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The mind cannot be controlled || Acharya Prashant (2016)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
6 min
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Questioner (Q): The mind, till the last thing, can survive its own death and report what was there to be experienced. So, it keeps on till it automatically drops, and then it happens. Otherwise, it just continues to enquire, look for, and seek.

Acharya Prashant (AP): Actually, the ‘dropping of the mind’ is not a secession of the mental activity. The ‘dropping of the mind’ is the loss of interest of the ego in the mind. The mind will keep on doing its stuff. But you then lose interest in the mental stuff, you then let the mind free to do its own thing. That is the ‘dropping of the mind.’

Too often, the ‘dropping of the mind’ has been conflated with an image of a total standstill. No, the mind is not going to come to a standstill, it will keep moving. You do not move with the mind then. You let the mind move and when the mind is allowed that freedom, the mind feels nice and you too feel nice.

We have to be careful against these spiritual terms: ‘dropping the mind’, ‘the death of the mind’, ‘going beyond the mind,’ and such things. All of them are nothing but interference in the natural functioning of the mind and that only adds to the mental chaos. There is already movement in the mind, and what are you doing? You have entered with your own agenda to ….?

Q: Labelling them.

AP: To stop it, or to label it as good or bad. To promote one part of it, to suppress another part of it. What are you doing? Don’t you see you are just adding to the disorder?

Q: Entropy.

AP: Yes, whatever you do, it increases. The moment you do something, you are only adding to the chaos. So, ‘dropping of the mind’ only means a loss of interest in all this that is happening, which does not mean that you become indifferent. This only means that you are no more afraid that what is happening can reduce you, or add to you. That is what I mean by a loss of interest. You do not now have stakes attached to stuff that is going on. Stuff happens, fine — good stuff happens, bad stuff happens, ugly and pleasant. All of these things happen, but none of them is a verdict upon who I am. None of them enhances me, none of them belittles me.

That is what is meant by loss of interest in the mind. Which does not mean that you become indifferent, nonchalant. It does not mean that you move out of the arena. You are still in the arena, it is just that victory and defeat are now only a part of the game. They will not have an effect on your self-worth. That is what is meant by ‘dropping the mind.’

‘Dropping the mind,’ I repeat, does not mean that you have stopped the game, the game continues. ‘Dropping the mind’ does not mean that you have moved out of the arena, you are still in the arena. First of all, the game has been continuing, and secondly, not only the game has been continuing, but you have also been participating. The only thing that is now not there is your existential fear, and existential greed. You are in the game, the game is continuing, you are participating, and you are participating as deeply as you please. But your participation is just participation. It is not a desperate attempt to survive. Your security and survival do not depend on any outcomes or results. This is what is meant by ‘dropping of the mind.’

I assure you, since the beginning of time, every single human being that has tried to control the mind has failed. There are some who retain the honesty to admit that they have failed, and there are some who are so burdened by their own investment in the spiritual process that they no more have the guts to admit it. The mind cannot be controlled. But, yes, you can look at the tendency to control the mind, and wonder whether it is worth it.

Once somebody came and asked, “You know, what can we do to control the mind?” I said, “Can you control your tendency to control? Is this tendency yours?” Had this urge to control the mind been yours, first of all, you would have been able to control this urge. But you have an uncontrollable urge to control the mind. Don’t you see what is happening? The more you pander to this urge, the more you are adding to the clamour, are you not? Let the mind be, let life be. You don’t need to change or improve anything. You only need to see that your fears are useless, needless. That all this desperation to control, enhance, or drop is just coming from a feeling that there is something amiss.

When you feel lonely, or little, or cornered, or sad then you try these things like controlling the mind, like dropping the mind, like seeing God everywhere. That’s when you try these things. Instead of trying these holy tricks, why don’t you just go to the roots of your basic discontentment? Why don’t you go to that which keeps you agitated and unsettled? Would that not be more honest, and also, would that not be more practical? One cannot talk directly to his daughter, one starts going to the temple, or starts reading a sacred book. Is that honest?

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