Recently I found out that I have a cyst in my left ovary that has the ugly name of endometriosis. And because of that I have been under this sort of hormone treatment that causes a lot emotional unbalance. More often than normal I catch myself crying and questioning life. It is really dark when you are down there experiencing just what went wrong. But what about counting your blessings? I have been forgetting to do that.
So today I decided to copy and paste an article written by an amazing man who teaches about meditation and how to find joy and peace. This guy is a spiritual leader and my guru. He wrote an amazing article in 2007 for “the Week’ magazine. My friend Neelam gave the magazine to me like a year ago and coincidently I finally read it today. Just what I needed. At right place, right time. The text is long and it is deep. And I hope it’ll awaken something inside of you as it did for me.
*By the way have you counted your blessings today?
Transform yourself – Sri Sri Ravishankar (Article From ‘The Week’)
a disease-free body.
a quiver-free breath.
a stress-free mind.
an inhibition-free intellect.
an obsession-free memory.
an ego that includes all.
a soul that is free from sorrow.
You are not here to blame.
You are not here to be miserable.
You are not here to worry.
You are not here to show off.
You are not here to get stressed out.
You are not here to get irritated and irritate others.
The list goes on.
Living the mystery of life so totally is joy.
Becoming the mystery is divine.
You are a mystery!
When you see life in this context, clarity dawns in your mind and your life improves.
You don’t have to be afraid in life. There is always support. So, every pinch that you are having in life is for the best, to make your life more lively and enjoyable. Day and night you work so hard. The whole week is spent working, coming home tired, eating, going to bed. The same routine the next day. Weekends have become another routine.
Being aware of this impermanent nature of our life, you find that there is something in you that has not changed. There is a reference point by which you can say things are changing. That reference point is the source of life. That is wisdom. With wisdom, your life improves.
You should smile more. Every day, every morning, look at the mirror and give a good smile to yourself. You know what happens when you smile? All the muscles in your face get relaxed. The nerves in your brain get relaxation, and you get the confidence, courage and energy to move on in life.
You know, your smile is so fragile! Just one telephone call is enough to take it away! But what is the big deal about your feelings? Bundle them up and throw them into the ocean! Once you are rid of your ‘feelings’ you can be happy. Just see why your spirits go down? Because somebody said something stupid to you. And why did they say a stupid thing? Because they had some garbage they needed to throw out and you were there, ready to catch it! And once you have caught it, you hold on to it so passionately! Come on! Wake up! Don’t let your smile be snatched away by anybody!
Usually, you give your anger freely and smile rarely as though a smile is costly. In ignorance, anger is cheaper and smile costly. In knowledge, a smile is free like sun, air, and water and anger is extremely expensive, like a diamond. Make your smile cheaper and anger expensive! You are here for a greater cause. Just remember that. Take a challenge: “Come what may, I am going to smile today and be happy!” Smile more.
How would you like to see yourself ? Happy and bubbling with enthusiasm or dull and difficult to please? Often, you like to be pleased, appeased and cajoled. So you put up a tough, upset face and act difficult to please. If a person has to appease and please ten people all the time, it will be so tiring. People who keep a long face and expect others to cajole and appease them make others run away. Lovers often do this. They expend a lot of energy in cajoling, and this brings down the joy and celebration of the moment.
If you feel down, appease and please yourself. Your need to be appeased by someone else is the sign of grossness. If you want attention, all you get is tension. It is not possible to attain Divine Love with a complaining face. Become one whose enthusiasm never dies.
What is meditation?
Mind without agitation is meditation.
Mind in the present moment is meditation.
Mind that has no hesitation, no anticipation is meditation.
Mind that has come back home, to the source, is meditation.
Mind that becomes “no mind” is meditation.
Deeper you are able to rest, dynamic you will be in activity. Even though deep rest and dynamic activity are opposite values, they are complementary. Before the body leaves you, you learn to leave everything. That is freedom. What are you looking for? Are you looking for some great joy? YOU ARE JOY!
