Questioner: How can I live my life properly and good? Should I worry about it? Or is that just wastage of time?
Acharya Prashant: This question looks so ordinary but it is the most profound question you can ever hear. But it looks so ordinary because there is no spiritual jargon contained in it. We have become so fond of complexities that we appreciate something only if it is a little beyond us. “Oh’ what a question! A great question!” And why is the question great? – Because we could not understand it.
If it is direct, forthright, then we are contemptuous towards it because we are contemptuous towards ourselves. We say, “If I could understand it, then surely it is not worth it. If even a petty one like me could understand what he is saying, then surely his question is petty.” That’s the inner logic. What kind of self-defeating logic is this?
So, wonderful! (Addressing the questioner)
How to live life properly?
How are we living right now? First of all, are we living right now? Or, would you claim that this is death? Are we alive?
Few listeners: No.
AP: All right, how many of us do not think that we are alive?
How are you dying right now?
Listener 1: I feel that…
AP: Who is talking? It’s alright, but who is talking? The dead one?
L1: Life is not as I liked it to be. It is not like I imagined life would be.
AP: You may imagine whatever life to be, but is there space for imagination right now? As you are sitting here in front of me, listening, are you listening or are you busy imagining? Does the dead one listen?
This is life – simple and proper. When life actually is, then you don’t have space to think about whether it is proper. The only proper life is the one in which this question does not arise at all. If this question arises, then it doesn’t matter what answer you supply to this question. The damage has already been done. You may give the most wonderful of answers to the question – ‘What is the purpose of life?’ You may give the most decorated of answers to this question. But the very presence of the question means that life is not proper.
In a proper life, there is just life, and no space for mental images of life.
You are so filled up with the happening that you have no time to imagine what would happen next.
I am sure it is happening with some of us. Is it happening that we are so present here that we are not imagining anything left or right, ahead of us or behind us? Is it happening with somebody?
Few listeners: Yes.
AP: Good. If it can happen right now, can’t it happen for the rest of your life? You are so much into it that you have no cause for separation, that random thoughts simply don’t arise in your mind. Remember that random thoughts arise only in a space of unfulfillment. Unless there is that space, and remember that space is not an empty space, it is a very full space, buzzing with thoughts, if you are firstly seated in fulfillment, then there is no question like this – ‘How to live life right and proper?’ Getting this?
Have you not been living since the last five, ten minutes? Has time not been ticking? And is it ticking as per your planning? You are present in joy, in attention, in relationship, and life is moving. Or, is it not moving? Or will life move only when you push life to move? Life moves on its own. You take care of yourself.
Are you getting it?
Look at it from another perspective. Any question involving rightness would involve wrongness as well, which means it would necessarily reject something. If I say, such as such is the right way of living life then I am also refusing something as being improper to life.
Life is total and complete.
There is nothing that exists without having its rightful place in existence.
Had it had no place, it couldn’t have existed.
Love, anger, greed, envy, attachment, joy, freedom, bondage—all have their specific places. If you determine in advance that life is only white and not black, then you will become a life-hater when you will have to live in black. And there will come occasions when you will have to live in black because life gives you an infinite number of sets of dualities—pain and pleasure, day and night, hot and cold, coming and going, highs and lows, achievement and despair.
Now, come to the root part.
Why does one want to determine the right way of living life? Go into yourself. Ask – “Why does the mind want to determine what is the right way of living life?” Yes?
So that you may not do something wrong.
L2: Because we are afraid.
AP: You are afraid. So, this question is arising out of fear. You are afraid that something wrong may happen. A question that arises from fear can never lead to fearlessness which alone is proper. And your question is – ‘What is a proper life?’ A proper life is a fearless life. How can a fearless life arise from a position of fear? If right now you are afraid, then standing there, asking a question from there, how will you move to fearlessness? To be fearless is to not to worry for the future. To ask – “How should life be lived?” is to ask for a roadmap for the future. “How do I drive my car from here onwards?”
If you believe that you cannot be lost, if you believe that you are here to simply travel and enjoy, then you can’t be too bothered about driving this way or that way.
If you have a certain trust that you are home wherever you go, then it doesn’t matter too much to you where you go.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Since eternity mankind has been running in search of happiness and equally shying away from sadness or miseries. With every chapter of this book, the Author takes you to a place away from these two ends of duality. The book throws light on how the search of happiness is a futile one.
With utmost simplicity, he explains how freedom from both happiness and sadness is the ultimate peace. Author’s genius lies in the fact that he does not talk of happiness and sadness as some far off terms and does not throw concepts of ‘higher living’ to the readers. Rather, he deals with issues in a very simple, personal way and through this book extends an invitation to join the ongoing existential party.