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How to drop one’s suffering? || (2019)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
6 min
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Questioner: Acharya Ji, kindly explain the meaning of your quote, “If there is an effort to drop something, know that it won’t be dropped.”

Acharya Prashant: When you say that there is something that needs to be dropped, first of all, must we not ask how is it still sticking to us? No thing, thought, person, event comes by itself to cling to you. We are the ones that cling to things. And if we are clinging to things, we must surely be having reasons to cling to things.

We are people of reason, of intellect, of rationale, at least that's how we describe ourselves, don't we? So, if we are investing a lot of energy just clutching something, just keeping and maintaining something in life, surely we have given ourselves a good enough reason.

If the reason still appears valid to us why would dropping happen? Then the effort to drop would be a reason against reason. There is a reason to keep grasping something and there is a counter reason to let go of it. And both the reasons are emanating from the same little self. Reason fights against reason, which one wins? Actually, no one wins.

At times one of them might prevail. That would be a particular swing of the mood. At other times, in other situations, other reasons will dominate. That's the opposite swing of the mood. Sometimes this way will appear correct and sometimes that but there would be no final or decisive victory. Conflicting thoughts would continue, an inner strife would remain.

And all that is a lot of work, all that is a lot of effortfulness, this fighting this and then this counter punching. And all of that is happening because there is still a multiplicity of reasons. Because one has not come to one-pointedness of purpose. One is not seeing what is really-really important or rather one is not honestly acknowledging what is really-really important.

So there are many and conflicting priorities. Oh! this is important, this is important or this too is important. And all these things that are bits and pieces important, keep crashing with each other. No one really wins. It's an indefinite Civil War. But when there is one-pointedness then all the other things fall off, gone. This is what I need and this is what I must have. Why must I keep looking left and right?

Don't I already know what is precious to me? If I don't know then what's the point moving left and right and if I do know then what is the point moving left and right? And I assure you, there is nobody who does not know what is precious to him or her. You do not need anybody outside of yourself to tell you what is really important. You already know that. By virtue of being human you know that. If you can experience suffering that itself is proof enough that you know what is important.

You know what is suffering? Your aversion to suffering. If you are not averse to that condition, would you call it suffering? If you like to suffer, would you call suffering as suffering? Suffering itself proves that you know that bliss or joy is your natural state and therefore any deviation from that natural self becomes unacceptable, dislikeable and that you call as suffering.

Is there anybody here who does not suffer? And if you do suffer then you know one-pointedness. You know what is the one thing that is centrally important? Freedom. Now, where is the inner strife?

If I'm thirsty and not totally mad, do I require a lot of private, inner deliberations to pick up water? Do I require to engage in a civil war before a clear winner emerges and the clear winner will then decide to have water? I know what I want, here is action. I don't require an internal effort then. Externally, physically, materially; yes effort might still be required. But in the quotation that you talked of, we are not talking of physical effort. We are talking of the internal effort.

Many of us want to let go of something, something or the other. The entire emphasis is then on dropping. I would suggest you take a step back, and ask yourself why are you holding on to that thing, thought, person, whatever it is, in the first place? Because you see, we are stubbornly reasonable people.

Unless you address the reason that keeps you attached to that favourite object of yours, you'll not be able to let go of that object. And you certainly do have a reason. The reason might be totally rotten but that you discover only after you examine the reason.

Examine the reason first. Don't be in a rush to drop or let go or tear yourself away from that thing. What keeps me to this place, person, activity, lifestyle, ideology, whatever it is, ask this, what keeps me to this? When you ask what keeps you attached to your favourite evil, you'll also come to know who you are.

You cannot answer the question, “Who am I?” by endlessly meditating. The answer to that question is contained in your sorrow, suffering, and attachment. If you are attached to money, you know who you are. If you are attached to sorrow, you know who you are. If you are attached to complaints or misery, you know who you are.

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