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Let no external loss hit your Core || (2019)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
26 min
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Question (Q): Acharya Ji, being in Satsang, my mind is peaceful. But after some trigger happens, it gets deviated. How to deal with these external problems?

Acharya Prashant (AP): The trigger does not work really automatically. You program yourself to be triggered. You are standing and a fellow comes over and slaps you hard on your shoulder from behind. The automated response is to turn back and look at him. But if he is a friend then the same touch or hit or a slap often becomes a matter of rejoice. But if he is a stranger then the whole thing gets triggered off often into something bigger.

We tell ourselves what to be triggered by. This is not merely a matter of culpability. This is potentially a matter of our freedom. Because if you can tell yourself to get triggered, get agitated, or disturbed then you can also probably equally tell yourself not to get triggered.

It is not events but the meanings that you hold of them, agitate you.

You are in a building and the fire alarm goes off and you can get quite scared. But if someone comes over and tells you, “Oh! It's just a mock drill. It's just a simulation. No need to worry”, then the same alarm can keep buzzing or ringing, you don't bother. Now the meanings of those sounds have changed. The sound in itself was not a trigger, the meaning you added to it was. And it is in your discretion whether or not to add that meaning.

Ultimately if something is stealing your peace, it is certain that you are supplying that event with one definite meaning and that meaning is; the event means disturbance, the event means loss. And there is nobody outside of you, mind you, who can tell whether or not that internal loss is happening to you. Only you come forth and claim that a particular event translates into an internal loss for you.

External losses anybody can vouch for. Somebody walked away with your shirt, the entire world can see that, that there has been an external loss. But the external loss translates into an internal loss as well. It's something that only you claim and internally certify to yourself. That is your own personal story. That is the meaning that you add to events.

Something happened! Now the happening is worldly and therefore in the realm of facts. Something happened, until this point you are strictly in the realm of facts. But now, you extend the story and move into the world of subjective interpretations. And you have to remember that, that interpretation is not a fact. That interpretation is not compulsory. That interpretation is your own decision. It is your own personal choice. And the interpretation is, “I lost something, I got reduced or I am about to be reduced”, there is a threat. And if you are about to be reduced then this is an existential threat, not an ordinary one. Obviously, an inner reaction system will set off. Obviously, there would be nervousness, palpitations, panic.

Why must anything ever mean an internal reduction to you? Why is the outer-inner relationship so one-on-one and compulsory? Why must an external loss mean an internal loss as well and vice versa?

I'm asking you, would you still get triggered if external losses are merely external losses and mean nothing to you internally?

Tell me, please!

Q: For example, in the newspaper, we read some news related to others, don’t trigger the same reaction of the same loss.

AP: A great happening in the world that you do not take to be related to yourself, does it bother you greatly? It doesn't because you do not enforce the outer equals inner rule in such cases. But the moment you bring about, bring in that dangerous equation, that dubious identity, "outer is inner", that is the moment you start shivering and panicking.

Do you get this?

We decide our triggers, they don't just happen. And once you have declared that you have lost something precious in an inner way then obviously you are conditioned to do everything that you can to defend your inner world. The inner world is who you are. The inner world is where you live.

Therefore, if you get hurt there, it is like death. Death to the self. The living organism is not going to easily tolerate death. So, it is bound to react. But it is going to react, I repeat, only if you tell it that it is under threat, that it is facing a situation of some deep loss.

Why do you keep telling yourself that you are facing a situation of internal loss? Why must you?

Q: I never knew there was a choice.

AP: There is a choice. It is not also hardbound or automatic. We tell stories to ourselves and those stories become our life. And you have a choice over the stories that you narrate.

Consider a very basic example. A lot of things keep happening in the outside world without your knowledge or when you are asleep. Does any inner loss occur? It doesn't. If the inner loss were as factual as the external loss then along with the external happening the internal one would have automatically happened. But it doesn't happen.

Are you getting it?

So, it is not the happening that troubles you. It is your story that troubles you. And the story always ends with the statement, “And now there is an internal loss.” That is one thing that you will find common to all your scary stories. They all contain this one common statement, “And now there is an internal loss.” And equally, you have several regaling stories. They contain the statement, “And now there is an internal gain.”

