The pitfalls in the practice of mindfulness || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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Question: You are holding a rabbit in your hands. What else is there except sensory perception? Why must there be anything beyond sensory perception? Just look at the creature, look into his eyes. Let the perception be total, and you will realise what is beyond perception. But that comes as Grace.

I am not able to see the difference between this example, and the philosophy of being mindful towards activities like eating, walking etc. In one of your talks, you have discouraged the practice of mindfulness, and mentioned that observation means – ‘Am I with the Beloved or not?’

It is observation of the inside. Please help me understand this better.

Acharya Prashant Ji: I have said repeatedly, that you cannot be purposelessly mindful. Consciousness is anyway very-very burdened. Man’s mind is a storehouse of all kinds of stuff. Man’s mind is already full. You do not want to load it with more sensory objects.

So, when you do look at something, when you do admit something into your mind-space, there must be a strong and valid reason.

In other sense, mindfulness has to be very-very purposeful.

Nobody should be allowed to gain entry into your mind, unless the entry serves a clear purpose.

That’s why I talked of the ‘rabbit’ here. I didn’t talk of anything in general. I said, “Look into the eyes of the rabbit.” Now, there is a purpose there, there is a gain there. I am not talking of admitting just anything into your consciousness. I am talking of admitting that ,which will you insight. Insight about what? Insight about your own situation.

When you will look at the rabbit, you will know who you are. The eyes of the rabbit specifically, will tell you of your own longing. When you will look at that animal, you will see something that will tell you – who you are- and will not allow you as a bonus, to kill and consume the rabbit.

So if there is something that really benefits you with insight, then be mindful of it.

Then allow it entry into your consciousness.

Otherwise, just being conscious of every little, trivial thing and object that is in you, around you, will leave you nowhere.

There you actually have to be dismissive, regardless, oblivious.

Contemptuously oblivious!

Purposeful, purposeful. You must know why you are looking at something. And the question then is, if you have listened to those videos carefully: ‘Am I with the Beloved or not?’ That is the only question that must constantly occupy your mind-space.

So, be mindful of stuff that helps bring back this question to you, and be totally dismissive of other stuff.

Just randomly and purposelessly counting the number of steps that you take from the kitchen to the washroom, is no good. It’s a random and dull practice. It will further burden and dull down your mind.

And when the mind becomes dull, then there is temporary relief from suffering. Active and searing pain, turns into dull ache. And many people prefer that. But the pain has not really gone anywhere. It has just become subsided, hidden, more palatable.

You are troubled by something as most people, most of the times are. You can occupy yourself with any random activity, as a solution. And you will see that when you occupy yourself, then your troubles fade away for a moment.

But is that a solution?

You have to ask the important and central question. “Given who I am,” and who are ‘you’? The longing consciousness. “Given who I am, why am I doing anything including observation?” That’s the thing to be asked.

“I am somebody who is in need of healing. Given who I am, why am I counting the steps? Why am I watching and counting my breath?”

Nothing can be just a mindless practice.

Otherwise, it becomes the absurdity of mindless mindfulness.

So when you say, “Mindfulness is good,” I will say, “Fine. But be mindfully mindful. Don’t be randomly mindful. Because there is just too much filth that can fill up your mind. Why must you allow it?”

The art of living is – to not know a lot. There must be really a lot, that you must not know at all. And when I say, “Know,” I mean knowing in a way, that affects you. And we do get related to the knowledge we have. Don’t we? And then the knowledge becomes burden.

Before you count something, ask yourself, “Why am I counting it?” If the man who is counting currency notes all the time, does not ask himself, “Why am I counting it?” then he is condemning himself to deep suffering. And if you do not know why you are counting, then there is not much difference between counting currency notes, and counting the number of steps that you take as you walk from point A to B.

We are quick to point out the fault with the man, who is busy counting notes all day. But we do not see that the man who is counting his steps all day, is guilty of the same fault.

Saints have constantly pointed at this trap.

They have said, “Be cautious.” There are people who use the rosary, it’s beads, as a method of meditation. There are people who keep counting the number of times they have recited a particular mantra.

And if you will go to Kabir Sahab, Nanak Sahab, or other saints, they will all tell you, “What is the point in counting till hundred and eight? What is the point in counting the number of times the rosary has gone through your fingers?” Do you really know what is going on? It is all dead practice. And it is further turning your mind dead.

What is meant by – ‘Knowing why you are doing it’? ‘Knowing why you are doing it’, is to answer the question, “Given that I am, a longing consciousness, is this activity taking me ‘there’?”

“If it is taking me there, I will count not till hundred and eight, but till hundred and eight thousands. No problems.”

“But if is not taking me ‘there’, why am I doing this silly thing?”


Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the video session: The pitfalls in the practice of mindfulness || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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What are dark suggestions of consciousness? || Acharya Prashant, on Rumi (2017)

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What are dark suggestions of consciousness

Sometimes I forget completely what companionship is!
Unconscious and insane,  I spill sad energy everywhere.
My story gets told in various ways: a romance, a dirty joke, a war, a vacancy.
Divide up my forgetfulness to any number, it will go around.
These dark suggestions that I follow, are they part of some plan?

Friends, be careful.
Don’t come near me out of curiosity, or sympathy.

