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The mind is not your own || Acharya Prashant (2016)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
12 min
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Acharya Prashant (AP): The topic is ‘The infectiousness of boredom’. Not only is boredom infectious, anything and everything that the mind experiences, is contagious, infectious. You experienced it with respect to one particular way of the mind, one particular move of the mind, right now. That does not mean that only boredom is contagious, that rather means that right now, there is a particular environment in which you could observe this particular infectiousness that affects the mind.

It is happening at every moment. Mind you, it has happened three hundred times with you since this morning but you couldn’t notice it in the previous two ninety-nine occasions. So, the question to be asked is not whether boredom is infectious. Mind itself is an infection, an acquisition, an import. There is no wave in the mind that arises on its own because on its own anyway the mind is nothing.

The mind operates in dualities and duality is nothing on its own. One end is dependent on the other just as much as the other end dependent on the first one. So, what is on its own? Is the world is on its own? No, not really. The world is dependent on the mind. Is the mind on its own? No, not really. The mind is dependent on the world. Where do both come from? That will be answered when there is no mind to ask this question. That will be answered when there is no mind to receive the answer. So, that’s a pretty impossible thing for the mind to grasp.

Ask yourself, “Why did it happen that since the morning you missed it two ninety-nine times. Since the morning you would have experienced shades of happiness, boredom, sadness, excitement, depression, frustration, ambition, hope, anxiety, playfulness, right.

Each and everything that is possible to the mind keeps occurring randomly. Why are we unable to observe that is not arising from within, that it is just a reaction to some external stimulus. Why do we fail to get that? That is one part. Second, what is unique about this situation that you could indeed detect it now. That is the question to be asked.

You see, we live lives like the crow bird does. You would have heard of that story that is often narrated to kids. The cuckoo keeps its eggs in the crow nest, the crow is not watchful enough not vigilant enough, lacks in discretion, Vivek. The cuckoo does not ask, does not inquire, “Are these eggs my own?” What does the crow do then? It keeps looking after, protecting, nursing those eggs as its own, only to be disappointed later on.

In the moment, when she is caring for those objects, she is very sure that they have arisen from her own self. Just as we get attached to our thoughts, the crow bird remains attached to those eggs. We remain attached to our thoughts precisely because we think that our thoughts, our mind, its disturbances, its hopes, its high and lows, its attachments, its likes, its dislikes are our own. So, what does the crow bird think?

Q: Eggs are her own.

AP: The poor female crow, the poor female crow. And the cuckoo, well, she keeps on singing her way to fame. And the crow, lots of hard work and an even bigger disappointment. Do we know whether that which we consider as our own is our own at all? And I am not talking of property here. I’m talking of something subtler than that. I am talking of the mind. I am talking of our inclinations, our attitudes, our opinions, our ideologies. Do they really, really belong to us? The question is important because we invest a lot in them.

I read yesterday that a woman is ready to divorce her husband because he is not prepared to support a particular politician. The woman has a particular ideology, the woman is saying that this ideology is extremely important to her. Now, what enables the women to say that? Her misplaced belief in the relation of the ideology to her own self. She believes that the ideology has?—come on!—arisen from her ‘self’.

So, she takes the ideology as something very dear to her. So, she takes the ideology as more intimate to her than her husband. So, she is saying, :Well, you know, of course, that which is far away can always be sacrificed for the sake of that which is closer. What is closer? My thoughts, my thoughts about that politician, and it doesn’t matter whether the thoughts are about a politician or about a sack of hay. The object is not material. What is material is that these thoughts are mine. Now, these thoughts could be of anything, they could be of cow dung. How does it matter? They are my thoughts; they are my thoughts. It doesn’t matter, what is the object of the thoughts. Whatever be the object, I have chosen the object.

Are we sure our thoughts are our thoughts? We invest really, really so much in them. We talked of a case where a family was being disturbed because of ideology. That was just a starter. How about all the families that are started on the basis of ideology? Is that not a bigger tragedy? If disrupting a family based on ideology is tragic, is it not even more tragic to begin a family based on ideology? Is the family itself not an ideology? Yes, and we invest ourselves so much in everything that is born out of thought.

To a vast majority of human beings, what is religion except an ideology? For the last majority of human beings, is religion a relentless dive into the Truth, is it? Or is it pursuing ideals, myths, codes of conduct, stories, thoughts? And don’t we give ourselves up to religion? I am not only talking about the established religion, I am also talking of the prevalent religions that have not been so far accepted as religious religions. I am talking of greed; I am talking of career. I am talking of progress; I am talking of knowledgeability. One question—Had we not been told what to do, what would we have done?

