The solution is so simple that we feel embarrassed accepting it
Question: Why is it so difficult to accept the person, or persons maybe, with whom one spends most of his time with?
Acharya Prashant: Do persons arbitrarily, randomly come into one’s lives? You look at your circle, you look at your relationships, you look at your intimate ones. Have they just, from nowhere, all of a sudden, one fine morning, jumped into your life? Yes? There is an active choice involved, is there not? Is there not? Your sons and daughters are the persons they are today, at least partly, due to your influence. You decide with whom to spend your time. You choose your boyfriend or your girlfriend, right? So, all of this, at least most of this, is happening as a result of my own decisions, my own choices. If I do not like my choices, then de-facto what is it that I dislike? The one who is making the choice. Is it not so?
When you will change, then the very basis of relationships will change. When you will have love and acceptance towards yourselves, and I am not using these two words ‘love’ and ‘acceptance’ in the same sense as they are now very often being used. Let me put it this way. When you are a little ‘alert’ towards yourself, then you will also be alert towards the choices that you are making. When you will know what you are doing in these small, daily, day-to-day matters, then you will know whether it is the right time to pick up a cup of tea.
Now we don’t know that, right? What do you think, only kids need to be taught these things? Adults also need toilet training. Most of us don’t know when it is the right time to visit the toilet. Somebody would get up in the middle of the session and that is worse than a kid wetting his pants because the kid does not have adequate toilet training. An adult missing a session because he was occupied in the toilet, is that really not worse than a kid wetting his pants? Who needs toilet training?
So, when we know of these little things in life, how really to hold a tea-cup, where to take-off your slippers, how to sit, how to look, where to look; what to attend, what to miss; when to go to sleep, when not to sleep; when to speak, when not to speak; when to go away, when to rush forth and hug. When we will know all these things, these small matters, then we will also know how to make the so-called big choices. Then we will also know how to decide whom to marry. Then we will also know how to decide where to work.
We keep asking about all the big things that are missing in life, and we never talk about these things, do we? We do not know when to go and take a walk. We do not know when to appear and when to disappear. But we think we fully well know when is the right time to have a kid. Excuse me! You require toilet training. You are still a kid. How come you are deciding on having a kid?
Again, I have to say that the matter is so simple and the solution is so easy, that we feel embarrassed accepting the solution.
Have you ever felt that embarrassment on going to a doctor? I have felt that, to go to a doctor thinking that you have some very serious ailment, and the doctor dismissing you in two minutes flat, describing a tablet of Vitamin-C every day. “Go away!” And before going to the doctor, you have been wondering for weeks, “Is my heart sinking? Is it cancer? Or, is it the liver? Or, some obnoxious genetic disorder?” And you go to him and he looks at you. And he writes, “Vitamin-C. Go away.” And he is not even saying, “Come back for a check-up.” It is humiliating, is it not?
That which you thought of as your great disease is actually just oranges and lemons. So, you won’t accept that prescription. You would rather go to some doctor who passes you through the most terrifying machinery, and some long and incomprehensible reports arrive. And finally he draws the whole chemical structure of the Vitamin-C molecule — it’s a big molecule — and he does not write Vitamin-C. Instead, he writes its IUPAC name. You know how long those names are, for big molecules? Now you are impressed — “Now, this is my disease.” And he says, “Keep visiting me every seven days and keep paying the fee”. “You must visit India every two years. Keep paying the fee.” Now you are sure that the doctor is a gyaani. “Aahh! See, he is a gyaani and he is a responsible one.”
But you go to someone and he resolves everything in two minutes flat. “Naah (No). I am so big. How can my problem be small? My problem must be at least as big as me.” Your problems are this small (making a small shape with his fingers). And the solution is this easy. Just see what you are wearing. Just see what you are talking. And you require no special lens to see.
We are not comfortable with anything — we are not comfortable with the persons we are with; we are not comfortable with our clothes; we are not comfortable with the happening; because whatever is related to you is there because of ‘you’. Had you not liked it, it would have gone away. A distance would have been created. If something or somebody is present in your life, please see your contribution in that. Then you will not feel like blaming the other. There are all kinds of things in the universe. Why are you found with the wrong kind of things? Is that not a genuine question to ask? And wrong as per your own assessment. Your own assessment itself may be wrong.
If ever you find yourself stuck with suffering, ask:
“Is suffering sticking to me? Or am I sticking to suffering?”
Do you know how one sticks to suffering? One sticks to suffering by sticking to the same breakfast, to the same way of thinking, to the same friends, same cap, same slippers.
When everything else is being allowed to remain the same, then how can suddenly the condition of your mind become different?
For mind is nothing but everything around you and within you.
Do you get this? Is the mind really something, or is the mind the muffler, the coat, the chair, the wall, the wife, the job, the car, the flight, the tasks, the hopes. Is that not what the mind is? If these things must remain the same, then would mind change? Tell me, would mind change?
Not that you can proceed through these things. Just that those things, by themselves, are eager to change. For coming and going is the habit of time. All things come and go. So, those things, those persons, those events, those thoughts, those patterns themselves, by themselves would fade into history, would go away. But you are insistent. No, you cannot go away. You do not allow the going one to go away. And then you say, “Nothing changes in my life. The suffering is continuous.”
Suffering wants to go away because everything goes away. Have you not seen how your pleasures go away? Have you not seen? Just as everything goes away, suffering too wants to go away, because suffering too is within time. But you say, “No, no, no. How can I let it go away?” “This is not suffering. This is my principles”. “This is not suffering. This is my God”. “This is not suffering. This is my religion”. “What? You call her suffering? She is my darling”. Darling is suffering! Read this sentence both ways: The darling is suffering for herself. The darling is suffering for you.
Listener 1: I wanted to ask, how to make the thing, the suffering go away? Just accept? Or is it something else?
AP: If suffering is with you, then it is the substance of the mind. It does not come all of a sudden. Its presence will be visible in every action of the mind. It is just that you do not detect it that regularly. You detect it only when it becomes unbearable. You detect it only when its expression conforms to the image that you have of suffering. For example, if you are just sitting distracted, thinking of your family, when this session is on, you will not label this as suffering, because this distraction does not agree with your definition of suffering. You say, “No, no, no. I am not suffering. Right now I am thinking of my loved one.” But if somebody is crying, then you will quickly say that the fellow is suffering, because this image of tears rolling down agrees with your image of suffering.
We are suffering all the time. Is distraction not suffering? Tell me, is it or is it not? We are suffering all the time. And that’s why I am saying — Suffering is the substance of mind. So, it will be detectable in every single action that you do. So, pay attention to these simple actions.
Being there was an act of suffering. Now tell me, is there any great reason behind that suffering? Simple, petty inattention. So what great prescription, remedy, medicine can be given to you. You do not require any medicine. Nobody requires any medicine. When the disease itself is so fake and false, will it require a real medicine? We do not tire of saying that the ego is false. If the ego is false, then how can the cure of ego be real? A false disease requires only diagnosis, not treatment. If you are just assuming that you are diseased, then you do not require medicines. You just require the word of the doctor telling you that,“You are not sick. You are all right.” The word of the doctor is all that you need. But you are insisting that, “No, my disease is heavy, big, real, threatening.”
Pay attention to these small matters — to whom are you talking; where are you standing; where are you going; what are you thinking. And in this, everything will be revealed.
If you can pay attention to your slippers, I assure you, they will reveal to you the Scriptures.
But no, we don’t want to pay attention to the slippers because, “Ahh, slippers! Just slippers?”
L2: It’s like you said, “We are sticking to the suffering. The suffering is not sticking to us.” When we are reading in a group, all the nonsense talks we have, those are, in fact, our way of sticking to the suffering, and not moving towards the actuality.
AP: Yes, of course. But at that time it is not nonsense talk. At that time it is friendly gossip. At that time it is bonding. At that time it is harmless entertainment, is it not? Yes, is it not? Then you do not see that this, that appears like laughter is nothing but the other face of sadness. With others, I would be laughing. And when lonely, there would be tears. You do not see that, right?
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 2: It is so simple to know yourself
Originally published at prashantadvait.com on June 25, 2016.