Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Whenever I see a good looking girl, I find myself in love. Is that love or infatuation?
Sri Sri: Well, time will tell you! First, find out whether they are in love withyou or not. If that matches, it is a different story. If it doesn’tmatch, that is a different story altogether. Either case, you willbecome mature. But don’t keep falling in love. Rise in love! In love,you don't expect anything in return. If you want something in return,don’t call it love. Then that’s need. In a relationship there is aneed, but there is no need in love. Love is your very nature. If itsounds too philosophical for now, just keep it in the background andrelax. One day you will understand, when your heart breaks or when yourealize you expected something too much, something will pop up from thebackground of the mind and try to save you.
Q: If everything is as God wants it and if everything is written then why do we need to put effort for anything?
Sri Sri: Even that is written. Your asking this question is written too, got it? But me giving an answer for it is not written!
Come on! Animals are governed by instincts. They have no choice, they are programmed. But the human system is programmed with a possibility of either / or. Human system has the choice also programmed. But animals have no program of choice. Do you get what I am saying? In the program it is fixed that human beings can have the choice. Intellect is present in the human system which can make the choices. That means there is freedom also. Got it?
Q: I have been having so many different dreams. They are full of fear and anger. I even say I hate you to a person and I say that to a person I love. What is that? My heart is happy, then why is this so?
Sri Sri: Past impressions! You know, there are five types of dreams. Do you know about that? How many of you don’t know? One is your past impressions in the mind come to you as dreams. Second is your desires, ambitions, dreams come to you as dreams. Your unfulfilled desires come to you as dream. Like you wanted to have hot chocolate and you sleep, you have hot chocolate in your dream. Have you had this type of dreams? Third type of dream is premonition. What is going to happen in the future, you get it in your dream. Everyone gets once in a while such dreams, premonitions. Fourth type of dream has nothing to do with you but the place you are in. Suppose you go and sleep in France, you get a dream in which everybody is speaking French, French words and faces that you have never seen before or sometimes the people who were there in that area or the impressions in that space come to you as dream. The fifth type is a mix of all these – a hotchpotch. That is what mostly dreams are. Ninety percent dreams are of this category. You are riding a horse and suddenly the horse is inside a train. There is no logic to it and it all appears to be very perfect and really clear. Suddenly the train transforms into a boat and the boat turns into a train! All these things can happen. This is all possible in dreams. So many possibilities because it’s a mixture of all: your desires, past impressions, what may happen in the future and then the place. That’s why you don’t need to analyze too much. It’s another form of stress release. Wake up!
Q: Guruji, can you tell us some story when you were a child.
Sri Sri: I continue to be one even today! I leave the story for others to say. Knowledge byte: Remember one thing. The centre core of your existence is all positivity. All imperfection is only on the circumference. So deep inside you are pure, you are innocent, you are beautiful, and you must have total conviction in this. That is it. I am totally pure hundred percent, two hundred percent positive. Deep inside you are simply a most adorable, most lovable person. You should have zero doubt about it. And whatever imperfections you may find in yourself or in others are only on the circumference. This conviction is most important in spiritual growth. Otherwise someone blames you, you take the blame and then you burn with it. When you have this conviction, if anybody says anything to you, you will not care and will simply smile at them. You will not be an emotional wreck anytime, because you are so solid and well founded in the self. And that is what the whole spiritual exercise is! Shudhohum, budhohum – You are pure, crystal clear and solid. That conviction makes you rest so peacefully. If you are made by nature, you are perfect. Everything in nature is perfect. There is one school of thought which says find imperfection. Another school of thought is to move from perfection to greater perfection. That is what we understand. Praising each other and praising oneself, uplift the spirit all the time. Give criticism and stand up to criticism. If someone criticizes you, welcome that, knowing too well that whatever is the criticism is part of their perception or your projection. Imperfection is nothing but a projection or perception. From your side you have projected like that to the other person or that person has perceived you like that. Imperfection is nothing but your inability to project the way you are to others or the perception of other person towards you. That’s it. Got it? All these practices you do are to get to this stage – Improving perception, observation and expression. And that is it. It can never be hundred percent. It is relative, this is the thing. There can always be a chance for improvement in perception and expression. But there is no chance for any improvement in the being.
Q: If joy and peace are truly our nature, why is it so difficult to be happy and satisfied in our daily life?
