L: Sir, you said that the choice of being in deep contentment and in abyss lies with us. Is it really the case?
Acharya Prashant: Yes, yes there is this choice.
See, the choice has to be there because you as you are you, take yourself to be the chooser. Now if there is a chooser, how cannot there be a choice? And if you are not a chooser at all, then you already are beyond this rubbish. You take yourself as a decision maker always, don’t you?
“I will decide whether to go out, whether to stay in.” The choice is there, always there. Self-deception is also a choice. Or do you think it’s your nature? You do it, it does not happen. You willfully, deliberately execute it. It all happens right under your nose. It does not happen behind your back.
So there is always a choice involved and that’s the whole purpose of observation. Catch yourself making those choices. See when you decided to take a step in the wrong direction you will catch yourself doing that. It happens. There are very clear and discrete moments. You will see, “Ah! here it is, it happened this moment”.
You have not finished your work and you decide to go off to sleep. Don’t you know it when you are getting up from the chair? Don’t you know that, that is the moment of the choice? You had the choice to remain sitting, right? Didn’t you decide, didn’t you choose to get up? Or, did it happen on its own? So, you very well know that it is a choice and if it is a choice better make a right choice.
L: But do I really know that the choice I am making is a wrong choice?
AP: We know that 🙂
You see, this ‘Knowing’ word here, is to be understood. The choice is being made, that is a fact. ‘Knowing’ that it is a choice of such nature happens only in the presence of ‘Knowing’. And, even that ‘Knowing’ is a choice. That choice is called ‘attention’. Had that choice not been available why would teachers talk to you about ‘Attention’?
Because you have it in your powers to choose to be attentive and teachers talk to you about it so that you choose more and more to be attentive.
Knowing is not something automatic. Experiencing is automatic. Knowing waits for your invitation. Knowing is something related to God—present, yet, entering, manifesting, speaking, only when asked to. Like a silent teacher sitting in this room, very much present, never absent, but not vocal, not expressive unless asked to.
That ‘asking to’ is the choice. You have to ask your ‘Knowing’ to become functional. It lies dormant unless you ask it to get up and tell the Truth, you can conveniently remain in falseness.
That choice is there.
L: It is said that when there is full moon attention span rises up and it gets maximum when stars form a certain pattern. Is there something reality in them?
AP: When you are attentive, then you attend to the full moon. The moon comes later, attention comes first.
Otherwise, the full moon is there, who attends to it? Do you know, the full moon is quite near? Do you know? You do not even look towards the sky? Now, will the moon bring you to the attention or the attention will bring you to the moon? Or attention brings you to the moon?.
L: But being inattentive how can we have a choice?
AP: Because inattention will give you suffering and suffering always comes with a call for action. Suffering says, “Do something, I am feeling bad”. Thereby the choice is provoked. Whenever you are told by suffering to do something, you are being called to act. And now you are being called to thereby make a choice.
L: So, the inattention is not complete in itself?
AP: Inattention will always seek a solution and the solution is attention.
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: In attention, the full moon shines
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 1: Attention and time
Article 2: Attention must be like heartbeat, continuous and quiet
Article 3: Attention wipes your sins away
25th Advait Learning Camp with Acharya Prashant is being organized
Dates: 16th to 19th October
Place: Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand
To apply, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Books by Acharya Prashant are available on AMAZON: