Acharya Prashant: What is this thing called Ambition?
Its simple, really simple. The brain only has past, correct? And the future that the brain projects is nothing but a reflection of the past. You can dream of no future except that which is already present in your past in some way.
Now, that will come as a surprise to most of us because we dream of fresh and new and beautiful future. All of us want a new future. But there is a bad news that you can never want a new future, the brain will only want that which it has already experienced. What it has not experienced, it cannot know of. It is impossible for the brain to know of something, to dream of something, to desire something that it has no experience of from the past. Are you getting it?
You all want to taste a particular dish, let’s say. And how many of you would want to taste say a dish like Kakatua? You won’t because you have no experience of it. Forget about tasting it, you haven’t even heard the name before. All of you have some dream career in mind, how many of you would want to become an espiano engineer? You may want to become a software engineer, aeronautics engineer or this and that, but very few of you want to become an espiano engineer because you have no experience of it, you haven’t have read about it, you haven’t heard about it, you don’t know about it. So, there is no desire. All desire comes from the past. What you didn’t know in the past, you can’t want in the future. What you don’t know of in the past, what’s not stored in the brain, the brain will not ask for it in the future.
So, there is a golden rule now, which is all desire is nothing but a stale, worthless repetition of memories. The brain has only two things: Memories and those memories translate into desire. We never want anything new. Never does the brain want anything new because it cannot want anything new. It can only want that which it has some kind of experience of it. But yes, you know it will want to reconfigure it. But just reconfiguration doesn’t mean anything new. New is new, new is new only when it is totally unrelated to the past.
You take three dishes from the previous evening and you combine them, and that often happens in homes to make some kind of a fourth dish, that isn’t new, that is just a combination of the past. The brain cannot do anything new. So, desire is memory, desire is past. As far as the brain goes, future is nothing but the past. Now, what do we have in the future? We only have desires. Two kinds of desires: This must happen, This must not happen, Right?
The first kind of desire, “This must happen” is called HOPE. Hope is a technical word. The first kind of desire of “This must happen” is called Hope. The second kind of desire that this must not happen called APPREHENSION.
Ambition is nothing but the great granddaddy of the desire. So, desire is small, ambition is large.
There is nothing wrong with ambition except that it is not new, not fresh. Being ambitious is like asking for repetition of the past. That is the only thing wrong with ambition. You believe that you are ambitious and you want to create a new future for yourself, but that can happen only in intelligence, that cannot be a product of conditioning. That cannot be a product of conditioning. And the one who is living intelligently, anyway gets a wonderful future. He doesn’t desire, he doesn’t plan it. He just gets it as a surprise gift. A beautiful and wonderful future he gets. But not a future that has been pre-planned for him, that has already been scripted for him by others. Getting it?
Ambition, firstly understand that these words belong to the same family. Ambition, Goal, Purpose, Target, Desire, they all belong to the same family. They are very closely related. You could just say that they are just one word, Desire. And all desire comes from the past. Is it really clear?
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: What is ambition?
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