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For those who want to cut through their entanglements || Acharya Prashant, at NIT-Jamshedpur (2020)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
4 min
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Questioner: Our perception of life defines our goal of life, and that defines the path we choose, and that ultimately becomes our lifestyle. This leads to many problems. Consciously or unconsciously, we have developed our philosophy of life from outside influences, and now there is not enough time to ponder over each and every aspect of life and rectify all the wrongs we have developed. So, what would be the philosophy of life that causes the least entanglements?

Acharya Prashant: In your situation, the best philosophy of life is the philosophy of negation. You are talking about external influences, how they determine your definition of life, your goals and your path towards those goals, and how those external influences ultimately become your lifestyle, your day-to-day living. So, you see already that the external influences are causing you a lot of problems; hence, it should be easy for you to proceed via the way of negation.

You are saying you do not have enough time to ponder over each and every aspect of life and rectify all the wrongs. You don’t need time; you need attention. You need time only when you are pursuing a separate or a dedicated activity. Attention, on the other hand, is parallel to life. Attention is like the light that is shining upon us in this room, here. Even as we are working or speaking or going through the motions of life, the light is there. You do not require a separate time to illuminate this room, or do you? Do you say that we would be working in this room from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and then from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. we would illuminate this room? No, it doesn’t happen that way, right? You require light parallel to your work. You require light exactly when you are working.

So, it is not as if you need separate time or dedicated time to ponder over life. Even as you are working, right in that moment you have to be alert to what is really happening. In that alertness you catch falseness, because you, and only you, are in the best position to clearly see what you are doing, what is the thought behind that, and what is the intention or the fundamental tendency that is giving rise to that thought. It is best appreciated in the live moment. It becomes very clear, just as things become clear, at least momentarily, in a flash of lightning.

So, given that your central philosophy is corrupted by so many external influences—as happens with probably all of us—the way is to catch all that which is external, and hence false, and hence not really beneficial to you. It is easy. You will have to watch your moment-to-moment activity.

When you are acting, do not be obsessed only with the object of action. We always act with respect to something. For example, we say, “I am running.” So, if I am running, then I am probably looking at the running track, or I am looking right in front of me to see who is approaching. Or, if I am picking up this towel, then I am paying attention to this towel. The trick is to pay simultaneous attention to the actor as well. So, when you are speaking to the other, do not just listen to the other; in that very moment, know where your own words are coming from. See how you react when a favorable or unfavorable word falls upon your ears; that will tell you how your inner self is operating.

Our nature is Truth and purity, which means once you detect falseness and corruption within yourself, then it becomes quite easy not to let that falseness remain, or to drop that falseness. But before it is dropped, you have to call it out; you have to realize that it is false. And that realization does not come so much by dedicated introspection; it comes from a process of live attention. Then it demands neither dedicated time nor separate effort; what it requires is pure honesty and willingness to be free.

I sense from your question that that willingness is present, so now proceed.

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