Monday, May 14, 2012

Spirituality is an appointment with yourself

April 29, 2012


See one thing I want to tell you, don’t judge yourself too much.
We have this tendency, we judge our self too much, or we judge others.
Either you start blaming yourself, or you blame somebody else. Either you find you are not right, or you find someone else is not okay. You should wake up and stop judging.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are part of a phenomenon that is happening. Like there are trees, there are rivers, there are birds; like that you also are here.
So many birds are born, so many birds are dying. Isn’t it? So many trees are coming up and they all vanish. Like this, so many people, so many bodies have come and they will all vanish. And then new people will come and they will vanish.
This planet has been there for billions of years. See your life from a bigger context then you will stop blaming yourself. The first rule on the spiritual path is to stop blaming yourself, because whom so ever you blame, do you like to be with them? Do you like to be with someone you are unhappy with? No! So, if you blame yourself, you can’t be with yourself.

The first rule on the spiritual path is to stop blaming yourself. That does not mean that you justify all the mistakes you do. It is not to justify your mistake but recognize your mistake and at the same time, not blame yourself.

Spirituality is an appointment with yourself.
If you keep blaming yourself, you can never keep an appointment with yourself. So the first law on the spiritual journey or path is to stop blaming yourself.
Now, don’t say, ’Oh! That means now I can blame others.’ No! Every time you have blamed somebody, when you see what you blamed them for, from a broader perspective, you will find that it was wrong and it was futile.
Now, when you found that your judgments were wrong, then very quickly you can start blaming yourself.
So, why I say don’t blame others is because if you blame others, it is going to re-bounce on you. You should not blame anybody.
I have not said one bad word to anybody all these 56 years. The worst that has come out of my mouth is ‘You stupid.’ Sometimes, when I was angry or upset, all that I said is, ’You stupid’, nothing more than this.
I have never blamed anyone or never said any bad words. It has not come out of me at all. I didn’t do anything to make it happen; it was naturally like that from the very beginning. I could never abuse anybody; verbal abuse or any other abuse.
When you pay attention to this, when you stop using bad words, your words gain the power to bless. And your blessings will work. Do you see what I am saying?
So, stop blaming yourself and stop blaming others. Things are the way they are, just move on and that is it. You know, sometimes people say, ’Oh! This person is a fraud. He is not genuine.’
But one should have some criteria to say, what is genuine and what is fraud. Many times, you don’t even have a criteria to judge somebody, you simply blame somebody, ’Oh! He is a fraud.’ And that’s it, finished.

This is an unconscious tendency that has developed in society to blame others, and to blame oneself and then feel guilty about it. And the spiritual journey is to remove this and reverse it.
It is such a delicate thing.
That does not mean that you justify all the mistakes you do. When you make some mistake, they you say, ‘Oh I am on the spiritual path, I cannot accept my mistake and I cannot blame myself. So whatever I did is right.’ No!
It is such a delicate balance. It is not to justify your mistake but recognize your mistake and at the same time, not blame yourself.
If you don’t accept and recognize your mistakes you will never improve. That’s the end of the story. At the same time, if you recognize your mistake and you feel so guilty, and you keep blaming yourself, then also, it is a hopeless case. So, you need that very delicate balance. Walk on the razor’s edge, neither this side nor that side.
Q: If we are insignificant, then why are we using so much money, time, resources and energy on ourselves here at this course? Why should we become spiritual and all that if each one of us doesn’t even matter? Who are we helping by being good if they don’t matter either!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you need the answer for this question? It doesn’t matter either! Why are you bothered about this question? It doesn’t matter!
Listen; there are many levels of existence, but two levels of knowledge.
One is the applied knowledge, and the other is the pure knowledge.
Pure Science and Applied Science.
Pure science is what? In this room, everything is made up of wood. The sofa is wood, the table is wood, and the door is wood. So this is all wood. Everything is atoms, to be even more precise!
What is it? Everything is atoms!
So, everything is made up of wood, or everything is atoms – This is pure science.
But you can’t use the sofa as the door or the door as the sofa, even though everything is made up of atoms. Do you understand?
See, diamond and charcoal, they are made up of the same material. It is virtually the same. But, you can’t hang charcoal on your ears, and you can’t put diamonds in the stove, correct?!
So, they are different at one level. It is like saying that ice and water is the same, it is only H2O. But you can make tea out of water. You can’t make tea out of ice. Ice has to become water, only then you can make tea out of it. Isn’t it? So that is applied knowledge.
So, in pure knowledge, it is said that you are insignificant. Why? It is because suddenly you see your life in context with the universe.
That doesn’t mean you should not eat. If you are insignificant, then why exist? Why eat? Why sleep? Why do anything? Right?! You need to do all that, and so you need to be in the course also. Got it?
Being here what happens? The mind gets energized, the body gets energized and the knowledge gets lodged in you. So many things happen.
Q: Is it okay to cry during meditation and while resting?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is okay to cry. Once or twice it is okay but don’t encourage that habit all the time. Especially, when everyone is meditating and when there is stillness, it is better to observe those sensations and let it pass.
Q: Is it ok to take a little nap during day-time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you have crossed 45 then yes, but not before.
Q: What if I don’t feel anything at all?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You feel emptiness? That is something!
You know, sometimes you want to feel. You hear about others’ experiences and you sit and you want to feel it, and that is when it doesn’t happen. Just let go of wanting to feel something. Are you with me?
See, an expectation or too much alertness puts you in the frontal lobe of the brain, and you are too alert. At that time, you can’t sleep, you can’t relax, and you can’t even go deep and experience something. So, that is one possibility.
Second, many of you have asked, ’What do I do, all the time I fall asleep.’
We must have deprived our system of sleep that was needed and so the body takes it. You will fall asleep very often if your sugar level is low or high, this is number one.
Second, if there is not enough prana in the system, then also you will fall asleep. So some pranayama will help. Just before meditation, a few deep breaths will help. And definitely look into the minerals and sugar levels in the body. Sometimes when you lack them then also you feel that dullness and you fall asleep.

