Tag Archives: Duality

Does positive thinking work? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

Does positive thinking work

Question: What is ‘thought’? Why is thought dualistic? What is ‘positive thinking’? Does positive thinking work? Why is positive thinking, a hype?

Acharya Prashant: Positive thought is never fully positive, negative thought is never fully negative. That is the meaning of the uncertainty, that always tags any thought.

What is ‘uncertainty’? ‘Uncertainty’ means, that when you are positive, you cannot be certainly positive. The doubt, that positivity is flanked by negativity, always remains. What do you call as a ‘positive thought’? Thought that makes you happy. A thought about your well-being, a thought that – you would be alright or better-off. A thought of hope.

But hope is not ever certain. Hope is always accompanied by fear. You hope that you might win, but somewhere you are also afraid that you might not. So, uncertainty is there. Similarly when there is a negative thought, yet you keep hoping that the negative might be averted. Even in matters of despair, you are not fully certain. You keep clinging to some hope, howsoever unreasonable. This is what is meant, when it said that – thought is dualistic.

Total certainty is non-dual. Non-duality is possible, only when the other side, any kind of otherness, totally ceases to exist. When there is no ‘other’, there is no duality. But where there is thought, there would always be the other side of the coin.

When you are being positive, then you are looking at one side of the coin, but deep within you know that the other side also exists, and is just waiting to show-up. A little flip, and everything would change, right?

So, thought never gives you total assurance. You remain a bit iffy. Everything remains dicey. You cannot fully relax. You cannot just go to sleep. It always remains important, therefore, to carry your defenses.

With thought, therefore, fear always is there. First of all, fear is there. And second, a continuation of thought is there. When something has not been concluded, it would continue. And with thought, there is never any conclusion, and therefore, an indefinite continuation is there.

You keep thinking. It is like an infinite snakes and ladders game. Just when you think that you are about to reach the conclusion, you land in the mouth of a giant snake, and you are back to square one. And now again you continue with your long, arduous journey. And back again, to the same old point, and then again, a resumption, and then again despair. But all this helps you to while away life.

Thought serves a great purpose, it eats away your time. Otherwise, time will become such a burden.

Thinking, thinking, you continuously think, and you comfortably let days, months, years, decades, slip away.  And then you are so thankful when the death arrives. Otherwise, living eighty years, and that too in awareness, would have been such a pain.

You will have, had to go through the rigors of right action.

Thoughts facilitate an avoidance of right action.

Thought is helpful. Someone comes to you and demands, “Now is the time to climb up the hill, are you ready with your trekking gear?” And you say, “No, I am still thinking.” So, all the effort and the pain, that would have come with climbing the hill, has been successfully avoided. You are still thinking.

Thinking is nice, scaling the heights is arduous.

Have you ever asked yourself – if positive thought is really ‘positive’, then why are there ever any negative thoughts, after a positive thought?

If positive thought is really ‘positive’, it should have ended even the possibility of any future negativity. But that possibility remains, and vice versa.

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: Does positive thinking work? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Acharya Prashant, with students: Brain and Intelligence

T5

Acharya Prashant: We can live in two kinds of worlds. How? Even as I am speaking to you, some of you are listening, and the others might be thinking and wandering and lost in imagination, Right? Do you see that? You have to be together in this. Is that alright?

So that means that it’s possible for man, and each of us is a human being right? So whatever is applicable to us is applicable to mankind in general. We can easily generalize whatever is applicable to us. So, it is possible for man to be simultaneously living two kinds of lives. One is that you are sitting here. The other is that you are thinking about something else. Correct? The very fact that which really is known as reality. Whereas that which is imagined, which is thought of, is called ‘the mind.’ Can you see this that even though you would be sitting here, it is possible for the mind to be at a totally different place? You could be in Disneyland or at your home or at any other place. Now is that for real? Where is a reality? Reality is that which is. Everything else is imagination. This imaginary aspect of us is what is the ‘mind’. Now, what is this thing called the mind? Write down. The mind is ‘brain + intelligence’.

Brain — Matter, Product of Evolution, Just like a computer hard disk, Just like a computer hard disk, Automatic, Prone to Conditioning, Like the Fan.

Brain is like the fan in the sense that it’s totally material. It is a slave to the commands of somebody else. You switch on the fan, you switch off the fan. Does the fan have any intelligence or any will of its own?

