Acharya Prashant: About changing one’s religion for love

T24

Question: Can I change ‘my’ religion for the sake of someone I Love?

Acharya Prashant: What do you mean by religion?

If religion just means following a particular code of conduct, if it means that I am loyal to a particular book, if it means that such and such will be my pilgrimage centers; If that is what is religion, then this religion is just something that you have been conditioned to believe in, it is just a belief system! And belief systems come and go.

Today you can believe in one thing, tomorrow you can believe in something else. These beliefs anyway have no permanency. They don’t have a deep root. Because these have been externally implanted. They are not coming from a very depth, the very soil of the mind. So, they can change. That is how people keep on changing their religions. Every year, lakhs of people change their religion. These religions that can be changed, they anyway don’t have any worth.

But that is not the true meaning of religion.

Real religion cannot be changed.

What you can change is your cult or your sect, ‘panth’, that can be changed. ‘Dharm’ cannot be changed.

Because there are no different religions.

True religion is just one.

How will you change it? There is no second religion.

Where will you go? Yes, there are many sects. There are thousands of sects, but there is only one True religion. And that religion is not about the following something. That religion is not about visiting a temple or a church or a mosque. That religion is not about being loyal to a particular book.

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Acharya Prashant, with students: You are the mother of all importance

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Acharya Prashant: All your student life, you have been talking and studying about this and that. The languages, Science, Social Sciences – History, Geography, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry. Now, Technology.

But there is one entity that you have forgotten so much, that it is very difficult at this moment, to even remind you of that entity. That entity has never been in the domain of your education. You have studied about a lot of things, but there is one entity that you have never studied about. Never bothered to attend to.

What is that entity?

Listener: Personality.

AP: Personality?

You will get to study a lot of Personality.

In fact, you have been studying about nothing but ‘Personality’!

‘Personality’ by definition is nothing but what you gather from outside.

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Acharya Prashant on Khalil Gibran: You know your real face, and your real home?

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“Your life, my friend,

is a residence far away from any other

residence and neighbours.

Your inner soul is a home far away from

other homes named after you.

If this residence is dark,

you cannot light it with your neighbour’s lamp;

If it is empty you cannot fill it

with the riches of your neighbour;

Were it in the middle of a desert, you could not move it to a

garden planted by someone else…

Your inner soul, my friend,

is surrounded with solitude and seclusion.

Were it not for this solitude and this seclusion

you would not be you and I would not be I.

If it were not for that solitude and seclusion,

I would, if I heard your voice, think myself to be speaking;

Yet, if I saw your face, I would imagine that I were looking into a mirror.”

~ Khalil Gibran

Acharya Prashant: Poets have a way, of presenting the Truth. The way helps. The way is beautiful. But as happens with all ways to the Truth, the way itself is a bit of a hindrance to the destination.

What Khalil Gibran is saying here, is essentially very straightforward. The inner seclusion and solitude that he is talking of, is nothing, but your calm, peaceful, silent, immovable, center.

Seated at that center, with the calmness, the immovability, of the center, vested in the mind as well; the mind gains intelligence, the mind gains discretion.

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Victory is absolute

All slaves to slaves. Twenty thousand slaves, each a slave to another slave and all these slaves are quarreling with each other. That is war.

To decide you require options, and each option has its own merit and demerit, right? That is war.

Those who have ever known spontaneity will know what it means to be warless, what it means to be peaceful.

When you are internally at war, then you will be very easily able to find a  lot of enemies outside.

Had you ever know ‘Love,’ you could not have been internally at war. ‘Love’ is such a great victory, it admits no war. The victory is absolute, now who is there to fight with. There is not even a loser left, who do you fight against? Only in ‘Love’ do you know peace and it is another matter that in ‘Love,’ your life appears very, very turbulent. At the center of that turbulence lies great peace.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Albert Camus: War is what is normal


 

Acharya Prashant on Albert Camus: War is what is normal

“There’s always been war,”

But people quickly get accustomed to peace.

So they think it’s normal.

No, war is what’s normal.”

~ Albert Camus

Question: Acharya Ji, which ‘war’ is Albert Camus referring to?

Acharya Prashant: Vageesh has asked that Albert Camus has said that ‘war’ is what is normal. What does he mean by that? Which war is he referring to? ‘War is what is normal.’ Conflict, basic inner fragmentation, lack of total flow, indecision, our fractured movements. That is the war he is talking of. Basic duality, the presence of two-ness, the mind is split into two and two means twenty thousand. So, there is no smoothness in its functioning.

Twenty thousand parts, each part talking a different language and each part talking a language that is fake, alien, foreign, imported. Twenty thousand parts and no part a master of itself, all slaves to phony masters.

All slaves to slaves.

Twenty thousand slaves, each a slave to another slave and all these slaves are quarreling with each other.

That is war.

Each of us is the site of a civil war. You know what a civil war is? When a nation doesn’t have to fight against the other. One part, one group within the country is fighting, that’s how our minds are. That is the war that Camus is referring to. Are you ever able to proceed without decision? We require decisions, and decisions require thoughts. That is war.

To decide you require options, and each option has its own merit and demerit, right?

That is war.

Should I do this, should I do that, this says ‘come on’ be with me, this says no, proceed with me, that is war.

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Absence of action

Attentiveness is not a separate activity in itself. You do not do attentiveness.

Attentiveness is not something to be done. If you are doing something that becomes another ‘action.’

Attention is the complete ‘absence of action.’

You are free, to see what is happening. Just see, not do anything. This seeing not doing. Don’t burden yourself with it.

Knowing is ‘just’ knowing, It is not any separate activity.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Is witnessing a hindrance to living?


 

Acharya Prashant: Is witnessing a hindrance to living?

Question: Kabir is saying ‘attentive at a time.’ I can either be gossiping with my friend or watching that I am gossiping. How is it possible to be attentive and watch all the impossible to be doing both, right?

Acharya Prashant: Yes, it is a bit difficult because we have been in practice of inattention since very long.

Attentiveness is not a separate activity in itself.

You do not do attentiveness.

This question is would I be doing one thing and also doing attentiveness simultaneously.

Attentiveness is not something to be done.

If you are doing something that becomes another ‘action.’

 

Attention is the complete ‘absence of action.’

Attention is not doing another thing that I am already doing five things and I started getting another six things and that six thing is attention. If that is attention that will add further to the chaos. If that is what we understand by attention then this kind of attention will act further to the chaos. You see my mind is already divided in doing this thing, that thing, and that thing. And there is the fourth string that sums-up by the name of attention. And then, of course, we are already so busy and then we add attention to work to do list. There is a lot to do throughout the day and there is one more thing, ‘attention.’ So, chaos can only magnify from that. Am I right?

Do you understand this?

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Reject them

Now, what is the question of ‘right’ and ‘wrong?’ Can there be a right choice when the whole background, the entire environment itself is ‘wrong’ and ‘false?’ You have only one option, reject everything. Neither A nor B nor C nor D, nothing, reject everything. Then that which is indispensable will come to you. The right choice comes to you on its own, and you don’t have to pursue it. But the right cannot come to you till you are occupied with the ‘wrongs.’

First of all, reject the very center, don’t reject the food item. Reject the servant itself. When you rejected the servant, you rejected all the choices that the servant presents to you.

All the choices that come to you come from the mind. Reject them.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: How to take important decisions in life?


 

Acharya Prashant: How to take important decisions in life?

Question: During the journey of life, one comes across many stages where decision making is difficult and is not easy to tell ‘right’ apart from ‘wrong.’ Whom do you depend upon,  at these critical junctions?

Acharya Prashant: I have a ‘mad’ servant. Let’s say; I have a mad servant. I didn’t know; he was mad because  I too am mad, because of keeping his company. If you remain in contact with madness for too long, the madness rubs upon you. You too catch some of that madness. So  I have a mad servant, and his company has made me a little ‘mad.’ Maybe not as mad as him, but yet, not wise either. It never occurred to me that he is mad because I too am ‘a little mad’ so I could never figure out that my servant is ‘mad.’

