Bad Antogast (Germany), Dec. 31
Sri Sri pulls out questions from the question basket. Reads them one by one, smiles and puts the paper by his side. A child comes forward to put a no.1 sticker on Sri Sri's hands.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Another year is passing by, has passed. Let us welcome 2010. The past year has made us rich by its experiences. The problems it brought us brought more talents from within us. Whenever problems come, they beckon more skills and talents within us and the ability to handle them. We are thankful for that. Just imagine a life without any challenges. It will be so dull. Challenges or crisis will bring up the talents within you and make you aware of the abilities you have to overcome them.
In Chinese, there is only one word for crisis as well as opportunity - because every crisis is an opportunity to exhibit your strength, skill and abilities to endure any situation, circumstance. A crisis brings up that opportunity to exhibit your skills. The moments of pleasure or joy, of course, brings you an expansion and implies that you should serve. When you are happy you contribute to the world and you serve - not just remain in your own little enjoyment. Being happy coupled with service makes your happiness rich. Trouble and misery brings the strength to let go, to renounce. It brings dispassion and from this you learn a lot.
We often get attached to misery too. You know why? When you were a child, you made a sad face, immediately someone patted you on the back and tried to cheer you up. You were crying and parents attended to you. So there is a subtle sense of wanting attention whenever you start enjoying misery. You have to get over that and grow beyond that and that is when you gain the power to renounce.
In the New Year, wish for happiness in which you can serve and share so that it grows and if any trouble or misery comes, they come, like day and night, they are part of the world, ask for the strength to be centered. Willingness to serve when joy arises should be the wish. Not that the whole year everything should be rosy, that does not really happen that way. Most of the days will be one way or another. So with this prayer or wish, you will see the days of trouble will be very few, if at all, and they will only bring about the skills from within you, make you more skillful, strong and beautiful. That's the practical way.
So the New Year, learn from the previous year and move on to the New Year knowing you are timeless and those moments of meditation that you experience that timelessness. That is when the events don’t touch you, emotions don’t shake you, thoughts don’t disturb you, nothing whatsoever throws you off balance. In that serene space that you are, repose! Then neither pleasure nor pain touches you. You go beyond the duality. More satsang and seva is the way to reduce misery. Satsang and seva. We are so fortunate. We have this opportunity to even think, discuss knowledge and have an experience of that inner space. Imagine those billions of people who never know how to close their eyes and be peaceful, to take a dip in that inner serenity even for a moment! For us it is so natural to be happy and peaceful. For those who do not know how to be peaceful, it like those insomnia patients who are so restless and tired, so tired and exhausted with everything around them but so restless they don't know how to rest or sleep! Can you imagine that sort of situation? That's where your intervention is so precious, so much needed. Many times you don't have to talk much. Just you being around people who are not so peaceful brings them that wave of peace, that relief that they are looking for!
Q: Is it true that I have to love myself before others love me?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: My dear, you are love when you relax. Let go of the feverishness and desire. You are love. You don’t have to sit and say to yourself, ‘I am love’. You don’t have to make an effort. It is a noun. Your name is love. During a course in Switzerland, I was talking on the yoga sutras of Patanjali. A couple of participants went to have a cappuccino during the break time. Nearby they met people, who said that they used to follow some other path and they were exchanging notes. They said, ‘We wake up at 3:00 in the morning. Sit and repeat I love myself for about an hour!’ We sleep well and love ourselves!
If someone tells you, ‘you don’t love yourself’ – it is not true. Even if you are inflicting misery upon yourself, even then you love yourself because misery brought attention to you. When you understand this you will snap out of this tendency.
Q: I feel I’m too attached. How to break?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Serve, serve and serve to break from attachment. When you find something beautiful, you get attached. You want to posses it. When we try to posses, then it becomes ugly. Beauty is that which you cannot renounce/reject or capture. That’s why it is called beautiful. Serve, instead of wanting to posses. Whatever is beautiful we want to posses it, and then jealousy comes, pain comes. When you find something beautiful, just serve.
Q: What if I don’t reach my goal and experience misery instead?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you are doing good things in the world, you will never find yourself in a bad spot. Misery will never come to you when intentions and actions are benevolent.
Q: I feel very small and insignificant in this world. Is that ok?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: All that is small is very beautiful. You are alive. That is important and you know that you are alive is even more important. Two things: I am small, little. Another is: I am useless. You are tiny, this you know. But thinking that you are useless, good-for-nothing is no good. Tiny like ping-pong, a star, is ok. Useless, dirt, hopeless- these sort of self realization you should not have. It is exhibition of self-ignorance not self-realization.
Q: How is it that some people are peaceful by birth even though they are not really doing any spiritual practices?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you heard the yoga sutras of Patanjali – there are some people who are so by birth, some are peaceful because of their past impressions. They would have done these practices in some previous lifetime if not now. That has brought them peaceful impressions in this life time. If parents are very peaceful, mother had a peaceful time during pregnancy – that also creates strong impressions. Some people have had a tough life from the very beginning – things don’t disturb them – they have endurance to disturbances. Someone has lived in a noisy area, then any sort of noise doesn’t disturb them.
How much stress you could handle, how much contrast you have experienced in situations, makes the difference. In third world countries – arguments don’t bother them. They fight and have tea together. You are not used to fighting and then sitting with them immediately. These are all how we have trained ourselves, our mind.
Q: What should I do to bring peace on this planet?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Keeping this question with you will do much more to fuel your engine to move forward. Again and again you will think and plan and that will help you to move forward. There is a lot to be done. We can all do it together.
I understand, in many countries there is continuous violence. 92 percent of the population is depressed they say, in Palestine. Afghanistan has a similar situation. Pakistan now, Iraq, Yemen are in the same condition. There is a lot that needs to be done. When you see the magnitude, you think what to do really! But don’t lose heart. Keep doing!“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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For Global Spirituality