Book yourself on a trip to this most beautiful place in the universe. Then you find that every day is a vacation and a celebration!
Learning to communicate effectively with everyone is a skill worth possessing. Most of the time you find that you are out of place. Communicating without prejudice is vital for success.
If you are faced with someone who knows more than you, be like a child and keep your ears and eyes open for learning. If you are faced with someone who knows less than you, be humble and strive to make them as good as or better than you. Play with a small child as you played when you were a child. Talk with an elderly person remembering that one day you will be like that. Communicate with a person of your age group like you are his/her best friend.
This world is varied beyond our imagination, and there’s always something to share, learn and teach. When you are centered, you become a powerful communicator. And when your communication improves, your life improves.
If for the whole day you are engaged in only gathering information, you do not take out time for yourself to think and reflect. A few quiet moments are sources for creativity.
Some time during the day, sit for a few minutes, get into the cave of your heart, eyes closed, and kick the world away like a ball. But, during the day be 100 per cent attached to the work. Eventually, you will be able to be both attached and detached. This is the skill of living, the art of living.
Renunciation refills your energy. Creativity cannot happen only just through efforts. There is a beautiful story about Chhatrapati Shivaji. At one time Shivaji became so frustrated about ruling his kingdom that he went to his guru Samarth Ramdas and told him that he is fed up and that he just wants to renounce everything. Ramdas told him that he can renounce everything. Shivaji became so happy and relaxed at the very thought. Then Ramdas told him: “Now I am the king and you are my servant. Will you do whatever I ask you to do?” Shivaji replied: “For you I am ready to do anything.” Ramdas said: “Very good. Will you run this country for me?” Shivaji replied: “Yes, I will run the country for you!” Total renunciation had brought zeal and enthusiasm in him.
Creativity springs up when you are relaxed. You have to renounce all work you have done the whole day, only then can you rest in the night.
Though many times pain, struggle and frustration have brought out creativity in some people, these are not the only reasons for a person to be creative. Millions of people in the world are struggling or frustrated, but they are not creative. So, taking out some time for yourself improves the quality of your life.
A river needs two bunks to flow. The difference between flood and a normal river is that water flow is regulated in a river. During floods, water has no direction. Similarly, the energy in our life needs some direction to flow. If you don’t give direction, it is all confusion. Today, most people are confused because there is no direction in life. When you are happy, there is so much of life-energy in you; but when this life-energy doesn’t know where to go, how to go, it gets stuck. When it stagnates, it rots. For life-energy to move in a direction, commitment is essential.
Life runs with commitment. If you observe every small thing or big thing in life, they go with certain commitment. A student takes admission in a school or college with a commitment. Needless to say, a family runs on commitment: mother is committed to the child, child is committed to the parents, husband is committed to wife, and wife is committed to husband. Greater the commitment you take, greater the energy/power you gain to fulfill that commitment. Greater the commitment, easier things are. Smaller the commitment, suffocating it is for you. Smaller commitments suffocate you because you have more capacity, but you are stuck in a small hole!
When you have ten things to do and if one thing goes wrong, you can keep doing the ten things; the thing that has gone wrong will set itself right! But if you have only one thing to do and that goes wrong, then you are stuck with it. Usually we think we should have resource and then we will commit. Greater the commitment you take, greater the resources will come to you automatically. Whatever you are committed to brings you strength. If you are committed to your family then your family supports you, if you are committed to society, you enjoy the support of society.
Commitment will always bring comfort in the long run. Make a commitment to make this world a better place to live.
A person without emotions is like wood without any juice. You need to make your life interesting to make people be with you. This will happen when you nurture yourself with music, prayer and service.
The way to expand from individual to universal consciousness is to share others’ sorrow and joy. As you grow, your consciousness should also grow. When you expand in knowledge with time, then depression is not possible. The way to overcome personal misery is to share universal misery! The way to expand personal joy is to share universal joy. Instead of thinking “what about me?” and “what can I gain from this world?”, think “what can I do for the world?”
