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Source: Art of Living

No Choice
The choice is always between good and the best or bad and worse. Choice is never between good and bad. When there is a good and bad in front of you, there is no choice. Your choice is only between bad and worse or good and the best. And when it is good and best, why do I have to worry so much. Okay fine, so what. Anyways it is good. The choice is always the confusion of wanting more. You know, you want more joy, more happiness, more something. It is good to have that up to certain limit. Beyond that, that becomes a cause of tension in life.

Letting Go of Control
Many have a problem of letting go of control. This results in anxiety, restlessness and it sours relationships. Wake up and see, are you really in control? What are you in control of? Perhaps a tiny part of your waking state! Isnt that so? You are not in control when you are sleeping or dreaming. You are not in control of thoughts and emotions coming to you. You may choose to express it or not, but they come to you without your prior permission! You realize that most of the functions of your body are not in your control, and the same for your life and the whole universe. Similarly, do you think you are in control of all the events in your life or in the world? That is a joke! When you look at things from this angle you need not be afraid of losing control, because you have none! Whether you realise it or not, when you let go of your sense of control that is when you truly relax. Your identification of being somebody does not let you relax totally and it keeps your domain limited.

Life is a Dream, a Burden or a Joke

Often when you are happy you feel life is a dream because you do not believe in the reality of it. When there is misery you feel life as a burden. And we take trivial things very seriously. But one who has really gone through the pleasure realizes that pleasure is a burden. And if you have undergone misery thoroughly you will realize that life is a dream. In every miserable condition you have been walked or carried through and you realize life is a dream. When you see life is dream a burden or a joke only then can you be centered. And when you have really gone through misery you have really seen life as a dream. And in between the pain and pleasure life is all a joke. Life is very uncertain. Before it takes you away, realize it is a dream, a burden or a joke.

Source: Art of Living

Someone asked: What about life is a joke? Answer: A joke you do not question. If you question a joke, it is no longer a joke. Do not question a burden either. It is a waste of time to question life and its events. The burden makes you go deep. It gets you to the core of yourself. Realization of a dream wakes you up. And seeing life as a joke makes you light. The only certainty is that life is a dream, a burden or a joke and only when you realize this can you be centered.

An Awkward Situation
Why do you feel awkward? And how do you get out of it? If you have always been the center of attention, and are suddenly sidelined, you may feel out of place. Similarly if you have always been on the side lines, and are suddenly pushed to center stage, you may experience restlessness. If you are used to ordering, and suddenly have to take orders, or, if you usually follow orders, and you are made to give them, you may feel out of place. A very busy person with nothing to do, or a laid back person who is faced with a lot of responsibilities may experience restlessness. Very often, feeling out of place blocks the reason and distorts the logic. If the situation you are in is inevitable, tolerate it. If its avoidable, walk out of it. If you feel that it can expand your abilities, smile through it. Every awkward situation increases your comfort zone. Every awkward situation is a test for how deep you are in the Knowledge. Love something of an awkward situation. This will increase your comfort zone. When your comfort zone increases, no one will be able to push your buttons and you will become so centered and unshakable.

Annihilate conflict
When you are in a harmonious environment your mind picks up any excuse to be in conflict. So often small things are enough to create big turmoil. If you have a conflicting environment you tend to seek harmony ... Have you noticed this? Ask yourself this question: Do you seek harmony in every situation or do you seek to widen the differences and prove your righteousness? When your survival is at stake, you don't complain that nobody loves you. When you are safe and secure you start demanding attention. Many people create conflict in order to get attention. The seed of negativity and the tendency for conflict in you can only be annihilated by Sadhana.

Source: Art of Living

Conflict And Innocence

Fights can only happen among equals. When you fight with someone, you make them equal. But in reality there is no one at par with you. When you keep people either above or below you, then there is no fight. When they are above you, you respect them. When they are below you, you love them and you feel compassionate. Either submission or compassion can take you out of a fight in no time. This is one way to look at it when you are tired of fighting. When you are well rested, just fight and have fun. The same is true of the mind. As long as the mind thinks it is equal to the senses, there is conflict. When it realizes that it is bigger than the senses, there is no conflict. And when the mind is smaller than the senses, like in animals, there is no conflict. When the mind is caught up in the senses, there is constant conflict. When it transcends the senses, it comes back to its true nature, which is innocence - in no sense. Does this make sense? (Laughter)

Broaden your vision, deepen your roots

The act which is only destructive and inflicts suffering both on oneself and others is terrorism. In such an act, human values are lost in the process of achieving a goal. Some of the factors that lead to terrorism are:

Frustration and desperation to achieve a goal Confused emotion Short sightedness and Impulsive action

Belief in a non-verifiable concept of heaven and merit; a childish concept of God favouring some and angry at others, thereby undermining the omniscience and omnipotence of the Divine. Terrorism induces fear psychosis in all, increases poverty, suffering and loss of life with no apparent gains. Instead of solutions the terrorist looks for destruction as an answer. If you simply criticize without giving a solution, know that this criticism comes from the same seed as terrorism! Although there are certain qualities you can appreciate in a terrorist such as:

Fearlessness Commitment to a goal Sacrifice

You will have to learn from them things that you should never do:

Valuing some ideas and concepts more than life.

Source: Art of Living

Having a narrow perspective of life and dishonouring its diversity.