Q: Acharya Ji, how to get rid of something that is running in your mind which is not so good and is reciting in your mind?

AP: Whatsoever is running in your mind may keep running, the mind needs stories. But it is not necessary that your stories contain the statement?

Q: There is a loss.

AP: “And now there is an internal loss.” Let the story be there; this happened, that happened, that happened, that happened. That is happening. That is winning, that is losing. That is increasing, that is decreasing. All those stories are there, going on.

Q: But what is the source of that thinking? Where is it coming from? It’s not coming from outside, nobody is forcing to think.

AP: You need that thinking. From where does thirst in the throat arise? You need water. That is something that is existentially needed by you. Just as the throat as a body part requires water, similarly the brain, what else does it have to do? It cannot lift weights. It cannot run a marathon. It cannot see, hear, touch or smell. What do you think this big lump of flesh is going to do? What is it for?

So, there is no great extra-terrestrial source of thinking. It is just an ordinary physical function of a body part. Your brain is hard-wired to think.

Q: So, related to this, when does it start?

AP: When does the thinking start? When the brain becomes physically ripe enough to think. It's just like asking, "When does the baby start walking?" When does the baby start walking? When he has enough strength in the legs.

Similarly, when the brain cells are numerous enough and ripe enough to have a particular kind of brain activity, they start thinking. Even before that, there is brain activity but that is very raw. You cannot call that as thought. The baby has impulses but it does not have language and organized thought.

Q: Acharya Ji, you said that the mind is also a kind of sense, one of these senses. So, our senses are voluntary, like we can close our eyes, we can stop hearing but is our mind also voluntary, by nature I mean?

AP: You cannot really close your senses. How do you stop touching, tell me? Can you ever come to a point when you are touching nothing? Even when you close your eyes you are still seeing what?

Q: Darkness.

AP: Darkness! It is not possible to shut down the senses. The sense of touch is the best example. Even if you refuse to touch any object, you would still be touching something, what? The air. Even if you put yourself in a vacuum using some method you would still be touching, what? The vacuum. And the proof of that is that you would know that there is a difference between touching air and touching vacuum. And if you know that there is a difference between touching air and touching vacuum it means you are still touching something that is comparable to something else.

So, the mind needs stories and gossip and spices and substance. It needs to go around, that's the condition of the common untamed, untrained mind and that is okay, that's its Prakritik condition.

What I'm asking is why do our stories need to end with?

Q: Internal loss.

AP: That statement is optional. And if it is optional then exercise the option wisely. The mind can keep thinking about the entire world. Let it not think about the inner world. That I call as thinking free of the ‘I’. Thinking without the ‘I’ center. Because whenever the mind would think of the ‘I’ center, it would say just one of the two things. The ‘I’ has enhanced or the ‘I’ has diminished.

Incidentally, the real ‘I’ is not available to either of these statements. So, no point conjecturing about it. The proof is, you very well know that it is not necessary that an external event will have an internal impact upon you.

Is it necessary?

It often happens this way but aren't there exceptions? When you are utterly joyful, utterly joyful then do you not get the capacity to ignore insults, for example?

Q: Yes.

AP: Something really tremendous has happened and at that moment do you not feel large-hearted and magnanimous enough to forgive even your enemies or insulters? Do you not? And if you do even once in 1,000 times, that one by 1,000 occurrence is sufficient to prove that, "Yes! That it is doable and that the external-internal relationship is not necessary. We maintain it but it is optional."

If that relationship can be snapped even rarely, that proves that it can be snapped.

If you can do it once in six months, why not do it more frequently?

Talk about all kinds of things, never talk about your inner welfare. Take that for granted. Because we live in the world, if you will start bothering about the welfare of our real-self then we will necessarily link the inner welfare to an outer happening and that is deep slavery. So, "I lost a million bucks, my friend passed away, my dog is sick, my father just kicked me out of the house, my wife is seeing someone else. It's doomsday, I tell you. Two minutes to the apocalypse, aaahh!"

"So, you must be feeling really awful?"

"Oh! That? No, no, not that, not that but what's certain is that it's nearing doomsday."

What certain? That there is no doubt about it.

"The world is coming to an end. Me? I'm okay! I'm okay!"

