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.
It is nice to be with you all. I am coming to Italy after 5 years.
This evening we will discuss, ‘Change is Necessary’.
So, what we shall do right now is create a cordial atmosphere. Let us all just take one minute to greet the person sitting next to us, behind us, in front of us, and say, ‘I belong to you’, or just greet them with whatever you want.
If we can identify what is happening inside the mind, then we have taken a very big step. Bringing the mind to the present moment is called meditation.
You know, when you want to discuss something that is very close to our hearts, a formal atmosphere is not congenial. You need to be in a very informal atmosphere to discuss something very close to your heart.
Now I want to ask you a question, when you greeted the person next to you, did you do it as a formality, or did you really mean it? You don’t have to tell the person next to you!
In our day to day life, we say, ‘Thank you’, ‘Sorry’, so many times. We exchange all these pleasantries, but many times they are just from the lips. They are not coming from deep inside, isn’t it? And we are not even aware of this. It is only when we bring attention to our self, that change happens. Change has to start from within.
Sometimes we need to ask these questions to ourselves, ‘What is life? Where are we heading toward? What do we want?' These question does something to our consciousness. It opens up something.
We convey more through our presence and less through our words. Is it not your experience? Have you noticed, with some people you feel like talking to them, and with some others, you just want to avoid them.
Sometimes you wonder, why someone doesn’t want to talk to you. This is because we convey more through our vibrations. Everything is just vibrations and these vibration affects our thinking, our feeling, and our emotions.
In a challenging situation, how to maintain our positive vibration is what we are going to take up today. It is easy to smile when everything is okay, but when things are falling apart, if you still hold onto your smile, then that is something. It is what I call The Art of Living.
When you’re faced with a challenging situation, a crisis, that is when you need the strength, that is when you need enthusiasm, that is when you need energy, isn’t it? That is when you have to hold on.
It is like a doctor who needs to keep himself healthy in spite of spending 15-18 hours among sick people.
That something which gives you inner strength, which gives you a broader vision, is what I call human values, or spiritual values.
If for one hour you just go on talking negative, or go on thinking negative, you will see that after that one hour you feel so drained, and so tired. Many times we don’t notice this.
If you turn your attitude, and bring change in the heart and in the mind, you will see that life starts changing.
Are you all here still?
As I am speaking, your mind is also working. You’re mind is saying, ‘Yes, no, yes, no.’ If we can identify what is happening inside the mind, then we have taken a very big step.
So what happens to our mind all the time? The mind keeps oscillating between the past and the future. You’re angry about the past, or anxious about the future.
Just now I was talking to a journalist. She asked me, ‘What to do with our youth? They are so angry or they are so anxious. They don’t know what to do in the future. What is your advice to them?'
I said, ‘That is where they need someone to give them hope and strength.’
There is enough for everybody’s need on this planet, and there is enough human values. If you see, the good people are in big numbers. Those with wrong understanding or lack of awareness, are very few in number. But because the good people are not active, there are problems.
Isn't it so? If all good-minded, good-hearted, right thinking people plunge into action, our society will be so much better! This is something we need to take up. Purity in heart, clarity in mind, sincerity in action. If you have these three things, you’re done!Then I tell you, nature will also come to your help in such amazing ways; God will come to our help.
The mind keeps oscillating between the past and the future. It is either angry about the past or anxious about the future. Bringing the mind to the present moment is called meditation.
If for one hour you just go on talking negative, or go on thinking negative, you will see that after that one hour you feel so drained, and so tired. Many times we don’t notice this. If you turn your attitude, and bring change in the heart and in the mind, you will see that life starts changing.
We have 7 layers of our existence. What are they?
1. Body: We seldom know much about our body. Body needs the right amount of exercise, and right amount of food. We must not just stuff it all the time. Sometimes it needs cleansing.
In the science of Ayurveda there is a lot about how to maintain the body and keep it aligned with the nature.
2. Second dimension is the breath. Without the breath the body has no value.
The first thing we did after coming into this world is we breathed in, and the last thing we will do, is breath out.
When you came into this world, you started crying and everybody laughed, everyone was happy. When you leave this world you should go smiling and everyone else should cry. If everyone laughs when you go, then you have not lived well.
Also there is no fun in crying and going. You came crying, at least when you’re going, you should laugh. We are all going to go, this is for sure. So, how to keep smiling? How to find the inner strength? How to change the situation around you? This is the question that hunts people who have woken up.
So I say the second dimension is the breath and it has a lot of secrets to offer.
When yoy came into this world, you started crying and everybody laughed, everyone was happy. When you leave this world you should go smiling and everyone else should cry. If everyone laughs when you go, then you have not lived well.
3. The third dimension is the mind. Our body is like the wick of a candle. If there is a candle and if I put a glass on top of this, the flame will be alive only as long as there is oxygen.Similarly, if I put a glass on you, you will be alive only as long as there is oxygen.
Our mind is very similar to the flame. Our consciousness lives on oxygen. So body, breath and mind.
What is mind? Are you looking at me? Are you hearing? That through which we taste, we smell, we see, and we hear, that aspect of energy, or consciousness, is the mind.
4. Then there is the fourth aspect which is judging, discriminating, saying 'Yes', or saying, 'No'. All this is the intellect.
5. Then you have the memory. If you are given ten compliments and one insult, tell me which one will you remember? You’ll forget all the ten compliments and remember the one insult. In ten years of marriage, you would have had a good time for nine years. One year you would have had a bad time and that stands up, isn’t it? Memory always goes around something that is negative and holds on to it. This needs to be changed. Children don’t do that. Children are crying, the tears are still on their cheek and they smile.
A baby smiles 400 times a day, an adolescent smiles 17 times, an adult does not smile every day. My mission is to put a smile on everyone’s face.
6. The next level, after memory is ego. One of the biggest problems in the world today. Ego means we create a wall between us and the other. Did we come to this world with walls?Children, see how they mix with everybody. They feel at home with everybody. As children we never had walls, then we started building walls between us and others.
Many types of prejudices have come up. Prejudice against gender, age, language, religion. All these prejudices we bring up in life. We should drop the prejudice, then real humaneness comes in us.
7. The last level, is the Self. There is something in us that doesn’t change at all. It doesn’t change but everything else changes. Our body changes, our mind changes, our emotions change, people change, but there is some reference point, something deep inside you that doesn’t change at all. That is the Self. That is the spirit. Latching on to it is what I call wisdom.
So, a disease-free body, confusion-free mind, inhibition-free intellect, trauma-free memory, and an ego that is all encompassing, is the birth right of every human being.
Our life on this planet is so short. We live say 80-90 years, half the time we spend in sleeping.
In this short span of life, I don’t understand why people kill each other, why people are sad and depressed, why are they so selfish.
It is because somewhere their spirit is sleeping. When they wake up, they see that there is not enough time to spread love on the planet, let alone hate anybody.
So let’s learn how we can start the change. Now is the time to say, ‘I am going to be different. If someone is insulting me I am not going to be angry, today let me smile at it'.
You know when people are stuck in a traffic jam they get so upset and angry, they don’t need to do that. That’s where meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, all these are of immense help.