Listener: (Reading a quote of Acharya Prashant from a quote-calendar)
What lies beyond mind?
What is more mind?
What and lies and mind.
Questions, perceptions on the concept of the mind.
Acharya Prashant: Any question about beyond-ness would be a useless question because the question itself is coming from the mind. And the question decides the scope of the answer. If the question is mental, it is demanding a mental answer as well. The mental answer is ‘mental’; within mind; so it cannot take you beyond mind. Which means that it is not the answers that can give spiritual solutions. They come from somewhere else.
Even as we are talking, let’s say I ask a question and you give me an answer. Yet if your answer is really useful to me, it would not be the words of the answer but something behind the words. Words keep you in the same dimension as the question. So answers can never be useful. May be they can be. You tell me. (Asking one of the listener)
AP: Indicators to where?
L: To nowhere.
AP: An indicator to nowhere would be a no indicator. You cannot have a signboard pointing to nowhere. It would point to somewhere. Yes, you can have an indicator of that kind, it would be a no indicator.
The words of the Real Teacher must have that quality of emptiness. They must be no words. It is not from words that we learn, it is from something very clean, pure, empty behind the words. That is from where we learn.
That is why it is called Satsang, closeness. And in that closeness; if words are there; alright! And if words are not there; alright! Sang means closeness. Sat means the Essential, the Truth. And that closeness doesn’t mean a conversation, a dialogue. Just closeness. Then why do we talk? Because we are chatterboxes. We cannot help talking.
We are so accustomed to talking that it would appear awkward if the four of us, five of us sit here without talking. In fifteen minutes we will feel like saying, ‘Goodbye!’ So just to make each-other comfortable, we must talk. (smiles)
L: I can experience subject. I can think of a word, repeat that word. It seems that I am the one who has conjured the word, repeated the word, experienced the word, one who was there before during and after the word and that capacity cannot be addressed. And can there was presence, awareness, aloneness despite part of the mind?
AP: I am repeating; you would be experiencing only the word. The peace or awareness that we often refer to in spirituality; is a non-experience. What is meant by that? I am not just throwing around words. It has a specific meaning. We talk of peace only in context of suffering. Silence is to be talked off only when there is noise. So if there is noise what are we experiencing? If there is noise, what does one experience? Noise, what else?
You people are habituated to complexity. Right? You don’t give simple answers.
If there is noise, what does one experience? Noise. Peace is a coming down, a subsiding of experience. You cannot experience Peace because Peace is no experience. All you now experience is that the previous noise is now relatively lesser, lesser, lesser… And when the noise is zero, then you say it is Absolute Peace. So there can be no experience of Peace. There can only be a reduction in the experience of that which you are already experiencing. And because we are already experiencing suffering all the time, so Joy is just the cessation of suffering.
L: It appears to me that I; as I take myself to be; has the capacity to cultivate that non-experience.
AP: Cultivate the non-experience. Yes, that capacity is there but that non-experience is not cultivated. It is the stopping of the cultivation.
L: Exactly! So the capacity is there to reduce the cultivation and then what remains?
AP: See, it is not the reduction in the sense of doing. It is reduction in the sense of non-doing.
L: Stepping back.
AP: Stepping back. It is not as if you are actively reducing something. It is just that whatever was there was due to your support, your action, your intention and now you have withdrawn your support and your energy. So it is reducing. You are just withdrawing your energy.
L: So that is an intelligent use.
AP: So that is an intelligent non-use.
L: Intelligent non-doing.
AP: Intelligent non-doing. But that non-doing again; is not a stopping of physical action. That non-doing; which is a psychological non-doing only means that the mind will not stand in the way of existential action now.
L: So instead of reducing noise i.e. doing; the one step is we become aware; we withdraw our support and the noise reduces. So we come to a point of stillness. But that centre completely dissolves and then dynamic spontaneous action flows.
AP: See, that centre is already a very weak centre. Weak in the sense that even in the middle of noise, you do not want noise. Peace is calling even when noise is there. In fact, the greater the noise, the louder is the call of Peace. Is it not? Is it not so?
