, it is merely a reconfiguration.
Questioner 3: Yes, it’s a reconfiguration.
Acharya Prashant: And reconfigurations won’t help. Reconfiguration is like getting a new haircut, a new hairstyle. Will it change the interiors?
Creativity is when a lot arises from nowhere.
Creativity is when something springs up without a past.
Watch the session video: Are you afraid for your future? || Acharya Prashant (2018)
The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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