Q. Can a relationship enhance or suppress your spiritual growth?
Sri Sri: Yes, both can happen. If your partner is also on the path and understands you, it can enhance you both. If one is in doubt, the partner will help you to get over the doubt. If one is not doing the practice, the other one will pull them to do the practice and give them encouragement. Make them move on the spiritual path, so that much help comes from that. I have seen many couples - when one is going astray from the path, the other will pull them back onto the path. Because of the sake of the wife or husband, they continue being on the path, on the knowledge, on the spiritual path. This I have seen happening in many, many families. Though, on the contrary, if both go in different directions and if one of them is not really on the path, it can be a hindrance for the other. It can be, though not necessarily.
Q. What is the secret to having a strong will power? Please tell me as I have so many bad habits that I would like to change about myself.
Sri Sri: Now, three things can help you to get over bad habits. 1. Love- If you love somebody or something, then promise them for their sake that you will continue the good habits. 2. Fear - When there is a fear that this bad habit is going to bring great problems to me, then you will get out of it. 3. Greed - If someone tells you that by leaving this bad habit, you will get a million dollars, you would not do that (the bad habit), you want a million dollars in your pocket. If someone tells you, don’t drink or smoke for the next one week, then you will be entitled to one million dollars. Will you smoke, will you drink? No ways! If someone tells you that you will get 10 million dollars or 10 million euros if you don’t smoke for one month or 30 days, they will say, ‘Why only 30 days? I will not smoke for 35 days. I am sure of the number of days, as I want to be sure. Not 29 days. Some months are only 30, some are 31, so let me do for the maximum of 35 days’. Because you know, when you value some thing much more than the habit and you know that you are going to get that, then the habit will drop out of it. So through love, fear or greed you will stop doing it. You know, promiscuity has reduced to a great extent because of the fear of AIDS. After the dreadful disease of AIDS started appearing, then promiscuity came down to a great extent. So similarly, commitment to a higher cause can help you get over small little attractions.
Q. Whenever I come in the ashram, it feels like I am in love with everyone here, but when you go outside, it is hard to maintain this feeling. When people are not open, they embrace the feeling of love . It is hard to feel love for them. Why is it so, how to love everyone?
Sri Sri: You know, you feel love but don’t get attached to it ok, and don’t try to feel love for others. Love is a gift. If it is there , it is there, if it is not there, it is not there You cannot force yourself to love somebody. Can you impose? If you do it, it will be contrary to what is. You just be relaxed and go deep in the knowledge and suddenly one day, you will find that all are part of me and everybody is same. Then love is not a verb, it’s not an action. You don’t have to love somebody, you are love, you will understand that love is a noun. You are simply there as a sparkling love. And that’s it. Yes, obviously, it’s not the give-and-take love of which you are talking about. You love somebody and they gave you something. Here people radiate that peace so it is easy. They know all the basic course points of acceptance and not to be football and all these things. Definitely, it is much easier here and our job is to make the world like this so that anywhere in the world, it becomes much easier. All over the world, people say, ‘Art of Living people have a smile on the faces’. There is a certain radiance, a certain confidence, a certain smile which is unparalleled. People comment on that all the time.
Q. Dear Guruji, why do we cry in your presence?
Sri Sri: When the heart opens, tears flow. It’s quite natural .When heart opens and these are not bitter or salty tears, they are sweet tears. These are tears of love, of gratitude. So let it be. Don’t try to stop it or don’t try to enhance it, just let it be.
Q. How do I know that I am in a right relationship or the person is right for me? Or I am right for the other? Many thanks.
Sri Sri: Listen to one thing now, you are right for the other person when you can adjust. Relationship means adjustment, it is giving. You give what you can to the other person and wait for them to give back to you. If you are demanding from the others, the relationship is not going to last long. Demand destroys the love. Demand and blame destroys relationships. So, you should only know how to praise others and uplift a situation instead of blaming, finding fault. Uplift the other, this should be your commitment . Then you are the right person for anybody, and everybody will love you when you don’t hurt them intentionally. This is the first point. Number one. Second, you are open to correction and changes, you have the patience to listen to criticism. Three things, I am counting. You have patience to take in criticism. Fourth, you know the other persons’ point of view, or where the shoe pinches, you know. You should see the other person beyond their words and their actions. You know, when someone is working for 8 to 10 hours, when they come back home, they are very tired. If he is a businessman and when the stock markets fall, he is so upset and he comes home to find solace. So you should see the circumstance, situations, how the spouse is and allow them the space to express their genuine feelings of frustrations, anger whatever.
You know, there is only one option when a person is angry or is frustrated. The whole world expects them to keep the frustration to themselves, no one wants to share their frustration, but when they come home it is with their spouse. They explode and express and show all their frustration. At that time, the spouse should be there like a midwife - allow them to deliver. When someone is in labor pain, and if you say, ‘Don’t deliver, keep it, keep it, keep the baby inside.’ What can they do? How long can they keep it inside? Somewhere they have to explode. When they come with their stress, the spouse should allow them to express. Say, ‘Ok, download it. Download. Let go of all your stresses, ok whatever you want to blame, blame. You want to beat me or beat yourself, do it’. Then, you know, keep that type of space for them to un-stress and download. What you can say is ‘Let go of all that you have carried all the day, all the stress of the stock market or whatever else.’ If a person commits a mistake in the work place or injustice is done to him or her, they come back and they want some place to offload it. Offload is the right word I think, offload all that thing and one must keep that space for them to offload. Understand why there are upset, why they are unhappy - then your relationship will work. But if you expect them not to tell anything, be nice to you all the 24 hours, seven days a week and 365 days and find fault with them all the time.
Pricking them that ‘You are useless, you are hopeless, you are this, that...’ Poor lady or man! What will they do? They find that they have no support. Nobody is helping them to grow, helping them, uplifting them and then they get depressed. Right? So first, we will see. Greater is the person who has greater capacity to absorb, accommodate, adjust with anybody. If you can adjust with anybody, that much greater you are, you know and the degree can come less, less, less. If you know your acceptability is only 10 percent, then you are thoroughly miserable if it zero percent. There is no way you can grow in your life. Wisdom is to have this patience, grow from zero to one hundred percent.
Q. I don’t understand why we are here, why are we here for such a short time? Why do we have to grow old and weak? How do I stop wanting and needing others’ approval and love?
Sri Sri: This is a good question - why am I here, what do I do? Keep asking. When you keep asking these questions, either you go crazy or you become wise. I wish you become the latter, become much wiser, ok? Don’t tell me crazy people are very wise. It’s the other way round - wise people are sometime crazy too.
Q. Dearest Guruji, I am so fortunate to be on a path like this with you. I want more people to get this experience and be more happy by living in the knowledge and practicing the technique. But some people are not willing to be approached nor understand when I would like to share. So how to speed this to the people who are in need? Maybe their time has just not come.
Sri Sri: No, no don’t think their time has not come. You keep doing your work. You keep telling, you don’t have to push everybody but gently you have to facilitate people to get into the knowledge. Yes, this is necessary.
“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”
~ Sri Sri Ravishankar
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