Silence heals and rejuvenates. Silence gives you depth and stability and brings creativity. Service leads to the dynamic experience of heart. It creates a sense of belongingness. Lack of service can land a person in depression. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Pain is physical. Suffering is mental. If you are not sensitive to others’ pain, then you are not a human being. That is why you need to serve. Service alone can bring contentment in life, but service without silence tires you. Service without spirituality will be shallow, and cannot be sustained for a long period. The deeper the silence, the more dynamic the outer activity. Both are essential in life.
When you bring some relief or freedom to someone through seva, good vibrations and blessings come to you. Seva brings merit; merit allows you to go deep in meditation; meditation brings back your smile. When you sing and pray from your heart , your emotions are nourished and you become “lively”.
At any given point of time, our mind is oscillating between the past and the future. Either it is angry or sad about the past or anxious about the future. Whatever actions you do in this state of mind, you regret after some time. This is how you get caught up in the same old cycle. Does it mean that you should not plan your future? No! You should plan your short and long-term goals. Then, and only then, life gets a channel, a direction to flow. When the mind is totally in the present, the right planning happens. Not only should you plan your goals, but plan the means and methods to work towards them. Where would you like to see yourself after three years? After 20 years? After 40 years? Don’t be feverish about the results. Give your 100 per cent. If you are feverish about the results, it will lead you to disappointment.
Do not make a list of all the things you want to achieve. Select few things that really matters. Once a teacher brought a glass jar to the class and a bag with some big stones, some small stones and some sand. He asked the students to put all the contents from the bag into the glass jar. Some students put the sand first, then small stones and by then there was no place for the big stones. The teacher later explained that had they put the bigger stones first, then the smaller stones, there was always space around the stones for all the sand in the bag. This example teaches us an important lesson in prioritising things. If we put things that will give us maximum fulfillment in the long term, smaller things will automatically fall into place.
Among all planets in the solar system, the earth is privileged to host life in its many forms, and, among all the species, humans are most privileged, for, they can host knowledge. Again and again you remember that you are peace, you are love, you are joy and that you are hosting the creator. If you do not realise that you are the host, you live like a ghost!
What you can do, you do.
What you cannot do, you pray for!
It is said the divine dawns in you when you pray for it, when you cry for it, when you sing for it. The divine is only waiting for you to dig a little deeper into yourself. Because, it can then fill you with much more nectar! Divine wants you to create more space in you. Cry from your soul for help. This is for those seekers who are weak. Those seekers who are strong-with the power of knowledge-can sing with that joy of what they have achieved! The moment you sing in gratitude, in glory of the divine, it immediately dawns in you, and fills you up again. One type of people is grateful for all their growth. The other type is helpless and weak. Both will be helped.
Spirituality is not some ritual, or doing something. It’s a very pleasant, uplifted state of being and seeing that the whole world is all spirit or consciousness. Use prayer to bring integration in your personality. Whatever you do, know that the higher power has the final say and it will always be for the best.
Life is a combination of both change and non-change. So, use your intelligence and courageously implement changes when you feel that there is a need for change.
You are peaceful, you are joyful, you are happy as long as you have not come in contact with your boundaries. At that moment what can you do? You can just say, “My Lord, my God, You made me become aware of my boundaries. You bring peace. I am giving it all to You.” That very moment you will start smiling. However hopeless the situation is, you will walk through it, sing through it, dance through it! This is love.
In Hindi, love is written with two-and-a-half letters. They say, “Who is a master, who is a pundit, who is a wise person? Not one who has studied a lot of scriptures, but one who has studied the two-and-a-half letters.” And this two-an-a-half letters is at this moment. It is a test of the moment, when you come in touch with your limitations, your boundaries. You are happy, peaceful. Are you in the boundaries? Or are you maintaining your boundless and the innocent love in the heart? Is it remaining? If it is, then nothing can rob you of peace.