Now don’t dismiss it as naive or childish. It’s an extremely important question because like the crow bird we might be investing our life in something that is not our own. I’m asking, had we not been told what to do, what would have we done? Come on, please.

Q: So, we imitate whatever is around us. We would have imitated whatever would have been around us at that particular time.

AP: Yes, would it not be scary if it turns out that even to not to imitate is an imitation. That even the thought to not to imitate is an external insertion. Would it not be scary that we have dumbed ourselves down under the weight of these imports, these layers of conditioning so much that even the thought that these layers are loathsome is now just an external thought.

I have a reason why I am saying this. Have you really recognized that these are external? Could we really spot that out? Then we would have so far gotten rid of that which is external and yet sitting upon us. Please see where I am coming from. We say, we imitate. Had we really, really known and the stress is on the word ‘known’. The knowing that I’m talking of has a different quality, it’s real. Had you really, really known that we imitate, would we still be imitating? I am asking this. But we keep imitating and yet say that we? “We know that we imitate.”

Now surely then, this knowing that we imitate is also not at all real. This is? This also is an input. Now, is that not scary? Even the thought that we are conditioned is a conditioned thought. So, what are we left with? What are we left with?

Q: So, this is the same situation that we are inside the boundary and we are talking of something outside.

AP: Of course, because inside the boundary is kept one holy book that tells you fancy stories about the situation outside the boundary. Inside the boundary is kept a holy book and also sits some great guru who keeps on telling us fancy stories about what lies outside.

So, despite sitting here, we are knowledgeable in our own mind, as per our own claims about what lies there, what lies beyond.” Oh, we know what heaven is like. Oh, we know what it means to transcend.”

You are in college, right? Of course, you’ll be entering college. Virgins talk so much about sex, don’t they? In college.

Q: Yes sir.

AP: That’s it. Sitting virgin, you talk so much about sex. Sitting in the room, you talk so much about? What lies outside.

Q: Everything we do is already existed… (Hindi).

AP: That is not a relevant question. The relevant question is, “Are even these words your own?” It is not material, whether so far, we have lived a borrowed life. What is much more material is whether even this realization is authentic. I have spoken thousands and thousands of people, so far, and no less than a few hundreds of them have gone back realized. It is this realization that I’m apprehensive of. Ignorance is imported, all right. Of course, it has to be imported because the nature is not to be ignorant. So, it has to be imported. The trouble begins when even? Come on!

Q: When realization is…

AP: When even realization is imported, and that is a big, big trouble.

So, don’t realize too quickly. I am very scared of enlightenment. We have somebody here; I mean not physical but close by. Sonali knows him. His favorite line is, “Now I realize.” He has been on realizing spree since the last three years or so. He’s a senior realizer (laughter).

Be cautious of your own confidence. The ego likes to settle matters too soon. The ego likes to conclude too soon. Wherever there is a conclusion; wherever there is a settlement, wherever there is an ending that thought can grasp, it is a false ending, it is a false realization, I have no interest in talking about what true realization is like. True realization is anyway not a subject matter of discourse. We should rather warn of that which is false.

The ego can never be restful with loose ends, with uncertainty, with ambiguity, with things that are not beginning and not ending, with matters that seem absurd in a sequence of time, with issues that apparently do not have a cause, with actions that apparently do not result in anything. The ego will be very restless with these. So, it will try to close matters, it will try to conclude, it will try to assert. The assertion cannot be, “I do not know”, because that is a very unstable assertion. If you do not know, the responsibility is upon you to know. Sooner than later, after passing through a series of ‘I don’t knows’, the ego would quickly come to ‘I know’. Please be cautious of that. A few times the ego can accept this, ‘I don’t know’. But that ‘I don’t know’ is unstable. The ego would want to cross over that using knowledge. And knowledge is always? Imported. Understood? Was the yeah yours? (laughter).

AP: Now, remain attentive. Boredom was inflicted upon you by somebody. Watch out whether excitement too is inflicted upon you by somebody. Does excitement ever arise from within? Can you be excited without stimulus? Don’t so easily conclude, we don’t know. Better to stay in a position of finding out. So, go out and discover. See how it happens in the shopping malls. See how it happens in front of the television, in front of your mobile screens, in front of your loved ones, in front of the ones you hate. See how it happens. You must watch the whole process.

Watching the process is infinitely more important then coming to well accepted conclusions. General truths are of no help to anybody. “God rules. God made the earth and man.” How does it help you? It is not at all your Truth. It is just an imported axiom, not even an axiom, because an axiom means is carrying at least some factfullness. It is just rubbish; it is just something that you have taken in as the Truth.

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