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Observation is security against hurt
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
9 min
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Questioner: Acharya Ji, If we see things and move quickly, are we not observing them?

Acharya Prashant: See, it's like this when you're not observant and you look at something, you go back into your own world or into the thousands other worlds that you have, and then with a jerk, you come back to that thing that you are observing. So, you have not observed the whole movement of the thing, right?

You observed the thing when it was there then you went away and when you came back then the thing was here, already here. Now, your total period of observation is confined to that interval and this interval (Indicating hand here and there). That is a total period for which you observe. But how much has the thing moved in that interval from there till here? The thing will appear to have a lot of pace. It is not that the thing had pace, it is just that you had removed your eyes from the thing.

If you are driving and you're not observant, you are not looking at the truck coming at you and you suddenly wake up when the truck is about to hit you how do you feel? Is that moving fast or slow? The truck is moving so fast for you that you now can't even swerve and save yourself.

Why do accidents happen? Accidents happen because the thing is now moving so fast for you that you cannot avoid the collision. Had the thing being slow? You would have avoided the collision, obviously. Now the thing really moving too fast? No, the thing is not really moving that fast. It is just that, you were not observant enough.

Now, in spite of the thing not moving so fast, there is a collision. And when there is a collision, you say that the thing was moving too fast for me. It wasn't moving too fast. Your eyes are not on that thing. You noticed it after it was too late. So, it appears to be moving too fast.

We returned after a game of cricket. All coaches tell the batsman to keep his eyes firmly on the ball. Even if you don't intend to play the ball, even if you intend to leave it, yet keep your eyes on the ball. You must watch the ball, cross you. In fact, if you look at good batsmen they watch the ball even till the moment it goes to the keeper. They would leave the ball and then turn a little back and look at the ball hitting the wicket-keeper his gloves.

When you are watching the ball then you get enough time to play the ball. The ball slows down for you. If you are watching the ball continuously the ball slows down.

Q: The ball will be seen to him like football.

AP: That means that his eyes have actually now become glued to the ball. He can see everything that is now happening, the ball is leaving, the hands of the baller the coming, coming, coming, swinging a little, hitting the deck, rising and he can… It's as if, it's all happening in slow motion. And he has enough time to adjust himself, give himself room and play the short. Frame after frame, he is able to look at it, that is observation.

Now, the thing cannot beat you. Now, you can see the movement. But even to watch the ball and be a master player, you need the stillness of the mind. If your mind is hurried or if you have told yourself that you need to whack the ball over the ballers head or if you are under pressure to somehow save the match, then you can't watch the ball. You are occupied with yourselves.

To watch, you must be still within.

To be still within you need to have reasonless faith. See, at the risk of misusing words, let me say something; faith is almost like a habit. It is not a habit, please. It is not a habit yet I am cautiously using the word habit for faith. Habit is a very poor description of what faith is. Yet, I must use that word.

We have made faithlessness a habit. If faithlessness can be a habit, try making faith a habit. I repeat, it is not really a habit but still, if you live in habits then why not? We anyway live in attitudes, try to have a carefree attitude. Try to have an attitude of reasonless security, try to have an attitude in which you don't get daunted easily, you don't start shivering easily.

The world might be stamping its feet in front of you, angrily, shouting, trying to freak you out and you're looking at it with a composed face with irreverent eyes as if, yeah, hmmm (nodding head in the assertion). It feels bad. It really hurts when the one, you are trying to scare does not get scared.

There was a kids camp, I freshly returned from there. So, I probably have outdated ideas about kids. I bought three or four masks. Really scary masks as per my standards and then on the first morning when all the kids were asleep I wore those masks and I also bought a couple of rubber snakes and I took those rubber snakes and when the kids were sleeping I went them and tried to scare them and they looked at me and phew (sounds like uninterested, went back to sleep).

That should be your attitude when the world comes to you with all its terrible faces, you should say, phew, and go off back to sleep. It's okay, fine. I felt hurt.

There is really no pleasure deeper than not getting disturbed when the entire world is conspiring to disturb you.

Take it from me. This deepest pleasure is called joy.

Everybody, the entire game of situations seems hell-bent on freaking you out, on just destroying your piece and you're looking at it with indifference. You're looking at it as if you do not know who you are talking to, yes. Do I know you? And even as you are looking at it and uttering these words, you start feeling drowsy and you go off to sleep. And the fellow is dancing a terrible dance hoping to extract some reaction from you. And the greatest reaction that you can give is that you start snoring; that is your reaction. He's shouting at you and you are snoring. You are home.

Spirituality gives you the incapacity to be disturbed.

You don't have it in your capacity anymore to feel disturbed. Spirituality takes away from you the capacity to be disturbed. So, you are left incapable of being disturbed. Even if you try to be disturbed, you start feeling bored of yourself.

What kind of pathetic attempt is this? I am trying to get disturbed. It doesn't happen and you complain it's not happening for me, what do I do? And nobody comes to help you. You are gone. You are finished.

When if you want to feel emotionally dizzy and hormonally high, it doesn't happen. You look at all the others who are riding the highs and going crazy with their own disorders, shouting madly as they ride the roller coaster of life and you wonder why is that not happening with me? It won't happen anymore. You have lost it. That is spirituality.

Ever heard the shrieks on that rollercoaster? It's not happening with you anymore. Those hurt expressions in the eyes, remember those expressions eyes full of hurt. Now the other one is trying to hurt you badly and you find that your eyes are just not up to it. Just to, you know, just to help the other not feel bad, you try to concoct some kind of reaction and you fall terribly. You try to demonstrate that you are indeed hurt, you try to bring that look to your eyes but it doesn't come. You know that look, right? "Now, has it come to this? Now, will you do this to me?" You try that and you fail miserably. You feel so miserably that you start feeling ashamed of yourself. And you rush out of the attempt. That is spirituality.

You can't do it anymore. Just as a man can't bark, you can't do it anymore. It's not in your hands to bark anymore. You are up and above that now. Yes, you can pretend to bark. You can pretend to swim in the gutter like pigs, once in a while but it falls flat the whole attempt. You (speaking in a tone of pretending one), See, can't even pretend.

The danger with this is, at it's such a naked thing that everybody comes to see, you are no more the same. You know what? When you stop getting hurt, most of your relationships collapse. Most of those who are related to you remain related to you only as long as they have the ability to hurt you. The day, they realize they can hurt you no more, they know that they have power over you no more, the relationship collapses. It's a dangerous thing not to get hurt. So, keep pretending as long as you can. You won't succeed however. A man can't bark for too long.

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