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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