Your okayness has to be independent of the world. A million nuclear explosions may happen right now, they may burn the entire earth down, your body might get synched and charred, still, it is possible to remain unbothered.

"Is the world coming to an end?"

"Of course, it is. A million explosions, all around. It's all over. My last 10 seconds maybe. Okay!"

It's still okay. Okay does not mean acceptable, okay does not mean agreeable, okay merely means that your internal substance is untouchable. No hydrogen bomb can reach there. No curse, no calamity can hit it. It is not available to be enhanced or reduced.

Q: What is in us which is linking this outer to internal?

AP: Story, nothing else.

Q: All mind games?

AP: Yes, yes. Your own pet stories. People say, “Let us be the author of our destinies.” That is not quite possible but we are certainly the authors of our stories. And I say that is good news because if you are authors of those stories…

Q: Write better stories.

AP: You can write better stories or correct the existing stories.

Q: Why can’t we just trash them?

AP: But you cannot trash away everything. The mind will start barking. It takes very-very special types of stories, very advanced stories to get freedom from stories. The Scriptures contain those special stories.

Q: For example, Sufi stories be…

AP: Even these are just stories, they have no substance. But these are the stories that reduce your proclivity to keep asking for more and more stories. Before you ask this question, “How to get rid of stories?”, I say, first of all, get into the right stories. Freedom from stories is a far cry, too much to ask for. First of all, have the right stories. And one definite mark of the right story is the absence of the statement, “And then there was an internal loss”.

As far as our usual stories are concerned, every third statement says, “If he doesn't show up today then I would be devastated internally”. And we have repeated such statements so frequently to ourselves that those statements have become our truths.

You know what, we in fact start feeling guilty if external happenings do not create ripples within us. I have had people asking me if they have become insensitive. They say, “You know what, things keep happening in the world here and there but I do not quite feel affected. Am I dying? Am I getting internally paralyzed? Is my sensitivity dropping?” This is what we call a sensitivity to start jumping and shouting and panicking at the drop of a hat.

Q: I remember, when a loss happened two months back. It was a panic situation, but I was singing inside though, but I felt guilty.

AP: Oh, very guilty. Very guilty. So strong is the hold of our stories on us. We are supposed to panic as per our stories, you know. It's obligatory. Bad things have happened, we are supposed to cry out. Externally something is not working as per our plan or desires, we are supposed to feel nervous and threatened. And if that nervousness does not happen, we become nervous about not being nervous. You know, "Why am I not reacting? Am I dead?"

For us, life means reactivity. Life is not peace to us. Life is not meditativeness to us.

We feel alive when we are tense and reactive and agitated. Then you say, “You know, now we have come alive.”

A fellow is sitting silently and peacefully, unnoticeable, you'll say, “Oh! He’s a log, a piece of furniture lying there.” And he jumps up and starts beating the wall and shouting slogans and look at the term you use, you say, “Now, he has come alive.”

So, what is life for us then? Insane reactiveness, that is what we call as liveliness. The more a fellow resembles his great-great ape grandfathers in his conduct, the more you say that he is very lively. Why is he lively? Because he is all the time found jumping. "Oh, he the live wire! He the live wire!"

Q: So, from where have we got them?

AP: Why do you want to inquire from where you got them? Why don't you just drop them? When you took a bath this morning, assuming you did, did you inquire, "From where did I get this particular speck of dust?" Did you? Or did you just…

Q: Washed it out.

AP: Inquire about nice things rather.

Q: Acharya Ji, why does the mind start thinking one thing after the other randomly?

AP: Well, the principle of random association. The mind needs stories, so it uses the current story to jump into the next story, and then the next story is used to jump to the next one, like a monkey jumping from branch to branch. It has to keep jumping, so this branch and…

So, you look at me and then you look at the colour of this waistcoat and then this resembles the colour of the moss on the tree and that reminds you of the rains because the rains are when you have moss and the rains then remind you of the romantic evening you once had and then the song and then the beating you got and so looking at Acharya Ji, you are reminded of the beating you got at the hands of a father and that's how thought moves, randomly, here to here.

Q: It gets purified, when we are in this sadhna , this random association slowly leaves us, or we do not get affected much.

