How do I stay in the Present?

Question: Sir, my question is, ‘How to focus on the present?’

Acharya Prashant: Do you need to focus on the present?

Listener: Sir, that is my only problem. When I study, all the shortcomings of my past keep coming to my mind.

AP: Present is there. You don’t need to focus on it. A better question would be, ‘How to do away with the thoughts of ‘what is not present’? How to get rid of the past and the future?’

Don’t ask, ‘How do I get into the present?

The present is anyway there. The question must be, ‘How do I get rid of the thoughts of past and future?‘ That must be the question.

You think of the past and the future only upon the arousal of that thought. Past and Future come to you only when thought is aroused. Thought is stimulated only by an external stimulus. Look carefully at your life and see where do these stimuli come from, and do away with them. Thought does not just get up and starts running on its own. A limitation of thought is that it needs somebody poking to you from outside.

For example, when I look at the color of your dress, this may remind me of tomato ketchup, which in turn may remind me of a samosa and again this may remind me that I need to have lunch at 4:30. So, what is the stimulus? A particular color of the garment.

Now there may be people around you asking, ‘What are you doing tomorrow?
Get rid of these people!

Be with objects and people who help you to remain centered in the now.

If you make a circle of fearful people around you, they will always take you to the future. You may be alright, light, happy and your friend will come to you and say, ‘Just twelve days to go for the exam.‘ And you are gone!

And he is saying that because he is your ‘friend’, he ‘thinks’ is your well-wisher. So he is trying to warn you.

Even if he doesn’t say, his face has become so long that you can understand. Just by looking at his face, you will also become long-faced. Stay away from such people or phone calls, people who keep warning you all the time. Avoid these phone calls. Avoid those who make you agitated.


-Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: How do I stay in the present? | YouTube

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3 thoughts on “How do I stay in the Present?

    1. Acharya Prashant (आचार्य प्रशांत) Post author

      There are various opportunities to connect to and meet Acharya Prashant. These are:

      1. Meet the Master:

      Meet the Master program is rare opportunity to meet Acharya Prashant personally, either physically or online. To meet the Master, send your application, write to requests@prashantadvait.com or contact: Ms. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917.

      2. Advait Learning Camps:

      Advait Learning Camps are monthly retreats organized under Acharya Prashant’s guidance. These camps are about spending four days and three nights in the lap of nature, while reading, reflecting, learning and evolving. So far, scores of ALCs have been organised in places like Rishikesh, Mukteshwar, Jim Corbett National Park, Chopta, KainchiDham, etc.
      Additionally, we organize dedicated bonding camps for kids and parents. To participate in the camp, write an e-mail to requests@prashantadvait.com, or call: Sh. Anshu Sharma at +91-8376055661.

      3. Course in Realization:

      Course in Realization, a classroom-based learning program led by Acharya Prashant, is an initiative towards disseminating clarity and intelligence in the world. In this course, a rigorous study of a scripture or a saint is undertaken each month.
      To join in, send your application, write to requests@prashantadvait.com or contact: Sh. Apaar: +91-9818591240

      4. Month of Awakening:

      For those who cannot attend sessions physically, the foundation does online streaming of few selected sessions via Skype or Webinar. Known as Month of Awakening, this facility offers live streaming of sessions and helps seekers listen to Acharya-Ji while being where they are.
      To receive the blessing, send your application to requests@prashantadvait.com or contact: Ms. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917

      5. Blessings from Beyond:

      Weekends with Acharya Prashant brings you the unique opportunity for a 2 day 2 night stay with the Master every month at Advait Ashram, Greater Noida. The getaway involves two mystical days of dynamic activities, explorations of the self, sports, meditative reading, deep reflections, midnight walks and more.
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      Daily morning 2 hour Yog feast for your total well-being. Comprising of
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      Venue: Advait Bodhsthal, Greater Noida, India.

      This reply comes to you from volunteers of PrashantAdvait Foundation who maintain this channel.

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