~ Rumi

Question: Acharya Ji, what are these dark suggestions? Are they part of some plan?

Acharya Prashant Ji: All the miseries, the gloom of life, that is these ‘dark suggestions’. By ‘dark suggestions’, Rumi means the urge, the tendency, the motivation, to remain in darkness, to act out of darkness.

And there is a lot of that darkness, in our life. We follow that, as if somebody, is instructing us, or advising, or compelling us, and we are following his suggestions.

Now, Rumi is saying, “Are they a part of some plan?” And that is also the question here. Are they a part of some plan?  Yes, there is a plan. The plan is that – you have to ‘look’ at those suggestions, and get rid of them. Somebody suggests you something, by following his suggestion, you find that your misery is deepening, your darkness is deepening, what do you do with the suggestion? You dismiss it.

Do you dismiss only the suggestion? No, you also dismiss the one, who has been suggesting. And you have been following these suggestions since long. Sometimes you see how much pain comes out of these suggestions, sometimes you don’t that. As a result, you feel, that some of your motivations are good for you, and some are not.

You feel some of your actions are good, and others are not. You feel some of your thoughts are good, and others are not. Isn’t it very common to see people distinguishing between positive thoughts and negative thoughts?

We are prepared, at most, to dismiss some of your motivations, our urges.

But, even when we dismiss them, we dismiss them relatively.

We dismiss the ‘bad’, in relation to the ‘good’.

Which means every time we dismiss the ‘bad’, we end up accepting something else as ‘good’.

Every time you dismiss something ‘bad’, you end up accepting something, that you call as ‘good’. 

So the rejection is never total.

In fact, it has not been the rejection at all. It is a zero-sum game. Something has been rejected, and in it’s lieu, something else has been accepted. So the center from where all these suggestions come, all these motivations arise, that center remains untouched, scrutinized.

Dismiss the very center. For that, you will need to dismiss, not only that which appears problematic, but also that which appears auspicious. Then the plan will fructify.

We don’t enable the plan, to achieve it’s results.

The world is a plan.

What is the objective of the plan?

That the plan must be seen through.

That the plan must be dismantled. 

When you are given a riddle, a puzzle, what is the objective? The objective is not that you remain forever caught in the riddle. The objective is that the riddle must be solved. That is the plan. The solution is the plan. The dissolution is the plan.

Let the plan materialise.

Rumi has said, “Dark suggestions.” I will add ‘bright suggestions’ to it. Whether it is the ‘dark suggestions’ you follow, or the ‘bright suggestions’ that you follow, see where are all of these suggestions coming from. Suggestion is motivation, suggestion is the motivation to act.

See where are all the dualistic, contrasting inclinations arising from. Sometimes you want to eat, sometimes you don’t want to eat. Sometimes you love, sometimes you hate. Is there really dimensional difference between our ‘love’ and ‘hate’. Are they not just two sides of the same coin? Is love always not prepared to quickly turn into hate?

Look at your enemies today. Do you have strangers there? All your enemies, are but people, who did not fulfill, or could not fulfill, the expectations that you had from them, as friends. The dark and the bright, are not merely co-existing, they are existing as – each other. You may even say – ‘because of each other’. Though that is not precise.

But it is not false, if you say, “Darkness exists because of so-called brightness. And brightness exists only in relation to the darkness.” They all arise from the same center. And they both remain protected, because they both appear different. Had they both appeared same, both would have disappeared.

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

Watch the session: What are dark suggestions of consciousness? || Acharya Prashant, on Rumi (2017)

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False concepts regarding mindfulness || Acharya Prashant (2019)

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False concepts regarding mindfulness

Question: Acharya Ji, some teachers say that one should never forget that one is a watcher, and teach oneself to be mindful while watching, eating, sleeping, etc. Is it doable? What is its significance?

Acharya Prashant Ji: I just do not subscribe to this. It is quite harmful, in fact.

The mind is already too eager to gather news from here and there, like a very suspicious old man – what is happening, where? It needs rest, not more news. Because any bit of news, any bit of information, that comes to it, would only be mis-utilised. And it already has millions, and trillions, of Terra-bytes of information.

Could that do any good?

Isn’t it far better, to just forget everything? Why add to your existing and overflowing repository of information? Just forget everything, and be engrossed in rest. Ignore these things, they belong to the body. The body will take care of them: eating, walking, sleeping. If you start being observant about every step that the body takes, you will go mad.

Such advice have managed to sustain, only because such advice have never been fully implemented. If somebody could actually fully implement these advice about watchfulness, and mindfulness, then the dangerous nature of these advice would be exposed.

The mindfulness industry has managed to survive, only because nobody can practically do, what they are advising. If even one person can practically do, what they are advising, he will prove the very debilitating nature of that advice, through his madness. He did it fully, and he went crazy. And that would be the end of these teachings.

But, fortunately for these teachings, they are so impractical, so crazy, that they can never really be implemented. Nobody can be watchful about every morsel of food, or every blink of the eye, or every round of respiration. So people just survive, going mad.

And when they cannot implement these teachings fully, they feel that they are guilty, and have therefore not benefited from the teachings. “I could not benefit from them, because I could not implement them fully.” The bugger does not know that if he could implement them fully, he would go crazy.

A saint has never, never been known to be the one, who is observant about these minor microscopic things in life.

