Questioner: There are certain things that I would like to change about myself. Is it a waste of time?
Acharya Prashant: It’s a waste of time, surely.
You are the one who is deciding what to change about yourself. It means you do not like the one that you are, right? That’s why you want to change him. And, if you do not like the one that you are, how can you trust him to bring about the right change?
You see what is happening—we are saying I want to change myself, that means I cannot be reliable. Had I been reliable, why would I need to be changed?
I have a computer that malfunctions, it’s gone bonkers. Would I use the same computer to find out the solution to the problem? I have a computer that has gone mad, it takes something as input, process something else and displays something else. And it gets influenced by many other computers around especially if they are female computers.
Would I depend on this computer to find a solution to its own problem? Would I? Then why do we depend on ourselves to find solutions to solve our own problems? Why do we say that I know what kind of change I want to bring about in myself?
Q: Sir, isn’t it the distinction between I and the problem? I see that I have a problem and I start solving it.
AP: No, there is no distinction between the I and the problem.
The distinction between the I and the problem is called the ego. The ego wants to believe that the problem is separate from itself. The ego wants to say the problem is out there, the sickness is out there, I am healthy, and I can cure the sickness. The ‘I’ itself is the problem. And remember that the ‘I’ never witnesses the problem; the ‘I’ always experiences the problem.
We do not know problems because we witness them; we know of problems because we experience problems and suffering. Had we witnessed problems then one sure-shot indicator would have been that we would not have called them problems, we would have just called them situations. When you witness anything then you cannot label it. Then you wouldn’t have called it a problem, you would have just said that it is happening this way.
If you are calling something a problem then it is certain that you are a participant in the problem. And hence, obviously you are not witnessing, you are experiencing the problem. An experience of the problem is called suffering.
Listener: But, the other guru is saying that we must not identify. This is the wrong way.
AP: But when did I say that you must do this? I said we experience it, did I say we must not experience them? See how you are assuming things and jumping ahead of me. I said we never see the problem, we only experience it. Now, does that mean that I am saying that we must not experience it? But, very quickly you drew your own conclusions.
L: This is how I understood this.
AP: You don’t understand this; you are extrapolating. You are running ahead of me, what I am saying don’t go even a step further than that because I take you right till the edge of the cliff, if you take one step more…
L: You said that the first way of living is in complete silence. So, this means not experiencing.
AP: And did I stop at that? And did I say this is what you do? Did I say this is what you should do? And did I not say that for you there is a second option as well? But then why did you limit my answer only to the first part? Would you want to take a look into your inner conspiracy?
L: This is the confusion of the mind.
AP: This is not a confusion this was a deliberate obfuscation. Confusion is when two things are getting inter-wind here; it is something where you are deliberately hiding one part of what I am saying and extrapolating the other. What do you want?
L: Even today I was thinking about this problem, it’s very confusing.
AP: We have to be concerned very very rigorously with facts, not with ideals. Never talk the language of ‘must’, never say, ‘You must do this.’ Concern yourself squarely with what is really happening.
I was reading a few stories from the Upanishads today….
A fellow goes to a seer and asks him, “What is Brahma?” And you know what he says? He says your breath is Brahma. Fellow says that he didn’t get it. Asks again, what is Brahma? Seer replies that the food is Brahma. He says I still didn’t get it, what is Brahma? Seer replied that the tree is Brahma, the sky is Brahma, the river is Brahma, the sand is Brahma, the dog is Brahma.
Do you know what that means?
That means that you should forget Brahma and concern yourself directly with the road, the river, the sand, the tree. These are the facts of one’s daily living. In this only, will you find the Brahma—the Truth. There is no way to jump directly to Brahma. Truth can be known only by its action.
When facts are present in front of you, live in them, abide by them, and the door of the Truth would be seen so near.
But if you start talking of Truth and keep reciting big mantras, then all you will get is big mantras.
Concern yourself with the small, the immediate, the trivial because there is nothing except the trivial.
And those who ignore the trivial, those who do not pay attention to what is really happening with them—their real motivations, the clevernesses of the mind, all the delicate mechanisms, all the machinations, those who ignore these as unworthy of attention, do that at their peril. I again request, do not talk big, by talking big we deliberately hide that which is small in our lives. And life is a succession of the small small small small… Do not sweep that under the carpet.
L2: I am afraid of displaying my authentic self, my true feelings to my father, I have been avoiding it for many years and I fear it is the anger that he showed me while I grew up.
AP: Yes, this is a fact. And now to this, there cannot be a far-fetched solution. It is like this, and you will have to live through it. Acknowledging it, is already a good step. In fact, this acknowledgment would have been complete had your father been sitting here. You needed nothing less, nothing more. You need no solution to this; all you need to see is that it is not a problem in the first place.
