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Student: Sir, how to get rid of unwanted thoughts in the mind?
Speaker: The unwanted thought? What is your name?
Speaker: Avnish is asking how to get rid of the unwanted noise of thought in the mind. How many of you have experienced this, that there is so much of unnecessary noise going on in the mind? What is this noise? Let us examine the noise.
What is the noise all about? What does the noise say? Where does it come from? What does it consist of? What is this noise? Tell me, many of you raised your hands. Tell me something about the noise. What does the noise consist of? Examine the noise. Tell me something about the noise.
Student: Noise is negativity.
Speaker: That negativity, could I call it fear in a way? Fear?
Student: No sir, it is not fear. Anything comes to me, I always take it negatively.
Speaker: What do you mean by taking something negatively?
Student: Sir, positive approach is not there.
Speaker: Doubt. Can I call it doubt, a doubt, a particular doubt?
Student: Sir, fear of failure.
Speaker: Fear of failure. What does the noise keep saying? So, there is doubt that we have already taken and there is fear. There is doubt and there is fear. Tell me something more about the noise. You asked the question, you tell me something about the noise, Avnish.
Student: Unwanted thoughts
Speaker: You are saying it is unwanted. You have already said something about the noise, that it is unwanted. That it is ‘unwanted’. So one characteristic of the noise now is that we know that it is unwanted but it is still there. It is about doubt, it is about fear, we do not like its presence. That is why we are saying it is unwanted. Right? We do not want it, we do not like it. Why don’t you like that noise?
Student: Sir, it is not required.
Speaker: It is not required. How do you know it is not required? What is required? When do you say that something is required? Right now I am speaking to you, what do I require? What do I require? I probably require some audio support. Whenever something is really required, it is in that moment, in that moment. Right now, do I require a car? As I am speaking to you, do I require an aeroplane? Do I require a gun?
So, all requirements relates only to that which is in the moment.
So that noise probably is not about that moment.
Then what is that noise about? If that noise is not about that moment, what is that noise about? You experience that noise; all of you raised your hands, almost all of you. Tell me what is that noise about? Is that noise related to something that is happening right now? Have you really experienced that noise? Yes, something that is always talking, chattering here? What is that noise about? Is that noise about what is happening right now? You are reading a book but there is something going on in the mind. Now, what is going in the mind? Is it always about what you are reading?
Speaker: Then, what is it mostly about?
Speaker: Thought about what? About what? About what you are reading? For example, you are reading thermodynamics.
Student: Something apart from thermodynamics.
Speaker: Something apart from thermodynamics, it could be anything. But for sure, if I am reading thermodynamics, then that noise is not about thermodynamics. That noise is about something else, something else.
Whatever I am doing in this moment that noise is always about something else. I might be in this moment. I am always in this moment, living is always right now but that noise is about something that had happened or something that I am imagining would happen.
So that noise is about past and future. That noise is about past and future. Somebody said fear; somebody said doubt. So may be fear of past, doubt of future. That noise is always about others. Do you see these things about that noise? What do you see? That noise is never relevant to what is happening right now. That noise always takes you away from what is happening. That noise always takes you away from what is happening, what is really happening.
Let us do a quick experiment right now. Honestly, even as I have been speaking over the past ten minutes, how many of you have experienced that noise over the past ten minutes?
(Some students raise their hands)
Did that noise have something to do or anything to do with what I am saying right now or was it mostly about other things and other places, past and future, other people? What was that noise about? Honestly. OK, let me put it in another way.
How many of you are sure that you have not thought of anything when you have been listening to me? When you have been listening, you have been just listening and not been thinking of anything else, has it happened with anybody? That over the past continuous ten minutes, there has been no thought in my mind, I am just listening. With how many of you has that happened?
With how many of you has this happened that, even as we are sitting here, supposedly listening but the mind has been wandering elsewhere? With how many of you has that happened? That is what the noise is all about.
So, the noise is about, not being here, not being really present. If I am really present then there can be no noise.
Let me do another experiment. Do we have anybody here who would like to claim that he has heard me in attention even for one minute? Is there anybody who has heard me attentively even for one minute? Raise your hands. Raise your hands if you have heard me attentively even for one minute. There are so many of you.
Now tell me when you were listening to me, attentively, in that moment, exactly in that moment was the noise still there? Not right now, not after that, not before that, in that moment when you were listening deeply and attentively, was the noise still there? Yes, was it still there? In that moment when you were totally in attention, was the noise still there?
That noise arises when your mind is occupied with other things, that noise arises when you are absent from the happening, that noise arises when you are absent from life itself, the one who is present to life will not experience too much of that noise, not at all. The one who is present to life will not experience that noise too much. Are you getting it? That noise arises only when the mind is detached, only when the mind is catapulted from the present. If the mind is anchored to the present then there is no question of that noise arising.
How many of you play any sport with passion? Soccer, cricket, anything? When you are deeply immersed in playing, is there still some noise going on in the mind?
Listeners: No sir.
Do you see what is happening? Do you see what is happening? What is happening? Whenever you are deeply into anything that noise falls silent. But whenever you are absent from the happening that noise arises. So how to get rid of that noise?
Speaker: Be into life fully…no that is not concentration. That is not concentration. The more you try to concentrate, the more that noise will arise. When you are playing football, do you want to concentrate on football or is it just playing?
Students: Just playing.
Speaker: Those of you, who are listening to me, are you trying to concentrate or you are just listening? How many of you are trying to concentrate? Those who are not here will need to try to concentrate, others are just listening. That is not concentration, not concentration. It is just presence, a certain surety that it is all right; I can be here, certain calmness. I need not be worried everything is okay. Everything is okay, I can be present here. I can be present here. If you have left a valuable outside and you are sitting here and the thing that you have left there is very valuable to you, would you be able to be present here? Where would your mind be?
Speaker: What would you always be thinking? That the thing might be stolen or destroyed or misplaced, something can happen to it. That is the condition of all of us. That is the condition of entire humanity. We all keep thinking that we are present here but something valuable is kept somewhere else.
I am assuring you that the valuable thing is always there with you.
If you know fully well that your most valuable thing is kept secured close to you, would you still be worried? Would you still be worried? Would your mind still be outside? When you know that your valuable asset is kept somewhere apart then you have reasons to be disturbed and worried. But if you are sure that, that which is so valuable is close to you, right where you are, would you still need to think about it? Would you still need to think about it? Then you would not be thinking about it because you very well know that it cannot be lost.
The mind is always worried because it is always thinking that something precious has been lost and that it has to be either regained or secured, something needs to be done with it.
That’s what the mind is always worrying about. What is the mind always worrying about? That something precious is either to be achieved- a job, a relationship, respectability, money. The mind is always thinking that something precious is kept outside that room, I have to go and get it or it might be stolen, lost, destroyed whatever. I have to get something. Even as you sit here your mind would be wondering about job or examinations. Something important is happening somewhere else, that’s what the mind is always thinking.
Tell your mind that the real thing is very much safe, very much secure and always with me. The real and the most valuable thing is very much safe, very secure and always there with me. Tell the mind that there is no reason to be worried; the really valuable thing cannot be taken away.
You said the noise is about fear, you said the noise is about doubt. You know what is the fear? What is the fear? That the valuable thing may be taken away. What is the doubt? Whether I will be able to regain the valuable thing. Everything relates to that. Tell your mind that there is no question of regaining because it has not been lost. How can you regain that which has not been lost? Tell your mind that I have not lost anything so there is no question of gaining it back.
Mind is worried, the mind is worried about losing, the mind is worried about achieving and that is what this noise is is all about. It is so worried; it is like a little kid who is worried.
Oh! Worry reminds me that I am also worried. Where is my handkerchief? Where is my handkerchief, I am so worried. It was a valuable handkerchief, my emotions were attached to it, my past was attached to it, where is my handkerchief? Somebody please go and get my handkerchief. Are you all so insensitive, won’t you help me? What are you nodding your heads for? Go get my handkerchief, I can’t speak. And even if I keep speaking, my mind will be with my handkerchief and then what will the quality of my speech?
When my mind is always thinking about the handkerchief, what will be the quality of this Samvaad? Very poor, but I am so worried. Where is my handkerchief? I am looking all around, all around. Is my handkerchief there? Is it there? No it is not there. Is it there with you? No it is not there. Is it there? No not there, I am looking all around, wherever my senses can go. My eyes, my eyes, my eyes can go left, can go right, my eyes can go up, can go down. My ears, I am trying to hear the fluttering of my handkerchief. I am trying to sense my handkerchief in all directions. Where is my handkerchief? Help me. You all have no concern for me. But then something happens, something happens. Something happens, what happens? Ma’am says, ‘HIDP’. Say, speak out, ‘HIDP’.
Speaker: There is more doubt in this than is there is in their noise. How do you say ‘HIDP’?
Speaker: Yes, once again.
Speaker: So my handkerchief, handkerchief? All of a sudden instead of looking outside, I start looking towards myself and then here is the handkerchief. Here is the handkerchief. Yes let us laugh at it, let us enjoy the whole game but also let us understand that in 2000 years, I would not have been able to discover it, had I been constantly looking for it. Where was I looking for it? There, there, there, there, there and my mind was worried that I have lost it somewhere. So there was so much of noise. I needed someone to tell me to look at myself. I needed someone to tell my mind to look, to look at myself, inwards, within and the moment I looked within I say such an idiot I am, utter fool. I have been looking for it all around when it has been present all throughout in my……?
Speaker: The thing is, even the pocket can be taken away. A few of you can decide to beat me up, come over here, tear apart my clothes and take my kurta away and the pocket also goes away.
That noise arises when your mind is occupied with other things. That noise arises when you are absent from the happening.
That noise arises when you are absent from life itself.
The one who is present to life will not experience too much of that noise, not at all. The one who is present to life will not experience that noise too much. Are you getting it?
That noise arises only when the mind is detached, only when the mind is catapulted from the present. If the mind is anchored to the present then there is no question of that noise arising.
The real thing is with me always, forever unconditionally. Even under the worst of situations, the really valuable thing is always with me. So why are you worried? That which is precious in life cannot be lost. It just cannot be lost, don’t be worried. Don’t be worried and then that noise will subside.
Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session video: Tell the mind the valuable is safe || Acharya Prashant (2013)
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