Remember it’s very efficient. It keeps working all the time. But does it work according to its own understanding? Does the fan know what is going on in its head? Does the fan understand what electricity is, what electromagnetism is, Faraday’s law, Ampere’s law, anything? Does it understand? Yet it keeps working. It keeps working according to the design provided to it by external forces.

Who has provided the design to it? Man – an external force. Not the fan itself. The Fan is a mechanical device which is a slave of others, albeit very efficient, efficient but dumb. With the result that everybody else can exploit it, can make use of it. It’s mechanical, dumb. You can write all these things for a brain. Everything that applies to the fan also applies to the brain. Alright? Except for one thing that the fan does not have a memory chip, the brain has a memory chip as well. The fan cannot really recall the events of yesterday. And that too can be done. You can have a fan with a memory chip. That’s not difficult at all. That’s not at all difficult.

You can have a fan that can keep registering what is happening day in and day out, and after one year when you will take that chip it will have all the data accumulated on it. That on which particular day how many hours of rotation was there, at what time, at what speed, all that can be done, right? That’s not at all difficult. You can do that as a project. Then it’ll become exactly like the brain. Then it’ll become exactly like the brain. Are you getting it?

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The scripture’s final aim is to bring you to the living scripture

Where the light is, there the lamp is.

The Self and the Ego are not the two ends of duality. It’s non-duality talking to duality.

That is what happens when a teacher exposes the falseness of one’s existing religion. When the teacher exposes the falseness of one’s existing motivations! The teacher says you know, the route that you are taking will lead you deeper into darkness. And what is the immediate conclusion that the mind draws? The mind says, he does not want me to go there, it means that he wants me to come to him. He is telling me that all those shops are false. And that surely proves that he wants me to come to his own shop. That is a quick suspicion, rather conclusion, that the mind jumps into.

You will not have your lamp, where your forefathers found their lamp. You will have to find your lamp using your own eyes. And the only mark of lamp is, Light. Don’t disregard the Light. The Light is the only proof of the lamp.

Searching for Truth, but in the wrong way, and at the wrong places, and from the wrong center. That is what the ego does. It wants light. The ego too wants light. But it won’t get it.

The scripture’s final aim is to bring you to the living scripture.



Read the complete article: Acharya Prashant on a Sufi Story: The Lamp shop


 

Acharya Prashant on a Sufi Story: The Lamp shop

The Lamp Post

One dark night two men met on a lonely road.

‘I am looking for a shop near here, which is called The Lamp Shop,’ said the first man.

‘I happen to live near here, and I can direct you to it, ‘ said the second man.

‘I should be able to find it by myself. I have been given the directions, and I have written them down,’ said the first man.

‘Then why are you talking to me about it?’

‘Just talking.’

‘So, you want company, not directions?’

‘Yes, I suppose that that is what it is.’

‘But it would be easier for you to take further directions from a local resident, having got so far; especially because from here onwards it is difficult.’

‘I trust what I have already been told, which has brought me thus far. I cannot be sure that I can trust anything or anyone else.’

‘So, although you once trusted the original informant, you have not been taught a means of knowing whom you can trust?’

‘That is so.’

‘Have you any other aim?’

‘No, just to find the Lamp shop.’

‘May I ask why you seek a lamp shop?’

‘Because I have been told on the highest authority that that is where they supply certain devices which enable a person to read in the dark.’

‘You are correct, but there is a prerequisite, and also a piece of information. I wonder whether you have given them any thought.’

‘What are they?’

‘The prerequisite to reading by means of a lamp is that you can already read.’

‘You cannot prove that!’

‘Certainly not on a dark night like this.’

‘What is the “piece of information”?’

‘The piece of information is that the Lamp Shop is still where it always was, but that the lamps themselves have been moved somewhere else.’

‘I do not know what a “lamp” is, but it seems obvious to me that the Lamp Shop is the place to locate such a device. That is, after all, why it is called a Lamp Shop.’

‘But a “Lamp Shop” may mean “A place where lamps may be obtained”, or it could mean “A place where lamps were once obtained but which now has none”.’

‘You probably have an ulterior motive, sending me off to some other shop. Or perhaps you do not want me to have a lamp at all.’

‘I am worse than you think. I want to find out if you could read at all. I want to see whether a lamp shop exists where you are going. I want to see whether you can have your lamp in another way suited to you.’

The two men looked at each other, sadly, for a moment. Then each went his way.

