Question: Can the human tendency of getting confused and making decisions can be gotten rid off?
Acharya Prashant: You cannot get rid of something if you don’t know what it is? There were a thousand of kinds of diseases once upon a time that are no more there. Smallpox is gone. Plague too is almost gone. How did man get rid of plague? How did man get rid of plague? By first knowing what plague is? Right? You take blood samples from the person who is infected from the plague, and what do you do?You try to see what plague is? What plague really is? Right? You come to fact of the plague. And once you have known what really is, then out of that knowing the solution emerges. Right?
Suppose this air conditioner is not working. And you want to set it right. How will you correct this air conditioner? How you will rectify it’s working? How?
L: To know how it works.
AP: First of all, you should know how the system works. So, knowing gives the solution.
You are asking how to get rid of confusion? Do we know what is confusion? The experience of vague feeling. But do we know what is confusion, do we really know? What is confusion? Alright, we will look into it.
In the clear mind, actions directly arises out of understanding. It is a very smooth process, there is no friction here, there is no time lag here. You understand and from that understanding, the right action immediately happens. No time lag, no friction, and no thought. Are you getting this? It is a very smooth and real-time thing. I understand, I act. That is what happens in clear mind.
What is a clear mind? A clear mind is like a clear vessel which nothing is stuck, nothing is deposited. Have you seen a clear vessel? Its walls are not sticking to something. Its walls are not attached to something. That’s a clear vessel. Right?
Have you seen some of these non-stick containers that are used at homes? Have you seen a non-stick frying pan? Nothing sticks to it, that’s a clear mind. A lot of things comes and go but nothing sticks to the wall of the non-stick container. That happens a lot and if something sticks a little then it can be easily washed off, cleared away. So, clear mind is like a non-stick container. A lot of things comes into it but it doesn’t get attached to anything. In such a mind we set action in smooth and real-time, instantaneous in the present. I understand and I act. I don’t have to keep thinking and thinking and deciding. I understand and from that understanding smoothly action happens. Without thought and without fear.
But when the mind is not clear then there are layers and layers of conditioning upon the mind. Like an old vessel whose walls have become attached to a lot of dirt. And not only one layer of dirt, there are layers and layers of garbage. One layer upon another layer upon another layer and all of them have now become very compact mass. Like a vessel that has not been cleaned since years. Can you see that kind of vessel and how difficult is to clean it and how ugly it looks?
Usually, the mind of people are like that vessel. There are layers and layers of conditioning influencing upon them. And different kind of things from different sources. What you have read, what you have heard, what you have seen in TV, media, newspaper, internet, friends, teachers, family, society, from everywhere things are coming and sticking now to the mind which is a vessel, the container. Are you getting it?
When that is the condition of the vessel then that vessel becomes useless. Let’s assume, this is that vessel (holding a glass). This too is a vessel right? If layers and layers of filth are deposited in this vessel, will this vessel remain transparent anymore? Will this remain transparent anymore? Now, if you want to see through it, you cannot see through it you cannot see through it because you will be confused to what to see. It will be blurred, hazy. This is our mind. If it is not clean, what you see through it, it will be very very uncleaned, very very blurred. Very blurred and then you will be confused. Now, I am looking through it and I don’t know that whether I am looking at a man or a monkey. So, I am confused and I will ask everybody that, “Is it a man or a monkey, or is it a donkey? Is it one man or is it a crowd?”
We see through our mind and the mind has to be clean so that we can see clearly otherwise there will be confusion.
There are four roads there and I am seeing through it and what do I see? Eight roads. Now I don’t know which way to go. It’s sure that only one road is right for me. The clean mind sees only that road. Confused mind start seeing multiple options. The clear mind does not see options at all. He sees the only ahead which is right for him. So, this has to cleaned then there will be no confusion. You have to get rid of your conditioning. You have to get rid of all the garbage of the mind. All unnecessary stuff. You have to ask yourself is it important to be carrying this? The moment you get rid of it you will find confusion too is lessening.
But you don’t do that. What do we do instead? Now, I said, we look through our point and if what we see is hazy it is proof enough that the mind is not clean.
Once, a girl like you was sitting there and trying to record what I am saying through a video camera. She was using a video camera sitting in the same position as you are. And when she is looking through video camera she only sees a blurred picture of my face. Right? So what does she do? She gets up from her seat, comes to my place here and says, “Sir, please wipe your face. I am getting a blurred picture.” I said, “Okay, let me wipe my face.” So, I wipe my face. There must be something wrong with my face because she is getting blurred picture in her camera. So I wipe my face. Again she comes and say, “Sir, please go and clean your face. In my camera, I am getting only a very hazy picture.”
You know what was happening. What was happening? You know that right. What was happening? The lens is not clean. The mind through which you see is not clean but what do you think? You think there is something wrong with the world. You think that your confusion is because of choices world is giving you.
Don’t look at the choices. Look at your mind, look at your vessel. Look at your lens. That is what is attached to dirt. Clean that. And then there will be no confusion at all.
Why does confusion arise? You do not know what is right. If you know what is right will you still be confused? If you really know, tell me will you still be confused? Confusion arises when we do not know what is right for us.
And except us, who can know what is right for us? If you do not know who else will know?
Confusion is not existential. Confusion is manmade. You will not find animals easily confused. They know how to live and what to do. Unless you play trick with them, they will not be confused. But, man is always confused. Confusion is a manmade thing. You simply look at the world with simple childlike eyes and there will be no confusion.
Do not give importance to what you see, what you hear, what you have been told. All the concepts that you have become attached to. Do not give them importance and then there will be no confusion. It’s simple. This is right and this must be done. Go ahead. Confusion arises because you give importance to the dirt.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Why do we remain confused while making decisions?
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