Listener: Sir, why do we lose the value of anything once we get it?
Acharya Prashant: What’s your name?
AP: The question is “Why do we lose the value of anything once we get it?”
Obviously the question is contradictory, it is stating a paradox. If I want something and I get it then I cannot be dissatisfied, right? I want a pen, I get a pen, I must be happy. I want water, I get a glass of water, I must be happy. But she’s saying that experience is not this way. Experience suggests that we chase things but once we get them they are not what they appeared to be when they were being chased.
Has that been your experience as well, that while chasing it, it appears very lucrative, fascinating, but once it is obtained it reduces in its appeal. Has that been your experience? That’s a very common experience. What I am saying, there is a paradox here. I want a pen, I get a pen, I must be satisfied. If I say that I want a pen and I’m given a pen and I’m still dissatisfied, what does that mean?
What I have been given is a fact, this pen or the glass of water that have been given, that is a tangible thing, a fact in my hands. There is nothing wrong with the thing, so there is no reason to be dissatisfied with the thing. There can be only one way, only one reason why I am still dissatisfied – it is not what I wanted. I was chasing ‘a’ I got ‘a’, still dissatisfied. The only reason could be, I think I was chasing ‘a’, I was not really chasing ‘a’. I want something else.
My deepest want is something else but I do not know my deepest want. So, as a substitute I start chasing ‘a’, but because ‘a’ is not what I really want, even when I get ‘a’ I am not satisfied.
You see, people are chasing different things, right? Somebody is chasing job, success of all kinds, money, career, fame, men, women, family, stability, everybody is chasing something. Chasing ‘a’, chasing ‘b’, chasing ‘c’.. ‘e’, ‘f’,’ g’ till ‘z’. What is common in all these statements? Chasing ‘a’, chasing ‘b’, chasing ‘c’, chasing ‘d’, chasing ‘e’…. What is common in all these statements?
AP: Chasing. Now is it not possible that ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’, ‘d’, ‘e’, ‘f’, ‘g’, ‘h’ are all false. They are all just cheap substitutes for the real chase. The chasing is certain, everybody is chasing. And when you get ‘a’ then you chase ‘b’, when you get ‘b’ then you chase something else ‘m’, ‘n’ ‘x’, ‘y’, … the changing remains constant. Is it not possible that all of us are actually chasing something wonderful, something great, that will give a satisfaction, but because we do not know what that something wonderful, beautiful, great is, so we start chasing these petty ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’s, ‘d’s.
I do not know what I really want so what do I start chasing, a B.Tech degree, maybe this will give me satisfaction. Now, the B.Tech degree does not give satisfaction, so what do I start chasing, an MBA degree, maybe this will give me something, the MBA degree again does not give me anything. Alright the job might give me satisfaction. The job also doesn’t give me. Maybe an increment, the promotion will give me satisfaction. That also doesn’t give. Fine, marriage, maybe marriage will give me satisfaction, that also doesn’t give satisfaction, because the woman also got married because she wanted satisfaction.
Now, the man is dissatisfied, the woman is also dissatisfied, together how can they become satisfied. Man is incomplete, woman is incomplete, together how can they become complete? Man is a beggar, woman is a beggar, and how can the two beggars come together and become a billionaire?
But that is the thing, so let’s together produce some kids maybe they will give satisfaction. But again the kids also cannot give you satisfaction so you want something else, a great house maybe, that will give that. Even that does not give, so let us spoil the life of our kid, and make him an engineer. Maybe that will give us satisfaction. So, through by hook or by crook the kid is made an engineer.
I did my MBA in India maybe that’s why I’m not satisfied, so my kid will do his MBA in Australia, or upon Mars, maybe that will satisfy us. Even that doesn’t satisfy, and by that time it is time to die. So, Yamdoot comes and says, “Enough of your satisfaction. Now come. Your time is over.” And we do not know what happened. “I was trying to feel satisfied all my life, I never got it. I never got it.”
Chasing one thing after other and whatever I got, that lost its value. So, something else had to be chased. What is this going on? The chase is there, that is certain. We all are dissatisfied, right? And everybody wants to get something. But what do we want to get? If you all want to get money then money should have the potential to satisfy us. But that also doesn’t seem to be the case. Those who have lots of money even they are still dissatisfied. So money can’t be the object of chase, sex can’t be object of chase, fame can’t be object of chase. So what is it that we want then? But we never bothered to pause and ask. What is our deepest desire? What do we really really want?
Want me to probe a little more on this? What is that you really want?
L: Yes, Sir.
AP: If I really want ‘a’ and I get ‘a’, what will happen with the want? The want should disappear. If I am chasing ‘b’, really if I want ‘b’ and I’m chasing ‘b’ and I get ‘b’, then what will happen to the chase, the chase must end, disappear. So, in every chasing what do I really want? I want that chase to end. The satisfaction that you get is the end of the chase, right? Is that not so? So what is it that we are wanting then? We want the end of the want.
We are chasing the ending of the chase. Our greatest desire is to become desire-less. Our greatest chase is to reach where the chase can end. We want this chase to end. And if we want this chase to end then surely this chase is something that troubles us. All human suffering is this chase, that is why the mind desperately want this chase to end. So, it’s chasing one thing after other.
How can it end? Can it end here, can it end there?
Chase is pain. Chase is suffering. Chase is a torture, a distortion of the mind. It cannot rest, it has to always follow this direction or that direction, keep moving. It cannot come to a point where it can relax. Chase is suffering, the mind wants the chase to end. But the mind does not know how the chase can end, so it starts chasing objects. Whatever it sees around, it goes after that. Can there be a more intelligent way to end the chase? If the ending of the chase, if the ending of the desire is what the ultimate desire is, then can’t we just end the desire right now? It’s possible. Stay with me.
All desire is of the future. Ending of desire means ending of future. Ending of desire means coming alive in the present. Ending of desire means, this is everything. This is IT. Sum total. Hundred Percent. And there’s nothing beyond this. My mind is not wandering around in chases. Chases are GONE, Life is ON.
That is your deepest desire. To come alive right now. To be fully expressed right now. To not to be a slave of the future. To not be a slave of the past.
So, two-three things.
One, no chase can ever be successful because one chase will always lead to another chase. Objects of chase will keep changing, chase will remain constant. And chasing chasing ultimately you will expire.
Second, we are really chasing the end of chasing. We are really desiring the end of desire.
Third, the end of desire is the end of future.
And fourth, the ending of future is the coming alive of the present.
The ending of future is the fullest expression in the NOW. Whatever is to be done is right now. And that’s my sole occupation. Getting it?
Kindly don’t deceive yourself. Kindly don’t be under impression that if I get a Job, or if I get a girlfriend, or if I get loads of money, or if I get recognition from the society then I will be contented. You will not get it that way. Nobody ever got it that way and you can’t be exception. You will find it only within yourself. You’ll not get it through objects.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: How important is not ‘playing safe’ in life?
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