Then another possibility is the body is so tired. There are times when you are tired and you feel sleepy, and sometimes you are tired and you can’t sleep.
How many of you have this experience? You are tired but you can’t sleep.
So in meditation these things get reversed, and that is one reason why you may just fall asleep during meditation. But never mind.
Q: Why is my head always singing?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t say always. I don’t think it is always singing. You must have used that part of your brain more, i.e., the right side of your brain, and so music comes to you naturally.

Life is a combination of fixed destiny and an amount of free will also. It is a combination of both.

Another alternative is to spend some time solving puzzles. Like crosswords, then you use the other side of the brain. You can sit down and count numbers; do some mathematics, or count money. Do those activities that will the balance the other side of the brain. Or read something, or listen to knowledge.
Now you are listening to knowledge and your mind is not singing. So, reading, listening, counting, all this will help you to activate the left brain as well.
Q: We are all born with the breath and with all the knowledge inside. So, why is everybody not a Guru like you? Using the knowledge why have you become a Guru?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know in the grand design we all have come here with some grand plan. It is like – you do this, you do this and you do that.
See, when this building was built, all the material was kept somewhere. But, then the architect said, ‘The window will be here, and that will be the door, and that will be the roof.’ The architect planned everything and put it all there, right?
Similarly, that is how all our lives are!
A grand plan has said, ‘You will be born there, and you will be born there, and you will be born here.’
So, we all take birth in different parts of the world and at some particular time, we all come together here.
I tell you, it is so fascinating peeping into the reality. It is much more than what we consider here in this world. What we see here is only the tip of the iceberg, and we think this is what the whole world is.
We are like a frog that sits in a well and thinks this is the whole ocean. We live life very similar to that. If we wake up and see that the world is beyond the well, then many things open up to you and many things make sense.
So, in the subtle world all the plans are already done. If someone has to be a doctor, it is already done.
Now, you may ask me, ‘Then there is no free-will at all?’
I say, yes, there is! Life is a combination of a fixed destiny and an amount of free will also. It is a combination of both.
Q: My sister is mentally ill. She is really good at pulling our energy down and making us upset. I stay away from her, as much as I can. But she is very lonely. How to find the balance between responsibility for others and for yourself?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you know someone is a patient, don’t listen to them. Be with them with ear-plugs.
You get upset because you take their words and behavior inside your head. You should make your head foolproof so that you don’t absorb things from others, and help them whenever possible.
There is an ancient saying that says, ‘There is no giver of pleasure or pain.’
If you are suffering pain, it is your own doing; it is not that somebody has given it to you. And if you are enjoying, if you are joyful, that is also your own merits that is bringing you joy.
When you know this, you don’t blame someone else for your happiness or unhappiness. Because you get happiness from somebody, you tend to blame them for not giving it as often as you want. Are you getting what I am saying?
Why love turns into hatred? It is because you love somebody and they gave you so much pleasure, and then you are angry at them because you have become sort of a slave to that sensation. So when they don’t give you that pleasure you blame them, you are angry at them, you hate them, and the whole relationship goes away. Isn’t it? So, know that your joy and your happiness come to you on your own merit. Others are there only as postmen to deliver it to you. Thank them! Then you will always have a good relation with everybody around.
Q: Please bless me to find my way in life.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are already on your path! You are in the right place. I tell you. Relax!
See you only need to make an effort till you catch a train or a plane. Once you are in the plane, there is no point in running up and down the aisle. The plane is not going to reach any faster.
Just imagine, someone got into the train and they are running with the luggage saying, ‘I want to reach before everybody else.’
Just relax! Put your luggage down. You are on the path, you are into meditation.
If you have not learnt Sahaj Samadhi Meditation then learn it. Listen to Ashtavakra Gita.
How many of you have heard Ashtavakra here? Has it made a difference in your life? The others, who have not heard it, listen to it. You must hear it, and discuss it and dwell on it. Spending a few minutes in knowledge everyday is very useful.
You have the books, Celebrating Silence and Intimate note to a Sincere Seeker, take these books in your hands and keep flipping them around. It just changes your way of thinking, and your way of dealing with problems. This will definitely help you.
Q: If I don’t wish to keep contact with a person, how do I cut contact or let them know that I don’t wish to have contact with them anymore, without hurting them, but still being clear, loving and caring?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

If you are suffering pain, it is your own doing; it is not that somebody has given it to you. And if you are enjoying, if you are joyful, that is also your own merits that is bringing you joy.

