The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Question: Pranaam Acharya Ji, while reading through ‘The Fountainhead’ I found that Howard Roark (the protagonist in Ayn Rand’s novel ‘The Fountainhead’) does not pay much attention to his past actions, and is rather attentive to what’s going on in the present with him. It is clearly evident in his conversations with other characters.
My mind always tries to always introspect the actions that have been done in the past and tries to analyze and draw some conclusions from them. Why does the mind do it? Is it because it was not attentive to the incident when it first occurred, and hence it feels incomplete in its response and hence wants to revisit it?
Most of the time I find that my mind wants to dwell in concepts and ideology it framed and does not want to be attentive to what is happening in real life.
Acharya Ji, please help me understand the introspective character of the mind and how one can bring attentiveness to the present.
Acharya Prashant (AP):
Attentiveness can only be to that which is present.
The past is a filler, do not blame the past.
If you have nothing right now with you, then as a filler ‘past’ and ‘future’ would flow in.
Do you want to blame them?
A bowl has water. And when it does not have water, then what does it have? The air. Do you want to blame the air? The bowl is supposed to have water, that's what it is mandated to have. Why did the bowl empty itself of water? Now the bowl is not talking of water. The bowl is saying, “Acharya Ji, my problem is I am so full of air.”
Air is the default filler. If you do not have That which you must have, then you will have air. Why don’t you have that which you must have? That’s the question.
The present is not merely engagement in some activities that you are currently doing.
The present refers to the One center that you must always have.
Being in the present does not mean being concentrated on whatever rubbish you might have undertaken.