Question: Sir, sometimes, outside incidents become so pinching that I feel like running away. But then, again, everything goes alright. These ‘lows’ tremble me. How can the lows be stopped?
Acharya Prashant: Stop the highs.
As far as you are concerned, the lows are real; the highs are an escape. What gets pinched? When you say that the external situations pinch me and I enter the lows, what pinches you? The facts pinch you. The reality pinches you. That is what you call as low. For you, reality is low. Then, surely, for you, some kind of imagination, hallucination, dream-stuff is the high. Avoid this ‘high’.
See, how wrongly we put our questions. The question says, “These lows tremble me. How can the lows be stopped?” In fact, you need to live in these lows because these lows are a mirror to you. These lows tell you who you are. Live in these lows. Have the guts.
The problem is not the lows. The problem is that you have found a way to escape from the lows.
You forget what you are. A patient must continuously remember that he is under attack. Remember, that he has to avoid a lot of things and he can avoid them only if he remembers that he is a patient. He is not supposed to go to a few places; he is not supposed to use, let’s say, the air conditioner; he is not supposed to eat a lot of things; he may not be supposed to run or he may be supposed to run. There are a lot of precautions that he has to take. And if he must take those precautions, he has to remember that he is sick and diseased. But remembering this disease causes a low in him. If it causes a low, remain low.
Your problem is — you, too frequently, forget that you are such a patient. And when you forget this then you behave in ways that are even more detrimental to your health. The patient has forgotten that he should not take spicy food. He is feeling very high and what does he do the moment he feels high?
He starts doing everything that he must not be doing. The high is a problem. The low is not a problem. How do you ever dare forget your sickness? How do you forget it? Because you forget it, somebody has to come and remind you. And when you are reminded, you say, “I am feeling low!”
Whatever pinches you is just a reflection of how you are living. Otherwise, how can it pinch you? And how you are living is doubly wrong. Firstly, your ways are not aligned to existence, to the Truth. So, you are bound to meet a fall. You are walking with your eyes closed, you are bound to meet a fall. And secondly, when you fall, you say, “There is something wrong with the fall.”
You have a complaint against falling;
not against the way of your walking.
Falling is helpful in a way — it tells you that you are drunk, that you are walking in just inappropriate ways. The lows are your friend, they tell you how deeply rotten your thoughts and actions are. Live with them, appreciate them. Recognize their authenticity then they will not hurt you.
Right now, they hurt you because deep somewhere you have a belief that what you are doing is alright and you’re being unnecessarily subject to these lows. You are complaining of injustice. You are saying, “I don’t deserve these lows. Why do they come?” These lows come to you because you are a ‘low’. There is no injustice involved here.
What you get is what you are.
Is that not an axiom? If you frequently get these lows, that’s what you are. Stop resisting them. One doesn’t resist his X-ray report. One doesn’t fight with the results from a pathology lab. One looks at them and one remembers them. One must not forget them. If you can remember them, the chances are, the next report would be better. But if you complain and fight, then keep fighting.
You are saying you feel like running away. Run away! Where would you go? From low to lower and then to the lowest! When your tendency is to move towards the low, from low where would you go? To the lower! Because that’s what your tendency is – to keep falling. So, don’t say, ‘Running away’, say, ‘Falling down’
You give yourself too much respect. You don’t deserve it. Water doesn’t say, “I am running away.” It falls down. Gravity has complete control over it. It keeps bringing it down and down and down.
Life does not correspond to our fancies.
Facts keep giving our imaginations rude jolts.
These rude jolts are helpful to you.
They can tell you of the senselessness of your ways; of the falseness of your living.
They can help open your eyes, if that is your intention.
The intention is very important. Or you could feel that this is the existential injustice. The universe is conspiring against you and you need to run away somewhere out of the universe. Because the way you are, wherever you are in this universe, you will only get these lows. Maybe, you need to create a personal universe. And that’s what you do. You actually do create a personal universe — a universe of your fancies; whims. And because, you have been doing that since long, so, you have come to believe in that universe.
When you are hurt, don’t run away.
The hurt is an indication that something is waiting to be corrected.
Have some sense. Correct yourself!
Don’t you see that you are being hurt in the same place again and again?
Don’t you see that you are repeating the same mistake again and again?
There is an Arabic proverb that says, “Even a donkey does not fall in the same hole twice.”
And look at your life!
Every six hours, you commit the same mistakes.
There is nothing new in your life, not even your mistakes.
Like everything else about you, your mistakes are also stale and repetitive.
At least, commit new mistakes.
Even existence is bored of you.
The same mistakes, same patterns; again and again.
The same restlessness, the same prevarications, the same energy-less-ness, the same attention-less-ness!
Just one thing you don’t have – selflessness. There you are quite full, full of the self.
What else would you get? You have chosen hurt as your destiny. Are you obliged to commit these mistakes, day in and day out? Are you? Are you obliged in the same dig again and again? Then why do you do that? Ask yourself, “Is there anything new about the punishments that I get?” You get the same punishments, for the same mistakes, again and again, over and over again. Is that not boring? It’s consummately boring.
Not for one second must you forget the lows. You ‘highs’ are your enemy. Your highs give you a false sense of assurance that things are alright. Nothing is alright with you. Don’t allow yourself to feel these highs. Never allow yourself because these highs are just a preparation of the next low.
The man obsessed with drinking gets a high only when drunk. And drunkenness is a preparation for the next fall. So whenever you catch yourself feeling high, you must know that the next low is just round the corner. You’re just preparing to get the next wound. Highs indicate only that much.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: What you are is what you get
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.