You can always do that when you want to. It is not a big issue.
You can very gently say this.
You don’t have to say everything verbally. Life moves so fast, why do you have to yap, yap, yap?
I feel like this today; I felt like that yesterday. Who cares about your feelings? Who cares about your joy? Life is moving at such a fast pace. The Earth is revolving so fast, it is going around the sun so fast.
Everything is changing, leaves are falling and new leaves are coming. Who is counting how many leaves have fallen from a tree? So, why do you worry about how you feel or how you don’t feel?

You should bundle all your feelings and throw them into the ocean, and relax. Who cares?! Your feelings change all the time. Isn’t that so? How many times have your feelings changed? How often have they changed? So what is the big deal about it? We make such a big issue of our feelings.
I feel this, I feel that. Who cares? Just stand up! What you want to do in this world, just do it and just finish it. That’s it. Time runs like that.
30 years of the Art of Living is done. We started Art of Living in 1982, but we started our organization a few months earlier. We registered our Ved Vigyan Maha Vidhya Peeth, Bangalore Ashram on 13 November 1981.
What has happened? Already 30 years are over. In March 1982 we started the first basic course. We have already stepped into the 30th year. Time has gone!
I think this is my 14th stop in this month. I have visited 14 cities around the globe, from 1st April to now. I see everywhere there is so much joy and enthusiasm.
There is no time to express our love or to express life, where is the time to sit and think how we feel, how we don’t feel. There is so much to do in the world and yet nothing to do. They go together. There is so much to do, and yet there is nothing you need to do. It’s all done; total fulfillment.
Q: Can the self exist without the other six layers of existence?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes. Definitely! All other six layers are its own projection. Like the spider, it weaves the whole web from its own saliva. But, the spider can also exist without its web.
A consciousness has created all the layers, yet it can exist without any of those layers.
Q: I know the silence is about filling my batteries, but why do I get this lonely feeling? There is so much to share with so many people!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This lonely feeling is only a temporary in-between phase.
You never felt lonely when you came to this world. You came alone. Even if you had come as twins, even then, it is as good as coming to this world alone. And when we go, we go alone from here.
If you sit and say, ‘I feel lonely, I feel lonely’, no! Drop that. Go deep into the feeling that there is no other.
Q: Guruji, how can I become successful and happy?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: To become successful you need three things.
1. Skill
2. Energy, and
3. Dynamism
If you have skill, you have energy and you don’t do anything, then you can’t be successful. And you simply doing things without having skill, then also it doesn’t work.
Also, if you have skill and dynamism, but don’t have the energy then also success will not come.
For success to come what is needed are skill, energy, and then dynamism. You have to be dynamic. You have to work hard. All three things are needed!
There are people who sit and plan and plan and plan. They spend all their life planning but don’t do anything.
Around 15 to 20 years ago, a youth used to come to our satsangs in Bangalore. And he would buy every month about 25 magazines on How to be successful and How to make money. And he would go on reading them, and go on planning, and every time he would come and say, ‘I have this great magazine, I got this great idea, please bless me.’ I said, ‘Okay! Go do it.’
The next week he would come with another magazine and ask the same type of blessing. One year passed by; I also had patience and thought one day he would start something. But he never started anything. He would only keep buying magazines, keep asking me for advice, and keep making big plans, typing it all on the computer and that is it.

You should bundle all your feelings and throw them into the ocean, and relax! Who cares?! Your feelings change all the time. Isn’t that so?

We have 100 acres of land for agriculture at the Bangalore Ashram, and this other gentleman, he would sit on the computer and make all these plans of where he will sow which seed, and how he will cultivate. He was the Head of Department for Agriculture.
All other people at the Ashram would say, ‘He does agriculture only on the computer.’
He would sit in the room and plan. Never went to the field to sow the seeds.
Similarly, this man was buying all these magazines and reading. One day, I called him and said, ‘Look, no more blessings. I do not want my blessings to go waste. Blessings will work only when you make an effort. So, you keep all these magazines aside. Don’t read or buy anymore magazines. Take up one thing and work on it, and you will be successful.’
Why I said this is because sometimes people with great idea don’t bring it into the practical field. And there are others who do a lot of hard work without thinking and without planning. They also can’t be successful. So you have to do both.
Without blessings things don’t move, I know. Blessings are essential, but blessings alone will not work, because somebody has to do work as well. Yes!
Work along with blessings, will make you successful.
I would say, even after you do your hard work and you find success, the real success is in your confidence. The real success is how confident you are, how much you keep smiling, and how boldly you can walk. That indicates your success.
Q: I have done the Part 1 Course and the Art of Silence Program two times. I am doing seva from the last one year in my area. My area has no teacher, so can I become one?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Definitely! I want more and more teachers now. As many teachers as is possible because we need to cover a large population. How many of you here want to become teachers? Yes, you should all become teachers. You can do so much for people around. Very Good!

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