The saint’s heart is elsewhere.

He in fact, ignores these tit-bits, called ‘daily life’.

You look at his clothing, and it is possible that you may find that something is torn somewhere, and he is oblivious of it. He totally ignores these things. He is carrying some utensil, and utensil has a hole. You become conscious of that hole, the fakir(saint), keeps ignoring that hole. Forget about ignoring the hole, if you tell him that there is a hole in your vessel, he will say, “Is there? Where? Where?” He is lost, he is somewhere else.

That’s hardcore spirituality. Not this.

There is the famous tale of Sohni and Mahiwal in Punjab. Sohni used to cross the river using pots. They don’t sink. So, she used to use them, to help her cross the river Chenab. One day some jealous woman, kept a raw pot for her, not a properly baked one, an unbaked one. Sohni just picked it up and went into the river, and drowned and died. That’s the heart. That’s ‘real love’.

You are so lost in your beloved, that you do not even bother to cross-check about these things – what am I eating, what am I using for my physical defence? The mindfulness industry would have said, “Oh! She was not mindful enough. That’s why she died.” Obviously she was not mindful enough. And that is why she was a lover.

Who said that lovers are mindful?

Questioner: Acharya Ji, but then why do saints put high emphasis on observation?

Acharya Ji: That observation is inner. Not the observation of the food you take, and the steps you put, and this and that. The observation there is, just this – “Am I with the beloved or not?” There is just one thing, that you have to watch out for. It doesn’t matter where else I am. It’s either  a zero, or a one. One, if I am with ‘him’. Zero, if I am anywhere else. It doesn’t matter where I am.

You are born with a purpose.

The purpose is your primary concern. Otherwise, why are you alive?

You are born to get rest.

You are born to get freedom from your restlessness.

And therefore, that is what you must be fully occupied with.

That is your central mission.

Everything else is incidental. Everything else, is stuff, worth ignoring. Not something you can afford to get entangled in.

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

Watch the session:  False concepts regarding mindfulness || Acharya Prashant (2019)


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The real observer observes nothing || Acharya Prashant, on Osho (2019)

The real observer observes nothing

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Question: Acharya Ji, in one discourse, Osho said that inner strength is a result of inner stillness. What does he mean?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

Something that remains untouched, unmoved, only that is something, that can really look at what is trying to move  it.

You have CCTV Cameras. The camera shows a person coming towards the camera, and a camera is able to show that. That camera shows that person, pulling out his gun. Even that the camera can show. Next the camera shows, that the person is taking aim at the camera. Even that the camera can show. Next the camera captures, the gun, shooting a bullet towards the camera. Even that the camera can show. And after this, the camera shows nothing. Why?

Listener: It has moved now.

Acharya Ji: Because the camera itself has moved. The camera itself is no more there. It is gone.

You will be able to see nothing, if that which you are seeing, moves you.

What was the camera looking at? The man with the gun. But the man with the gun, succeeded in displacing the camera itself. So, the camera is now worthless. That which you are seeing, must not be able to move you. Otherwise, your seeing will stop.

You do not merely ‘see’ something.

You allow the thing to influence you. You become the influenced one.

You forget that the seen thing, and the seer of the thing, are both not you.

You become one with the seer.

The seer is bound to get influenced. That cannot be avoided. What can be avoided is, that ‘you’ do not become the seer.

This is the thing in the market, a chocolate cake. This is the seer. It is impossible that the seer looks at the seen thing, and feels no vibrations. It cannot happen. The very act of perception, is bound to change the perceiver. You have to be somewhere else. You are neither of these two.

The mistake that you make is, that you become the seer. And if you become the seer, you are bound to get influenced by the seen.

Listener: Are you saying that I become the perceive of both?

Acharya Ji:

You do not ‘become’ the perceiver of the both. You ‘are’ at a place, where there is no perception.

I understand, many a times, by many a teachers, even in many scriptures, it is mentioned this way. You are the seer of both – the subject and the object. This(the subject), sees this(the object). This(the object), influences this(the subject). You go and be busy in an apple orchard. In that apple orchard, there are no chocolate cakes. I am talking of the orchard of the father(pointing at the sky).

You remain occupied there, even as the senses remain occupied with the objects, you have to be somewhere else. It’s not as if you are looking at these two(subject-object), and yet are influenced by these two.

Yesterday, we said, “The real observer observes nothing.” You should have nothing to do with the business of cakes, and the purchaser of the cakes. This is the cake, this is the consumer of the cake, you stay where you must. All this caky business, is not your business.

The place where you are, is not a place of consciousness. All consciousness is in between these two – the subject and the object. You are where you always were. You are at your one unshakable position. You are, where there is no space. You are where there is no territory to run to. Now where is the question of running? Even if you want to run away, there is no space to run away.

You are at a place where space and time do not exist. All space and time is here, in the dimension of consciousness, in between these two(the subject and the object). You are somewhere else.

Actually the confusion is understandable. When I am saying, “You are somewhere else,” you are imagining that, that ‘somewhere else’, is some other place. This this is happening at the bakery, and you are at the coffee-shop.

No! That’s not what I am saying. That’s not what I am saying.

You ‘are’ where, there is ‘nothing’.