1 You correct someone’s mistake because it bothers you. But even if you correct it, this does not work.
2 You correct someone’s mistake not because it bothers you, but for their sake so that they can grow.
To correct mistakes you need authority and love. Authority and love seem to be contradictory, but in reality they are not. Authority without love is stifling. Love without authority is shallow. A friend needs to have both authority and love but they need to be in the right combination. This can happen if you are totally dispassionate and centered. When you allow room for mistakes, you can be both authoritative and sweet. That is how the Divine is, the right balance of both. Krishna and Jesus had both.
Don’t make a mistake by pointing out mistakes!
Once a lady came to me and said her husband had lied to her. She was very upset. I asked, “Why does your husband lie to you? Because he loves you, and is afraid to lose your love or hurt you. If he did not love you, he wouldn’t lie to you!”
Do not tell a person a mistake he knows he has committed. By doing this, you will only make him feel more guilty. A magnanimous person will not pick on the mistakes of others and make them feel guilty; he will correct them with compassion and care.
In a state of ignorance, imperfection is natural and perfection is an effort. In a state of wisdom or enlightenment, imperfection is an effort; perfection is a compulsion and is unavoidable! Perfection is taking total responsibility, and total responsibility means knowing that you are the only responsible person in the whole world. When you think that others are responsible, then your degree of responsibility diminishes. When you are in total vairagya (dispassion), you can take care of even insignificant things with such perfection. Perfection is the very nature of the Enlightened one. When we are joyful, we don’t look for perfection. If you are looking for perfection then you are not at the source of joy. Joy is the realisation that there is no vacation from wisdom. The world appears imperfect on the surface but, underneath, all is perfect. Perfection hides; imperfection shows off.
The wise will not stay on the surface but will probe into the depth. Things are not blurred; your vision is blurred. Infinite actions prevail in the wholeness of consciousness, and yet the consciousness remains perfect, untouched. Realise this now and be natural.
In this world, everything cannot be perfect all the time. Even the best, the greatest of actions, performed with the noblest of intentions, will have some imperfections. It is but natural. Unfortunately, the tendency of our mind is to grab the imperfection and hold on to it. And, in the process, we end up making our moods, our minds imperfect and our souls reel with this nonsense. It is imperative to get out of these cycles, and to become strong and courageous from within.
So, be unpredictable!
Humour should be coupled with care and concern. Humour can keep the spirit high, yet if overdone it leaves a bad taste. Humour without wisdom is shallow. Humour without sensitivity is satire-it comes back to you with more problems.
The wise use humour to bring wisdom and to lighten situations. The intelligent use humour as a shield against humiliation. The cruel use humour as a sword to insult others. The irresponsible use humour to escape from responsibility. And fools take humour too seriously!
How does one cultivate a sense of humor?
Humour is not just words, it is the lightness of your being. You do not have to read and repeat jokes.
Taking life not too seriously (because you will never come out of it alive)!
Having a sense of belongingness with everybody, including those who are not friendly.
Practicing yoga and meditation.
Having unshakable faith in the Divine and in the laws of karma.
Being in the company of those who live in knowledge and are humorous.
A willingness to be a clown.
Your knowledge of a mistake comes to you when you are innocent! Whatever mistake has happened, do not consider yourself a sinner because in the present moment you are again new, pure and clear. Mistakes of the past are past. When this knowledge comes, you are again perfect. Often, mothers scold their children and afterwards feel so guilty. Okay, you got angry at your kid once or twice. Why? Because of a lack of awareness! Awareness was missing, so the anger came up. Knowledge of the self, truth and skills can bring out the best in you. So, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but not the same mistakes. You have got to be innovative even in your mistakes!
