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Spirituality Journey || Acharya Prashant

Author Acharya Prashant

Acharya Prashant

11 min
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Acharya Prashant (AP): It is very, very sad that ninety-nine per cent, I repeat, ninety-nine per cent of that which we call as spirituality today, is just illogical, unscientific, superstition and it is being peddled very loudly, very daringly. Remember that a really spiritual man can never, never contradict science. There is nothing in spirituality that will be against logic. Spirituality is not this God-man business.

Spirituality: What does it mean to be spiritual? Merely means that you are not being stupid. If water and poison are kept in front of you, ten cups of water and ten cups of poison and you have to make ten choices, what does spirituality mean? Ten out of ten times I will pick water, it's as simple as that! Spirituality means making the right decision every time. Even if you pick poison once, it is curtains for you.

Honesty: Basic honesty is knowing both the world and yourself. Because if you are not honest with yourself then anything you observe in the world or about the world is bound to be wrongly seen by you.

What is it to be Intelligent?

To be intelligent is to be able to tell apart the false from the true and that alone is spirituality. Real spirituality is about rejecting the false. Real spirituality, therefore, is uncompromising, harsh, ruthless. But if you are living in an age, in an era, in a society, in an economic system that is dominated by forces of falsenesses, then it becomes imperative for them to invent a new kind of spirituality that endorses all falsenesses. So, you have terms like, “Don't judge me” or “Don't judge anybody.” Now, what does that mean? That means, don’t call the false as false. Because if you start calling the false as false, how will the false sell itself? And how will the sellers of falsenesses profit from your pocket?

When these pop bestsellers and neo-spiritual classics tell you, “Visualize what you will get,” then they are just stoking the fire of your greed and imagination. They are not asking you, “What is it that prompts you to go for that particular thing?”

Self-awareness: When it comes to the world, science and spirituality will fully agree; when it comes to you, science will fall silent. There is no chapter in any scientific study or research journal ever at any place titled “I”. So, Self-knowledge would mean being conscious of the actions of the body and the thoughts of the mind—knowing ‘what do I do?’ and ‘what do I think?’

“What happens to me in the presence of others? How do I relate to others? What happens when somebody tells me that I'm looking dumb and idiot? What happens to me when somebody tells me that I'm looking handsome and smart? What am I thinking of all the time? What thoughts occupy my mind?”—This is being aware of my thoughts. All this is self-knowledge; watching your actions and watching your thoughts.

“I started out to watch my actions and thoughts. But the more I watch my actions and thoughts the more I see that they are not at all mine.” So, self-knowledge is a process of reduction; it's a process of annihilation. The more you see, the more you realize its falseness. Self-knowledge does not mean that you know more about yourself. Self-knowledge means that the more you know yourself, the less you see that what you call ‘yourself’ as yourself is not yourself at all; it is a puppet, a machine.

Joy: There is really no pleasure deeper than not getting disturbed when the entire world is conspiring to disturb you. This deepest pleasure is called Joy. Everybody, the entire game of situations seems hell-bent on freaking you out, on just destroying your peace and you are looking at it with indifference. You are looking at it as if you do not know whom you are talking to, “Yes, do I know you?”. And even as you are looking at it and uttering these words, you start feeling drowsy and you go off to sleep. The fellow is dancing a terrible dance, hoping to extract some reaction from you, and the greatest reaction that you can give is that you start snoring. That is your reaction. He's shouting at you and you are snoring. You are home. Spirituality gives you the incapacity to be disturbed.

Hard Truths: We do not make the best, utter and desperate use of our own personal limited resources but we want some kind of a helping hand to descend from the heavens; it won't! It is easy to ask questions to others, but questioning oneself hurts the ego. That's what you must practice. Question yourself, “What am I doing?”.

We have been told that there is something wrong with you and we have been given ways in which to amend that wrong. “You are worthless, but if you earn this amount of money, you will become worthy”. How else can you be made to buy that new car? By first making you feel that you are worthless if you drive your old car.

