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The old is going, but where is the New?
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
4 min
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Question: Sir, I am awake almost 14-16 hours a day. I have been feeling that I have just been wasting away this time. Nothing is getting done. Nothing is being accomplished. There is so much I can do, but I avoid it because I have a doubt that may be the need to accomplish something is conditioning. But then what do I do?

I feel like my 16 hours a day are not productive. I read some books; the rest of the time I am just lost in the past. I am lost in memories, always remembering all the wrong I have done, all the pleasure and pain I keep recalling. I just sit all day lost in thoughts. I do this because I have read that society pushes you to ‘Do something’ and not sit Idle. But sitting idle like this is making me worried.

From the beginning we are told to always achieve something, to always try to get ahead of everyone else. So I said: “Fine, I won’t do anything”. Because of all this I am not learning any new skills, because I feel that all skills only strengthen the ego.

Sir, how to know whether the desire to do a particular action is coming from ego or from the true self?

Answer: Amandeep,

The mind has been living for long in patterns. It knows no other way of being.

By Grace, a point comes when the mind slowly beings to see the trap that all these patterns are.

By the faint call of the Truth, the mind has faintly begin to see ‘the false as the false’.

But the call is faint, and the momentum of the past is still very strong. When the old pattens start falling off, there is nothing to substitute them with.

Nothing to substitute the old patterns! Now that is scary. The mind would have accepted the situation has one pattern been simply replaced by another. But here, the mind is seeing that all patterns are false.

The old is going, the new does not seem to arrive. A vacuum!

This is your discomfort. You are losing the old engine of action (which you have called as ‘ego’). But you are not yet getting any experience of new, ego-less action.

You will have to wait. With deep longing, but without grudging. Like one waits for a lover.

The movement of patterns is gross, we become used to the gross. The movement of ego-less action is very subtle, and the habituated mind will initially fail to notice it. It is like being so accustomed to the raucous noise of the road traffic that one feels uncomfortable with silence once the traffic clears off. Do listen carefully. In this silence, there is the beautiful music of the gentle breeze and the delicate humming of that unknown creature. Do not complain that there is a dead silence. There is music, but you will start hearing it once your ears regain their sensitivity.

You have asked “How to know whether the desire to do a particular action is coming from ego or from the true self?”. You will know. There are voices that will tell you. Just keep your eyes and ears open. And a caution: do not expect that the new action, the new voice, the new guide will be of the same type, the same nature as the old one. So, don’t search for the old one in a new attire. This will be new, really new. Be ready to be surprised.

And till you feel you are unable to hear the silent music, rejoice in patience! That music may not yet be audible, but at least you are spared the cacophony.

-Based on Question and Answer sessions with me on various e-forums.

Dated: 18th July,’14

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