The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Question (Q): Sir, you always emphasize on total involvement in any task one takes up, but in our lives, we experience a constant state of flux. So my question is, how to remain centered amid all ups and downs and remain involved in my tasks?
Acharya Prashanth (AP): The task has to be overwhelming enough. You cannot say that you want to remain fully immersed in any task amidst the ups and downs of life and all the changes, all the flux. That won’t happen. You must have something utterly important at your hand. It must be something that is so overpowering that it demands your entire energy, the weight of your total self. Only then will you be able to remain dedicated irrespective of all the distractions and all the movements around you.
So the question has to be reworded. You have to be very clear about what your task should be. It is a very common fallacy you see, people often say, “I want to remain committed to my work, my task, my profession, or my studies or whatever, my resolutions. I want to stick to all these things, but I lose track. I start feeling distracted.” And then their entire curiosity is about how not to get distracted.
They would never question what is it that you do not want to get distracted for? What is it that you have picked up? What is it that you want to stick to? Why do you want to avoid distraction? See, look at the assumption in your question. What you are saying is ‘there is something that I have picked up, I must stick to it. Therefore, I must not get distracted.’
I am asking you a more fundamental question, why must you stick to what you have picked up? What is the need? Is your task important enough? Meaningful enough? Right enough? If it indeed is then no distraction will be able to budge you, let alone uproot you.
Mostly, it is not that the distractions are too powerful, it is just that the tasks that we take up are so underwhelming, so little that our association with it is very feeble, very powerless. So this powerless association is then defeated by even a simple kind of distraction.
Right now as I speak to you, I just look out of the window there is a strong wind…