Question: If one is living without purpose, how does one act?
Acharya Prashant: Let’s see, from where the question is coming. It only shows that so far we have acted only with?
To act with purpose is to act in exploitation.
To act in purpose is to act in deprivation.
When you feel deprived, only then you want to exploit the other one. Mostly, we say that we act because we want to attain something. There is another way of living, you say, ‘You act because you are already in attainment.’ You are not acting in order to attain because you know that the Real cannot be attained by action; nothing that you do will bring the real to you.
An act of mind can only bring some mind-made stuff to you.
Any act of mind will fail in bringing that to you, which is beyond the mind.
So, there is a quality of mind that clearly realizes that acting for the sake of attainment is futile. And that realization is the beginning of acting in fullness. Now, you are saying that ‘You are already full; you are not acting to achieve anything. Whatever was to be achieved is already there and hence now the action is purposeless.’ Now, the action is not goal-oriented; now there are no targets.
Then why are you acting? Just like that! Why are you acting? The question demands a purpose and there is no purpose. So, what does one do? One shrugs.
Why are you still acting?
Why does one laugh? Why does one breathe? Why does the river flow? Why do puppies dance? Why does it sometimes rain?
Just like that!
But, we do not know this, we do not know the beauty of just like that. We do not know the sheer lightness and relief associated with this. So, what we know is really heavy shoulders, drooping shoulders and aching backs. Backs that have been burdened with targets, load, and purposes; shoulders, which are carrying all the responsibilities of the world—That’s what we know! Now, is it any wonder that we walk so heavily? Now, Is it any wonder that our faces are always sagging?
Where there is purpose, there would only be heaviness; where there is purpose, there would only be a lack of fulfillment, because a purpose is always in the future. You say, “I am going to attain that tomorrow; I am going to attain that next year.” Which implies that right now you are in? If you are going to attain that next year, then right now? You are not fulfilled! There is the promise of fulfillment; not fulfillment. And the promise remains a perpetual promise; the promise remains a promise.
That’s what purposes do to you—they offer you promise and one keeps living in hopes and promises. Do you want to live in hope of Joy, or do you want to live in Joy? For most of us, hope suffices. In fact, we have turned hope into a virtue. We say, ‘never leave hope; never stop hoping.’ And unless you stop hoping you will never get to the Real because hope is the barrier between you and the actual.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Without purpose, how will one act?
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