Look at ends and beginnings with enthusiasm and hope, and channel your energy to positive action, says SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR, founder, the Art of Living Foundation
You think you are a part of this world, but actually, the world is a part of you. Therefore, you cannot be at peace when the world around you is in turmoil. When mid-life crisis begins prematurely in teenage years, society is rattled by violence and drug abuse; humanism appears utopian; joy, love and compassion are confined to books and celluloid; corruption and crime come to be accepted as a way of life — these are warning signals for us to wake up and meet these challenges.
Young And Eager
Today, we see a catastrophic decline in human values all over the world. A young boy recently opened fire at little children in an elementary school in Newton, Connecticut, in the US. And in India, we are still reeling under the shock of the heinous attack and gang rape of a young girl by a group of men, leaving her in a critical state. The incident provoked youth to come out on the streets and demonstrate in large numbers, demanding justice. Youth need to exercise restraint and keep anti-social elements and vested political interests at bay. Protest is essential to bring awareness, but not beyond that.
We are witnessing a movement: awareness and enthusiasm among youth and their eagerness to create a better India by bringing about changes is gaining momentum; we should not allow this momentum to degrade into chaos and violence.
The need is to channel these energies constructively. We need to create an atmosphere of support and contribution rather than of blame and accusation.
While the authorities are certainly accountable for law and order, diffusing stress in the environment and taking steps to bring out human values in society becomes our responsibility as well; otherwise, people to whom this message has not reached might harm us or our loved ones out of their resentment. All of us should take out some time — at least a few hours in a week — to volunteer for a better India. If we have just a few people with this magnanimous outlook, who can take responsibility for others’ emotional well-being, society has a very realistic chance of being peaceful and harmonious to a large extent.
There are little things we can all do to keep our environment stress-free. We need to develop the habit of sharing our joy with others. If you are happy, infect others with your happiness; don’t keep it to yourself. Any action done with this idea behind it is service and the best form of service is uplifting someone’s state of mind. Of course, we must be careful and sensitive so as not to upset anyone with our enthusiasm. When we decide to share what we have been given, the Divine showers more abundance on every one of us.
Being spiritual does not mean turning a blind eye to the world. On the contrary, as you learn more and more about yourself, you come to know more and more about the world as well and begin to infer things that are beyond the obvious. Somewhere within we all want to know who we are, why we are here and what the purpose of life is. Most people choose to push these questions aside as a waste of time. Being spiritual is about keeping this little fire of Self-inquiry alive and not extinguishing it; not giving up the pursuit. These questions serve as a compass and help you bring a sense of direction to your life.
Every end creates a sense of completion and relief and every new beginning brings with it a sense of hope and enthusiasm. Therefore there is celebration associated with both. The past has made you wiser, the future beckons you to act and it is in the present that you can plan and begin. Although bitter experiences of the past should not prevent you from taking risk and plunging into adventure, you should also not be foolish in repeating old mistakes. A few moments of reflection should become a daily routine to infuse inspiration, innovation and intuition, all of which are much needed for planning and action.
Create A New Beginning
As you pass through events one after the other, become aware that life is like a river. There may be stones on the path, but the river flows above or around them. No year passes by without a touch of joy or without posing challenges. You should plan to utilise every moment of joy to serve and see every challenge as opportunity for growth. The year 2012 has not brought on the end of the world, and the coming New Year, 2013, is most certainly the start of a new beginning.
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