Sri Sri Ravi Shankar lovingly called as Guruji, the founder of Art of Living Foundation through which He relieves the stress at individual levels, thus reducing violence, sufferings and conflicts and spreading the love, harmony, peace throughout the world in various societies.
We need to be ready to change in life. If we are ready to change, we can always find solutions; don’t you think so?
Life is so precious. There is a belief in India, that you get the body of a human being after taking birth in 8.4 million life forms, i.e., 84 lakh species! So this life has to be lived in harmony!
We need to maintain a pure heart; the way nature made us. If you maintain purity in the heart, then clarity in the mind comes, and actions become more harmonious, pleasant, and constructive, and you spread happiness.
How can we create harmony? Did you see a dance today? Dance is a harmonious movement of the body. Music is a harmonious movement of sound. Similarly, when the mind, body, breath and the intellect are in harmony, it is bliss.
We keep on facing challenges repeatedly in our life. We face so many complexities around us, we need to learn the art of bringing back the balance to our life, and that is what is called The Art of Living.
What is the Art of Living?
To be able to keep the mind’s balance, whether pleasant or unpleasant situations.
To accept people and situations as they are (as they surface), and then act on it. Not just simply accepting and being inactive, no! Accepting, and then taking appropriate action.
Not seeing intention behind others' mistakes. If a mistake happens through you, what do you say? ‘Well, it happened. To err is human', and we excuse ourselves.
When a mistake happens through someone else, you think that they did it intentionally. You don’t see that it just happened through them. They didn’t mean it.
There are three types of people:
- First are those who see others mistakes as big and their own mistakes as small.
- Second are those who think of their own mistakes as big and others mistake as small. They perceive other people to be better than them.
- Then there are those who see mistakes as mistakes. They are not his or mine. These are the wisest ones.
Not to see an intention in others mistake is a good virtues. It is one of the qualities of a well educated human being.
When the mind is not clear and the heart is full of hatred, then your actions lead you to disaster. We need to maintain a pure heart; the way nature made us. If you maintain purity in the heart, then clarity in the mind comes, and actions become more harmonious, pleasant, and constructive, and you spread happiness.
When mistakes happens, see it as a happening. Through whom it happened is secondary.
If you adopt this approach, it makes you very centered, and you feel connected with everybody. The mind becomes free from anger, jealousy, greed, and all these negative imperfections.
Now, how to purify the heart? Purity comes through breathing practices and meditation. With this, all the tension goes away and our heart gets back to the original state, that it came to this world with. With pranayama and meditation, then the mind also becomes clear. We have all experienced clarity in our mind at some time or the other, where you know exactly what you want, and what to do, isn't it?
Here again, there are two types of people:
One type are very sensitive, and the other are very sensible.
People who are very sensible, very logical, very clear in their mind, they cannot stand imperfections. They get angry very fast. But in life, sensibility alone will not do. You need to be sensitive as well.
People who are very sensitive, they start crying at the drop of a hat. They get hurt very fast. They cannot stand criticism, and they cannot stand anything that they don’t like also; they get thrown off balance. They get into an emotional mess, and create a mess for everybody.
So in life, both are needed. A balance between sensitivity and sensibility; value of the heart and value of the mind. The Art of Living is a tiny step to create this balance.
So, when mistakes happens, see it as a happening. Through whom it happened is secondary. If you adopt this approach, it makes you very centered, and you feel connected with everybody. The mind becomes free from anger, jealousy, greed, and all these negative imperfections.
What is the meaning of life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
One who knows will not tell, and one who tells does not know! This is because the very question is like a vehicle for you to travel on. When you have to traverse the journey of your life, the wise man will not take your vehicle away from you, and say, ‘Now you go'.
This question, ‘What is the meaning of life’, is very important and very valuable. You should keep asking it again and again. Then all that is trivial, irrelevant, and unnecessary will simply fall away from life.
When we are in a state of inner happiness and contentment, then why do we lose this state again?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You are in this world, you are not on an island. You are in a pool of energy of so many people. Don’t sit and worry about 'Why I am feeling this way' or 'Why am I feeling that way'. Time and place have an influence on your mind. This is the reason why we should do whatever we can to improve the society around us, and to help others.
Don’t you think we should create a wave of happiness in the society? Let us do it.
When we bring such a wave of happiness, you will see misery becomes lesser and lesser.
How do you bring peace to a relationship with a lot of conflict and arguments? Do you stay in it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
There are two ways to handle it:
• Move away from that place at that time - because when everybody is angry, things are heating up, everyone goes deaf. Angry people do not listen to anyone. The best thing is move away a little bit and wait for things to cool down.
• Be there, with patience - First, agree with the person, say, ‘Yes, I agree with you.’
Suppose your husband or wife is arguing with you, don’t say, 'No', say, ‘Yes, you are right, I agree with you.’ The moment you agree, the temperature comes down. Then in a little gap, as the temperature comes down, say, ‘But…’. This is the secret.
Sometimes people come to me with big ideas. I tell them, ‘Your idea is brilliant, very good, but it is impractical.’ Use your skill to calm the situation, and then get across what you want to the other person.