Q: How do you deal with people who keep hurting you time and again?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Come on, nobody can hurt you, at the most they can blabber. When they blabber, they do it out of their ignorance. If you don’t want to get hurt, nobody can hurt you. You should realize you are strong and nobody can hurt you. It’s good to have some spicy crackers here and there. You should be a director, if you are a player in the play, you get stuck into it. You should just become a witness. Notice your mind when you’re upset. Something is happening inside the body.
Q: I’m confused as to who I am, how can I be more and more natural? How can I be myself and develop a strong sense of self? Is it ok to be very different than other people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Confusion is a very good temporary state. Do you know when do you get confused? When you grow! When a particular concept in your mind just falls apart, breaks apart. You thought you were somebody, and that concept breaks so then there is confusion. So, it is a sign of growth. Is it shocking? Good. If you want to know who you are, you are in the right place and it is all right to be confused. In fact, we are all different yet we try to imitate others. That is where there is a problem. Just recognize the difference and celebrate the differences. To be yourself, you are in the right place. It’s all right to be different, your difference need not conflict with that of other people. People who are rebellious want to be different to compete. You can be different. You could be different, you don’t need to exhibit yourself as different. Got it?
Q: Bali culture is connected to India, would you throw a little more light onto this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If go into the aboriginal culture all over the world you will find that they are all similar - in British Columbia, Australia, New Zealand, India etc. They all are similar to one another. They all honor the directions, the moon, the earth, the sun, the water, the mountains. They all honor creation. India and Bali are in Southeast Asia, and are of course connected. It’s good to find similarities, and celebrate differences.
Q: In Yoga, we feel so much love and togetherness. How do we take it out into the world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That thought I will leave with you. You find ways to do that.
Q: You always look so calm and collected, despite your busy schedule? How do you manage it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you know beauty lies in the beholder’s eyes? How are you able to see that everywhere? Consciousness is truth and beauty together.
Real beauty is when you’re centered, when your mind is with the truth. That is how every baby is beautiful – because they are centered.
Q: Sometimes we long for things and after getting them, we are still not content. Why?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is your good luck. If you become contented by getting things, you are not that lucky. I wish you get discontented with everything around so you realize you are contentment. Nothing can give you contentment because you are contentment. You have to sit quietly for a few minutes of an inward journey to bring you contentment; nothing else whatsoever can bring you that.
Q: What is the goal of spirituality? I enjoy the path but do not know the goal.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The goal is to bring a smile on your face that doesn’t wither away.
A smile that no one can take away.
A peace that simply expands and spreads to others.
A love that never diminishes or distorts.
That’s the power that you grow into.
It’s better that you don’t worry about the goal. You be in the moment, you will see you are on a conveyor belt or escalator. The steps take you where you have to go. You have to do nothing.
Q: Why can’t we go back in time to correct our sins?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Correct our sins? They have all gone away from you. Everyday is a new life, live as though you are a new person. My dear, that is why you are here. If you have to live in the past and brood over the past you don’t need to be here in the satsang. You have come here know that it is new.
Satsang is like a flowing river; not stale water, all the time fresh water.
Q: How to draw the line between not being a football of other’s opinion and also listening to them? Isn’t it also important to listen to other’s opinion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it’s like a riding on a bicycle.
Q: How do we stop depression?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Doing pranayama (stress elimination breath techniques) and yoga regularly. Stop thinking about yourself only, “Oh, what about me?” This is a technique to get depressed, if anyone wants to get depressed they should only have one question, “What about me?” Come on. Think about the world, about other people around you, what you can do for the world. You have a big picture around you about what you can do, then depression will run away from you. So two things:
1. Is to do your practices and
2. Is set up a goal for yourself, do something in the world that would be useful to many more.
Q: Why do we dream while sleeping in the night? How is it related to our life? Does a dream come true?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why do we dream while sleeping? You want to dream while awake? (Laughter – looks at the moon, over the horizon). There are many people who do that. Even the ocean has become still to reflect the moon. Isn’t it so artistic, look at the moon and the cloud, it looks like somebody emerging out of the cloud.
There are five types of dreams.
The first type is your past experiences – so where you went to school, you went to college, or you were working in your office, or business.
The second type of dream expresses your innate desires. Suppose, if you wanted to drink cola and you didn’t drink it and you went to sleep, and in the sleep you are drinking cola. How many of you have had this experience? Whatever you wanted to do and you didn’t do. In the sleep you fulfilled those things. Your desires come to you as dreams.
And, the third type of dream is intuitive – whatever is going to happen in the future maybe six months later or a year can come to you in the form of a dream. Before the Tsunami happened, a few months before, some people dreamt of it. The waves rising six feet high. Many people had that experience. Even here in Indonesia many people had the experience of volcano erupting. So whatever is going to happen in the future, that can come to you as dream, this is the third type of dream.
The fourth type of dream is what? About the place you are in, suppose you go and sleep in Germany in a place or in somebody’s house and in the dream you hear all German words. In Russia, in the dream you hear and see Russian faces, in Russian language. It can happen in any place in the world. The fourth type of dream is related to the place you are sleeping and not to do with your own experiences.
And the fifth type of dream is a mixture of all of these. Some of it is the past, the present, the desires and the place you are in. Ninety percent of your dreams are this; that’s why there’s no clarity. Suddenly you are on a horse and the horse is inside a train, and the train is going in the water on a ship, then the ship is flying up in a sky. All sorts of weird things happen. That is why when people ask me to interpret my dreams, I say, “Take a cup of tea, and wake up.” Don’t worry about dreams, make a bundle and throw them in the ocean.
Q: I had an experience of being nobody and I was so happy, but then I started to take on some responsibility and started to feel like I was somebody again — different and special. The ego came up. How can I sustain being nobody at the same time as carry out responsibilities and playing the roles that I have to play?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Never mind. You do something and everyone adores you and says how good a human being you are.
See life from a bigger context. There are six and a half billion people on the planet and they all live for sometime and then everybody dies. People who praise and people who are also praised, both die. The whole universe comes to an end at some point, so renounce it all. So when you see your life from a bigger context, you will see you are everybody.
Q: How does television affect our minds? When I watch movies why do I feel that the Divine is at a distance, away from me? When I do sadhana, satsang and seva I feel connected. Why is there so much of a change of a feeling?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Never mind. You watch television but don’t watch too much. It has a strain on the brain. It’s very tiring. Anything too much is tiring.
Q: I want to progress spiritually really fast. How do I get on the fast track? I have lost so much time already.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you go on a train you should simply relax. If you keep running inside the train you are not going to reach any faster. Got it? Just imagine someone with a suitcase running fast in the train from one compartment to another compartment. My dear, it’s not going to make you reach any faster. To catch the train you have to run fast, once you are in the train, just relax.
Q: If we should not blame ourselves nor blame anyone else, whom can we blame? Is it ok to blame you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: By all means. I’m ready. I can watch the fun, as much as you want. Do you have to blame? If you have to blame then get it out of your chest.
Q: My mind always travels to many things. I do have jealousy and hatred with my own people. I know it’s not right, how do I control the mind that takes me away and never leaves me good. Please help me Guruji, I hope that from today I will have good feelings and peace of mind. I want to be a different person, I’m sick and tired already.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I think you have too much free time on your hands. Just get into doing something good for the world, some service projects, something. The mind is like that, sometimes up and sometimes down. You like something, next day you don’t like it. Who cares! If you’re caring for your emotions too much, you will be nowhere. One day you feel good, another day you don’t feel good. Again the same thing! So the mind goes up and down. Centeredness is knowing that you are much more than your mind, than your emotions, and mind plays tricks. Just imagine you are a mother and the mind is the baby. Sometimes the mother agrees with the baby, sometimes not. Sometimes the child cries and the mother will attend to the baby. At other times she will let it cry for a little while. Don’t be bothered by this all of the time. See how much harmony you can bring into others.
It’s our responsibility, each one of us should take responsibility to create an uplifting atmosphere, one of positivity. Once you are centered than you become a source of inspiration, a source of joy, a source of peace to everyone. So we have to think, “so what?” Not every time, everything goes according to what we want, so then we say “so what?” and if “so what” doesn’t help then “so humm” (the Sudarshan Kriya taught in the Art of Living courses) definitely helps. A combination of “so what” and “so hum” puts you on a higher platform.
Q: This morning, during meditation my head was falling forward innumerable times. Thoughts didn’t bother me during meditation but my head moving bothered me. Does this mean I was not meditating?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, no it’s fine. You know, when you are meditating sometimes the head will come down, or your body will rock. This is all normal. Different types of stresses when they get released all these different reactions can come up. That’s ok, nothing to worry about.
“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”
~ Sri Sri Ravishankar
© The Art of Living Foundation
For Global Spirituality