Saturday, June 15, 2024
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When will you be happy?

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Once there was a congregation of fish, who got together to discuss who among them had seen the ocean. None of them could say they had actually seen the ocean. Then one fish said, ‘‘I think my great grandfather had seen the ocean!’’ A second fish said, ‘‘Yes, yes, I have also heard about this.’’ A third fish said, ‘‘Yes, certainly, his great grandfather had seen the ocean.’’ 

So, they built a huge temple and made a statue of the great grandfather of that particular fish, saying, “He had seen the ocean. He had been connected with the ocean.’’ In life, our search for happiness is like that. 

What are you waiting for? Instead of preparing to be happy, be happy now and resolve to remain naturally happy. God is trying his best to see you happy. But God only helps those who help themselves. So everyday make a resolution. “Today, I am just going to be happy come what may. I will not let anything disturb my happiness. I am going to be contented, happy.” 

Don’t worry about what others think of you. Whatever they think is impermanent. Your own opinion about things and people keeps changing all the time. So why worry about what others think about you. Worrying takes a lot of toll on the body, mind, intellect and alertness. It is like an obstruction that takes us far away from ourselves. It brings us fear. Fear is nothing but lack of love. It is an intense sense of isolation. 

This can be handled by relaxing and doing some breathing exercises. Then you will realise that, “I am loved, I am part of everybody and I am part of the whole universe.” This will liberate you and the mind will take a complete shift. You will then find so much harmony around. 

Life is 80 per cent joy and 20 per cent misery. But we hold on to the 20 per cent and make it 200 per cent! It is not a conscious act, it just happens. Living in the moment with joy, alertness, awareness and compassion is enlightenment. Being like a child is enlightenment. It is being free from within, feeling at home with everybody, without barriers. 

A beautiful combination - of being happy and alert and focused at the same time - can be experienced in spiritual life.
You can experience happiness at three levels. One is the happiness in society, in the environment. How can you bring about happy situations? How would you feel in a place where everybody around you thinks only about himself or herself ? Would you like to be in such a group where there is no sharing, no sense of belongingness, and no happiness? 

The second level is the happiness of one’s mind. When one accepts things and moves in knowledge then the happiness dawns in the mind. Sometimes everybody around you is happy and you are serving others also but you are not happy in your mind; there is no fulfilment. Dedication brings the second level of happiness. 

The third level is the happiness of the soul. This level of happiness happens when the soul is united with the Divine. When there is no duality, no two, when you are in deep meditation, then you experience this innermost joy. 

To find harmony, it is not as if you have to physically seek it by sitting somewhere for years and practise. Whenever you are in love and feel joyous, your mind is in the present. At some level, to some degree, everybody is meditating without being aware of it. There are moments when your body, mind and breath are all in harmony. That’s when you achieve yoga. The art of living lies in the present moment.

(The writer is an Indian yoga guru, a spiritual leader)

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