Question: Sir, how to utilize time ?
Speaker: Who will utilize time? Who wastes time?
Speaker: So, to whom should the question be directed? Or should we talk about time? What do you waste? Do you waste time, or do you also waste resources? You also waste life and you waste everything that comes to you. Somebody who is wasteful, would he waste only time or would he waste a lot of other things as well? So, is time the real issue or is it ‘me’ that I should to talk about? What should I talk about?
When you ask that how to utilize time, you have made a very arrogant assumption. Your assumption is- ‘Everything is alright with me, it is just this small aspect of time utilization that I falter in. Everything else is good’. It is like this that there is something wrong with my entire physical system, my blood, my very blood has a lot of impurities and because of this there are a lot of symptoms that are showing up in my body: my heart is under-pressure, my kidneys are not functioning well, my lever is enlarged, I keep feeling sleepy, I keep forgetting, my brain doesn’t function properly, the blood is impure, there are few pimples on my face. I go to the doctor and say, ‘Sir, my problem is that I have a few pimples on my face’. Now, am I wise when I say that the pimple is my problem? Is my problem only that I have pimples? What is my problem? My entire being is my problem. My very blood is my problem. Right? But what am I focusing on? Pimples ! Now the doctor can give you a cream that will remove the pimples. Will that solve your problem? This pimple gone, another pimple will come up. Right or Wrong? Have you not seen that happen? It clears from here and comes somewhere else or sometimes at the same spot.
We don’t even know that what the real issue is. It is not about time at all. Don’t ask that how to manage time. Don’t ask that how to utilize time. Ask yourself, ‘How do I manage myself’? Because it is the self that is wasting the time. It is the self that is wasting everything that is around it. There are thousand opportunities that come to you, life itself is a grand opportunity, but the self is squandering all the opportunities. Not only time, everything else as well. So, we will go to the more basic question, to the more useful question and that is how to manage the mind, because it is the mind that wastes time. We will forget time. Nobody can manage time. Time just flows, time cannot be managed. What can be managed? The Self. My own mind that needs to be managed. We will look at that.
You need to then ask yourself, ‘What does my mind find attractive?’ What does your mind do most of the time? There are twenty-four hours in the day for everybody. Ask yourself that where do these twenty-four hours go. Where does my mind spend these twenty-four hours in? When you will look at this, you will come across your values. You will come to know what is it that is preferred in life. Because whatever you prefer in life is where you spend your time. If you have told yourself that the biggest pleasure in life is sleeping, then don’t be surprised if you find that you sleep eleven hours a day. ‘Why do I sleep eleven hours a day? Because I have thoroughly convinced myself that sleeping is the highest happiness’. Similarly, if you have convinced yourself that roaming around here and there, is the biggest pleasure that is possible, then don’t be surprised if you spend four hours gossiping, because you have told that to your own mind. We are looking at the mind now. Right? We have kept time behind, we are looking at the mind. We said that we will find out how do we spend our time. And when we find that out, we immediately come upon our values. ‘What have I told myself to be valuable?’ Whatever you have told yourself to be valuable, you will find that your time is going there.
Let me ask this to you- to how many of you this happens that you want to find time for doing something but unable to find time for it? With how many of you does this happen?
(Some listeners raise their hands).
Please be assured that somewhere you are convinced that the thing for which you cannot find time, that thing is not important. It is embedded deep in your psyche that it is not important. So, howsoever much you try, you will still find no time. Had it been really been important, had you been careful enough to really examine and see its importance, time would have made itself available, because there are twenty-four hours in a day for everybody. How is it possible that somebody finds time and somebody does not find time? You are the one who is allotting time and you allot the time according to your values. It is a question of values.
What do you find valuable? ‘I find it deeply valuable that one must sit with the family and watch television’. So, don’t be surprised if three hours a day you are doing that. ‘My definition of valuable friendship is when I talk 3 hours a day to somebody on mobile phone’. So, don’t be surprised if you talk three hours a day on mobile phone. You are spending time exactly according to your values, not even a second is spent otherwise. Be convinced, time does not slip away. Time strictly follows your values. So, if you say that I don’t know, time just flies away, then you are deceiving yourself. No, time never flies away. Every second of it is controlled by your mind. If you do not find time for studying, the conclusion is obvious that you do not find studying valuable. In your value system, you do not accord priority to studying, that is why you cannot give time to studying. In your value system, had studying been important, time would have presented itself. Is this becoming clear? It is not about time at all, it is about ‘my mind’, the values enshrined in it. Is this becoming clear?when you will find what is really valuable in your life, then you will find time for it. Do you know what is really valuable? Have you ever given a thought to it? What is really valuable in life? What is really important?
Listener 1: Money.
Listener 2: Happiness.
Listener 3: Time.
Listener 4: How do I find out what is really valuable?
Speaker: Nice, four or five responses have come. I asked that do we know what is really valuable. There are four or five responses. Somebody said money, somebody said happiness, somebody said time. One of you said something else and then there was this girl who says that how do I know what is really valuable. There are others who are already convinced about what is really valuable. If money is really valuable, what would you spend most of your time doing? Dreaming about money, and that is what you do. Dream, have money, without asking that who is it that is having money and how is that money benefiting him. It must be from some source that you have gathered this notion that money is the most important thing. Somebody said, ‘Happiness’. Yes, good ! What is happiness? Is happiness that which you experience on listening a joke? Is happiness that which you experience upon achieving a target? What is happiness? Why must happiness be different for different people? Why does happiness vary for the same man at different times? Today, something is happiness for you, ten years back your doll was the greatest happiness for you. What is the value of such happiness that keeps on changing? What is happiness? One has to find out. I am inviting you to this.
When I was your age, this was one question that was so important for me – what is valuable in life? I was very clear that I will not commit myself to any path till this question is answered. How can I just start doing something without knowing that it is really valuable? I have these few years of my life with me and I have one life. How can I spend this life doing something of which I am not convinced? And at the end of it, what will happen? If I see that I have wasted my time in pursuit that has no value at all, is that not horrible? You are 70 years of age, you are dying, and you realize that I have spent my life doing something that had no value. Tell me. Won’t that be horrible? And I am telling you 99.99% of this world faces that horror daily. Your so-called grown ups, the so-called successful people, the so-called super achievers, they all are realizing this every second that they have wasted their life doing something which is not valuable at all. Why are people quick to jump to conclusions? Why do you quickly commit yourself? Why can’t you investigate? And she has put it very nicely, ‘How do I find out what is really valuable?’
Listener 3: Sir, we have already been told what is valuable.
Speaker: Good ! Very good ! So you have something to start with. You have already something to start with and it coming from outside. You have already been told what is valuable. What is valuable? A huge car is valuable. A huge mansion is valuable. A bank statement that has ten zeros behind it is very valuable. And all these things have been told to you by your so-called well wishers! They have already filled you up with what is valuable and you are chasing that without examining whether it is really valuable. Naved is so right. How can I inquire what is valuable, when I have already been told what is valuable? The inquiry has been closed.
We have been told that there is no need to inquire. Getting married is valuable! Having two kids is valuable! Having a house is valuable! Being respected is valuable! And you will say, ‘Yes Sir, everybody says that. Are these not valuable? Why should I say no’. I am saying that go and find out. Why can’t you find out that whether these things are really valuable? When you will discover what is not valuable, then that which is really valuable will start showing up. It will silently start shining. But first you will have to reject all that which is rubbish but you are mistakenly thinking to be of value. Are you getting it? So many of you believe that fakeness is valuable. So many of you believe that living a structured life is so valuable. Are we not intelligent? Don’t we have our own eyes. Don’t we have our own mind to examine. Can’t we go close and see whether these things are really of any importance? Will we have just beliefs for some fake values?
If you just want to believe, then why are you studying science? Does science tell you to believe or does it tell you to go close and ask questions, examine and experiment? Tell me. Does science tell you to be a superstitious? Just believe anything. They have told me that going to the temple every Tuesday is very valuable, very important. So, go. Do you know why you are going there? And if you don’t know, why must you go there? Do you even know what the temple is? Then what are you doing in the temple? You have been told that you must always look good, you must be praise-worthy, people should say nice things about you, you should be respected. Do you understand that what is praise? Do you understand that what is respect? Then why you should feel bad when somebody does not respect you? Without understanding something, why have you given it so much importance? Get married. Settle down, have a family. Do you understand that what is marriage? And if you don’t understand, why you are getting restless to get married? Why do you feel devastated if you see somebody not getting married? Do you know that what is really important in life? And if you don’t know, then open your eyes and see. It is not a huge secret. It is an obvious fact if only you bother to inquire. You are intelligent, you have the capability. Just open your eyes and see. I assure you that all of you are capable of looking at the facts, are capable of being in the truth, if only you are not afraid, if only you have not closed your eyes believing that I already know everything.
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Acharya Prashant is an emerging champion of socio-spiritual awakening in the world today. An alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, and a former Civil Services officer, Acharya Prashant is an acclaimed Speaker, Vedanta Teacher and author of over 50 books. Apart from that he wears various hats: a veganism promoter, an environmental activist, a science activist, a campaigner against superstition, and a champion of essential human freedom. Know More