So it is with the blessing of Peace or Silence that the reduction in noise starts. In some way Peace lies not at the end of noise but even in the middle of the noise. Had you really liked noise, why would you have gone towards Silence? Nobody likes noise.
What is the meaning of disliking noise?
Who can dislike noise?
Can noise dislike noise?
Who dislikes noise?
The Peaceful Centre.
That is not very compatible with noise.
So the Peaceful Centre is always on top, always ruling. It is ruling even when noise is ruling. Because the more noise there is, the more is the Call of Peace. You read that quote, “Once you have reached the destination, you can begin the journey”. So the journey begins after the destination is reached.
Noise will reduce only when Peace is first there. Peace will not come at the end of the noise. Peace must come in the beginning itself. Which means that no method should claim that at the end of the method lies liberation. Liberation must always lie at the beginning of the method.
So today if you want to begin your Sadhana (spiritual practice), you must first say, “I have already reached where I wanted to reach. I have discovered that I am already Home.” And then you can begin whatever Sadhana you want to. No Sadhana should give you the promise of delivering the goods. Incompletion will only give rise to more incompletion.
Sadhana, if it proceeds from the assumption that there is something wrong in me and I want to correct that through Sadhana, then something will always remain wrong in you. Sadhana must begin with the firm faith that all is already alright. Now all is already alright am now I am trying to correct that which is anyway correct. Sadhana must say that all is already alright and my sadhana is to correct that which is already correct. So my sadhana is just fun_a game.
They have called it Leela here (in India).
L: You spoke that every moment to give spontaneous response to whatever the situation is. But normally we talk of sadhana as practice. For example, we spoke of Osho’s meditation technique, like in the method of Latihan where we have spontaneous movements of the body.
AP: Suppose you have never heard of Osho, would you not allow spontaneous movements of the body? Have you ever watched kids? Have you seen how spontaneously they dance? Have they learnt it from Osho? Have they gone to some Sadhana centre or ashram? So it is not Osho meditations. All that Osho is teaching you is to let yourself loose. Be natural. And then you will dance on your own because dancing, you use that beautiful expression, that over-flowing of energy. When it is there, you feel like, something starts happening. You start tapping your feet, you feel like going a little crazy and dancing.
Even animals dance. Have you not seen dancing animals? Pet animals so frequently dance. I have seen rabbits dancing. It is not very rhythmic or something, it is surely a dance. From here to there. (making a zigzag path in the air with his finger) It is very clear that they are enjoying themselves.
L: They are playing.
AP: Sometimes playing even when no other rabbit is there. So all by itself the rabbit is hopping around, doing this, doing that. (making a triangular path in the air with his finger) Dance.
L: Do you also dance sometimes?
AP: Many a times. Sometimes I am forced to dance.
L: Internally or externally.
AP: Both internal and external. And I have found myself surrendering to both, internal and external as well.
L: That is what I was wanting to express. When the sadhana begins, the destination is already reached, it is an expression just to be natural, at ease.
AP: You can even call it a dance. And then that Sadhana is similar to dancing. You are dancing in Joy. You are not dancing to get Joy. You are already joyful, so you are dancing. You are not dancing so that the end of the dance you will get that apple.
L: It is not a strategy
.AP: Every strategy is kind of cunning. Is it not? It is a ploy against existence. It is a celebration. Today he sang a lot (tapping at one of the listeners) I suppose some five-seven songs on his guitar. This, that we are having here is a dance. When I was on that podium, I was dancing. If that be the definition of dancing. What? That
Dancing is when you are in Joy and energy wants to express itself. You don’t have anything to gain through that action. It is just the play of energy.
So that on the podium was a dance.
Listener: Dancing with the existence. Spontaneous expression.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: What lies beyond mind? More mind.
Article 1: How to be in a peaceful state of mind?
Article 2: Do not meditate for peace, meditate in peace
Books by the speaker: