Question: Sir my name is Anshul Negi. I want to ask you, Sir, How to concentrate on studies and focus my mind when it is distracted by other components and these components essentially lead to what I love to? So studying here now in modern toxic form. So, how to continue with these components and focus on studies?
Acharya Prashant: Repeat your question, please.
Question: Sir basically I want to ask “How to concentrate on Studies and focus my mind more towards it?”
AP: Anshul first of all do not give too much importance to the words ‘Concentration’ and ‘Distraction’. Your question essentially is “How to concentrate on my studies and how to prevent distraction?” Right?
L1: Sir distraction simply.
AP: But at that point of the study, everything else is a distraction by your definition. right? Get rid of these words, “concentration and distraction”. The mind only has interests. Some of these interests, you call as distractions. Some of these interests, you want to be more and more concentrated in. But wherever the mind wants to go, it wants to go for a reason.
There is a reason, why the mind wants to run in a particular direction. The moment you call that direction as the distraction, the moment you label that direction as a distraction, you will be unable to find out anything. Our relationship with the mind is usually of two kinds, either the mind rules us or we rule the mind. Either the mind is our master or we are the masters of our mind. Both these relationships are not healthy. Neither of these is healthy.
When the mind is ruling you, then for sure you are not aware of what is happening and you are just acting mechanically. When you are trying to rule the mind, then there is suppression and even that is not healthy. Your question right now is “My mind is ruling me, how do I rule the mind?” Your question right now is, “I sit down to study but my mind starts ruling me and takes me somewhere else and instead of studying I find that this (pointing at the head) is wandering here and there.”
So, my mind is ruling me and you want to know, “How do I rule my mind?” Your mind ruling you or you ruling your mind, there is no great difference, these two are one, neither of them is advisable. I will not advise for any of them.
There is a third situation possible in which a master-slave relationship is not there, you are friends with your mind. Then you do not try to chasten the mind. You do not try to tell the mind, “Don’t go there” “come here” “don’t do this” “this is the priority right now and you should be here”. then you don’t do that, then you say alright, you want to go somewhere, I will come along, just as friends come along. Without judging each other. The mind is going somewhere, and you are along with the mind as we said the mind has its reasons, and all the reasons of the mind come from the past of the mind, its conditioning. You need to find out its conditioning and for that you have to be sympathetic to the mind.
So, you say “You want to go somewhere, I am trying to study” but you are saying “Come and sit on the laptop and do something on facebook” alright, I will come, let me see what you want to do, I will come like a friend but I will not allow you to rule me. I will not allow you to rule me and also I am not interested in ruling you. Like a friend, I am coming along. I will just watch what you are going to do. Without judging you, I will just watch what you are going to do.” This is called witnessing. This is called friendship with the mind.
And then as you figure out the tendencies, the patterns, the wire structure of your mind, then you find that the functioning of the mind itself changes. After all, it is the mind that is complaining, correct? That there is too much of distraction”. You might find that this complaining itself vanishes. That the complaint itself is not there because you have understood that there is nothing to complain about.
The thing is Anshul, we are fed of words like ‘MIND CONTROL’. We have been constantly told since childhood, “Control your Mind” and that is what you want to know from me – how to control the mind.
But I am telling you, you cannot control the mind, otherwise, it will be a very violent relationship. Sometimes you will be the master of mind, sometimes mind will be upon you. And it will be a battle between you and your mind and nobody can win this battle. Because after all, you are the mind. How can you win yourself?
We have been told only two things, either become the servant of the mind indulge in whatever it tells you to do or become a renunciate, a saadhak and learn to control the mind. Both these directions are directions of division, where you are dividing yourself against yourself. I am talking about something totally different. I am talking about defending the mind. And you know what defending the mind means? It means that “The book is open in front of me but the mind says, “That mobile phone is so attractive. I want to be with that mobile phone. and you say alright, you want to be with that mobile phone, let’s be with the mobile phone, let’s see what you want to do? Do whatever you want to do, I will not stop you. I will just remain present.”
Let the mind do, what it wants to do, remain present along with the mind, do not leave it alone. Good friends do not leave each other. At the same time, they do not try to rule each other. They also don’t judge each other. Be a good friend of the mind. “You want to go there, I will come along. Whatever you want to do, do that but do that in front of me, in front of my awareness. I’ll watch what you are doing. Do what you want to do, let me just watch.” And then you will discover what the mind wants. And then you will discover why it rushes about in such a mad way, in such particular directions. And that will be a different knowing altogether. Are you getting it?
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
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