To figure out someone is mad first of all, you have to be sane. I was not sane because of his company. Do you see what kind of a loop this is? So, I sent my servant to bring food to me, and he is mad. You do not know what he can bring. But, I don’t think he is mad. So I entrust him with the task of fetching food for me. And while he is away, Grace dawns upon me unexpectedly and I at least temporarily recover from my insanity.

So, I am not as mad when the servant returns with the food items. Now, I am sane at least for a while. And the servant keeps these food items in front of me, and he says pick whatever you want to, your choice. The servant is mad, and all the items have been brought by him. The servant is mad, all the choices that are in front of me are the choices that this mad one is presenting to me.

Now, my question is, which of these food items is the right item to eat. Sir, please. Which of these items is the right item to eat? It is a critical juncture as you have said.

So you need to decide between ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ Which of these must you pick up? Which of these must you pick up? They all appear different, but they all have something in ‘common.’ What is that? They all have been brought to you by the mad servant.

Now, what is the question of ‘right’ and ‘wrong?’ Can there be a right choice when the whole background, the entire environment itself is ‘wrong’ and ‘false?’

You have only one option, reject everything.

Neither A nor B nor C nor D, nothing, reject everything. Then that which is indispensable will come to you. The right choice comes to you on its own, and you don’t have to pursue it.

But the right cannot come to you till you are occupied with the ‘wrongs.’

All the choices presented to you are coming from the same source, from the same center. What is the center? The same mind. Now, coming from the same center, how can one choice be right and one choice wrong. Coming from the same mad servant how can one item be right and one item wrong? If he is insane, all his choices are going to be mad choices. How can you take one as superior over the other? All are the same, reject everything. And then that which is right will come to you in that space that has now sanctified by rejection.

We don’t want that. We want to keep occupying the chair, and we want TRUTH to come and sit in the chair. You are sitting in the Lord’s chair, and you are praying, “Lord, please come and take your chair.” See how hard am I praying to you. Where are you praying from? You are praying from the wrong place. Your very beginning is wrong, how can the end be right? Sitting in an unauthorized place, sitting where you should not be sitting, you are asking for good things to happen to you. How can good things happen?

First of all, reject the very center, don’t reject the food item. Reject the servant itself. When you rejected the servant, you rejected all the choices that the servant presents to you.

Do you know who the servant is?

Listener: The Mind.

Acharya Ji: Yes, the mind. All the choices that come to you come from the mind. Reject them, and then That will come to you which is choiceless. That is real. There you will have some Joy.



-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: How to take important decisions in life?


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Understanding is awareness

You cannot become aware. Awareness is not something that you can achieve or becomes or reach. It is.

Even in the moment of your death, you can be still, composed, calm; that is what is meant by the inviolable certainty of awareness. That stillness is awareness.

Mathematics is knowledge; understanding is awareness.

Awareness is so total. Knowledge is always small, little. That is why those who live in knowledge never find peace. They keep hunting for more and more knowledge.

The illiterate tribal, in his own way, knows Love, that is awareness.

There is no road to awareness and there is nothing in between. All roads are in awareness.

Awareness proceeds very subliminally. Thought will not know awareness. You cannot keep an eye on awareness. You cannot watch awareness. You can only surrender to it. You can let it to do what it does, without making any, stupid attempts to rein it in.

Levels of consciousness are there. Levels of awareness are not there.

You suffer. All spirituality starts from that point. Why am I suffering? Is it necessary to suffer?

And mind you, awareness is not there in every being. Every being is there in awareness. What you call as every being, is a figment of consciousness.

Awareness cannot be there ‘in’ you because what you call as yourself and the world is just consciousness.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti Unbecoming unaware


 

Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti Unbecoming unaware

Question: Acharya Ji, what does J. Krishnamurti mean when he says “Become deeply aware”. 

Acharya Prashant: It is said, become deeply aware.

Now, we already live in problems and challenges. We already live in incompleteness. We already live in the quest to achieve something, to become something. When it is said, become deeply aware, we add one more item, to our list of problems. And that item now is?

Listeners: Awareness.

AP: Awareness. Oh, there is so much to do and achieve and the next item is awareness. The words of a wise man must be read with wisdom, with empathy. One must be alert, whether, one is able to, cross over his personal ways of interpreting. Words might mislead. There is nothing called becoming aware.

Read it as – unbecoming unaware.

We have become unaware. Awareness is, over awareness, there is a shroud of illusionary unawareness. Over the innate awareness, there is a cloud of assumed unawareness. The aware core is shrouded by, assumed unawareness which has no substance. There is no fact in that unawareness. You just have to see that there is no fact, in your assertion, that there exists unawareness. So, you unbecome, unaware.

You cannot become aware. Awareness is not something that you can achieve or becomes or reach.

It is.

Are you getting it? Now, you see, how driven and tense you feel, when the problem of awareness confronts you? The problem of awareness. Awareness means, that in any given situation, even in the worst of situations, even in the most challenging of situations, you still have the capacity, the capability, the right, to understand. That is what is meant by saying that the awareness always is.

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You are born, so that you may totally die

All Karma, all action is for the actor. And if the actor is a desirous actor, then all action just leads to a continuation of the cycle of desire!

When you start from a wrong place, then you cannot reach a right place.

A wrong place is a wrong dimension.

More action will not take you out of action. More effort will not lead to effortlessness. More desires will not lead to desirelessness.

Seeing is effortless. Desiring is an effort.

“Mumukshtva” is realization.

You are born, so that you may totally die.

The purpose of life is total death. That is the only purpose of life.

Immortality is to feel so fulfilled that you are not counting years anymore. You are not asking, am I going to die at 50 or 80? That is ImmortalityWhen you are no more bothered about time, then you are immortal.

When you are looking at the decomposition of compounds, you are actually studying your own decomposition.

Karma is always associated with desire. That is why, to give you pure Karma, Krishna talks of ‘Nishkama Karma’. Karma, without the expectation of Karmaphal. Then you are acting without the actor.

“I” tendency does not differ. “I” tendency is the same. The objects that the “I” tendency gets circumstantially attached to, they differ. And the object that you are currently associated with, guides the next object that you would be associated with. But this craving for association and subsequent association; the tendency to get attached is the same.

Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: No action can lead to liberation

Acharya Prashant: No action can lead to liberation

Question: Acharya Ji, can you please speak something on Karma (Action) and Karmphal (Fruit of action)?

Acharya Prashant:

All Karma, all action is for the actor.

And if the actor is a desirous actor, then all action just leads to a continuation of the cycle of desire!

You look at your Karma and the Karmphal. Does any Karmphal ever mean a ‘full stop?’ Is any result, ever so very satisfying that it is final? So, Karma and Karmphal are a continuity. They are a cycle and they are a cycle of ignorance. The doer, the actor, behind the Karma keeps feeling that, action will lead to Liberation. Now, action cannot lead to Liberation.

Action emanating from the actor, that is the ego, the “I” tendency, can never lead to Liberation. Because the very beginning is flawed. The beginning itself is ‘loneliness,’ the beginning itself is in ‘incompleteness.’ The results of such beginnings cannot be auspicious.

When you start from a wrong place,

then you cannot reach a right place.

That sounds counterintuitive because we do see this happening in the world, right? You are standing at some undesirable place, and from there, you can reach a desirable place. But in the domain of Truth, there is no interdimensional-ladder.

A wrong place is a wrong dimension.

You will keep moving in that dimension. Starting from a wrong center, a wrong place, you will keep moving in a space that is wrong. In that space, you can travel far and wide. The space of the ‘Ego’ too is an infinite space.

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To be alive is to be working

To be alive is to be working. You are working all the time, because ‘action’ is happening all the time.

“Work is not outside of me, work is an expression of me.” Work is not outside of me, work is just an expression of who I am.

If the first category is where you belong to, then work is sufficient. The return, the reward, is contained in the work. If the second category is where you belong to, then work is not sufficient. Then work, plus, rewards is what you are looking for.

The salary is not contained in the work. The salary is an output of the work. This is the second way of living.

Man is the only one, who has to support his ambitions as well. Man is the only one, who has to support his psychological self as well. Then obviously, supporting yourself becomes a burden. Then obviously, just carrying on with life, becomes a burden. Because life is demanding so much.

Do not live a life that tries to escape work, and also do not live a life that uses work as a medium for psychological aggrandization.

Work must always be there as an expression of your Heart.

Action is always happening. You cannot avoid action. Even avoiding action is just another action. So, action will happen.

Fight hard and then let what is going to happen, happen. Do not worry about the result. Just say, that I did what I had to, and I have now devoted the result to you(Krishna).



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Khalil Gibran: How to know the right work for oneself?


 

Acharya Prashant on Khalil Gibran: How to know the right work for oneself?

Question: What does Khalil Gibran mean, when he says, “He who works in marble and finds the shape of his own soul in the stone, is nobler than he who ploughs the soil.”

Acharya Prashant: What is Work?

All work involves action. 

As human beings, we are beings of action. We have limbs, senses, mind, all configured to act. So, action is inevitable. One cannot avoid action. So, workers we all are. There is nobody who does not work. The one who is professionally working somewhere, works. And so does the one, who is professionally unemployed. Both of us, both of them, are workers, irrespective of whether or not they are formally working somewhere.

To be alive is to be working.

You are working all the time, because ‘action’ is happening all the time.

Then the question is of the quality of work. How does one work? From where does the work arise? Khalil Gibran takes two images and contrasts them.

First image, is of the man who is working with material, but his work is essentially an expression of his being, his center, his Self. He might be working with marble, but actually it is his soul taking shape as marble. Marble is now not only marble. Marble is now not only material. Marble is an expression of what he is. This is work of one kind.

And then he says, there is another one, who looks at soil, just as soil. For him, work is something outside of himself. I go somewhere, and I work with material. I work with material, probably, so that I may get some returns, some reward. He is not directly and organically ‘connected’ to his work. His relationship with work is transactional. I work, I put in some hours, and in return I get paid. Are you getting it? So, there is you, there is work and then there is a business like relationship between ‘you’ and ‘work.’ This is the second way of working.

The first way of working is,

“Work is not outside of me, work is an expression of me.”

Work is not outside of me, work is just an expression of who I am.

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Not to get the incentive is itself a disincentive

Do you have a goal when you are free of botheration? Ask yourself.

Not to get the incentive is itself a disincentive. Is it not?

Always remember, you will not run after something unless you are worried. All motivation has a close linkage to worry.

Always have a firm realization, let me even call it a feeling, that I am alright. I might be defeated, I might take losses, I might be rebuked, scolded, still, fundamentally I am alright. Never lose that inner faith.

No goal is bigger than you. You are bigger than anything your mind can come up with. A goal, a fantasy, an imagination, a concept, you are bigger than that.

You are not worried about goals. Goals come because you are worried. Do you get the subtle difference?

When the mind is worried, then it sets more and more goals and becomes more and more serious about them. Becomes very serious about the goals.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: How to be free from botheration?


 

Acharya Prashant: How to be free from botheration?

Question: Acharya Ji, my question is, “How to be free of botheration and still be focused on our goal”?

Acharya Prashant: What’s your name?

Questioner: Kumar Abhishek.

AP: Sit, Abhishek.

Abhishek is saying, how to be free from botheration and yet to be focused on the goal. Let’s examine.

Abhishek, where does the goal arise from?

You are asking, one – I need to be free from worries; parallelly, I need to be focused on my goal.

I am beginning by asking you, from where does the goal arise?

Do you have a goal when you are free of botheration?

Ask yourself.

When you are Light and Joyful, are you still thinking of goals? Go to your moments, when you are free, light. Were you planning, were you concerned with goals? Were you concerned with goals?

It’s obvious that goals arise from botheration. The more bothered you are, the more is your sense of inner incompleteness, the more goals will be there in your mind. A goal is like a medicine. I am feeling sick, I am feeling sick, so I am searching for a medicine in the future. Goals are not only like a medicine, they are also a ‘False medicine.’ Because the botheration is right now and the medicine is in the?

Listener: Future.

AP: Future. It’s like saying, I have a severe headache, a migraine right now, but I have planned for a medicine that will work two years hence. What kind of medicine is this? If you have a migraine right now, when do you need the medicine to work? Right now. The suffering is right now, the botheration is right now, you need something that heals you?

L: Right now.

AP: Right Now.

