Question: What I notice with myself is that having thoughts prevents me from listening with attention and then I say to them, ‘leave; go away!’ What’s your opinion on this?
Acharya Prashant: Don’t say even that much to your thoughts.
Listener 1: Then? Is it not about being conscious of the thoughts?
AP: No. Don’t even be conscious of the thought; because whatever you are with respect to the thought is just the furtherance of the thought.
Don’t even look at the thought! And when I say don’t even look at the thought, I would amplify it by saying that ‘don’t even don’t look at the thought,’ and then I would amplify that by saying, ‘don’t even don’t even don’t look at the thought’.
L1: But when the thought is there, there is no listening with attention.
AP: Please see that the thought is not there unless you know that the thought is there.
Is the wall there (pointing towards the wall)?
L1: Yes, but only when I see it.
AP: The wall is there only when. . .
L1: . . . I am aware of the wall.
AP: (Pointing towards a car parked outside the house) Similarly, is that car there!
Ultimately, what matters is—is it there for you? Let the thought not be there for you. The thought is for you only when you think that the thought is going to help you. It is never without reason that we nourish thought. We have a certain hope associated with thought. We think thought is useful.
L1: Maybe it’s a thought that I think I would miss something if I don’t listen with attention.
AP: Yes. If you live in a certain faith that you are already alright, that nothing would go wrong if you do not think, then there would not be any energy left in any of your thoughts.
What do you think thoughts are not ready to rise here (pointing towards himself)? They are, but I am so very committed to some other space and I am playing there, and I am enjoying there. I have no time, no energy, no space, no inclination to know those thoughts, let alone do anything about them. Even if I say that I will tell the thoughts to go away, even if I say that I am not going to touch the thoughts, it means that I am conscious of the thoughts— and that has spoiled it all.
Understand that the moment you are conscious about the thoughts, the fact of consciousness feeds the thoughts; it inflates them.
And this too is a very popular myth: there are ‘teachers’ who keep suggesting that you must not do such and such things with thoughts. But by not doing anything or something with thoughts, you have already done a lot. Now what more can you do! They don’t realise this. They don’t realise that both doing and not doing are acts of the ego.
They are both doings!
L1: The ‘I,’ the ‘me,’ that is thinking the thought is the problem, so to say.
AP: Your support to the thought is the problem. And your support to thought comes from your lack of Faith in the Total – call it God, call it the Truth.
You know, you need something to rely on, and if you do not rely on God, then you will rely on thought; which is simply to say that if you don’t think the universe is taking care of you, you will be compelled to take care of yourself.
And it is so much there in the west, is it not? ‘I must take care of myself. How can I leave myself to chance? I must be the one who provides for himself,’ don’t we hear statements like these? We do, right? But we never hear anyone say: ‘let it come’. We don’t say ‘I was not born out of my planning, I do not breath out of my planning, I will also probably not die out of my planning, and this body that I think myself to be does not operate as per my planning, then why must I try to govern life as per my planning’.
We feel unless we take care of ourselves, we will be ruined and destroyed.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: If you don’t rely on God then you’ll rely on thought
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 2: To just know is to know without thought
Books by Acharya Prashant