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Why does one crave to become better? || (2018)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
12 min
47 reads

Acharya Prashant (AP): There is a person who is dreaming about betterment and sitting at her place, she is visualizing how things would be after betterment. And she says that the visualization energizes her, and fantasizing about the endpoint makes her happy. This is the situation. Let’s go into it.

I think of betterment because I take myself as deficient, right?

Questioner (Q): Yes, sir.

AP: If I don't take myself as incomplete or deficient, I cannot think of betterment. In contentment, it is absurd to think of further improvement. We are talking of the ‘I’ sense. The ‘I’ sense that takes itself as lacking in something. Because it takes itself as lacking in something, so it thinks of betterment.

What we miss here often, is that the thought and the thinker will always share the same quality; the action and the actor will always share the same quality; the imagination and the one imagining will always be of the same quality.

Now, if I say that I am imagining precisely because I do not like the way I am, I want to change because I do not feel alright with the way I am, then who am I in my own estimation? Somebody deficient, somebody incomplete.

If I am incomplete, then sitting where I am, what would be the quality of my action, thought, and imagination? They, too, would be of incomplete nature.

So, incompleteness is projecting more incompleteness for itself and then trying with all its might to reach more incompleteness. How will that help?

Let’s take the extreme and crass example of a drunkard. It’s an extreme example. I understand. So, just stay with it.

If one is drunk and one is thinking of improvement in his drunken state - When you are drunk, you think of a lot of things which you usually don’t think of - If one is drunk and one is thinking of improvement and one is thinking of improvement precisely because one is drunk, then what would be the quality of that dream or vision? I have already declared myself as lacking or poor or deficient. And if I am lacking or poor or deficient, how will I dream of a total and complete and whole future?

My vision, too, would just be a polished version of who I already am. And I am, in my own estimation, not good enough. My dreams would only be a refined version of my current state. They will not be able to take me beyond myself. And that is why dreamers keep failing. And that is why the progress that dreams give us is only cosmetic. Yes, something changes but only on the surface. Real change never comes.

When you make a goal for yourself, pay attention to the state of the goal-setter as well.

If you are afraid, what would be the quality of your goal? Please? The goal would contain a lot of fear. And you set a lot of goals when you are afraid. In fact, the more afraid you are, the more you want to reach the next goal. Because you will not be comfortable with your current state, you would want to quickly shift to the other state of the goal.

You would say, “I don’t like this state. I am afraid. I am afraid, so that's my goal.” But because you are setting that goal in your current state, that goal would have all the elements of fear, but hidden. And because they would be hidden, you would be tricked into thinking that your dreams or imaginations will take you away from fear. That can’t happen!

Which means very interestingly that goal-setting or dreaming or visualizing defeats its own purpose. The moment you visualize you have certified that you are not worthy of visualizing. Because you visualize only when you are not alright with yourself. And if you are not alright with yourself, then this is not the right time to visualize.

Dreaming defeats the dreamer. Dreaming defeats the very purpose of dreaming. One, therefore, has to simply open her eyes to the fact of today, the fact of living, the fact of how one is operating through the 24-hour cycle. That probably may help really.

Q: For example, if a person was to visualize from a place of wholeness, in that, the end goal has been visualized. And If there is a disidentification with what that is, and it just be what it is.

AP: Wonderful. From a place of wholeness, one doesn't visualize. From a place of wholeness, one creates without purpose. And there can be no purposeful creativity. If you are whole, then, too, you act; then, too, you think but that thinking is not about making up for your perceived deficiencies. Then you just act, then you just think; then you do not act for a reason, then you do not think with a target. This is just acting.

That is the elixir of life — To act without knowing what the action would lead to, and having the courage and the boldness and the faith to act without knowing what the action would result into, to live without knowing what the future would bring, to create without knowing whether the creation would fetch any material returns or not, to dance without bothering whether somebody is applauding or not — that is creativity.

Q: When we are talking about creativity, about being a dreamer — dreamer dreams a lot, creates visions for himself. Being from a creative side, what I feel is, if I don’t have that material base of my visions when it comes to creating something, I won’t be able to create. Because these imaginations are the support, these are the bricks that are supporting that creation. Though I might be dreaming.

So, I was traveling to Mumbai for an office trip. I met a model and had a conversation. Last year, I met another model. Both have different natures, from that I took those pieces, created a story which is on dance. Probably, I won’t be able to make it or direct it right now. But, at least I have a story, I have a visualization from which something has been created.

