Above the Book
"The whole world is made up of love - you have heard this before. All is God, and all is love. Then what is the purpose of life if everything is already God? Where is life heading to? Life is heading towards perfection. If everything is God, or love, isn't it already perfect? No, because although the Creation is all love, this love has six type of distortions: anger, lust, greed, jealousy, arrogance, and delusion. One moves from these distortions to pure love. This is the purpose of all sadhana (spiritual practices), to move from distortion of Creation to purity, back to the source."
"There are many enlightened people who say it's useless to do any practices, and that it is not necessary. They have missed a very important factor. Simply enunciating the truth does not help. You have to see where the seeker is coming form there, Simply describing the destination of where one is going is not sufficient - you have to be given a road map and directions."
"Master don't need any favors from you. They just take all that anguish and garbage which you cannot lift off yourself. All enlightened masters on this planet are garbage collectors."
About the Author
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation, travels and teaches internationally, reminding us that the great spiritual traditions have common goals and values. His simple message of love, practical wisdom, and compassion continues to inspire people from all walk of life, and He encourages everyone to follow their chosen religious or spiritual path while honouring the paths of others.
His talks and programs have helped people around the world reduce stress, experience physical and emotional healing, and develop a sense of belonging.
In our general education we are taught many things. We learn to read and write, we learn something of science, mathematics, geography, and history. Some delve into music or art. Unfortunately, the most fundamental of knowledge has not been taught; how to manage one's own mind and emotions to develop and enjoy the fullest of what human life can offer. No other knowledge is more valuable in determining the quality of one's life.
Young children, who have not yet accumulated a lot of stress, exhibit an abundance of energy, enthusiasm, profound joy, and unconditional love. These qualities that manifest spontaneously in an innocent child demonstrate the truest, unadulterated, essence of humanness. We are all born with a wellspring of love and joy. These qualities are not just emotions, they are the essence of our existence. The truth of our essence cannot change, it can only be covered over and hidden from us.
As we age, stress accumulates as toxins in the body and as negative emotions in the mind. The effect of the stress, and the varied ways we cope with it, results in reduced physical health and the entrenchment of unhealthy mental and emotional habit patterns. The more stress we have, the more negative emotions such as fear and anger consciously, and unconsciously, affect our lives.
With the innate wellspring of joy and love largely blocked from our experience, the mind is drawn toward distractions that provide a limited, temporary joy, and our attention habitually focuses more on the past or the future, and less on the present moment. Most of the time the mind is caught up regretting something from the past, and worrying about the future; or glorifying the past and constantly planning how to be happy in the future, not realizing this prevents us from being happy now.
If you observe the mind, you will see how little the attention is fully in the present moment. Being present is not only being attentive to what is happening around us, but also being aware of how we are feeling inside. It is being connected to our feelings reflecting genuineness in our interactions. Feelings are often expressed without really being felt. We often say, "I love you:' or "It is a pleasure meeting you:' without feeling that way at the moment. Usually we are speaking one thing while our mind is on something else. When someone is speaking to us, we are busy thinking about what we are going to say next instead of being present to what the person is saying. So much more joy, love, intimacy, and appreciation can be experienced when we are fully present, but the mind has been conditioned otherwise.
Cultural influences further condition us to focus outside of ourselves to find happiness, or love, or to place blame when we have feelings of anger, jealousy, or other negative emotions. Since real fulfillment can never be found outside ourselves, continuing to focus our attention in that direction leads to an endless cycle of desires.
Often, people continually hope some state of happiness will come in the future once some "thing" has been accomplished. The mind keeps thinking "I'll be happy when I finally have that." Young people think they will be happy when they have freedom from their parents. Single people will be' happy when they find the right partner. Married people think they could be happy if only their partner would change a few things about themselves. Others think they will be happy when they have more money, more fame, a better job, a better house, when they retire, etc. Being happy is continually put off to the future, but happiness cannot be experienced in the future, only in the present.