Sri Sri: Is it so difficult? You know you should have one policy, ‘We will not do anything which is too difficult!’ Be easy going, a happy go lucky person. Why do you have to struggle? If being unhappy is easy, just go for it. If being miserable is the easiest thing and being happy is so difficult, why do you have to struggle to be happy! Got it? Go for the easiest, and the easiest is to be unhappy? NO! The simplest, the easiest thing is to be relaxed and happy. If you say why it is so difficult, we have to fix this a little bit. And that thing which fixes this is knowledge. Got it? (After a break of a few breaths) And I tell you, it’s easy!
Q: Which is the way of being considerate in my society, neighborhood, my Art of Living group and my friends?
Sri Sri: Why are you asking this question? You think you are not considerate of others? If you are very stressed then you don’t care what other people think or what others are doing. You just do what you want to do. But sensitivity comes with serenity, sensitivity comes with calmness, sensitivity comes with culture. Your background, your culture, how you grow up, and what were the situations around you. You have that ability to be considerate. Do not doubt that. Compassion is in our very nature. Only when you are extremely stressed, compassion appears to have disappeared. It really doesn’t disappear, it stays somewhere deep inside.
Q: I feel sick, weak and tired. What’s happening?
Sri Sri: What you said is exactly what is happening! You have said it! It will pass, it will pass definitely. You know, if you are tired, either you have not taken enough water or too little sugar. Either too little energy or too much energy, or your system has some bugs or not any stress release. Any one of these can cause that. When you go deep in meditation, what happens? The stresses come out. When they come out, either you feel tired or feel like running away. All this is possible. If you take a few breaths or walk in the fresh snow, it will help. And take plenty of water, fluids, fruits, vegetables. All this would help.
Q: I am very restless or I am very sleepy. How do I get a better balance for meditation?
Sri Sri: Again these experiences are so common for a beginner. If you are just beginning to meditate, restlessness comes up or you feel very sleepy. When stresses get released from your system, such a passage may be common. Farry will tell you more on this. When it comes from a scientist mouth, it has more flavors to it. He is doing a lot of research in Oslo University on Kriya. They found how the chromosomes of your body change! He just told me some very exciting news. So when stress release happens, the chemical or structural form in which stress was stored gets released, you get all these experiences. Your endocrine system readjusts itself, because we have violated our body in so many ways so many times. We have not kept the balance; we have not honored our own body, so jerks may happen. How many of you have found some jerks? Emotions may come up and you feel completely confused. All this may happen. It’s not that it should happen. Sometimes it doesn’t happen and you say am I not releasing any stress? That person is getting stress released and I am so quiet. Don’t compare your experience with anybody whatsoever. We all are so different. Everybody’s nervous system is so different. And at different times, different experiences come to different people. So at any time we should never compare our experiences with others and feel sorry or happy about it.
Q: Guruji I wish I were you. Is it possible or not?
Sri Sri: Of course! You don’t have to wish, you are already! We are all one. I am you and you are me. See, the mind is like the space. The self is like the space inside and outside the body. The thoughts come and go, emotions come and go, but when you go inside there is only empty space. And our true nature is that. When we identify ourselves too much with thoughts, with feelings and emotions, that is when we feel we are stuck, we are small. But, the ‘Real, Magnanimous You’ are that space inside where you feel totally at peace. Those moments when you are totally in peace or fully in love, you feel an expansion, right? You feel boundless, you feel limitless, and that is our true nature. That is what the beauty is. We are all one in that, there is no two!I will give you an example. Suppose you keep here many different vessels with different sizes. They have different capacities: one can have two liters, one can have ten liters, and one can have five litres. But the space is the same. The capacity of each vessel may be different. So what! But it is the same space which is inside, outside and which is everywhere. Our ability to do different things, our energy to do different things is immaterial to what we are. And this ability, this energy doesn’t stay the same throughout life. See, when you were a baby your abilities were different, rather nothing. You could not help even yourself. Somebody had to care for you. And what happens when you get very old? Then also your abilities are different. So changing of our abilities, our thought is immaterial to the real you, to who you are. You are simply space, you are love, you are peace and this identification removes all other complexes in life. Otherwise you will always find somebody is more capable than you and somebody is less capable than you. You are better somewhere and you are not in some others. When you compare yourself with others in the world, either who are living or dead or may be being born in the future, there will always be a difference. This is part of the world, part of the Universe, okay?
Q: What could help me prioritize one thing against another in my life?
Sri Sri: Your broader vision!