AP: It totally depends, totally depends. You can use anything as a branch. You have to come to a decision that rest is precious, rest is precious. Even monkeys, it is not just random that they keep jumping from branch to branch, there is a reason. Because they are purely vegetarians, so they need to feed themselves quite frequently. Which means they have to continuously look around for food, so the constant movement. A lion rests for pretty long periods of the day, a python often consumes such enormous masses of meat, such large animals that it does not need to move for weeks altogether. The monkey moves so much because it takes in only a little bit of food at a time and that too only vegetarian food.

Similarly, the mind has a reason why it is hopping from branch to branch; it needs something. If you can get that something right here then you will have very little incentive to hop from here to there.

Q: Acharya Ji, how physiology is related to psychology and vice versa?

AP: The brain is both; the place where thought happens and the place where the entire physical system is controlled from. And that's a bad coincidence, you see. The brain is the central control point of every organ in the body; the heart gets directed from there, the kidneys get directed from there, eyes, skin, all the movements, everything gets directed from the brain. And the brain is also the place where thinking happens. Bad! Which means that thinking is going to affect the whole body. Emotions have just one purpose: physical survival and procreation. It sounds pretty harsh and unemotional, no? But emotions are the favourite tool of physical nature ( Prakriti ) to protect the body, the species and ensure that the off-springs keep coming. You investigate any emotion that you have, it would be directly or indirectly aiming at your physical survival and continuation. Emotions have nothing to do with Truth or reality. Emotions have everything to do with begetting babies.

If your physical self or psychological self is threatened, you feel angry. So, why does that emotion arise? Threat to the… sex is easy to see. It's obviously targeted at fetching offspring.

Q: Sadness?

AP: When do you feel sad?

Q: When I am not able to enhance my psychological self.

AP: Or if there is something related to the physical self. That's what emotions are. Not merely emotions even thoughts have just this one central purpose.

Q: So, I am confused by that. If I have emotions of care, love etc. towards family members, let’s say cousin or second cousin, how is that related to procreation or protecting my physical self?

AP: Love is never, never an emotion. Emotional love is dangerous. That which we usually call as love is not love at all.

Man is hardwired to have emotions but man is not hardwired to be liberated, you see. Therefore, emotions have nothing to do with liberation.

Don't you see that your so-called love is mostly for family members? Even in the example you quoted, you talked of cousins. And what is family? One's own physical expanse.

Have you ever wondered why one loves the family so much? Because the family is nothing but your own body stretched out. The kid is the mother expanded. Your brother is yourself in the mirror in some way. Therefore, your emotions are so frequently related to the family members. that itself shows that emotions have a very strong link with the body.

Q: Compassion is also an emotion?

AP: (Nodding in denial) In compassion or love your emotions get purified but compassion or love are not emotions. In the presence of sunlight, the wall appears bright but the wall is not sunlight. In the presence of love, all this physical structure gets illuminated. You start feeling as if there is light in the hall and yes, in the presence of the Sun there is light in the hall but this light is not of the hall. The light is in the hall but it is not of the hall. This is the room of emotions that is love.

Love can illuminate emotions, yes, obviously, that can happen but emotions by themselves are pretty dark.

Remove love, and emotions would still be there, the primitive dark emotions of our wild-wild ancestors. They too had pretty strong emotions. Go to the wild and see. You will find a lot of emotional activity there. Mostly, love is not there in man's life but this room is there and the darkness. You can hear all kinds of emotional sounds from within this room; jumping, shrieking, yelling, crying, all those things are going on. It's quite scary. Man is emotional about woman, woman is emotional about the child.

Q: Acharya Ji, a few weeks ago, I found myself helping a bird that was lying wounded on my terrace. I took full care of her. Was this out of love or emotion?

AP: Prakriti is greatly interested in physical survival. And if you are a woman, Prakriti has hardwired you to ensure the physical survival of little things. It's just the primitive maternal instinct.

You see, through our deeds, omissions and commissions both, we very well know how many deaths we are causing every minute. Every day billions of animals are being slaughtered. We are not talking of hundreds or thousands, we are talking of billions. Every day BILLIONS, come to terms with that number, please! And if you include fish in that then there is no limit to that number, billions. And we are only talking of animals that are being slaughtered explicitly for human consumption. This number does not include the insects or little things that get incidentally killed in the process of agriculture.