What is this entire cult that says, “Don't judge!”? The restaurant will serve you a cockroach in your curry and then the manager will say, “Good and bad are just perceptions.” Good and bad are not perceptions; good and bad or not fiction. To you, there is actually something that is good and there is actually something that is bad. Be very, very judgmental and judge rightly. You must know what to refuse; you must know what to accept. If you lack in discrimination, nobody can save you.

Pain: Pain is a great messenger, but pain by itself is not the remedy. One must listen to the messenger quickly and in listening lies the remedy. I haven't said that you require unmitigated and infinite suffering to be liberated. Wisdom lies in suffering little and flying away quickly.

Spirituality: Spirituality or the field of wisdom is about making those daily decisions in the best way possible. It's like this, we all are walking—consider life a journey—we all are walking. Spirituality is not about changing the path that you are walking, it is about throwing some light on the same path that you are walking. Spirituality is not another path. You don't have to quit your daily life; you don't have to change tracks. But won’t you want to move on an illuminated track? So, spirituality is illumination. It is Light!

Life becomes very, very easy when there is something absolute in your life. When there is something absolute in your life, it defeats all relatives. The absolute is to be had and the relatives, well, they can wait. Either they can align themselves with the absolute or too bad for them.

Change and Comfort: The ego finds comfort where it does not have to change. It is such a paradox, you see! The ego is always clamoring for change but within it is so scared that it does not really want to change. So, what is ‘comfort’ for us? Acting as if we are lovers of change but really, deeply, actually avoiding all change. That’s what eases the ego the most. Comfort is when you just keep living by your old habits, your old ways. You keep giving more value to security than to your love for freedom.

Freedom is never comfortable! The old habits and old patterns, they offer a lot of security. Comfort does not actively harm you and that is why it is all the more harmful. Comfort just passively steals away your time and opportunity. If something harms you actively, then you at least get alerted and cautioned that you are being besieged and defeated. But in comfort, life just silently slips away; you just passively keep losing time.

Hurt: Hurt is not automatic. Somewhere there is an admission from you that you are hurt. Call yourself as hurt and see what will happen. Hurt is not an obligation, hurt is a choice. Insecurity, fear, temptations, none of them are necessary, none of them are inevitable, all of them are options. You can take the option or discard it. One must have something that is non-negotiable. Consider yourself shakable and everything will shake you up, consider yourself unshakeable and see the magic.

Loneliness: When you cannot like yourself then obviously, you have to turn to somebody else; that is loneliness. If someone's presence has a becalming effect on your mind, a soothing effect on your mind, illuminating effect on your mind, a liberating effect on your mind, go ahead, boldly be with that person or persons as much as you want to. But be with them only as long as their effect upon you is liberating.

Meditation: Maybe watching the breath is a convenient way to avoid watching that which really needs to be watched. You need to watch your behaviour towards your wife, instead of that you are watching your breath. Nice trick! Smart chap!

You need to watch how greedy you are towards your customers and how exploitative you are towards your employees. Instead of that you are watching your breath. Nice! Pretty nice! Real meditation is dangerous. Therefore, real meditation is neither practiced nor taught, and obviously, it cannot sell.

Real meditation is a day-long, life-long activity. It's a Love affair. You cannot be a lover one hour a day, or can you be? But you can be a customer of flesh one hour a day. That’s something you can do, just on weekends, or every night after 10 pm, just before you go to bed, your daily dose of flesh, right? Love is not something that you can have only at 10 pm at night. Tricky? But 10 pm love is convenient. Meditation is not 10 pm love or 7 am love.

Goals: Set a great goal, so that even if you lose, it will at least be a great defeat. And if you set a timid, scared, conventional, narrow goal, then even if you win, it would be a timid victory. What would you rather have? A great defeat? Or a vapid victory? That’s the choice for you.

Fearlessness: The secret of living fearlessly is to not be dependent upon the world. The more you are dependent upon the world, the more afraid will be your life. If you depend for money on somebody, it is inevitable that there will be a lurking fear in your mind. If you are attached to somebody, it is inevitable that fear will keep rising now and then. Those who want to live fearlessly must get rid of their dependencies.

Consider yourself little and everything will be big enough to tease you. Consider yourself immense and see whether the world can bully you!

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