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Learn to cheat the ego || Acharya Prashant (2019)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
8 min
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Question: Pranaam Acharya Ji. Allow me to apologise for the abrupt question last time. This time too, I was a little afraid to write another question. However I do wish to write. Please talk about it as I am your avid listener, and whatever you say shall be good for me.

Here is the question.

I think I am very possessive about things and I am very rooted in this habit. I procrastinate real work by thinking that the real happens on its own. Right now I feel I stand too much trapped in habits, than I actually realise.

Please talk about breaking the habits and living a more aware life.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Manmeet (the questioner) , habits will remain. As long as you are alive, habits will remain. Do you know what is your most primitive habit? The breath, the heartbeat. These are your most primitive habits. They will remain.

Why did prakriti (nature) give habits to us? It gave habits so that certain things can happen without thought. It is for the sake of efficiency. Habits in prakriti are a time-saving measure.

There are so many things that you do out of habit. If you do not do them out of habit, you will have to think over them and that will waste your time. That is the logic of prakriti .

* Prakriti* says, “Because these things have to be any way done, why mull over them? Why keep pondering? Why involve decision-making where there can be only one decision? So prakriti has given you habits. She has given you habits so that you continue physically.

But do look at the rationale of habits again.

Where there can be only one good decision, why spend time in taking decision? Let the decision be automatic. This automacity is called ‘habit’.

Do you see how the argument is shaping up?

I repeat.

Where there can be only one right decision, why think of the alternatives? – that is ‘habit’. Be habituated. Habits are good if you know what that one Right Decision is. Then habits are what you call as ‘thoughlessness’, or ‘transcending thought, or ‘nirvikalpataa’ (choicelessness). Be fully habituated.

If you do not have habit, what do you have? Choice. Right? If you do not have habit, then how do you operate? Then you operate using your consciousness, by using the faculty of decision-making, by weighing the pros and cons, by looking at this alternative and that one. And then you come to a decision. That is what is called as ‘normal decision-making’.

In habit, there is no decision-making involved. You just do it. You just do it. So habit is not a problem, the problem is that we are habituated in the wrong things. Habits should be where there is really only one Right Decision possible. In all those matters, be fully habituated.

In fact if you are not habituated in those matters, then it’s a problem, because you will create alternatives for yourself where there must be no alternatives. You will start thinking of things that should not be thought of. Those routes, those ways will open to you that lead only to misery and hell.

Be habituated towards the Truth. Be habituated towards Freedom. Be habituated towards keeping it simple and straight. Let these be your habits.

Are you getting it?

You have talked of ‘procrastination’. It’s a wonderful thing. Procrastinate all that is non-sensical. Why am I saying that you procrastinate it? Why am I not saying that you kill it? Because you cannot kill it. As long as the last cell in your body is alive, you cannot kill, totally kill the tendency to procrastinate.

Every cell in your body knows procrastination. Don’t you know that?

Every cell in the body fully knows procrastination. If it does not know procrastination, then you will not stay alive. You will not stay alive.

The entire physical organism works on the principle of ‘right timing’. Everything has a right time. So you have to wait for the right time.

What else is that?

Even if there is an urge to do something right now, you suspend it for the future. In some sense that is ‘procrastination’, and that is en-grained in the body.

So use your tendency to procrastinate, don’t take it as an evil burden. It is useful, provided you know how to use it. Procrastinate the non-sense.

The body too does that, it procrastinates all the non-sense. But in the lexicon of the body, what is ‘non-sense’? That which is a physical threat. Only that is taken as ‘non-sense’, because body is physical. What is ‘non-sensical’ in the language of the body? That which is a physical threat.

You are a bit beyond the body.

You are consciousness, consciousness with an unfinished agenda. So in your parlance, what is ‘non-sensical’? That which deviates you from your real agenda? What is your real agenda? To come to a stand-still, to come to a conclusion, to come to an end, to come to a completion.

Procrastinate that.

Procrastinate that, because it will keep coming to you again and again. It’s there in the system, it’s there in the world, it’s there in the body, it’s there in the tendencies. It’s there in all our conditioning.

All non-sense keeps coming back to you even if you keep pushing it away again and again. You keep pushing it away, it will keep coming back to you. What is the solution then? To procrastinate it.

“Come tomorrow.”

You cannot tell it, “Don’t come,” you can only tell it, “Come tomorrow.”

Procrastination is so useful.

You will have to learn to deal with yourself.

Spirituality is the art of cheating the ego. Unless you know how to cheat yourself, how can you be spiritual. If you try to be honest with the ego, you will never be able to deal with the ego.

You tell the ego, “Don’t come,” you are being honest, but you are being stupid. You tell it, “Come tomorrow,” you are being dishonest, but it will be effective.

Learn to cheat yourself. If you are to be loyal to the Truth, you must learn how to be disloyal to yourself. If you are loyal to yourself, you cannot be loyal to the Truth. Pick your side.

How to break habits?

By consciously developing useful habits.

Learn to say an unconditional ‘Yes’ to the Truth – unconditional and instantaneous.

That is a useful habit – an unconditional, instantaneous ‘Yes’ to the Truth.

It has happened.

There was once a student who was given to sleeping a lot. And he would sleep with such abandonment that nothing could wake him up. So the Guru said, “Your only sadhana (spiritual discipline) is, whenever I take your name, you will have to immediately respond. It doesn’t matter whether you are awake, asleep, conscious or in coma. If I take your name, you will have to immediately respond. That is your only sadhana .”

It is said that it took many-many years to master this one. But there did come a point when in the middle of the night the fellow would be in deep-sleep, and yet deeply aware, and he would immediately get up and say, “Yes Master.” That was the only practice given to him, and he mastered it and succeeded.

And then the Guru probably started having fun.

He would whisper, “Son,” and this fellow would be so alert, he would get up and say, “Yes, Master.”

Done! You are free.

You are free of yourself now.

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