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How to survive hopeless periods? || Acharya Prashant, with MMMUT (2023)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
6 min
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Questioner (Q): Sir, many times in life we go through such periods where we lose our hope, and there's absolutely no motivation and we feel very down. And no matter how much harder we try, nothing works out. So sir, how do you push yourself through these worst phases of life?

Acharya Prashant (AP): See, all such episodes come in a particular context. Correct? The context has to be of unrelenting struggle. So, I am trying for something and when I am trying for something, I find myself upon a lean patch—I am meeting failures, things are not working out, people are deserting me, plans are failing. Such things happen, right? And when such things happen, as you said, there's a certain lack of motivation, and de-energization. And one wants to still pull through those times.

What is it that one wants to remember then? What is it that one must always remember? The context. The bigger picture. And that is that I am trying for something very important, right? That I am trying for, is something that deserves to be remembered. Otherwise, why would one try for it? I am pushing towards something magnificent, something beautiful, something valuable and that's the reason I am pushing towards it. Right? Now, along the way I have met with these disappointments. Now what do I remember? The disappointments or the thing I am pushing towards?

If the thing that I am pushing towards is not valuable, then even the disappointment has no worth. The disappointment matters only when the thing that I am trying for is worthy enough, right? Now, what is more valuable—the thing you are trying for or the disappointment along the way? Remember that the disappointment is contingent upon, is dependent upon the value of the thing. So, the disappointment has to be smaller—the value of the disappointment has to be smaller than the value of your target. Correct? So, in the moment of disappointment, obviously disappointment will be on your mind. But what is it that you should remember more? Please answer.

Q: The context.

AP: The target! That which you are climbing towards, that's what you will remember, right? And when you will remember that, then this that you are calling as a defeat or setback will simply be an opportunity to learn. Because that's a non-negotiable—the target. The target is something so compelling that I have to keep moving towards that at all costs. Along the way, if defeat or disappointment is upsetting me, so be it. I will not give up on the target obviously. The target is Love, it cannot be abandoned. Right?

So, this has now come to me, and this is annoying me. What do I do? I use it as a resource. Because I have to go uphill; it's a steep climb. So, I will take everything that comes along the way as a resource to be used. I will use it as a learning opportunity. I will not use it as something that makes me forget my aim, my love. I will rather take it as something that incidentally came to me, and now that it has come to me, it will be put in the service of my destination. So, I will learn from it.

But all this that I am saying holds good only if there is love for the destination, only if the destination is valuable in the first place. And now, you would have sensed why most people are broken irreparably by the disappointments along the way. Because the disappointments become bigger than the target itself. Why ? Because, the target in the first place was, anyway, already quite petty. If the target is not worthy enough, then any kind of minor setback will shatter you or at least stop you.

Let the target be very compelling and then all the defeats and the difficulties will simply be stuff that you will want to take as a learning experience.

“Alright, this didn't work out. I will try something else." Because try I will. Because there is a commitment to the target. And it's not just a desire that I want to fulfil. The matter is of Love. So, I am not going to quit. Obviously, that's not an option. Come what may, I will continue moving. Now that I have had this kind of an unsavoury experience, I will go into it, I will examine it. What is it that didn't work out for me? How do I become a better traveller after this experience?

Choose your targets very carefully. Life must have a purpose, do not give it some petty target. When I say Target, remember, I mean a proper purpose. I mean a destination that can fulfil your consciousness. When you will have a noble goal, then no defeat can stop you. You will continue to move, come what may. You know, the Vedic literature has a beautiful line. It says, "Charanvai madhu vindati" . It does not say that the nectar lies at the destination. It says, “If you continue moving, in that, there is madhu . Madhu means ambrosia, nectar.

In movement itself is the victory. But you can continue moving, irrespective of the setbacks only if the Target is great. The target has to be something you just cannot give up on. Do not choose anything small or little as your desire, or goal, or target. *Charaiveti, charaiveti*—keep moving, keep moving. Not as a duty, not as a discipline, but as Love.

Could I make a little sense?

Q: Yes. Definitely, Sir. That's nice interacting with you sir. Thank you.

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