Acharya Prashant is dedicated to building a brighter future for you
If you are unable to be fully involved in your task || (2020)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
7 min
50 reads

Questioner: 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 amidst all ups and downs, and remain involved in my task?

Acharya Prashant: 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 and 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 to it 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’s a very common fallacy, you see. People often say, "I want to remain committed to my work, my task, or 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 and 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’s the need? Is your task really important enough, meaningful enough, right enough? If it indeed is, then no distractions 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 task that we take up is 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, and I look out of the window, there is a strong wind beginning to blow. Strong and deep-rooted trees won’t have to worry. They have associated themselves so deeply with their foundation that it doesn’t matter to them how strong the wind is. It doesn’t matter to them that occasionally some large animal comes and starts violently rubbing against their trunk. The trees stand where they are. The trees don’t say that the world is too full of distracting and uprooting forces.

Why don’t we want to look at what we are doing? Why do we just talk of the distractions and disturbances? We don’t want to look at what we are doing because it is a function of our Ego, the task that we have picked up. If you carefully investigate the task that you have picked up, it would very quickly become an investigation into the very nature of your life and you will be forced to change your life. That hurts. That hurts in the psychological sense, and it demands a lot of effort. So, we do not want to look at our choice of work and the choosing agency that executes that choice. That we do not bother much about, but we need to bother about that.

You know, it is quite possible that one must be distracted. Why should you remain focused on an unworthy task, tell me? Sometimes it is better to see that the task that you have picked up has come to you either in ignorance or just accidentally. You really have no heartfelt relationship with it. Your weak association with your task is exposed the moment there is something else trying to claim your attention. You find that you are attracted towards that other thing very easily. You just slip away. And if you just slip away, it merely means that your fundamental relationship with your task is very weak. It is weak because the choice of action has come from an unconscious state of the actor. You have not really, very consciously, or honestly decided what to do. If the choice is coming rightly, then what you are doing, actually becomes a love affair.

Then, you just cannot drop it easily. Then you become helpless in that matter. A situation may come where you may actually want to leave the work that you are doing, but the work in itself would be so compelling that it will not allow you to go away. It’s a diametrically opposite situation. Here you are saying, "I want to be with my work, but worldly distractions come and carry me away." I am saying, if you really know what you are doing, if you really see the importance of that work with respect to your life, then you might find that you want to leave your work, but a deeper point within you does not allow you to go away.

So, do not talk so much about the distractions. Talk about yourself, and the choice of your work. You must see what your deep needs are, and your work has to correspond to those needs. That’s anyway the sole motive of all right work, no? Otherwise, why should one work at all? Work has to be purposeful. The sole purpose of work is to bring contentment and completeness to the incomplete psyche within.

So, you have to figure out, what is it that your mind lacks? And your work has to be chosen such that your work brings the required fulfillment and completeness to your mind. Then your mind will never feel alienated or bored from your work. Because now the mind can see and experience that the work is indeed very, very beneficial. Remember, the work is beneficial, not the result of the work. Just the process of working itself is so beneficial, who is going to wait for the salary cheque or the results of the examination, no?

The joy from the work is instantaneous. You are not working so as to get some possible benefit in the future. Right in the middle of the action, you are deriving joy from the action. Where is the possibility of getting disturbed or deviated now? Who can now take you away? That is why I said it’s a love affair. It’s a heartly-love-affair, that I cannot be so easily snapped.

Have you benefited from Acharya Prashant's teachings?
Only through your contribution will this mission move forward.
Donate to spread the light
View All Articles