AP: You see, creativity is love. It doesn’t bother for what practical resources you have. What you are saying is you give the first position to what you have and then creativity is built on that. Not really.

If creativity is real, it would spring into the unknown and then would find whether resources are available. If resources are there, then obviously you are using them only for pre-determined purposes. Then, how is there any creativity here?

Secondly, creativity is not a side. That which is normally called creativity in commerce, or arts, or advertising, or theatre, or whatever, is hardly creative.

Creativity is not a field. Every field is going to be limited. Creativity is a moment-to-moment way of living. You cannot call certain professions as creative professions and certain professions as commercial, or uncreative, or mechanical, or whatever.

Either your very breath is creative or you are not. There is nothing called a creative field.

Q: So, it's a very interesting story about how I am right now in Rishikesh. I was driving to the office. Things were not working, both in family and work. Fine! I just parked my car at Airport. Took a bus, metro, then a bus to Dehradun. Now, I am sitting in Rishikesh. It’s been around more than 24 hours, I have not informed my family.

AP: So, you know what creativity is, right? And this act is not going to be certified or validated as a great creative act by anybody, outside of you. But, you know very well now what creativity is. It’s not coming up with a masterpiece. It’s not about coming up with something that is demonstrable. It’s about living in a certain way which is not quite a way.

Q: I tend to do things that are not appreciated by others and this is causing trouble.

AP: You decide, what do you love more, creativity or trouble-lessness? One has to take the call.

Q: Would you say that it's spontaneous action?

AP: Yes, it is spontaneous. But, then if I switch on this bulb, this, too, is spontaneous in its reaction. It takes no time for the bulb to start emitting light. That’s a different quality of spontaneity. That’s a spontaneity in which there could possibly have been a lag but now there is not. Here it has no option to not react when it’s asked to.

Similarly, a short-tempered man has no option to not react when abused. That too is spontaneous. You abuse me, I abuse you back. That too is spontaneous.

Spontaneity is when you could not have been probably and possibly spontaneous. Your fears could have arrested you. You could have sought time to think over, mull over, and come up with a safe and secure response. But, then, there was something more attractive, more lovable than safety and security. So, you decided to not take any time, and rush towards that lovable thing. That is creativity.

Life is either creative or it’s the life of this audio system, of this camera, of this bulb, programmed. If there is no creativity, then there is a programmed life. Then, everything is programmed, love is programmed, vacations are programmed, God is programmed, meditation is programmed.

Q: We all are programmed.

AP: Yes, unfortunately, most of us are programmed. The redeeming part is, something in us does not like our state. So, even though we might be living programmed lives, yet we want to be somewhere else. We don’t like where we are. Nobody likes where he is. That's wonderful.

Dangerous are those who have settled comfortably into their programmes.

Very dangerous are those who have now come to an agreement and have made a deal with their programming.

Q: Though we sometimes make spontaneous decisions, I somehow feel that they are also somehow guided somewhere. So, while I was driving, I had to take a U-turn. Now that day, there had been a new road that had been channeled. Like one for a u-turn, and one for going straight. But it was the first time for me, so I got confused and I took the straight one. Then I was having second thoughts, if should I take a u-turn.

Whatever thought was coming to my mind, I took it. I didn’t take that deliberately. So, I just couldn’t manage the traffic. I went into that lane. I drove straight and I went for it. Not spontaneous, but somehow guided.

AP: You see, there is nobody who gets no taste of the beyond in his daily life. The tragic part is we get a taste of That and yet do not feel sure enough to plunge into that. In fact, life would have been without any suffering, had we had no taste of freedom or love.

The great tragedy is somewhere we know what Truth is, what freedom is, and what it means to live lightly. Because we know that, therefore we suffer all the more. Because now we also know what we are missing out on.

Had you had no experience, no intimacy, with the beyond, then you would have been as trouble-free as a machine. No machine ever weeps.

You know what your great possibility is and therefore, you weep because you deny that great possibility to yourself.

To a machine, there is no great possibility. So, it doesn’t weep. To you, that possibility very much exists. And man lives so that the possibility can be achieved, can be materialized. And if in your lifetime, you do not materialize that possibility, if you do not live to your fullest, then you have wasted your life.

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