Your crops are not meat-free. Vegetarian food is not blood-free. Organized agriculture is quite violent, you know. We are not even counting the number of birds and insects and other organisms that we are killing during agricultural activity. It's just tremendous, just tremendous. But we don't bat an eyelid. It just doesn't matter to us.

But if the kid is in our arms; a little kitten or puppy, have you seen how emotional we become. Our one little kitten or puppy matters so much to us because this situation is a very close simulation of having one's own baby in one's arms. Prakriti’s tricks.

Love would not differentiate between this particular kitten and the lamb kid being slaughtered in the slaughterhouse, love would not differentiate but a mother would differentiate because a mother is bothered only about her own particular personal kid. Is a mother bothered about what's going on in the wider world? But she can bring down the world to save her own particular personal kid. That’s Prakriti, not love, not love, not love. Genetic conditioning, not love. Love is an entirely different dimension altogether.

Q: So, I was emotional?

AP: You are maternal. You were the age-old, 20-billion-years-old mama. Love is only for… (Indicating towards up side). In His love, now you know how to deal with everybody. Loving Him, you come to know what love even in the earthly dimension is. If you do not have a connection with Him then your dealings with other people or animals cannot be loving.

Q; Sir, in the camp activity named— ‘Emptiness and receptivity’ we had been asked to unlearn everything that is not letting me be receptive. “Unlearn everything that is not letting me be receptive” all my beliefs, prejudice. So, that inquiry method, in starting which you related to…

AP: Take off the last bit from the story. Unlearn your story or at least take the sting out of the story. Now, the story is toothless, it cannot harm you. What gives the sting to the story?

Q: It’s bad to me. It’s internal loss. Now, there will be an internal loss.

AP: "Now, there is going to be an internal loss." That is the poisonous sting of the story, take it out and let the story remain now. Now, the story cannot harm you.

Q: Acharya Ji, is it possible for someone to be in a profession, where one is not peaceful? I am also afraid to leave my job.

AP: Why be in such a profession? You will leave one day. When you have to leave this entire drama one day, what's the big deal in leaving a job?

Q: Isn’t it up to our capacity, how can we utilize it?

AP: Bad question. You have already declared yourself as limited. How will I now advise you on the unlimited?

Q: Acharya Ji, you say that freedom is of the highest value. Freedom from what? Please elaborate.

AP: Freedom from anything that holds you and therefore, defines you. The goal of all spiritual pursuits is liberation, not even Truth; liberation. Liberation from every possible object. Liberation from everything and anything that comes to you and makes you. Liberation.

Q: Liberation and freedom are the same?

AP: Yes.

Q: Is Truth the stepping stone to freedom?

AP: Oh! No, no, no. It's just that Truth is far more vulnerable to become a concept. Don't you say, “Tell me the truth”? When you say, “Tell me the truth” you have turned truth into a…

Q: Concept.

AP: Freedom is far less susceptible to such attempts of the mind. You cannot say, “Tell me liberation.” So, it is difficult for you to turn freedom into a concept. Though the mind does that as well, we have concepts of freedom. But when you have a concept of freedom then the realized ones will tell you to gain freedom even from freedom. But you cannot do the same thing with Truth. You cannot say, “Tell me the Truth of the Truth.” That is a little impractical, so freedom.

Just free. Not merely free of this or that but just free. Independent of anything and everything. Not available anymore to be talked of, not definable; free.

Q: Here, in the camp, like I was writing the reflection yesterday, in this environment, I do feel free, if I want to.

AP: Free from feeling ‘free’.

Q: I don't feel the pressure of doing things behind me. Like, there is no obligation to do something for someone. It is like the first kind of experience for me.

AP: When you come to a particular stage in your spiritual advancement, it is both good news and bad news. Good news because the previous stage has been ascended. Bad news because the new stage is being celebrated now and that which is celebrated becomes a bondage, a habit, a new destination.

Therefore, take every subsequent stage as a new challenge. Do celebrate but know very well that His house (indicating towards upside) is still very distant.

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