Two things, One – goals arise from a sense of turbulence, from a sense of, there is something wrong somewhere, from a sense of there is something unworthy, inadequate about me and I need to make up for it by achieving something in future. I am not alright.  I will be alright when that goal is achieved. Right? That’s what the goal tells you. You will be good, admirable, lovable, adequate when you get that promotion when you have that amount of money when you earn that respectability. That’s what the promise of the goal is. And we fail to see that it is a false promise. A false medicine.

So, Abhishek you are asking for the impossible. You are saying, “How not to bother and how still to be focused on goals?” Do you see how you are asking for the impossible? Goals themselves arise from the poisonous soil of botheration. If there is no botheration, how will there be any goals either? How will there be any goals, if you are not worried?

Tha’s why you see, In many systems, in many institutions, in the minds of many people, it is essential that they keep those around them, worried. Because they know that unless you are kept worried, you will not run after goals. In many professions, the lure of incentives is given, to achieve targets, goals. Parallelly, there is a threat of disincentives. And in any case,

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We marry problems

Troubles, give you so much to fill your self up.  Troubles gives you a nice identity, an identity that you can get so easily use to.

Life without problems is not possible but there can be life, beyond problems.

The moment you withdraw from the problem, the problem will fall. There is no problem that you experience that comes to you, without your consent, participation and active involvement.

We don’t, marry and get problems. We, marry problems.

To drop problems means to drop the ego, drop the troubling self.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Surely there is life beyond troubles

Acharya Prashant: Surely there is life beyond troubles

Question: Acharya Ji, can the ego ever be free of troubles?

Acharya Prashant: You need to have faith, that there is life beyond troubles; otherwise troubles are so sweet. Who am I ~ The troubled one.

Troubles, give you so much to fill your self up.  Troubles gives you a nice identity, an identity that you can get so easily use to.

I am, the one, stung by problems. I am the one, who is the victim of troubles. Troubles, problems, all of them, can so easily, give you something, to live by. You must, first of all, let yourself, acknowledge, that there can be life, beyond problems, not without problems.

Life without problems is not possible but there can be life, beyond problems.

But we have a great belief in problems. No?

In fact, you know, it is an insult to problems, that we call them problems. Our problems are our intimate friends. The proof is that you will not let them go.  Will you ever let your problems go? Even if the problem is willing to go, you will catch it, by its collar and you’ll say, no, you don’t have to.  Okay, you can go at a more opportune time.  You have been a guest here for so long and now its late at night and out there, there are thief’s and thugs so you can go in the morning.

AP: That morning never comes. No problem, I assure you, can stay with you, without your active involvement in the problem.

The moment you withdraw from the problem, the problem will fall. There is no problem that you experience that comes to you, without your consent, participation and active involvement.

L: Why we can’t see life beyond the problem?

AP: Because you have been made to believe, through the whole process of your evolution, that there is no life beyond problems and if there is no life beyond problems, then problem-lessness to you means life-lessness.  You do not want to die. You have a belief that the moment problems disappear, life too will disappear, and you do not want to die.

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Beginning itself is wrong

Defeat is hardly ever to be measured in terms of the events that happen outside of you. Defeat hurts exactly because defeat happens inside of you.

The beginning itself is wrong. The end will follow the beginning. When you have begun wrongly, the process cannot correct the beginning.

You might be a great driver, but if you do not know where you are coming from and where you are going, then your driving skills will only take you quicker to the wrong place.

What has begun wrongly cannot be corrected by the finesse involved in the process.

And one feels bad about his condition only when he strongly identifies with his condition.

Defeat is not the end of the war. Defeat is not in the end of the war. Mostly defeat lies in the beginning of war.

The more you pick unnecessary battles, the more you will feel defeated. The more you will feel defeated, the more will be the urge to fight another unnecessary battle. It’s a downward spiral. Once caught you remain caught.

Willpower, commitment, determination they are of so little use because they are extremely superficial. One can be a very committed person and yet have a very petty mind because one is needlessly committed. Committed to the wrong thing from the wrong center.

Efficiency or discipline or determination or commitment make sense only when the fundamental has been taken care of.



Read the complete article: Forget winning, first choose the right battle