Once you start searching for a solution to something, remember that you have already declared it a problem.
There is no solution here, it is the fact. A particular kid got scolding or thrashing from his father; happens. And now the kid is no more, now, we have a strong man in front of us. Yet the memory persists; happens. If you will suppress this situation, if you want to change this situation, if you want to do something about it, you will give importance to it, you will validate it.
Take a small example: something happens in your house, you and your brother are there. You could have just seen that the thing is trivial and ignored it. But instead, you decide to take the issue up. Now, you are giving it importance. The moment you give it importance, it grows in size. And after twenty minutes, you and your brother are seen exchanging blows with each other.
The more you think about something the more you allow it to occupy your brain space. Remember that nothing is inherently important. Something becomes important only when you attach importance to it. Importance is not objective, it is always subjective. And also that importance doesn’t lie in the fact; importance lies in the ego. The ego figures out which fact to lay emphasis on, selectively.
It chooses a fact which reinforces the ego, which helps it become bigger, more prominent, more visible, more real. Can you be so joyful that you totally forget this question? Could there be such deep love in your life that in spite of remembering all that your father did, you go and embrace him? Not that you have forgotten anything, it’s just that you are in such a great mood that you want to give and share.
Have you known such a mood? A particular mood in which even enemies look sweet?
Tomorrow we have the festival of Holi and it is customary to go and hug even your enemies on Holi. It is said that on the Holi day there is no question of choosing whom to congratulate, whom to color, whom to embrace; the entire world must appear colorful. So, you are walking around with all the colors of your heart in your hands, and whosoever comes around he is your friend. It’s your love; in fact, it’s your obligation to color him. If you don’t do that you are rude.
Can the mind be immersed permanently in the colors of Holi? Could you be going around with colors in your hands, in your pockets, in your cargo, in your eyes, in your heart always? Would you still ask this question? You ask this question only till the time it remains important to you as a problem.
There is something far more important than our problems.
When you are close to that, then you forget all the trivia.
Problems can never be solved because the very attempt to solve a problem establishes the problem even more.
Problems can only be forgotten.
You can only walk past a problem; you can only make a problem redundant; you can only come to a point where you don’t want to even solve the problem.
You say let it be, how does it matter? There is something more important, more exciting, more joyful waiting. Solving this problem would take 3 seconds and I don’t even want to give it 3 seconds. There is something so utterly waiting for me that even if a solution is given to me I don’t want to execute it. Such a boring thing, executing solutions. Let the problem be…Let the problem be…
You are going to meet your beloved and there is a stain on your shirt, which is a problem., would you rather turn around, go back, change your shirt, wear a new one and waste half an hour, and then go and meet? You say let the problem remain, I am perfect with the problem. There is something so utterly magnificent in front of me that this problem can remain and yet be insignificant.
So, you go and embrace the real one with all your stains. And that’s what life is, we all have so many stains: problems, mind stuff. We embrace the Truth along with all this. If we keep waiting to get rid of all this so that one final day we will meet God, then you will never meet God. Those who are really fond of meeting the beloved, they don’t first go and take a bath and get a new suit ordered, reserve a table, book tickets, they don’t do all that. Madly they jump over themselves stumbling and falling.
As kids, whenever most favorite dish would be prepared, we won’t even take 30 seconds to go and wash our hands. We would let the germs, the infection, the stains remain, there is something so fascinating in front of me that I want to take it in. Who has 30 seconds to spend on hygiene! Even the germs are all welcome. Find that!
Make your problems like a joke, funny, irrelevant. In your moment of deepest bliss do you complain of tooth-ache? Do you do that? Only a wretched one would do that, and he deserves that all his teeth are broken.
L2: But at times the problems we have if we see as they are, if we observe, it may change the course of our life
AP: Whatever you do with your problems you would remain with the problem.
You are doing something with the problem, right? Are you real? Of course, I am real, who can say I am not real. if I am real, then whatever I am working with must be real.
What am I working with?
Yes, it’s a good temptation to solve the problem. But I repeat,
Far better than solving a problem is transcending the problem.
Transcend the problem.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
A journey towards understanding every aspect of fear. Is it just a biological aspect which we have no control over? Or is it a product of our social conditioning over the years? One might argue that death is inevitable and he/she doesn’t want to die. Can there be anything as faith or it is just a superstition for people who can’t see clearly what’s happening.
Acharya Prashant explain each and every aspect of fear in the simplest way possible. The more one understands the futility of fear the more one is free to live. One can’t believe that there is no danger, one has to know it, be certain about it.