Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Why does a desire arise? Where does it come from? What is the purpose?
Sri Sri: All desires have got one goal, and that is happiness. If a desire brings unhappiness, it has not reached its goal. The goal of desires is to bring happiness. So, that is the purpose.
Where does it come from? It comes when you are not aware of your Being, your Self. Desire is your wanting to stay in the moment. Desire is to experience joy. Joy is only in the moment. And when you are in the moment, there is no desire. Have you noticed when you are joyful and satisfied, there is no burning desire at that time.
Q: I was wondering what exactly the mind is? Is it a little space in our brain or is it universal?
Sri Sri: Mind is energy which is all over the body. See, every cell in your body is emitting some energy and the totality of all that energy around you is what you call the mind. What happens in mind reflects in the body, what you put in the body, reflects in the mind. Mind is not present at some point in the brain, but mind is all over the body. There is so much deep knowledge about consciousness;
The vibrations around the body make things happen around us. Have noticed, sometimes you see some people and you feel like talking and, sometimes for no reason you feel like avoiding some people. So, one of the best ways to have good interpersonal skills is to cleanse one’s presence, one’s aura.
On a more gross level, Mind has got two dimensions. One is open mind and one is closed mind. An open mind is receptive, ready to learn, ready to catch the moment. A closed mind says, “I know it all”. Mind that has confined itself under the boundary of ‘I know it all’ doesn’t let one’s personality to blossom fully. In one of the traditions in East, the name given to a religion is Sikh. Sikh means one who is always ready to learn, and the knowledge of the self is so vast that there cannot be end to learning.
Q: Is meditation concentrating on tip of nose or centre of forehead?
Sri Sri: Meditation is not concentration. Meditation is the simple art of doing absolutely nothing, not even thinking, so you don’t concentrate but you de-concentrate. If you are asked to concentrate on something, just a gentle attention works. Effortlessness is the key. Using the breath as a tool, bringing the mind to a standstill state is possible. You just let meditation happen effortlessly.
Q: Can you please talk in a little detail about the Mind and intellect, and how are they related?
Q: How to learn from experience? Often we keep doing same thing but don’t learn.
Sri Sri: If you keep doing the same thing again and again knowing that it brings you misery, you really don’t understand that it brings you misery, or you think it brings you some pleasure. Craving for pleasure and non awareness that it is going to cause you misery are two things which makes you commit same mistake again and again. That’s why it is called habit. Habits don’t give you pleasure but they inflict pain by not following them.
Q: I learnt some techniques of meditation where I was told to concentrate on a point or imagine something. I have practiced that for a long time but to no avail. I feel something is missing. Can you please talk about that?
Sri Sri: Meditation is not concentrating on any point. It is neither about imagining anything. That involves effort and meditation is effortless. You don’t do meditation, but you let meditation happen.
Q: I start to do a lot of things, but I don’t get to complete. Can you tell me a way how can I improve the situation?
Sri Sri: If you want to do, you can do anything. It has to come from within. With the determination, ‘I will do this job, and I will see to it that it gets completed’. This commitment from within will help you, and get you through. Got it? Nobody can do the job other than you.
So, take up with small things and follow it through, and then you will get the confidence. That prepares you to take up big tasks. You know, why do you drop things? Because you think they are not important. But there is nothing important or unimportant in life, everything has importance. So, even if something looks unimportant, you say, “I want to finish it, and I will finish it”. Then you will be able to enhance your commitment.
Q: What do I do when I close my eyes for meditation?
Sri Sri: Whole time you keep on doing something or the other. Your body is involved in some function or the other, thoughts keep passing and bombarding the mind. Good news is that, you need not do anything – meditation is not an act, it happens. You simply sit and let it happen. There are three steps to meditation:
Step 1: Relax
Step 2: Relax more
Step 3: Relax more and more
Meditation happens with effortlessness!
Q: A little more on the Mind! Mind – in want of new! What is the nature of the mind?
Sri Sri: The mind needs something new constantly, every minute, every second… It wants something today, something else tomorrow or an entirely different thing the day after tomorrow. You get bored if you have to eat the same vegetable everyday. You want to taste different varieties of food everyday. Why? Mind wants something new all the time. Homework for you! But how much newness can exist? Is there any stop to this more of the mind?
Q: The golden rules of meditation?
Sri Sri: There are three golden rules for meditation. The first is you say “I want nothing, I want nothing for next 15-20 minutes.” If you say “I need to drink water or change my position,” then meditation cannot happen. When you want nothing, then you also do nothing. The second golden rule is “I do nothing.” You only breathe. Do not make an effort to think “I want nothing” and “I do nothing” - Just an effortless attention. Then the last one is even more important, “I am nothing.” While meditating we drop all notions about ourselves of being rich, poor, intelligent, stupid, male, female or any other. So what are you? Nothing! After meditation you can again be something. It is your choice, but if you think, during meditation, that you are somebody great or somebody hopeless, there is no way you can settle down to that deepest core of the being. This must be our initial step to settle into that infinity, the consciousness of which we are all made up of. It is the journey from sound to the inner joyful silence.