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

Watch the session:  The real observer observes nothing || Acharya Prashant, on Osho (2019)


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What is devotion? Do observation and devotion go together || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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devotion-and-observation.jpg

Question: What is real meaning of ‘devotion’ in spirituality? How can devotion help one to reach the Truth? What is the path of devotion? How to prepare oneself for devotion? Which one is greater, observation or devotion?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

‘Devotion’ is a million times more powerful than ‘observation’. With devotion, if you are uttering the name of ‘Ram’, or saying, “Om Namah Shivaya,” with genuine heartfelt love and devotion, then forget everything about observation. Observation will happen on its own.

That which is precious, is observed. Full stop. The mind is the road to Truth. And only the mind can be the road to Truth, because you have no other road. May be after a point, the road too disappears. But till that point, you do walk on that road, don’t you? Then the mind will be obviously observed, if you love the Truth.

Love for Truth, or God, comes first. Observation then is a petty thing.

It just happens. Just happens.

You are in so much love with cleanliness and purity, that any rubbish shows up on its own.

That is observation.

Obviously, observation cannot show the Truth to you. What do you see in observation? All the falseness.

Why would falseness ever become noticeable? Falseness becomes noticeable, only when you are in love with Truth. Otherwise, falseness passes of. Otherwise, falseness is just everyday stuff – agreeable, acceptable. Those who are on the path of observation, very well know that all the blemishes show up.

All the falsenesses, the biases, the inaccuracies, the prejudices, the attractions, the attachments, they are what is seen, right? Why must they become noticeable?

On the wall, why must a certain spot catch your attention? It does, when you want the wall to be clean, and pristine, and white. And then that little blemish is observed. Truth cannot be observed, obviously.

Love comes first. And where there is love, attention becomes compulsory.

Attention is an immediate obedient to Truth.

What is attention? Attending. Attending. Attending to whom? The Truth. That is also the only difference between focussing and observing. And also, it is the only difference between concentration and attention. In concentration, you want some little object, so you are pointing at it. And if you want a little object, you remain little, which means you remained secured, because little you already are.

In attention, you want something big, really big. And that is love. And if you want something really big, you cannot afford to stay small. And that is one very unfortunate tragedy. We want the big, remaining small. And then we curse the big that it doesn’t come to us.

“O! you don’t come to me!”

“How will I come to you? You are so small.”

But then, the argument is superb. You say, because I am so small, so you should come to me. The Truth responds. It says, “I can begin to come to you, because you are small. But if I come close to you, and you are still determined to stay small, then I cannot come any closer.”

“Little girl, how will you put an elephant in your little pocket? I am an elephant, and your pockets are so small. And you refuse to grow up. So, I have no option, but to watch from a distance.”

In attention, it becomes mandatory for you to grow up, or dissolve. Concentration does not change you. That thing, that you are concentrating on, is small. So you too can remain small.

In attention, you are targeting something bombastic. Boom! So, you better be big. And why will you target something so big, and therefore so very distant?

Love, love.

Devotion.

Attention is possible only if you are devoted to the Truth.

Otherwise, why would you attend to the Truth? Why would you become an attendant, a servant of the Truth? Why? Without love, attention is tension, a lot of tension. A tension. And you already have so many tensions.

Will you remember that? Without love and devotion, attention is just another tension. And there are so many who think that they will be able to be attentive, without being devoted. They end up turning very, very dry. Very dry.

I have come across so many of them. They keep uttering – observe, observe, attend, attend. And ‘surrender’ and ‘devotion’ are words they are allergic to. The moment you utter the word ‘surrender’ to them, the moment you utter the word ‘surrender’ to them, it’s like they have been pricked by a pin at their backside. They jump up.

“Ha! Surrender. No, don’t talk of that. We will observe. Let’s observe. No devotion, just observation.”

Very sorry samples, they turn out to be. They can’t sing a crazy Kabir Sahib, or a Bulle Shah Bhajan, Kaafi, Sakhi, Wakh. They can’t. When a Meera is dancing madly, they will say, “I am observing.” When a Bulle Shah has gone crazy in the love of his murshid, they will say, “I am listening. I am listening.”

And all that is so idiotic. That pretense of intelligence.

——————————————————————————————————————————-

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

Watch the session: What is devotion? Do observation and devotion go together || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Acharya Prashant, with students: Thoughts, Understanding and Realization

T26

Acharya Prashant: We rarely understand. We only keep thinking. And we think that we are understanding.
Naresh, there is a humongous difference between ‘thinking’ and ‘understanding’.

We ‘think’, but we rarely ‘understand’.
When you look at that mobile phone, you are ‘thinking’, you are not ‘understanding’. ‘Understanding’ is a totally different thing.

‘Understanding’ happens when thoughts have been quietened.

You think about the mobile, have you ever thought about the ‘Tack Sheek’? Is there anyone here who thinks about ‘Tack Sheek’?

Listener: We don’t know what that is!

AP: You think about the ‘mobile’, because you know about the mobile already. No one here has ever heard of ‘Tack Sheek’ before! And that’s why you don’t know about it.

All thoughts come from the past. When you are looking at something, the only thing happening is, that your mind is recalling something that it already has recorded previously.

And that is why, when I said ‘Tack Sheek’, you all were clueless about it. Because there is nothing to recall. This is not ‘understanding’. This is just a recalling of the past.
There is something previously fed into your brain, and you just recalled it again. This is not called understanding. This is highly mechanical. This can be easily done by a computer’s hard drive, which has no intelligence at all, which is purely instrumental.

So, when you are looking at this mobile, then you are just dealing in an image. That is merely a thought, not ‘understanding’.

L: So, what then is ‘Real Understanding’?

AP:

‘Understanding is the fruit of intelligence.’ It operates only in an environment of attention. When you are completely still, then the process that happens instantaneously, that is called ‘Understanding.’

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Acharya Prashant, with students: How to be contented in life?

T22

Acharya Prashant: Ishita asks, “What is contentment and why do we run behind it?”

Ishita we never run behind contentment. We run behind another thing called ‘satisfaction.’ Contentment is not a goal to be achieved. Contentment is right now. Contentment is our intrinsic fullness which opens up in the absence of any desire. When there is no desire, then you know everything is alright! That is contentment. That is intrinsic fullness, you don’t run after it to get it.

But yes there is another word. You know the dictionary would say these two are synonymous contentment and satisfaction. But in lives, these two are poles apart. Very-very different. We run after satisfaction. What do we say? We say that if we get that then we will be satisfied. That which you are after is always ahead. Always in future. Am I right?

Listener: Yes, sir.

AP: Do you ever say that in this moment if I get something I will be satisfied? Because if you say this moment, then by the time you say this moment this has already become a time. Become past. So, defacto you are always aspiring about the future. A hope into the future. If I get that then.

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Acharya Prashant, with students: The need to impress

Acharya Prashant: How many of you see, this, a very important factor in your life? Actually, we have been able to look at the issue right in the eye then we say that we need English to impress others.

Someone talked of communication. ‘Communication’ is an expression, right? And that’s a pure thing. Uncorrupted, unadulterated. But when ‘expression’ becomes a desire for ‘impression’, then are we really aware of what is happening?

You have the photographs and words of this man (Sh. APJ Abdul Kalaam), all over this place. Have you heard him speak? If not, look at some of his videos on youtube, expression is happening, communication is purely happening. But is there also a desire to ‘impress’ anybody? Did he proceed with a particular kind of accent? Does he proceed with great fluency?

Listeners: No.

AP: Is ‘communication’ happening or not?

L: Yes.

AP: And is communication happening with great felicity or not? ‘Felicity’ means, ease, smoothness. Is communication happening in a very smooth and spontaneous way or not?

L: Yes.

AP: But is he also inflicted by a desire to impress somebody?

L: No.

AP: And what would have happened, had there been a desire to impress the audience? What would have happened? Let’s try to understand, what might have happened, had there been a desire to impress the audience?

L: The pitch goes high and higher.

AP: What have you printed here? His accent or his words, his content?

L: Words, content.

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How to awaken one’s potential? || Acharya Prashant with Students (2015)

Blog-18

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Acharya Prashant: Just ask me how to not lie sleeping, don’t ask me how to awaken my potential.

The potential doesn’t have any habit of sleeping, you forcefully put it to sleep, intelligence is not habituated of lying dormant. You habitually put it to sleep by acts like these (pointing to two students gossiping) and then you ask why is life so miserable, why my potential is lying unutilised; because you are hell bent upon living a stupid life.

You are asking me what do I need to do to awaken my potential, I am saying don’t do anything, you are already doing too much, in fact, stop doing what you are doing right now, once you stop doing, you find that the potential that intelligence starts expressing itself, stop doing that you are doing so much, even at this moment there are two kinds of people over here:

1. Who are not doing anything, who are just sitting and letting the listening happen.

2. Who are doing a lot.

And what would that doing mean, that would mean fidgeting with the pen, that would mean thinking a lot.

Who do you think is understanding me?

Those who are doing a lot or those who are not doing anything? Who is understanding?

Those who are not doing anything.

So don’t ask me what do I need to do to awaken my potential, you don’t need to do anything extra, in fact, stop doing all that you keep doing, stop doing that in which your energy is being dissipated, in thousand miscellaneous acts, stop doing them and then you will find that there is great and beautiful channelization, a lovely flow and then you will know what does it mean to be young; not this kind of random movement, like this is going on, haywired minds, this way, that way, this thought, that thought.

Look at your thoughts and actions from morning till evening, and see what you are doing, where your time and energy are going, and then you will realise.

You don’t need to actually read great books it’s far easier than that, far closer than that, observe your own life, what do I do from morning till evening.

We have our friend sitting here, and it pleases my heart, it warms my heart, to see that he doesn’t belongs to this section but he is still here but then there is something from time, past, memory which reminds me that our friend is the same fellow whom I had to scold in the last samvaad and ask him to sit right in the front, remember?

Would have been absolutely great if he had come here on his own accord, but he hasn’t, yes, he is here because he is short on attendance, which not a crime, it is good that he is still here but would have been so wonderful had he been here on his own accord.

And there have been cases where people have attended samvaad even though they belonged to different sections, and see how domesticated he looks right now!

And you remember the last samvaad when you were like an uncontrollable beast, over there, and I had to make you sit here; though he was very nice after that, you also raised a question didn’t you?

What we do our entire day just see what it comprises of, when there is pressure we succumb and what is the pressure?

Attendance!

