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Self-improvement lies in coming in contact with facts of the self || Acharya Prashant (2016)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
9 min
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Question: Sir, the mistakes are being made, and we see that we are making the mistakes. But the confidence that we will not do those things again doesn’t come. That if we encounter that situation again, in that situation we will behave correctly or we will not commit the mistakes. Like if you have attempted a paper, even if you think that you have attempted it well, but you do not get the confidence till you see the score. When you see the marks.So, how to get rid of that kind of mentality?Like if you have done a mistake and you are seeing the mistake but you are still not able to overcome that. You are in that thing that you will again do that same mistake.

Shri Prashant: Whenever you have learnt, how have you learnt? Has it ever happened that you could not solve a particular type of question of mathematics in one particular paper, and then in the next paper you could solve the same type of question? Must have happened?

L1: Yes.

SP: How did the change come?

L1: In that first paper I was in a different state of mind . My momentum while attempting the paper was different.

SP: What happened between the first and the second paper? Let’s start from the moment when the first paper ends. So what happens now?

L1: I know the questions which I have done incorrectly.

SP: How did you know that? Because you are already imagining that you have done everything correctly. So how did you know that something has gone wrong?

L1: Only after seeing the results, or after coming to the home.

SP: So that is what is called the?

L: Facts.

SP: The facts. Your imagination was telling you that everything is correct. But the facts told you that everything is not the way you thought it to be. So checking the facts was very important. Otherwise, you could have lived in your dreamland.

So that is step one: check the facts.

Now then what did you do?

L1: I found out what were the reasons because of which those questions were incorrect.

SP: Yes. Or did you start cursing yourself? What exactly was happening in the moment of improvement?

L1: I found out the reasons.

SP: Those again are facts. Those reasons again are facts. Then?

L1: Then, what can I do now; whether I need to learn anything new?

SP: And that which you can do is determined already by the reasons. See, once you know what has gone wrong, that itself determines – what you will do next. So coming in contact with the fact is the improvement. Once you have known exactly what is going ‘wrong’, from that, automatically, the right action will come. And it comes, right? In the next exam, the question is answered ‘rightly’. That is the process of improvement, right?

L1: Yes

SP: Being in contact with the facts, and that is also what is known as living a life of observation . You are constantly in touch with facts and then you don’t need to decide- whether and how to improve. The right adjustment, the right change, automatically, keeps happening on its own.

On its own.

L2: Sir, in both observation and self-policing, one gets to know the facts.

SP: No, you don’t.

In self-policing, you are only visiting the places where you think the thieves are. Does the police enter your house every day? Police go only to the places where it thinks the troublemakers are. That is what self-policing is. Going only selectively to places and hence looking at life only selectively.Police do not visit temples, usually. Police will not visit that place which you consider sacred. So in your self-policing, you will never touch those corners of your mind which you call as sacred. Because you will say, “Oh, these are sacred corners, of course, nothing can go wrong here. So why do I need to police these corners?” Observation is free, total, open, and honest. It is not biased, prejudiced and pre-decided.

L3: So Sir, are there any new mistakes or is it that just the one who makes mistakes keeps on repeating them?

SP: Same mistakes. Old mistakes. New situations, old mistakes. New forms, new names – old mistakes. There is only one entity which is mistaken. When that entity does not change, how can the mistakes change?

What is that mistaken entity called?

L4: Ego.

SP: When the mistaken entity is the same, its actions will also be the same. Yes, they appear to be different. Sometimes you forget a key, other times you forget your girlfriend; next time you forget your underwear. But the tendency to forget is the same.

L5: Sir, it’s not about the quantity. It’s just that if I catch myself making a mistake, it can be any mistake, then that means that I am the same old person.

SP: Yes, but the problem with this is that you will only catch that which you already call a mistake. When you want to catch your mistakes – please, please, please, pay attention to this – when you want to catch your mistakes, you will only catch that which you already call as a mistake. The same policing thing. But because you are the mistaken one, how will you know what your mistakes are?

So never try to catch mistakes, just observe. And observation cannot happen to catch mistakes, it cannot have a preset agenda. It cannot have any objective. Observation is just observation. It is a way of living. It is not done as a remedy. It is not a medicine. It is a healthy way of living. If I am looking for my keys, what will I find, if anything? If I am looking for my keys, at best what will I find?

L: Keys.

SP: Right? Will I find trees, fallen leaves, grass, insects or soil? Will I find all this? So don’t look for mistakes, because you don’t even know what your real mistakes are.

Never, never, never, look for mistakes. Just observe.

L6: Sir, to observe independently, of my wishes, of my desires, my concepts, how to get into that state of mind that I will be able to observe naturally? Is it possible? It seems so hard to me, to be in such a state of mind.

SP: You know, the belief that it is a difficult task, has come from somewhere. If you can see the falseness, the absurdity of that ‘somewhere’, this belief will also drop. It has come from ‘somewhere’. Till the time you hold that ‘somewhere’ as sacred, this belief will also remain sacred. From where has the belief come? You will have to figure that out.

L2: In my case, it has basically come from two places. Firstly, the feeling that since observation, reflection, all of these terminologies come from spirituality; and spirituality is a matter of people who are elevated beings and stuff.

SP: So you have taken a few people as elevated beings. Till those people remain sacred for you, all your rubbish will also remain sacred for you. You will have to see that those who gave you all these beliefs were just people like you and me. Till the time you continue to hold them special, you will suffer.

That is your basic argument – “This belief has been given to me by such a wonderful source, a respectable source, how can this belief be false?”

You need to have a healthy contempt for everybody, except God. Everything and everybody. And God does not give you beliefs. God gives you God. Man gives you beliefs. When you have respect only, primarily for God, then beliefs cannot become so important for you.

L2: And secondly, quite lately I have started to believe that, and I have been seeing this but it doesn’t go away, that these things are a matter of a sharp brain.

SP: Yes, these things are a matter of sharp brain as far as it happens for a sharp brain. For a sharp brain, methods suiting a sharp brain will be needed. And those methods will be very sharp methods. Because that is what a sharp brain needs. But if I want to bring that dog to relax a little, all I need is to play a little with it, touch it, fondle it, and pat it. Just a little nursing, and it would be alright. No sharp method is needed. You can pick it up, rub its nose against yours, and it would come to peace , relax. But because you are a sharp brain, so you need all these sharp works and are making me do all this sharp work. I don’t do all this sharp work with my rabbit. He too remains quite agitated. You just need to pass your hands over his long ears. (Smilingly) That’s his clarity session. He relaxes. He goes to sleep.

With you, so much has to be done. Camps have to be organized, sharp things have to be done. Something has to be recorded. Then you have to be sent to take bath and then you say, “No, I am feeling cozy, I won’t take a bath.” Right? Print-outs have to be taken. What does even the sharpest of brain want? It wants peace. That’s what my rabbit also wants. Everybody wants the same, sharp or dull. So what is the great benefit of that sharp brain? It’s still clambering for peace. And now ordinary methods will fail. You require very…?

L: Sharp.

SP: Sharp methods. Sharp brain is actually a bloody problem.

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