Acharya Prashant is dedicated to building a brighter future for you
Others’ expectations from oneself, and disappointment || (2018)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
8 min
51 reads

Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, how can I detach myself from the disappointment that others feel when I fail their expectations?

Acharya Prashant (AP): The people are disappointed with you because you won't fulfill their expectations. What effect does their disappointment have upon you?

Q: It makes me feel guilty.

AP: It makes you feel guilty. So first of all, they expect stuff from you, and then you expect yourself to fulfill their expectations. And the funny thing is that the expectations on neither side are being fulfilled. So they are making a mistake, and you are guilty that you could not live up to their mistake. Are you? Do you want to remain guilty?

It's alright to expect from yourself or from others, but the only right expectation is that you or the other, or anybody would move towards peace, silence, Truth. If that is the expectation, and if that is what you could not live up to, then surely you are entitled to feel disappointed and guilty.

But if the expectation is anything else, then why are you promoting it or subscribing to it?

I repeat, this is the only expectation you must have from yourself or from others — that they will move more and more towards peace, and you will move more and more towards peace as well.

And if this expectation is belied, you are justified in feeling betrayed.

Why do you want to burden yourself with miscellaneous expectations? You are not obliged to live up to anybody’s standards. You are not obliged to live up to even your own standards. If there is one obligation, it is to adhere to the standards of the absolute. Your personal standards do not matter.

And all the standards that you know of, are all personal. The person behind them might vary. The system behind them might vary. Some of them might be purely personal. The others might now be socially acceptable. Some might appear coming from one person, and others might appear coming from a widespread network. It doesn't matter where the expectation or obligation is coming from. How are you bound to conform to it? When did you internalize this external order, and why?

Just ask yourself one question, "Am I alright? Am I peaceful? Or is my mind laden with thoughts, desires, miscellaneous stuff all the while?" Expect yourself to live in your innocent, naked, real nature. And don't measure yourself against any other criteria, benchmark, standard. Nothing. Nothing.

You know we know only two types of people. One - who live by the others' expectation. We find it easy to call them social slaves. And then there is another kind, that live by their own, personal benchmarks, who set their own standards. We idolize them. We call them individuals. The second type is in deeper slavery than the first type. To live by the thought and opinions of others is bad enough. To live by your own thoughts and opinions is worse.

If the mind is peaceful, if the sight is clear, if you can sit peacefully, if you can listen attentively, you are alright. Expect no more.

Q: Please elaborate on why it's bad to live by one's own benchmark.

AP: It is bad to live by one's own benchmarks because there is nothing called one's own benchmarks. What you call your own benchmarks is not something that you always had. They are not your own. You have absorbed them, internalized them, not alert enough to know that you are assimilating them. If you have borrowed something, and it is in your hands, at least you know that what is in your hand is borrowed stuff. But if what you have borrowed gets assimilated, it is worse. Because you do not even know that you are living, eating, breathing, thinking borrowed stuff.

Now the possibility of originality recedes even further. Now you're indebted, and you don't even know that you are indebted, and that's why it's worse than merely being indebted.

Q: Where does originality come from?

AP: It comes from nowhere. All that is borrowed comes from here and there. Originality is if you can see that most of your mind-stuff is borrowed, that mind-stuff can be nothing but burrowed. But the seeing is original.

Q: So why do we say that we feel from my heart?

AP: The heart feels nothing. The heart wants nothing. It's only the mind that feels, wants, desires, expects. Mistakenly, you have been trained to conflate the mind with heart. The heart is self-sufficient. No desire arises from it, irrespective of whatever popular language, metaphors, and idioms tell us. The songs are all false. They keep singing of the desirous heart. The heart desires nothing ever. The heart desires nothing ever, it's self-contented. You create the artificial distinction between the mind and the heart.

Q: My heart feels as instinct!

AP: It's all mental — mental instincts. Why do you think that instincts, thoughts, desires, tendencies are all fundamentally different? They are slightly different forms of the same fundamental ‘I’ tendency. Truth has no instincts.

And what I just heard was an animal instinct (referring to a monkey nearby). You heard the monkey doing something there; that's an instinct. It has nothing to do with the Truth. It has got something to do with your biological composition. It’s engrained in this organism, the DNA (pointing towards the body).

What's there at the surface of the mind becomes visible to you as thought. What's there deep in the recesses of the mind, comes to you as intuition or instinct. But they are all mind-stuff. What do you have at the surface of the stream? Water. What do you have a little below? Water. What do you have right at the bottom? Water. But if you are talking of a well or an ocean, then the water at the surface is accessible, so you know something about it. And the water deep down is not accessible. The light of consciousness doesn't fall upon it. So you don't know anything about it. Just because you don't know anything about something, it doesn't become divine. Yes, the Truth is unknowable. But that doesn't mean that anything that is unknown is Truth.

**You don't know yourself. You don't know your instincts and intuitions. That doesn't mean that they arise from the Truth.

Your own ignorance can't be the criteria of Truth. You can't say that if you don't know something, obviously it is coming from the Truth, not so. You know, to talk of instinct as beyond mind or metaphysical, is to support yourself to stay on in the confines of the mind, albeit in a more moralistic way. One of the sure-shot ways to remain diseased is to not call the disease a disease at all. If you don't call intuition or instinct mental, then you will retain them. They will appear like messages of god.

If you ordinarily think of something, you will say, "It is my thought". But when something arises from an unknown point as instinct or intuition, you will say, "This is arising from my heart", and the heart is in touch with divinity. Now you have ensured that you are going to be fully committed to the instinct. Now you have ensured that you will fully commit to something that is just mental, by declaring it to be beyond mental. Now you have sanctified something that has very little sanctity.

There are three forms that are beyond normal thoughts—instinct, intuition, and dreams. Never attribute anything transcendental to either of these three.

Dreams do not tell you anything beyond yourself, neither instincts nor intuition. That which is beyond will not appear in your dreams. I know it is a humbling thing. I know we don't want to hear it. Because we like to believe and behave as if the divine is coming to us in hidden ways, “Oh, He came to my dream!” “I dreamt of Christ; I dreamt of Krishna.” If you are dreaming of Christ, it is your personal Christ, not the Christ. If you are dreaming of Krishna, you are dreaming of your image of Krishna. Not the Krishna really.

YouTube Link:

Receive handpicked articles, quotes and videos of Acharya Prashant regularly.
View All Articles