Idries Shah, Tales of the Dervishes

Acharya Prashant: To make things simpler at the outset itself, let it be clear that the one coming to seek the lamp shop, is a seeker full of knowledge. A seeker from a distant land, who does not belong really to the land of meditativeness. Knowledge has brought him to the boundary of the land of meditativeness, but cannot take him any further ahead. On the boundary, he meets this second person who is a teacher, who is the resident of this second land, who belongs there.

So, one of the first things that this teacher asks this knowledgeable seeker is, that, ‘you have come so far, having read some book that told you that you must search for lamps in a lamp shop that is thus located. But has the book also told you, how to find the one who will take you to the lamps? And if your book does not tell you ‘that,’ then your book is useless. He says, ‘‘has your book taught you, whom to trust? Has your book given you the eyes to figure out the real teacher?’’

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How to stop admitting fear?

How to stop admitting fear?

By simply seeing what are the ways in which you let your life be governed by fear. Had fear been something sitting right in your core, then we could have talked of processes of liberation from fear. And there are so many processes in the market. But the fact is that the fear is lifeless on its own. Fear does not stick to you, you clutch fear. So, instead of asking “How to give up fear?”, ask “How do I invite and retain fear in my life?”

And that requires self-observation. Because fear is not something that happened once upon a time. Day in and day out we allow ourselves to live by fear and in fear. Every time you accept something that seeks to control you by tempting you, or by threatening you, you are admitting fear. And that happens daily. It happens in our homes, in our workplaces, in the markets. That’s how fear gains control over us.

Stop letting in fear.

You watch an advertisement on TV and that advertisement talks of situation after your death. The advertisement, let’s say wants to sell Insurance. Right? That advertisement is trying to control you through fear. They want a particular behavioral outcome from you by terrifying you. Now you let yourself be drawn towards that fear. Not only are you drawn towards that advertisement, you may actually go and buy that product. That’s how you admit fear in your life.

You are not quite a performer at your workplace. Your boss comes to you and says, “You know what, things do not look good for you in the next appraisal.” And you let this statement become meaningful to you, and that afternoon you work really hard. Don’t you see what you have done? You have admitted fear. But you’d not ask the right question. You’d say, “How to give up fear?”

What do you mean by giving up fear? You are letting in fear. You are inviting fear. Not inviting fear is sufficient. Don’t invite it and it’s gone. We invite fear. Don’t invite it, that’s all. You do not require an elaborate process to have freedom from fear.



Read the complete article: Do spirituality and wisdom lead to disorderly conduct?

Do spirituality and wisdom lead to disorderly conduct?

SR Generic_ EnglishListener: Acharya Ji, why do we keep acting on whim?

Acharya Prashant: What we call as whim is not our individual expression. The assumption behind your question is, there is a civilized social conduct and there is a personal whim. So, you are assuming that if the civilized social conduct is given up, then all that remains is the personal chaotic whim. Not really.

The civilized social conduct and the personal whim, they are one, because the person himself is the product of society, and then he furthers the same cycle that brought him up. There is something beyond both the social product and the person. There is something beyond both social order and individual whim. And that is the natural flow of living. Continue reading

Do we seriously want love?

Do you love from the heart? And if you love from the heart then you’ll not really come to know that you love. Man is strange, his take is more in knowing, knowing as in ascertaining, validating, certifying. Man’s take is more in certifying than in getting. It is as if a hungry man wants to be certified that he is full. He does not want food, he wants the certificate that he is…Full.

If a hungry man does that you’ll call him just mad. But that is what the entire mankind has been constantly doing. When you are hungry, we do not look for the real thing- the food. We look for certification, the thought, the inner validation that we are full. You do not look for love, you look for impressions of love, you look for behavior that confirms one’s images of love.

Do we seriously want love? No. Do we seriously want innocence? No. We want behavior that looks like love. We want behavior that looks like innocence. And if from a loving heart, behavior comes to us that does not comply with our images and expectations of love, we go as far as to say that this is not love and love at all. We say, “This fellow, is not love,” because he loves only when he comes to me with such and such behavioral patterns. Only when he smiles at me would I agree that he loves. Only when he gifts me, Only when he says sweet things to me, would I say that he loves.”

We don’t have love. We have stuff that looks like love. If we don’t get that stuff we feel severely disappointed.

We don’t know innocence. We have images of innocence.



Read the complete article: We don’t want love, we want behavior that looks like love