Religious prejudice is well known. There are good people and bad people in every community, religion and every section of society. Don’t be prejudiced against them. At the same time don’t be shy about your identity. When you overcome prejudice, you will be very natural, and your quality of life will improve.
The feeling that “I am blessed” can help you overcome any failure. Once you realise that you are blessed, then
all the complaints disappear.
all the grumbling disappears.
all the insecurities disappear.
a sense of not being loved disappears.
wanting love disappears.
Ego is always ambitious and wants to do tough jobs like climbing Mount Everest. Whereas in a simple act like watching a butterfly, watering the garden, watching the birds or the sky, can bring deep relaxation, and relaxation connects you with your source. Seemingly trivial actions open a new dimension and bring in immense peace and rest. Just come out of your little shell and feel free.
There is a saying: Behind every successful man is a woman. I will modify this: Behind every success there is the Divine saying “I am behind you”.
You are the Christmas tree. At the time of year when no tree bears anything, it has many gifts to offer. A Christmas tree bears the gifts and the lights not for itself. Similarly, all the gifts you are carrying in your life are for others. Anyone who comes to you, you offer them your gifts. When you show kindness, your true nature comes into play. Have you ever done acts of kindness without expecting anything out of it?
Our service should not be mechanical. Once some boy scouts were at a Sunday service, when the priest said, “You should serve.” They asked, “What is this service? Could you give us some example?” He said, “Suppose an old woman wants to cross a road, go and help her cross the road.”
So the boys went and looked for a whole week, but there was no old woman trying to cross a street. Finally, four of them found a woman walking on a footpath. One of the boys went and asked her, “Madam, would you like to cross the road?” She turned and said, “No.” He was disappointed. So another boy went and asked her again, thinking, perhaps, that the first boy hadn’t asked properly. The woman was now a little bit confused. She wondered why she was being asked this. So, she said, it was all right for him to take her across the road. Once they had reached the other side, a third boy came and asked her, “Would you like to cross the road?” Now it really bothered her. When the fourth one approached her, she almost screamed and ran away!
You don’t have to plan acts of kindness. Just do something spontaneously. When you do random acts of kindness, you come in touch with your true nature.
There is a nice story. A man earned a lot of money and then gave all his property to his son. The son then built a small house behind his big house and told his parents: “Now you have to stay there.”
So the old couple stayed there, while the son and his family lived in the bungalow. One day, while playing, the grandchild came to his grandfather’s home, where everything was in pathetic condition. The grandchild said, “Grandpa, be careful with your plate and chair. Don’t break them.” When he asked why, the child said, “Because tomorrow, my father will need them.” One does not realise this fact. You are also going to be old one day.
We are all born in this world to do something wonderful and unique; don’t let this opportunity pass by. Give yourself the freedom to dream and think big. Have the courage and determination to achieve those dreams that are dear to you. Many a time people who dreamt big were ridiculed, but they remained strong to achieve their goals.
Do something creative. Not a year should pass without doing something creative.
In the past year, how many days were you in sanyas? How many days were you struggling, being caught in maya? Turn back and remember the whole year. Do not run away from anything. Do not reject anything. Do not go away from anything. At the same time, let your attention be on the self. This is a delicate balance. That balance is yoga.
A poor man celebrates the New Year once a year. A rich man celebrates each day. But the richest man celebrates every moment.
How rich are you? If you celebrate every moment, you are the Lord of Creation. Review the year while you celebrate. This is your homework. Compare your performance in the year before last and smile.
The year 2007 is fortunate because you are living at this time!!! When you are living for the sake of the world, the world is fortunate. Let time celebrate your presence. You keep smiling as ever.
When you let time celebrate you, you are a witness amid celebration. The heart always longs for the old, the mind for the new. Life is a combination of both. Let the New Year bring into our life ancient wisdom and modernity, as life is incomplete without either of them. Don’t feel shy to speak about human and spiritual values. The time has come now to call the whole world!
Be ever new, happy you!!!!
I extracted the article from here