Question: Given that we all are conditioned beings, given that we all have blocked energy and stuff that is lying suppressed in the mind, what is the way to respond? Life continuously presents us with situations that appear as challenges. How to respond?
AP: Let’s say, I indeed do suggest ostensibly a better way to respond. What would the way immediately become? Immediately, that way will become conditioned.
That which we are now calling as conditioning of the mind, when it came to the mind, did it say, ‘Hello, I am conditioning and I am now going to dominate the mind’?
There is so much that comes to the mind. There is an infinity of stimuli that the mind is perceiving. The mind really does not store all of that; it selectively stores only that which it considers important for some reason or can assimilate. When conditioning too comes, it has to be taken by the mind only if the mind finds it important to preserve. Otherwise, the mind also has a way of forgetting.
When conditioning comes, it does not honestly say that I am coming as ‘conditioning’ to possess and dominate you. We also have some say in allowance of the conditioning. As the mind conveniently forgets so much else. You would be remembering many of your experiences that happened 10 years back, 40 years back, but you may not remember all the events that happened today in the morning. Why is it that you choose to remember a few things and forget the rest?
L2: Because the mind decided that it is important than the rest.
AP: Yes, because the mind considered it worth remembering and forgot the rest. Conditioning never comes as conditioning; it comes in as safety, security, pleasure (avoidance of pain). When it comes, it appears nice, that is why we let it in. Had it clearly said that I am coming to ruin your mind and destroy your life, would we have allowed it?
It is allowed entry and given nutrition in the mind only because it is considered benign and even helpful. We say, ‘Let it in, it is a good thought; let it in, it’s a good method’. What appears like a friend at the time of gaining entry into your house, enters, and very soon possesses your house. And then you find no way to evict him. Your house is no more your house, it has now been taken over by stranger who masqueraded as a friend.
So, now when you are asking for a way or a method to be spontaneous and child-like, you are asking it in all good spirit and the moment I give an advice you will take it in as you think that the advice is helpful, as you yourself wanted it. You will be eager to take it in. It goes in the mind without any barriers or checks only because you considered it important. It remains in the memory, does not get deleted and whatever is in your memory, very soon becomes your load, your conditioning.
L4: I feel some constraint here. What do I do?
AP: Continue feeling the constraint.
Would the constraint be still there if you do not dislike or resist it?
L5: So, when the thought and resistance come do I have to accept it?
AP: No, you don’t have to. This cult of acceptance too is another big hoax. So, a thought comes and we do not like that thought. We have a resistance towards it. What is the thought? A movement. Ripples in the lake. Something has just happened. The thought is not liked by you because you feel that the thought is harmful, that the thought is not moral, that it limits you. What do you do with it?
L6: I give it attention
AP: What is this attention that you give?
L4: Either a resistance.
AP: I resist it with another thought. Now initially there was one thought, now how many are there?
AP: Have you actually cleared the thought or proliferated it by not liking the thought? What have you done?
L: Multiplied the thoughts.
AP: Remember, all your likes and dislikes and methods and attitudes and whatever you do is all just mind stuff. If there is something blocked within you – is it the blockage that is the problem? Let’s say that this moment there is nothing which remains blocked. You say to it, ‘Be there, I am alright as I am. Let there be a monkey on the back. I can still play. You be where you want to but I too have an equal right to be where I want to be’.
And you don’t even say this much. Because even saying this much is like?
L8: Food for thought.
L5: So, if you give attention to this monkey…
AP: The monkey is the attention that you give to it.
The monkey does not exist without the attention that you give to it.
The monkey is the attention that you give to it.
The resistance that you give to any particular thought is exactly the energy that that thought carries.
You give no resistance to it and thought will fall down on its own.
Thought has no legs of its own; it moves on your legs. Just like the monkey on your back —moving on your legs.
You don’t move, the thought won’t move.
And thought cannot survive without moving because all thought is movement.
If you don’t move, thought cannot survive; it will fall down.
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: How to respond to life’s problems?
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 1: If you don’t rely on God then you’ll rely on thought
Article 2: To just know is to know without thought
Books by Acharya Prashant