Listener 1: Pleasure for the human condition is just an absence of pain.
Acharya Prashant: Never talk of pleasure and pain separately. Never think that one exists in the absence of other. Never say that pleasure is the absence of pain. In fact, language has played a nasty trick here, by having two separate words for pleasure and pain. There must be one single word which is pleasure-pain, so that you know that these two are inexorably tied together, so that you know that one is the other, so that you know that what appears like a duality is just a mirage.
Freedom from pain is not an absence of pain; freedom of pain is letting pleasure-pain do their stuff and not being involved with that. By hopping to the other end of duality you do not get freedom from duality.
Moving to pleasure does not mean an end of pain or an absence of pain.
It only means that you are still on the same pleasure-pain axis.
Maybe, in your imaginations, your location has shifted but shifted on the same axis. Freedom from pain is freedom from pleasure. And that means not the end of pain or pleasure or both. It means that now, you have complete freedom to have pleasure, to have pain, to let pleasure and pain play their own game.
Who will have pleasure?
Let’s simply say pleasure will have pleasure.
Who will experience pain?
Pain will experience pain and they have all the right, and you have no right to unnecessarily be harsh on them. Pleasure comes and goes, pain comes and goes, and you don’t block either of them. To block them you’ll have to sit in the stream, you’ll have to sit on the same axis. Don’t sit there.
You’re too large shaped to travel in that narrow stream. The stream suffers and the ship is in an awkward position, like a body that is just too large to be contained in a set of clothes. And you are forcing that body to be contained in those clothes. How does that body feel? Awkward. What will happen to the clothes?
They tear apart.
That which you are, is just too immense to wear anything.
So, don’t try to cloth it.
L2: Sir, are you talking about physical pain or psychological pain?
L2: But Sir, as you said pain takes care of itself. I hope this is symbolic. Imagine that a truck cuts my legs in two. Is that taking care of yourself?
AP: Yes of course. Who else will take care of your leg? Let’s say that your leg is indeed in trauma. Who takes care of your leg?
L2: I think the doctor or the hospital staff.
AP: How did the doctor come to you?
L2: I called him.
AP: You called him, so the calling helped. Who called? You. So the throat spoke and the mind framed the sentences. The body called for attention, the mind came up with the right social message. The mind knew the social language. But why are you bothered?
L2: I get it, Sir.
AP: When you are not bothered, then please see that the body-mind system gets more freedom to operate in a healthy way. Something utterly terrible may have happened to your leg but the only one who will take care of your leg is your own apparatus — the body-mind.
The body-mind operates in freedom only when they operate in freedom, not when they want to capture freedom.
The clouds must operate in the sky, not when the clouds want to capture the sky.
Do you know the significance of the word ‘in’?
‘In’ means to be contained, ‘in’ means to be surrendered. Let the body and the mind operate ‘in’ freedom of Truth. I had to involuntarily add this ‘of Truth’, I didn’t want to because that makes it a little coarse, saying that a body and mind must operate in freedom is sufficient. Truth is freedom itself, why must I unnecessarily add a redundant word.
When you let the body and mind operate freely, that itself is Godliness.
When you let the body and mind operate freely that is when you are letting God act on your behalf.
God will not act on your behalf by shining as an angel somewhere, instead, God acts on your behalf through your own body and mind.
Your body knows what to do next, the mind knows what to do next. This is God working for you. Ah! God working for himself. But your concept of Grace is that something will shower upon you from outside. Grace does not come to you from outside. Our concept of Grace is that something will shower upon us from outside. Grace does not mean that something will come to you from outside; Grace always arises from within.
And that is a huge misconception.
When we talk of Grace, we feel as if I am the object that will receive Grace — it is a totally false notion.
You are not the object that will receive Grace; you are the fountainhead from which Grace will spring.
Grace springs right in your Heart, it does not come to you from somewhere outside.
L3: I am writing a book about all the wonders of Grace that is happening to me. But, now, I think I will have to restart it all over again.
AP: Imagine you are lying wounded, your leg is in trauma. You call up the doctor and the doctor arrives. The arrival of the doctor is not the Grace; the Grace is that in you that called up the doctor — That is Grace.
Now, let’s say you are so wounded that you faint, you can’t even call up the doctor but the doctor still arrives. Now you may ask, ‘I didn’t call the doctor and he still arrived, So, is not Grace something that showers from the outside?’ No!
Now, your bloodied condition is the Grace. Had you not been in that condition would the doctor have arrived? So, Grace is first of all about something intrinsic. It is not something out there in the world. It is something that will happen to you, it is something that happens in you.
In fact, the word ‘receiving Grace’ is such an insult to Grace. But it is used so often in our culture and in the popular teachings.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Let body and mind operate freely without you
Advait has since long been revered as the crown jewel of all spiritual philosophies. However, there are very few books, if any at all, that practically demonstrate the presence, applications, methods and benefits of living as per the golden teaching of Advait-Vedanta.
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Originally published at prashantadvait.com on January 12, 2017.