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What is maturity?
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
8 min
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Questioner (Q): Sir, what is maturity? What is the real age of being mature?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Good. So, Aakrati has opened the session she has asked, “What is the real meaning of maturity?”

Aakrati, whenever we mention the word ‘maturity’, we mention it in the sense of growing up. We mention it in the sense of ‘becoming’ mature. What we mean is that maturity is something to be achieved. You ‘become’ mature. Notice the word ‘become.’ “I am not mature, I will become mature.” For us, maturity is something in the future. For us, maturity is something to be gotten through a process, after a period of time. Right? You say, “These experiences made me mature.” So, something will happen which will bring maturity to you, but you are firmly convinced that right now you are not mature.

Let me give you an alternative, let me say something a little different. Maybe ‘maturity’ is not an achievement, maybe ‘maturity’ is not what you become, maybe mature is what you already are, maybe ‘maturity’ is something that you just discover.

There is a difference between discovery and achievement. Do you understand that? The difference between discovery and achievement. When you say, “I am achieving something”, what you mean is, “I do not have it and I will be getting it.” That’s what you mean by achievement. What is meant by discovery? It is there, it is right here, but it is covered, so I cannot see it. So, what am I doing? “I am discovering it. I am not achieving, I am just discovering what is already there.”

Maturity is something to be discovered. At our age, given that we all are adults, young adults, maturity is already there right with us, right within us. All of us are already mature. When we sit here, none of us need to achieve maturity. I will not say the same thing to an eight-year-old. With the eight-year-old, the physical apparatus is not yet ready; the brain is not yet ripe. But as far as we go, as far as anybody after the age of twelve, fourteen, or fifteen goes, maturity is available. But whether or not he lives in maturity depends on whether he has discovered it.

So, my question to you would be, “Have you discovered your maturity?” You should then ask me, “Sir, the question of discovery arises only when something is covered. ‘Covered’ means hidden, concealed. So, what is our maturity hidden under?” When I am saying to you that discover your maturity, then the question that arises is, “What is our maturity covered under?”

Your maturity is covered under your belief that you are immature. Your maturity—understand this— is covered under your own belief that you are still immature and you have a deep interest in going on believing in your immaturity.

You are asking me, “What is maturity?” I am saying maturity is that what is already there with you. But very few of us actually feel mature. Very few of us would accept that we are mature. Most of us have a deep interest, a deep stake in believing that we are immature. What is that interest, what is that stake? That stake is- maturity comes with responsibility.

To be mature is to be responsible. To be mature is to be capable of living life as per your understanding. To be mature is to give up all crutches and support, but we have become habituated to crutches and supports. We do not want to give them up and there is no better way to continue using supports than to declare, “I am immature.” So, our logic is very simple, “I do not want to stand on my own legs, I do not want to live as per my own intelligence.” So, what do I do? I declare that “I am still immature, and because I am still immature, I need a lot of support.”

That is the logic of our life, we are still kids. We may be twenty or twenty-five or whatever age, that doesn’t matter. We go on believing that we are still kids. Believing that we are still immature gives us a lot of benefits. It gives us a sense of security. As we said it provides us with crutches. It makes us feel safe. “Because I am immature so others must give me security; because I am immature, so others are responsible for my life; because I am immature so others can take decisions for my life.” And we feel very good with all that. We feel very nice with all that. Yes, of course, there is a sense of security in feeling immature, but that is a false security. Yes, of course, you don’t have to decide for your own, but then when you don’t decide for yourself then your life is not your life.

I was at a particular place, and I was seeing—It was college—that even MBA students, and it’s a post-graduate program, right. Even final year MBA students were being referred to as kids (Bachhe). And it was not the teachers and others who were calling them kids. They were referring to each other. I asked them, “Some of you have worked in the corporate, some of you are more than twenty-five years old. How can you still refer to each other as kids? How can you still call each other MBA Ke Bachhe (kids of MBA)? What makes you think that you are still Bachhe?” And they had no answer.

Accept, that this makes us feel comfortable. I want you to inquire into this-Why do we not want to grow up? Why do we want to continue believing that there is something wrong with us, we are still not capable of living freely? On one hand, you continue to say that, “I am dependent”, on the other hand, you complain when you have to pay the price of that dependence. The price of that dependence is your freedom. Don’t you see that? You are taking support from so many people and what are you giving in return? You are paying for that support with your freedom. You have surrendered your freedom.

So, let me say now, freedom is the joy of maturity. What is freedom? The joy of maturity and matured you already are. It is such a tragedy then that in spite of being mature we do not experience that freedom which is our birthright, we do not experience that freedom which is our basic nature. Getting it?

You are already mature, just stop compromising. You will have to pay some price. You will have to give up all your comforts, initially at least. And that will may make you feel a little vulnerable when your safety and security goes away. But if you decide to always remain safe and secured and dependent, then are you alive? Are you young? Are you mature? Are you getting it?

I repeat. One, you already are mature. Second, you are not discovering your maturity only because your maturity is covered under your own belief that you are immature. Third, you continue to believe that you are immature because that belief is providing you with certain comforts. These beliefs ensure that others are responsible for your well-being and upkeep.

So, there is some apparent benefit that you get out of believing that I am immature. And fourth point, if you continue to believe that you are immature if you continue to remain dependent. Then you are not really alive.

Only the free one is alive. Being alive, being free, being mature, they are all one and the same thing. Right?

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