Prescriptions Are For The Unserious: A Solo Podcast with Kapil Gupta

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Key Takeaways

  • Prescriptions have no place whatsoever, in anything that involves skill, art, emotion, or simply anything that relates to the mind and how to live in the world
  • “When you are told how to do something, the mind will inevitably begin to focus on the how. It will begin to focus on the thing being said, as opposed to what the how happens to be about.”
  • “Prescriptions are not the road to anywhere except prescriptions. Prescriptions and how-tos lead only to prescriptions and how-tos.”
  • “Whenever something is done by faith or promise, it never really arises. The things you have in your life, are things you did not arrive at by faith or promise. They were things you HAD to have, and therefore could not risk relegating them to faith and promise.”
    • It is only the things that you don’t really want, the things you don’t HAVE to have, the things that aren’t life and death – THOSE are the things that you will relegate to prescription, because subconsciously you know that if you don’t get them, it’s alright
  • The people who become great, are never the ones who follow prescriptions to get there
  • “Deep down, those who ask how, are precisely the ones who don’t want to get there”
  • “The things you do the greatest, the things you are artful at, the things that you are world class at, whatever they may be, are precisely the things that you know not how you do.”

Intro

Prescriptions

  • What are prescriptions? – In short, a “how to”
  • Society is filled with “this is how you do it” methodologies for many things, including but not limited to, how to: overcome depression/sorrow, be happy, develop a certain skill etc. 
  • But the idea isn’t that you shouldn’t follow prescriptions…
    • If one accepts the idea that you should not pursue prescriptions, that would itself be a prescription
    • It’s more about an UNDERSTANDING 
  • Anything that involves skill, or the domain of art, or emotion, or anything that relates to the mind and how to live in the world – “Prescriptions have essentially no place whatsoever”
    • “When you are told how to do something, the mind will inevitably begin to focus on the how. It will begin to focus on the thing being said, as opposed to what the how happens to be about.”
    • Kapil brings up an old saying – “If you point your finger at the sky, the world will look at the finger, and miss the sky”
  • People are so concerned with the right way, and the wrong way to do something – but really, there are no right and wrongs

Self-Development is a Farce

  • “Look at self-development, which I think largely is a farce…because it’s all based on prescriptions”
    • Practice 20 minutes of meditation, take a cold shower, practice mindfulness…
    • By doing those things, you’re more apt to think – “Because I did this, this should lead me somewhere” – That’s not how it works
      • “If this were true then the millions upon millions who meditate and practice mindfulness would become Buddhas. They’d become enlightened. And I think that anybody can see that that simply isn’t the case.”

Prescriptions Will Lead You Nowhere

  • “Prescriptions are not the road to anywhere except prescriptions. Prescriptions and how-tos lead only to prescriptions and how-tos.”
    • Monks practice meditation and mindfulness for hours each day – yet they don’t get anywhere
  • “This whole idea is so embedded within the fabric of society and the mind of humans beings, that it is so invisible. It is never even examined.”
    • In many ways, prescriptions are all the world knows
  • “Prescriptions and how-tos lead to enormous limitation. They just create more questions.”
    • If you’re told how to do something, you’ll just come back and ask if you’re doing it correctly
    • “Forever and ever and ever, you’re always wearing a blindfold. You’re always bind allowing someone else to lead you by the hand.”

Prescriptions Are False Promises

  • Prescriptions are just you working by a promise saying – “If I do X, then someday I will arrive” – NO
  • “Whenever something is done by faith or promise, it never really arises. The things you have in your life, are things you did not arrive at by faith or promise. They were things you HAD to have, and therefore could not risk relegating them to faith and promise.”
    • It is only the things that you don’t really want, the things you don’t HAVE to have, the things that aren’t life and death – THOSE are the things that you will relegate to prescription, because subconsciously you know that if you don’t get them, it’s alright
    • “The things you absolutely must have, you will one way or another create your own how”

The Greats Didn’t Use Prescriptions to Get Where They Are

  • “The people who become great, are never the ones who follow prescriptions to get there”
    • If they did, then essentially anyone else could follow the same prescription and get to the same place
    • “They arrived there through circuitous routes that were largely unplanned, and largely by surprise, but the one thing that got them there was A LIFE AND DEATH DESIRE to somehow get there. It wasn’t by way of a script.”
  • “It isn’t about the doing, and the following, and the prescribing, and the adherence to various laws and various rules that gets anyone anywhere. It is an undying desire that really gets someone somewhere.”

Every How is a How Not

  • “A how is an intermediary. In many ways, every how is a how not.”
  • Whenever someone tells you a “how” to achieve something (specifically anything related to art or true skill, or self-development/internal peace) – prescriptions just don’t have the power to get you there
    • “If they did, you’d see Buddha’s all over the place”
  • “It seems human beings are far more enamored with the idea of practice, than they are with the idea of arrival”
    • Very few people actually want to get there – “They actually want to play the part, more than they want to get there”
    • People are far more interested in working hard, and putting in all that effort, than actually achieving anything

Those Who Ask How, Aren’t Serious

  • “The sincerity and the seriousness is what gets anyone anywhere, not the mechanics” – NOT the methodology, NOT the technique
  • “Deep down, those who ask how, are the ones precisely who don’t want to get there”
    • “How” is almost a cop out
    • For example – If you were really serious, you would never ask “How do I quiet the mind?’
      • You’d ask much better questions, with a greater level of understanding
      • “What possible answer could any human being give to that? And if a person truly gave you an answer and a 5 step plan, then he would be just as unserious as the person asking the question.”
    • “Those who ask how, are simply not serious. They don’t really want to know.”

You Can’t “How To” Art

  • “The things you do the greatest, the things you are artful at, the things that you are world class at, whatever they may be, are precisely the things that you know not how you do.”
    • “The how is only completely evident to you for the things you don’t do very well.”
  • Human beings can recognize that which is truly authentic and genuine, that which is not done for personal gain or applause

Wrapping Up

  • “Without genuineness and sincerity, without seriousness, there really isn’t any arrival of any sort. There is only a going through the motions.”
  • Prescriptions are a path to nowhere – they’re just for the unserious
    • Those who ask for them, are really not interested in getting anywhere
    • “Society always creates a supply, for where there is a demand. And naturally there will always be a demand for unserious things.”
  • “The people who are truly serious, can recognize that the amount of years and the amount of time we have left on this earth is very very small. If one really seeks to get somewhere, there really is no time to waste, no time to chase ghosts.”
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