Question: Destruction of our world, which we find comfort in, is inevitable. We can only help ourselves understand this, and minimize our suffering. To a cozily sleeping mind though, this realization is a nightmare. We can only pull it out slowly from of its deep sleep.
Travelling without luxuries and comforts, forces the mind to be in the moment, and breaks years of patterns. Can meaningful travelling be used as a technique to slowly awaken the mind?
Acharya Prashant: We often think that a particular action can bring the mind to awareness. We pit action against action. We think that there are good actions and bad actions, meaningful actions and meaningless actions.
Let me say something, ‘No action can ever obliterate another action.’ Actions do nothing to the quality of the mind. It is quality of the mind in which any action is done; and that is the real thing.
You can take a shower, a bath. Now, the bath doesn’t cleanse you. The real question is, what is the mind that is entering this action? Where is this action coming from? You said, “meaningful travelling,” where is the meaning coming from? What kind of mind? Because after all, you will supply the meaning, right? And you will determine whether it is meaningful or meaningless. You are the judge, you are the advocate and you are standing in the dock.
You have to realize that once I have labelled something as meaningful, who is anybody else to say that it is meaningless? And you are convinced that this particular action, be it travelling or anything, is meaningful. Now it’s meaningful, so meaningful . . . I am living in that.
So let’s forget actions for a while and look at something else, because actions are numerous, actions are diverse. The same action gets done in a thousand situations. You may be riding your bike to reach a thousand different destinations, and for a thousand different purposes. So how can the action of riding the bike be of any consequence?
Now, we were saying that no action cancels out another action. But that is our wish. We think that just as in mathematics plus one and minus one is zero, similarly, in the world of actions, one action and its opposite get together and nullify each other. That doesn’t happen. In the world of actions, one action and another action, is just two actions.
In the world of actions, one action and its opposite action, is not zero. It is two actions. In mathematics, plus one and minus one is zero, but in the world of actions, one action and two actions, make you a double actor.
Not that your actorship is taken away. It is not nullified, it is doubled. You are the one who first acted, the actor was there. And you are still there trying to cancel out the first action, so the actor is still there. The actor has actually been reinforced. So never try to correct your actions, please, never.
Moral science has always taught this to us: to look at our actions. No. Looking at our actions is one thing, but trying to modify actions is an absolutely different thing. You can observe the action. And observing the action helps you realize something. But you cannot look at action with the intent of transforming it.
Are you getting it?
“I found that I was not paying adequate attention to my child, so what do I start doing? Earlier I was giving one hour a day to my child. Now what do I start doing? Three hours a day.” Now, has anything changed? Are these two actions cancelling each other out? They aren’t. Because they are coming from the same center. The actor is still the same. They aren’t cancelling each other out. In fact, they are building upon each other. The actor is living on and on, and now it’s a more proud actor, who thinks that he has improved his actions, corrected his actions. It’s a more proud actor!
So never deal in the realm of actions. Never! And never tell somebody, “These actions are not right.” The mind may not be at the right place, and the right place of the mind is the Heart, that is one thing to say. And that is a beautiful thing to say that the right place of the mind is the Heart; but it is a gross error to say, “This action is not alright.”
What do you mean by that? Every action is alright; and no action is alright. Because the term ‘right’ or ‘wrong,’ cannot be applied to actions. Is this becoming clear?
What this means is tremendous. This means that you cannot judge a person by his actions. This also means that it is not possible to draw inferences only from looks and words.
What is meant by action? Action is something that the senses can perceive.
What is action? Action includes thought, action includes words.
These cannot be the yardstick. You have to go to sheer core of the person to see what is actually happening. Your language may be different from mine, I might move my left hand, and you might move your right hand to convey the same thing. But where is the whole thing coming from? Is it coming from the ‘Source,’ or is it coming from another centre.
Is this clear?
I am not saying, “Do not watch actions.” Do watch actions, but actions by themselves mean nothing. So when you watch actions, watch . . . to go and find out the source of the action, not the action itself.
Find out the source.
From where is this action coming? Is it coming from the real center? My empty source. Or is it coming from the centre of ego? Is it spontaneous, or it is arising from some identity? And the same action can come from both the sources. It’s clear to us, right? The same action can come from both the sources, so please don’t be judgmental about actions.
I can admonish you – from where am I acting? Do I hate you? Is it coming from the centre of hate? Or is it coming from somewhere else? If you will listen only to my words, you will not be able to get anything. That’s why there has to be that quality of silence, in which you hear words, and then you transcend the words, and then there is that connection of love in which you really see where that whole thing is coming from . . . in which there is that core to core connection.
Words are immaterial, and words are actions! So words are immaterial, actions are immaterial.
Sometimes the most pleasant looking, the nicest looking action, might actually be coming from a very vicious place. And sometimes . . . I dare say, most of the times . . . a very unpleasant action, might be coming from a very sacred spot. So be careful! Let these eyes not look only at the superficial.
Have eyes that really look!
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 2: Action is born out of ‘nothingness’
Article 3: Desireless action is love