When a desire is fulfilled we may feel happy for a time, but then another desire comes and again we start looking to the future. No matter what success, fame, or relationship we may achieve in the world, a lasting, profound fulfillment does not come. Many simply accept that this is as good as it gets, while the purpose of their life remains unclear, directed toward shallow rewards, or is thought to be unachievable.
The problem is, the mind wants infinite joy and love, but all the things in the world can only provide a temporary, finite joy. This doesn't mean we shouldn't have any desires, but we need to break the habit of looking for happiness in the future and be happy with what we have right now.
Our society's past has been dominated by the search for greater exterior comforts while the development of our inner world has been sacrificed. In just a few generations our civilization has advanced with the most amazing technology, and incredible abundance and freedom, but this has not helped people live truly happier lives full of love. As technology has advanced, the pace and pressures of life have only increased, creating more stress and tensions.
On the surface, life does seem better off than in the past, but below the surface we hear tens of millions of people are relying on antidepressive medication; stress-related diseases are epidemic; and a majority of the population relies on artificial stimulants or relaxants such as caffeine and alcohol; or in many cases, much harder prescribed or non prescribed drugs.
Society accepts these developments as normal only because the knowledge of how to dissolve the accumulated stress, and open the heart and expand the consciousness, has not been available or adopted. Rather than search for a way to grow out of these limitations, most people just learn new ways to cope, and settle for limited happiness, instead of living the profound joy and love that should be natural to the human experience.
If we understood more how our own mind and emotions function, and regularly took some time to settle into our own depth, we would not need the various crutches people use to cope. Now is the time to turn our attention inward, to explore what can be done to develop our inner potential.
First we need to attend to our spiritual needs. The basis of spirituality is simply knowing ourselves better. Spirituality is not about pondering something that is outside this world, it is recognizing that spirit underlies everything in this world. A spiritual experience is not something out of this world, it is feeling the intimate connection one has to everything, and every person, in this world.
Ultimately, the depth of the joy and love you experience in this life is determined not by what you have, but by how well you know yourself and how well you have removed the obstacles that prevent you from experiencing the true nature of yourself. That is, the self you experienced as an innocent child. This doesn't mean we want to act like children. What we want is the intelligence and understanding of a mature adult with the inner connection to one's wellspring of joy and love that a child experiences. What we need is what we already have, we just have to clear away the obstacles and let it shine.
Understanding the tendencies of the mind, and the laws which govern it, can help to release the grip of the habit patterns. Understanding negative emotions for what they are, and why they come, can help one recognize what is happening and bring the mind back to the present moment. Knowing you are much more than just this mind, these thoughts, or these emotions, bring an expanded awareness in you, but, using only the mind to attempt to change the mind has inherent limitations. Joy and love are not moods we can try to adopt. Joy and love is our essential essence, beyond mere emotion, beyond the mind.
Gaining knowledge is essential but must go hand in hand with a healthy lifestyle and some form of physical or mental practices that can clear away the accumulated stress that is the root cause of the problem. The greatest expert in the psychology of the mind, if he or she is filled with stress, will be unable to remain centered during a storm of emotion. Techniques such as meditation, yoga, breathing practices, and sincere, heartfelt prayer,
When done regularly, can begin to clear away the stress, expand the consciousness, and open the heart. Fully blossoming as a human being is simple, the knowledge and practices are available, one need only make a change in one's priorities.
The new millennium will likely be a more spiritual age for mankind. Already we see more and more people searching for spiritual answers, questioning the meaning and purpose of life, and looking for a fulfillment that comes from within. Guidance can be found in many places but ultimately everyone must find their own way.
Basic knowledge of our emotions, and the tendencies of the mind, and doing practices that cleanse the system of stress and impurities, offer us the means by which we can restore the connection with the source of joy and love inside us. The intangible effect of prayer and grace may also play powerful roles in this development for many people.
The spiritual search will always be a search for new wisdom. As we enter the coming new age, this Wisdom for the New Millennium offers us many profound insights to further our journey.
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend