Question: Our education system is not that sufficient in…. this is my question, what kind of education should be added in our education system that we know ourselves?
Acharya Prashant: Wonderful. What’s your name?
AP: Now, Gaurav wants to take it a step ahead. He is saying, “If that is not sufficient, if the existing education system is not sufficient then what else can be done?”
Gaurav, we are talking of self-education, the need to first and foremost, know the knower. We are saying that before you say that the pendulum corresponds to 2Л√L/G, you must ask who is watching the pendulum. The fellow watching the pendulum is as important as a pendulum, if not more. Right? So, we want to know ourselves, how do we proceed?
What is this thing called ourselves and how do we know it? It’s very simple. The rest are objects that we look at and hence they are at a distance from us. But when you are saying, “We want to know ‘ourselves,” it’s the easiest because we are always available to ourselves. We are subject of our own object.
Can we watch how we spend 24 hours of the day?
Can we ask ourselves, “When I have to come to a college, how do I feel?”
Can I notice which chair do I occupy when I enter the classroom and why do I occupy that chair?
Can I be aware, how my mind is wandering at this point of time?
That, over the last one and half hours, what are the places to which I have traveled and come back?
Can I just notice how afraid I become on hearing about few things?
Can I notice the fact of my loneliness that if I was left in solitude for one hour I cannot tolerate it, I must talk to somebody, or play a game, or log on to Facebook?
That is what our daily life is all about, right? When we are talking about self-awareness, this self is our actions and our thoughts. Knowing this, one comes upon the Truth. That’s all that you have to watch. Your actions and your thoughts and that includes a complete network of your relationships as well because you always act in relationship to something and you are always thinking about something. So, that’s a relationship.
Can I see that whether I am comfortable sitting quietly for two hours or do I have to fidget in my chair and I start feeling uncomfortable and I swivel?. That is self awareness. Can I see, how I look at other people and how I am dependent upon their inputs? In the morning I come to the college, somebody says, “Wow, looking fabulous gorgeous today.” And I just swell up. And if somebody says, “What is it, where did you get this from?” And I drop down. Dead!
Can I see how my neighbor has power over me, that if he just disturbs me a little all my attention is gone. This is called being conscious of one’s thoughts and actions. And the same thing takes a bigger dimensions.
Why did I take admission in B.Tech?
What does the thought of unemployment do to me?
Am I studying just to get employed?
What is my real relationship with my parents, my friends, my brothers?
Is it one of love or is it one of give and take?
How do I choose my clothes?
Why do I like going to few places?
Why do I need so much of entertainment?
Is not entertainment a sign of boredom?
This is being aware of oneself.
Do I get hurt easily?
Do I get inflated easily?
What dominates my mind?
What is going on here all the time, all the time that buzz, that continuous buzz? Fear, confusion, worries, dependencies, sex, money, opinions. This is self awareness.
Do I really know what I am doing?
Do I really know what I am saying?
And, is life worth living if I do not know myself?
Then I am living just like a machine, a corpse rather.
Do I know why I am going to get married?
What is this thing called marriage and why does everybody get into it and why should I get into it?
What is this thing called family?
What is money?
What is career?
What is comparison?
What is progress?
What is this thing called progress that I am running after?
What is God?
And I keep on talking of God and sometimes worshiping him. What is this thing? Have I really bothered to inquire even if God fills so much of my mind?
What is country?
What is patriotism?
What is meant by celebrating a particular day? Do I really know? If I don’t know then why am I doing all this?
Why I am living this way? Who am I to live this way? A name that was given to me by my parents. A religion that was given to me by my family. A gender that was given to me by my chromosomes. A birth that was given to me by a chance. Who am I? A bundle of education qualifications? A bundle of beliefs? Who am I?
What is meant my living? Breathing, eating, walking, and sleeping – is that living? Partying, entertaining, getting entertained, adventure – is that life? What is life? And if I do not know what is life, am I really alive?
So, it’s easiest because you don’t have to watch any object.
You have to look at yourself, your thoughts, your actions. It is the easiest. And it is also very difficult because your mind has been trained only to look at other things and your eyes are such that they only look at the wall and this and that, they never look at yourself. The eye doesn’t turn itself within. The ear are such that they only receive voices from outside. They don’t turn within to hear what your own mind is saying.
The mind only keeps thinking about this and that machine and that and that system and all the events outside. But the mind never bothers to pause and ask “How am I operating? What are my processes?”
What is this thing called hope?
What is this thing called excitement?
Why do I get excited?
Why do I get worried?
How does worry come into the mind?
What is the relationship between gossip and worry?
What is the relationship between fear and confidence?
What is this thing called confidence?
So, it is difficult because of our training, but actually it is the easiest. It depends on you. If you are prepared to let go the baggage of the past then self-education will become very easy, very very easy. But if you remain stubborn and you say, “No, I already know. I have my beliefs and I won’t drop them,” then self-education becomes impossible and there is no learning whatsoever.
Right, Gaurav? It depends totally on you. It can be easiest and it can be most difficult.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: What kind of education will help one know herself?
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