When there is no pressure then we behave in the most glorious manner possible! Like in the last samvaad, just observe your own actions and thoughts, and see what you are doing, please you don’t need to do anything extra, observe what you are any way doing, and that is sufficient even. At this moment find out what you are doing and that is sufficent, you don’t need to take pains and extra steps.


Excerpts from a Shabda-Yoga Session. Edited for Clarity.

Watch Full Discourse: Acharya Prashant with Students: How to awaken one’s potential?

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Acharya Prashant on Upanishads: The limited, the limitless, and the dance

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Acharya Prashant: Hema, is saying, “Good, bad, evil, are all reflections of our inner-selves. How do we understand the limitless, with our limited mind?”

As long as you keep calling yourselves limited. You will continue to have a fascination towards comprehending the limitless.

You must ask, “Why does the infinite, the immense, appeal to you so much?” It appeals to you only because you have fundamentally defined yourself as limited.

What is bondage? Except the word ‘bondage’. The moment you say that there is a word called ‘bondage’, you have brought something fictitious to Life. The moment you call something as a bondage; you have called yourself a limited entity, vulnerable to bondage. Is the limitless susceptible to bondage? Just by talking of a few things, or even by seeking solutions to a few problems, you needlessly substantiate those things and problems.

You are saying, “How does one understand the limitless, with the limited mind?”

It’s exactly the other way round, Hema. You are asking, “How does one understand the limitless, with the limited mind?”

You know how it works?

You understand the limited because you are limitless.

Obviously the limited cannot comprehend the limitless.

But the limitations can be comprehended.

By whom?

By the limited one? Obviously not!

The limitations can be comprehended, because ‘you are unlimited’.

The unlimited one is not to be comprehended. The unlimited one is the one shining behind all comprehension!

How are you able ‘to know anything’? All things are limited. But if the knowing of the thing is also limited, would you ever ‘know’ really?

The ‘thing’ is limited. The ‘knowing’ of the thing, the ‘understanding’, is never limited.

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Acharya Prashant: Ambition and anger

Acharya Prashant: What is your name?

Listener: Kshitij Aggarwal.

AP: The question asked by Kshitij is why do needs often dominate ambition?

And he surely thinks that it is quite unfortunate that needs to start dominating ambitions. The reason is simple, he probably gives a lower priority to needs and higher priority to ambitions because he thinks that the ambitions are his. He has kept ambitions very close to himself. He believes that they are his own.

So, he deeply wants the ambitions to be fulfilled. But finds that instead, something else has to be done, first of all, we will understand this conflict. And we all face this conflict, this conflict is not only in Kshitij’s mind, this conflict in the mind of every single one of us. But we are all confused, we rarely know, what to do. There are always one or more options in front of us, and we are unable to see clearly which one is suitable. Right?

This happens not only once in six months, at the time of admissions or at the time of choosing a job, it keeps happening daily, day in and day out. What is this conflict? you will have to understand.

Kshitij,

Our mind is dominated by ‘external influences’ which we have so far called is the development of ‘Ego.’

Our mind is not our mind, our mind is a collection of all external influences.

Our mind is divided into many many segments and many parts, and there are so many different forces that are controlling these separate parts. So, one part is being controlled by parents, one part is being dominated by media, one part is being dominated by society, one part by peers, one by corporations, one by thoughts of career, one by XYZ, and very very large number of parts.

Now, these different parts are your different masters. It’s like a person is tied to fifty different ropes being pulled by fifty different people in fifty different directions. Will that person be able to move towards any definite direction, any one direction.

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Don’t imagine solutions

Answers are not there. Only questions are there. Understand the question and that is it. This question-answer format has been given to you by the society only. That there is something like a question and then there is something like an answer. No. Only Inquiry exists and resolution of inquiry exists. There is nothing like ‘answer’ in that.

Don’t imagine solutions. Don’t imagine that if I do like this, then that would happen. Do it first.

This is what you need to observe. While walking, roaming, eating, whatever is happening, just observe that and you will understand! Truth is not far. Just that is what you have to see.

As a boss, if I am sucking Life out of my employees’ life, is that not violence all the more.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant: Ask till you drop the mask


 

Acharya Prashant: Ask till you drop the mask

Acharya Prashant: Ask absurd questions. People would say, he has gone mad. But, ask absurd questions.
Why should something like a ‘home’ exist? Have you ever asked this question? You go back home everyday, have you ever asked this? Why should anything like a home exist? I mean, why can’t we just be, wherever we are! Why do we always need to go somewhere in the evening? Why can’t I just be? You are there, I am there. And we are enjoying. We are here the whole night, spend the rest of the day, and we will leave when we feel like, then we will go another place. The whole world belongs to us! What is this concept of a home?

Ever thought? Ask. This is called Inquiry. What is this game about Mummy-Papa? One male, one female, sitting together in a home. What exactly is going on? And these people are supposed to be special. And the whole of religion, and the whole of society, and everything telling me that I must respect, Love them. What exactly is going on? Let me understand it, let me understand it. What is this thing called siblings? What are brothers and sisters? What is this thing called society? What is this thing called religion? What does one mean by religion? What is this thing called a normal life?

What is this thing called progress and growth? That one must progress in life! What is this thing called progress? Have you ever asked yourself, about this thing called progress? Papa, why do you keep chanting, progress, progress? What is meant by progress? A little more money? Why do you need more money? What would you do with it? Are you using all the money that you have? You are using only ten percent of the money you have, rest all is in the banks! So, what will you do with more progress? First, finish the money that is there in the banks! I already have so much, first let me finish it up. What happened to the money in the bank? Is it all finished?

These are absurd questions but ask them. Understand, how the minds of the people function.

When you see the roads in the mornings, full of traffic; Ask, what is this going on? Where are these people going? Why? Look at their faces! People are coming back home in the evening time, in traffic, look at their faces. Ask them, is this what life and work are supposed to be? That they have made faces like that! People who are returning back around 7.30 – 8pm, have you ever focused on their faces, expressions? They are driving a car, there is peak traffic hour, and they are stuck in long traffic jams! Have you ever looked at their faces? Look. Look closely, inattention. And ask yourself, is this what I am preparing myself for? I am paying fees in Lakhs so that my life becomes rubbish like this? I am paying to get assaulted?

Listener: Acharya Ji, asking questions, will we be getting the correct answers?

AP:

Answers are not there. Only questions are there. Understand the question and that is it.

This question-answer format has been given to you by the society only. That there is something like a question and then there is something like an answer. No. Only Inquiry exists and resolution of inquiry exists. There is nothing like ‘answer’ in that.

L: But when we will inquire, won’t we be thinking?

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You must see the True in the false also

Truth is that which is independent of everything.

The World determines you, the mind; and you determine the World. It’s the same. And when you know these two together, then you have exceeded them both.

What will we do with awareness? Awareness is already doing what it has to do.

False is not a word that you can use carelessly. Only in deep contact with Truth, do you call the projections of Truth as false.

When you go to the root of desire, you find that your ultimate desire is just one. And that is Truth.

Condemning anything is to condemn the Truth. Because nothing but the Truth exists.

You must see the True in the false also.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti: The world is you, you are the world

Acharya Prashant on J. Krishnamurti: The world is you, you are the world

Question: Acharya Ji, what does J.Krishnamurti mean when he says, “the observer is the observed”?

Acharya Prashant: As you are, so you see the World. Simple.

That there is no objective reality about the World. The ‘subject’ and the ‘object’ are intrinsically linked; they are One. The subject and the object are linked; One.

You could further it, by saying, the observer is the observed, an honest observation dissolves them both. Or, the observer is the observed and both are false.

We lay a lot of emphasis on the World, assuming it to be the Truth. If the World is an entity independent of everything, then has to be the Truth, right? That is the definition of Truth.

Truth is that which is independent of everything.

Time, space, people, processes, situations, events; nothing can change it. And if something is totally unchangeable and independent, then it is the Truth. Now, we assign the same status to the World. We feel as if the World is independent of everything, right? That’s our normal perception. We say, this building was there before I went to sleep, and this building is still there when I woke up. Which means that this building is independent of me. In saying that, we have taken this building as the?

Listener: Truth.

AP: Truth. Because now, we are giving all those qualities to this building that rightfully belong to the?

L: Truth.

AP: Truth. When Krishnamurti says, “the observer is the observed.” he is saying, this building is you; it’s not Truth. You change, the building changes. So, it is not the Truth.

L: So, the observed is the observer.

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Don’t chase, she is yours

Every method is interference.

The only real method is a method that touches life very-very gently. Has no intention of changing and that intentless observation is. Hence the only method.

Observation alone does not try to do something.

Because that which you will grasp will no more be ordinary.

When an observer is a motivated observer then the observation changes the observed.

Don’t chase, she is yours.

There you just know. Either you just know or you do not know.

Those who will want proof will never know. They may get the proofs but they will never get the way.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on Zen: Observe your daily life – that is the only way

Acharya Prashant on Zen: Observe your daily life – that is the only way

Joshu asked Nansen, “What is the way?”

Nansen answered: ‘Ordinary mind is the way.’

‘Then should we direct ourselves towards it or not? asked Joshu.

Nansen said: ‘If you try to direct yourself toward it, you go away from it.

‘Joshu then continued: ‘If we do not try how can we know it is the way?’

Nansen replied: ‘The way does not belong to knowing or not knowing. Knowing is delusion. Not knowing is blankness. If you really attain to the way of No Doubt it is like the great void, so vast and boundless. How can there be a right and wrong in the way?’ At these words Joshu was enlightened.

ZEN KOAN

(Nansen & Joshu Jushin)

(AD 778-897)

Acharya Prashant: Joshu asked Nansen, “What is the way?” Nansen answered: “Ordinary mind is the way.” Let’s come to the significance of this. When Joshu says, “What is the way?” He is asking about liberation, he is asking a way to liberation, the way to Tao, the way to Freedom, the way to Truth. Nansen says, “Your ordinary mind, that is the way.” Ordinary mind, ordinary actions of the ordinary mind, ordinary life of the ordinary mind that alone is the way, that’s the only method.

Observing the daily ordinary actions of the mind that is the only way. Observing it as an impartial observer. There is no other method that is going to work because all other methods are ‘isolations.’ The method does something to life. The method excludes life the methods works only upon apart and time of life. The method does not encompass ‘total life.’ The methods says, “block two hours of life for the method, or create a particular situation in life in which the method can be applied. The only method that is all-encompassing is ‘life itself.’

Observe life ‘totally’ as it is happening. Do not do anything to life because if you do something to life then you have changed life. Observation alone does not change life, does not interfere with life. All other methods interfere with that which you are going to observe and hence, will change that you are going to observe and hence your observation will be?

Listener: Changed.

AP: Are you getting it? If you want, for example, to observe your Heart and you tear open the body to reach the Heart in the process you kill the body. What will you observe? You will observe, but what will you observe? You would have changed the very thing that you wanted to observe, that is the problem with methods.

Every method is an interference.

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Who is experiencer?

What is an experience? Experience is nothing but the experiencer.

You do not experience anything! You are the experiencer who is a bundle of his
conditioning.

Whatever you experience is not really ‘your’ experience. It is the experience that you have been conditioned to experience. But you think, Oh I am experiencing this. If your identity is changed then your experience changes totally.

The ringing of the temple bell is a delight for the Hindu and means nothing to the Muslim. The call of the Azaan is deeply significant to the Muslim but is a disturbance to the Hindu. Now, are you experiencing the ringing of the bell and sound of the Azaan? Are ‘you’ experiencing it? Or is it the Hindu that is experiencing it? Were you born a Hindu? Hinduism is something that was given to you. It is part of your conditioning. You have acquired it, you have absorbed it. Same for the Muslim. He has acquired it. Taken it in.

What is conditioning? The mind acquiring and acquiring beliefs and layers and layers of thoughts. That is the process of conditioning.

Individuality is that silence that untouched point, which can never be conditioned, which really looks and understands in an untouched way, Simple.

You need to believe when you don’t know. When you know then there is no question of beliefs. Only those who do not know, ‘they’ need to take the support of beliefs.



Read the complete article: Individuality is neither acquired nor influenced 

Individuality is neither acquired nor influenced

Question: My beliefs have come out of my experiences and my experiences have shaped my individuality. If I give up my beliefs, then I am giving up on my individuality?

Acharya Prashant: (quoting the questioner) My beliefs have come out of my experiences and my experiences have shaped my individuality. If I give up my beliefs, then I am giving up on my individuality?

If I ask you to write down what I just said in the last fifteen-twenty minutes and I say, write down in three clear points what has been said. And you write it down. And then I say, compare it with your neighbor, what he or she has written. You will be deeply surprised. You will be deeply surprised at the variation. You will look at your neighbors’ sheet and say, did he ever say this? What have you written?

Now I am one and I am saying the same thing, but all of you are experiencing different things. What is this experience? Where does it come from?

What is an experience?

Experience is nothing but the experiencer.

Kindly do not think that the experience is factual, that experience has any objective reality to it. You only experience what you have been conditioned to experience. Take a clear example. Even as we speak right now, a cricket match is going on. India versus England, right? Suppose we project the game here, live. On this side are Indians and on this side are Englishmen. And India quickly loses three wickets. What does this side experience? Gloom, disaster, three wickets in two overs, long faces. What does this side experience (pointing to the other side)? Cheerfulness, enthusiasm, right? Same happening, different experiences. Now, can these people call their experience as my own experience? Are ‘you’ experiencing it? Or is the ‘Indian’ experiencing it? Similarly, can these people call the cheerfulness their own experience? Are they experiencing it? Or is the Englishman experiencing it?

You do not experience anything! You are the experiencer who is a bundle of his
conditioning.

Born in England, you would be experiencing something totally different. You would be sitting on this side, same happening and you would be feeling glad. Are you getting it?
Listener: Acharya Ji, what is the experience

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How to stop admitting fear?

How to stop admitting fear?

By simply seeing what are the ways in which you let your life be governed by fear. Had fear been something sitting right in your core, then we could have talked of processes of liberation from fear. And there are so many processes in the market. But the fact is that the fear is lifeless on its own. Fear does not stick to you, you clutch fear. So, instead of asking “How to give up fear?”, ask “How do I invite and retain fear in my life?”

And that requires self-observation. Because fear is not something that happened once upon a time. Day in and day out we allow ourselves to live by fear and in fear. Every time you accept something that seeks to control you by tempting you, or by threatening you, you are admitting fear. And that happens daily. It happens in our homes, in our workplaces, in the markets. That’s how fear gains control over us.

Stop letting in fear.

You watch an advertisement on TV and that advertisement talks of situation after your death. The advertisement, let’s say wants to sell Insurance. Right? That advertisement is trying to control you through fear. They want a particular behavioral outcome from you by terrifying you. Now you let yourself be drawn towards that fear. Not only are you drawn towards that advertisement, you may actually go and buy that product. That’s how you admit fear in your life.

You are not quite a performer at your workplace. Your boss comes to you and says, “You know what, things do not look good for you in the next appraisal.” And you let this statement become meaningful to you, and that afternoon you work really hard. Don’t you see what you have done? You have admitted fear. But you’d not ask the right question. You’d say, “How to give up fear?”

What do you mean by giving up fear? You are letting in fear. You are inviting fear. Not inviting fear is sufficient. Don’t invite it and it’s gone. We invite fear. Don’t invite it, that’s all. You do not require an elaborate process to have freedom from fear.



Read the complete article: Do spirituality and wisdom lead to disorderly conduct?