Questioner: Is it selfish to think about myself?
Acharya Prashant: Nikita, first of all thinking and understanding are not the same. Thinking about yourself is selfish but more than selfish it is stupid. What will you think about yourself? We all do keep thinking about ourselves. But what can that be? All your thoughts are a product of your conditioning, they come from outside. To think about yourself is to think from the ego. To think about yourself means to remain caught in what the world has given you. Opinions, thoughts, religion, goals, targets, beliefs; that is all that you can think about yourself. So I do not know what you mean by selfish but I am sure that thinking about yourself is stupid.
Understanding oneself is an entirely different thing. In understanding oneself one sees that one is thinking. Then one can say that I can see that I am thinking all the time; and this is what understanding is.
To understand is to see that my thoughts are actually borrowed opinions. But we do not understand that as we are so busy in thinking. Thinking, in that way is an enemy of understanding. You are so caught in thinking, you are so full of your opinions that you don’t understand things, you don’t understand yourself.
So what are you thinking about yourself? In the morning you came to the college and someone said, ‘Oh, you are looking very nice today’ and you started thinking that you’re looking very nice today. And how do you know that you are nice? Because somebody else told you that. But you won’t understand that it makes you a slave of that person. The same fellow can come to you in afternoon and say, ‘You are looking like an idiot’. And because you accepted that you are looking nice, you would also have to accept that you are looking like an idiot. The gates will remain open.
Don’t you see that all your thinking is a product of external influences? Isn’t that what the ego is?
Listeners (everyone): Yes, Sir.
Speaker: When thoughts arise please understand them and thoughts keep arising all the time. All the time in some
way we are thinking about ourselves. Even if we are thinking about others, we are thinking about others in relation to ourselves. So ultimately we are thinking about nobody but ourselves. See the stupidity of this thinking. Understand and that would be great.
-Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session at: Is it selfish to think about myself? YouTube
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