'Be the master of your feelings'
Bad Antogast, (Germany), May 16, 2009 (Saturday): The satsang atmosphere was very meditative as most people sank into meditation to the strong fragrance of roses.
The Q&A session that followed with HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was, as usual, uplifting, and fun.
Q: It is easy to do seva. I love doing seva even when it is hard. My question is: Why is it hard to finish college when everyone tells me to do it? I know it is important to finish. How to induce commitment to do it?
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just do it. For some things, there is no 'how'. If I tell you to open your eyes, you just do it. If I tell you to open your mouth, you just do it! (laughter)
Q: When I am in a group I often feel I don't belong to them. How to overcome this?
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That must have been an old pattern. Take a step, take a leap. Tell yourself, 'I will be at home, come what may', and then you be the master of your feelings. Don't let your feelings rule you. When you are in a group, and there is discomfort, this is because of barriers, of the ego. Take a deep breath, watch the discomfort, it will disappear.
Q: What to do with good friends whose paths have just changed? There has been no growth since the last five years. Slowly, there is nothing to talk about but they are good friends.
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You need to educate them.
Q: When someone loves another human being, and feels wonderful, and at peace about it, what is the fine line between attachment, and surrender?
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you feel attachment, go inward, and when you move inward, you feel surrender spontaneously. Love, and surrender are linked. When you love, there is surrender. It is best not to analyze these emotions. You love the person, just move through that. Success or failure, change or non-change, that's how it is. It is inevitable.
Q: When I see people who are sick or poor, I feel for them very strongly, and I spend days thinking about them. How to let go?
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In Patanjali Yoga Sutras, it is said there are four clues, ideas, or concepts on how to deal with real life situations.
First, there is friendliness. If you feel friendly for those who are happy, you will overcome jealousy.
For people who are suffering, you should have only compassion, and not friendliness.
Be happy for those who do good work, who are productive, and meritous.
For those who are doing bad things, feel indifference, not hatred.
These are the four different attitudes in our life. If we practise these, we will save our 'mann' (mind). When any other feeling opposite to this bothers you, then reverse your feelings. When you feel jealous, turn it around to love. Feelings cannot be changed by effort, but only through intention.
Q: How to improve my self-esteem? Sometimes, I feel invisible. People forget about me, where I am.
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Be useful to others. When you do that, they remember. If you only think about yourself, then they forget.
Q: I am afraid of so many things especially death. How to overcome fear?
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation, and Meditation. Meditation, and Knowledge: only two things will help you overcome this fear.
Q: I live in a family whose members are very anxious, insensitive, egoistic, and under-confident. I understand that accepting them as they are is the way you say, but living 24 hours in a surrounding like this takes a toll on me. I have done a lot of things over the years to address this, and I feel I am losing my life, enthusiasm, creativity, and love - again and again. Can you please guide me in this regard?
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Know that I am with you. Whenever you feel low or unhappy – even to the slightest extent - know I am with you. Come on, nobody can be with someone for 24 hours. You sleep for at least six to eight hours. Then, two hours are for yourself - you bathe, you feed, you stay with yourself. If you have a room by yourself, (it's good to have a room), sometimes stay by yourself. Take a walk.
Usually, we generalize, and eternalize problems. We think: 'I am always wrong. I always have a problem.' How can you always have a problem? Then, there is no problem as you are so used to it. Some people create problems for others because it's the only time they don't have any problems (laughter). Some people, who have no problems, create problems for others. Wake up, and see. It is wise not to eternalize, and generalize the problem.
Q: I am constantly afraid I will commit a sin, and God will not forgive my sins, including those from the past.
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: C'Mon! (applause) Don't make God look so cruel. I will be your advocate. (applause) God is an ocean of forgiveness, of compassion. Don't put such ideas in the mind. Just move on. It's the temptation of pleasure that irritates you. But the greatest temptation is God himself. Do your practices. Read Yoga Vashista, Ashtavakra Gita, and this will bring you to the path. If something happens, move ahead.
Q: On my spiritual path I passed through different traditions. Last year I started to practise Kriya Yoga, and I thought I found my way. Now I am here practising the Sudarshan Kriya, and I found this is difficult to continue with Kriya Yogas as well. Can I do both practices or should I choose only one? How can I meditate without using the technique from another tradition if I have not done Sahaj Samadhi course yet? Finally, I would really love to stop seeking and changing spiritual practices, and know the spiritual path of my life. How can I know it?
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: All practices you did in the past led you here.Don't mix practices. When you are in this path, stay. When there is no progress, I, myself, will tell you to move on. It is impossible not to progress here. Continue. Here you have silence and music, seva and fun, wisdom. Every aspect of life is covered, it is so beautiful.
(From the Office of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Bangalore, India)
© The Art of Living Foundation