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Excitement is a programmed pattern || (2018)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
10 min
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Acharya Prashant (AP): We do not just get excited about anything. We get excited only about that which we have taught ourselves to get excited about. So excitement is always furtherance of the existing patterns. The body is, for example, born sexual. The body is born with the programming that certain things would be titillating. Certain organs and zones in the body would be erogenous. You know what would be exciting.

Similarly, if you have been conditioned to be a particular way, the way itself decides what you find exciting. If you are a thoroughbred Catholic, or Brahmin, or Muslim or whatever; then is it not already certain what is going to excite you? So excitement is just a furtherance of one’s biological or social patterns. Socially acquired patterns.

Becalming is something very, very different. You cannot know what is going to be-calm you. You can only know what would trouble you. But if you already know what is going to soothe you, then you are not being soothed. You have just been given a predetermined relief. Getting it?

If you are, for example, very tensed or nervous, you can pop a pill and that pill can appear to give you relief. But then, just as you are biologically programmed to get excited, you are equally biologically programmed to feel relieved by the action of certain chemicals. That has nothing to do with Truth. That is not real peace. It is just a game of those patterns. Patterns getting excited and patterns getting relief as another form of excitement.

Real calmness, real peace is not when the patterns are excited or when the patterns contract a little. Excitement and relief are just pulsations of patterns. Excitement, relief; excitement relief; the same thing is pulsating. Real calmness is when the patterns break down. The thing that used to throb and pulsate is no more there. The pattern itself is gone. Now, who is there to get excited? Now, who is there to benefit from the relief?

Not only do we know what would excite us, the entire market knows what would excite us. It is so very programmed and programmable. Every advertiser knows how you can be brought to feel excited. They know how to make you feel excited about certain things that they want to sell. It's so much of an open secret. Touch the person there, and he would be excited. Show him this, tempt him with that or make him scared; he would be excited. Promise him enlightenment, salvation, or a new car. He would be excited.

We all know that, and because others know what would excite you in advance, they are able to enslave you. If I know what would excite you, I can control you.

Your friend is the one who takes away from you that which makes you excitable. He doesn’t merely take away excitement, he takes away excitability from you. That within you which used to get stimulated, itself has been dissolved or demolished. That is the work of the friend.

If you merely take away forms of excitement from somebody, you know what would happen. He would find another thing to feel excited about because the core thirst for excitement still remains.

Questioner (Q): But isn’t excitement about a thing really necessary, right? Supposedly if good poetry excites me, if I write something today my thirst would be that something better I write so it excites me then. Not the same level, I would like to raise that excitement and then grow in life.

AP: Even the dictionary can sometimes be a good teacher. The definition of poetry is: ‘spontaneous outpouring of tranquility’. Not excitement. It’s an outpouring in tranquility, peace.

I understand why people are excited. We all do. We are excited because we feel some ‘thing’ will bring us ‘that’ which we are so desperate about. It’s great to feel desperate if you are troubled. Then you must be desperate for peace. But what is missing here is that nothing can bring you peace. You always feel excited about something. That something will fail you. That something will deceive you. No ‘thing’ can be a medium for Truth.

In fact, so many things are present in our lives only because they promised us to be a medium for Truth. That’s how things get accumulated in our lives. It is like having a house stuffed with beer cans of various shapes, sizes, and brands. Why are all those beer cans present? Because each of them very excitedly promised you something beyond your daily life. Something beyond your humdrum routine. You consumed the beer and now you are left carrying the cans.

That’s how we carry our relationships, our jobs; all the weight that we are carrying on our minds and on our backs. And it is hurting, the empty beer cans are hurting. Each of them has failed to live up to the promise it offered you. Everything that excites you is also going to disappoint you. Because all the excitement is fundamentally about attaining the Truth. That’s what excites you.

You say that, "Which I have always been wanting with such fervor would finally come to me through this (Showing up a glass of water) and now I am excited about this. But I sip this, I sip this to the last drop and all I get is a disappointment because it will not deliver what it is promising to deliver." So don’t be excited about something, no ‘thing’ is going to bring ‘that’ to you.

Q: Acharya Ji, are newly made patterns also harmful?

AP: We are just talking of patterns being poisonous. Old patterns, new patterns; how does it matter? The very presence of patterns is inimical to life. It doesn’t matter what is the shape, color, age, or contour of the pattern. It doesn’t matter whether the pattern is a holy pattern or a vile pattern. You may have the most spiritual patterns, how does it matter? A pattern is a cage. You can have a very nicely decorated cage, will that satisfy you? You cannot have good patterns. You cannot have new patterns. All patterns are just expressions of man’s fundamental tendency to feel incomplete.

That tendency is very primitive, very old. So, how can there be a new pattern? Just stay clear, just stay clear.

Q: How?

AP: By not energizing them. Patterns have no life or energy of their own. They stick to you and they stay alive because you are feeding them with your own life energy. You are feeding the parasite, you are feeding the tape-worm in your intestine. Don’t feed it.

Q: That’s why you speak about choice, we have a choice?

AP: Yes, yes. You are energizing the patterns, and if you are energizing then you have a choice not to energize them. Spiritual discipline, all spiritual practice is fundamentally about seeing how we are acting as our own enemy. See how you feed the enemy within. See how you energize your own patterns and cages. Once you have seen that, it will be very difficult for you to continue in your old ways. Then the question of what next, becomes meaningless.

Patterns are brought into our life primarily biologically and are then sustained by, reinforced by company. You must be very cautious about what surrounds you; both in a physical way and in a mental way. Be extremely careful of your company. There can be no right pattern but there can surely be the right company.

The right company is that which helps you stay clear of patterns. Be prepared to pay any price for the right company, and be prepared to take all losses to avoid the wrong company.

Wrong company will make you less conscious. It will not encourage you to question, enquire. It will want you to feel comfortable within zones, within grooves. It will ask you to abide by rituals and promises. That's the wrong company. Right company will have a liberating effect. Pay any price, I repeat, to get the right company. That is the only thing worth caring for in this otherwise illusory world.

There have been many who have told us that the world is meaningless, an illusion. But there is one ‘thing’ in this otherwise hollow world that is very very precious, ‘right company’. Care for that. Pay for that. Sacrifice, and be ready for that.

Q: What is the way of changing patterns?

AP: First of all see, with sharpness and clarity, and acknowledge that you are caught in a pattern. Once you acknowledge that, then there is an outpouring of liberative energy. You might be sleeping with a snake on your chest, and you do nothing about it because you are sleeping. The moment you see that you are unnecessarily in the company of a snake, then there is an expression of energy. You put it away. You may even throw it away. Throwing is instantaneous, need not be discussed. What is of importance is the seeing and acknowledgment that the stuff on your chest is a snake.

We do not acknowledge our patterns as patterns. We do not acknowledge our chains and bondages as bondages. We give them beautiful and decorated names. Sometimes we call them love, sometimes we call them duty and discipline. Sometimes we call them responsibility and morality. Sometimes we call them abidance by promises. We give them far removed and miscellaneous names. We deceive ourselves. It is like calling a snake, a necklace. And if you are calling the snake a necklace around your chest, then not only will you not throw it away you would take care to further wind it around your neck.

Q: So are you talking about an attitude change?

AP: Not exactly. One need not have an attitude. Not even a good attitude. There are attitudes that are bad and there are attitudes whose badness is hidden, we call them good attitudes. But all attitudes are limited and therefore disempowering. Can’t one live without attitudes? To have an attitude about something is to say that, "I already know about that thing." Is it necessary to say that? Can’t one know spontaneously? Is it really necessary to have past knowledge? Isn’t knowing possible in real-time? It is ok to have knowledge about a ‘thing’. But it is dangerous to be identified with that knowledge. It’s dangerous to take that knowledge as complete. It’s dangerous to let that knowledge prevent your enquiry. Otherwise, ‘knowledge’ will start impeding ‘knowing’. Isn’t knowing more important than knowledge? More important and more genuine, more reliable.

“Knowledge” is dated, “knowing” is fresh.

What would you rather depend upon?

Have knowledge, but let not your knowledge constrain your enquiry, your vision, your sharpness.

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