The Remedy for terrorism is:

Inculcate a broader perspective of life -- value life more than race, religion and nationality. Educate people in human values, friendliness, compassion, cooperation and upliftment. Teach methods to release stress and tension. Cultivate confidence in achieving noble aims by peaceful and nonviolent means. Create spiritual upliftment which can weed out destructive tendencies.

Question: Can it be that terrorism need not be only physical violence, but also cultural or economical? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes. Solution for economic violence: "Think globally, buy locally." Solution for cultural violence "Broaden your vision, deepen your roots." Question: How does one cope with the aftermath of terrorism? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Faith and prayer. When disaster happens, anger is inevitable. We should respond, but not react with emotional outbursts. Wisdom is needed to make this discretion. One mistake cannot be corrected by another mistake. Strive for multi-cultural and multi-religious education and spiritual upliftment to reach every part of the globe. For the world will not be safe, even if a small pocket of people are left ignorant.

Decision and confusion

Decision comes only when there is confusion. When there is no confusion then there is no decision. For example, if there is a piece of wood and a biscuit on your desk, you don't decide which one to eat, isn't that right? Decision is always about choice and choice is always confusing. So, all decision-makers are confused! (Laughter) Action is spontaneous when there is no actor. In you, there is an actor and there is a witness. An actor is either confused or decisive, but the witness realizes that the action is spontaneous and smiles. The more decisions you make, the more confused you are, and as a result you swing between pain and pleasure. The more the witness grows in you, the more playful and untouched you are. Trust, faith, love and joy all manifest in and around you. Are you confused, decided or happy now? Eberhard: Confusion is too strong of an expression. Is it not rather "choice"?

Source: Art of Living

Urmila: We are decided that choice is confusion. (Everyone laughs) Hans Peter: Is there any freedom without confusion? Sri Sri: When you are confused, there is no freedom. Hans Peter: What is freedom of choice? Sri Sri: Confusion! (Laughter)

Creativity brings a new beginning for "time". When you are creative, you break the monotony of time. Everything becomes fresh and alive. Creativity brings along with it a new round of enthusiasm. Both creative and procreative impulses in nature are associated with enthusiasm. When you are enthusiastic you are closer to the creative principle of existence. Deep silence is the mother of creativity. No creativity can come out of one who is too busy, worried, over-ambitious or lethargic. Balanced activity, rest and yoga can kindle skills and creativity in you.

Compassion and Karma

There are two types of compassion. One is the compassion of the wise, one is that of the ignorant. An ignorant person's compassion is on the fruit of an action whereas a wise person's compassion is towards the non-availability of knowledge. Compassion for suffering shows ignorance. Suffering comes because of karma, and if you believe in karma, where is compassion? One reaps the fruit of one's actions. If a judge has compassion for all the offenders then the jails will be empty. At the same time, are the judges cruel to the offenders? No; the judges' compassion is for the non-availability of knowledge, not for the suffering of the criminals. It is their karma. Often people think compassion is an act, an action. Know that compassion is your very nature. Then you will see that karma and compassion are not contradictory but complement each other. Suppose two people come to a hospital. One is suffering from starvation, the other is ill from overeating. What type of compassion should the doctor have towards each of them? This is a riddle for you to solve!

Source: Art of Living

The strength of commitment

Question: Why is it easier for some of us to commit to our own welfare rather than that of others? Sri Sri: Because you do not know that 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 your society, you enjoy the support of society. If you are committed to God, God gives you strength. If you are committed to Truth, Truth brings you strength. Often one is not aware of this idea and that is why one is hesitant to commit to a greater cause. Also there is a fear that commitment would weaken one or take away one's freedom. Your commitment to a cause is bound to bring you comfort in the long run. Commitment in life grows toward a higher cause. The higher the commitment, greater is the good for all. Noah: Why don't we make any vows in the Art of Living? Sri Sri: When the path is charming, commitment is effortless and is part of your nature. Mikey: In Art of Living we don't make vows, we have Wows! (laughter)

Commitment and Convenience

A commitment can only be felt when it oversteps convenience. That which is convenient, you do not call commitment. If you just go on your convenience, your commitment falls apart causing more inconvenience! If you keep dropping your commitment because it is inconvenient, can you be comfortable? Often, what is convenient does not bring comfort, but gives an illusion of comfort. Also if you are too stuck in commitment, and it is too inconvenient too often, you will be unable to fulfill your commitment and it will only generate frustration. Wisdom is to strike a balance between convenience and commitment because both bring comfort to the body, mind and spirit. A seeker of knowledge should forget about convenience, so should soldiers, rulers, students, seekers of wealth and all essential service providers. Those who want to be creative and adventurous transcend convenience. Those who are ambitious and have a passion for a goal do not care for convenience. To the wise their commitment is their comfort. Whenever their commitment is shaken, their comfort is also shaken. To the lazy, commitment is torture though it is the best remedy. Commitment will always bring comfort in the long run. Question: Are there any commitments that can be given up? Answer: Yes.

Source: Art of Living

Sometimes when you are committed without a vision, you feel stifled when your vision expands. Such commitments made with shortsightedness can be given up. A smaller less important commitment can be given up for a greater commitment. Commitment to the means can be given up for the sake of the commitment to the goals. When your commitment brings misery to many in the long run it can be given up.

Source: Art of Living