The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Questioner (Q): What exactly is thought? It seems as if it’s not material. But there is also a heaviness to it at times, especially when done in excess. So what is it?
Acharya Prashant (AP): It is material, there is no doubt about it. Because its content is never anything except material. Further, in purely scientific and material terms, the activity of thought can be measured on a purely material scale. When you are thinking, then there can be a needle sketching a graph and a graph is a pretty material thing, right? A graph that will almost accurately describe your brain waves. Now, only material can probably be accurately described on a piece of paper, not the para-material. So thought is something material. It’s just that we are accustomed to seeing material with eyes. Material can have subtler definitions; thought is that subtle material.
Q: Similarly, can you say that peace is subtler material because you can see it on an MRI scan. I can’t see both thought and peace. Peace seems subtler than thought.
AP: You cannot think about peace; or can you? You can think about your definition of peace. But you cannot think about peace. Peace can, in no way, be depicted on a piece of paper in the way that thought can be.
Q: So there is no way to really quantify or define something that’s not material but it is possible to quantify and define something that is material.
AP: Only material can be quantified. And if it can be quantified, it is material. That’s one way to avoid calling material stuff as mystical. Can it be quantified? If yes, then don’t call it mystical.
Q: What if I can’t suit their levels of peace. There is a shallow peace, there is deep peace.
AP: There are levels of disturbance, not levels of peace. There are levels of disturbance. Peace and disturbance are not a continuum. You can not say that as disturbance reduces, peace increases. Disturbance has its dimension. Peace does not lie in the dimension of disturbance. The disturbance is a particular dimension. On this dimension, you can have a lot of disturbance and relatively little disturbance. At no point, in this dimension, on this axis, do you have…