The 3 Things That Stop
You From Being Happy

By Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Every child is nothing but a bundle of joy, but as we grow up, somewhere, we lose that joy. A child smiles 400 times a day. When a child grows up and becomes an adolescent, he smiles only 17 times a day, and when he becomes an adult, he smiles occasionally and that too when someone else smiles. The whole question is, how do we reverse this? How do we get back to the innocence we were born with? This is the quest.

There are three things that stops us from being joyful like a child and we need to get rid of all these three.

1. Stress

If you ask me, 'What is stress', in my opinion, I see stress as wanting to do a lot but having no energy and no time.

Now to get rid of stress, either you have to reduce your needs or increase your energy. In these two things, what is most practical is not reducing your needs, but increasing your energy levels.

Now how do we increase our energy levels? Through breathing exercises, pranayama, meditation, and yoga. All of these increase the energy levels of a person in a short period time of 15 to 20 minutes. There are number of breathing techniques that help us relax and get back a lot of energy.

Relaxation that you get from sleep is dull relaxation. Another kind of relaxation is conscious relaxation. That relaxation brings your energy levels higher. That is called meditation. Meditation is not sitting and thinking about something. It is going to the source of thought.

So reducing and eliminating stress is the first thing.

2. Insecurity

Insecurity of what? 'Oh, there is nobody for me. Who will take care of me?' I tell you, there is so much love and compassion on this planet, and there is a higher power which is all love and it will give you what you need and when you need.

If you look at your own life, in the past, how many times have you felt insecure?
All those moments you have spent feeling insecure, appears to be such a waste of time, isn't it?  Count and see how much time you have spent being insecure in the past 20 years. How many days did you spend in a gloomy mood? It is such a waste of time and energy, and not only that, it created toxins in your body. Do you know, your health gets disturbed by the feeling of insecurity.

Three things you must do:
1. Look back in the past and see that it was futile feeling insecure. This gives you strength
2. Know that there are good people on this planet. They will always come to your help
3. There is a power which is going to guide you and help you out
With this wisdom and understanding, get over insecurity.

3. Prejudice

Third is to get rid of prejudice. There are many types of prejudice. There is prejudice between generations where young people will not sit and share with senior citizens. There is a generation gap. There is prejudice about class, about gender, about religion, culture, language, and so on in many parts of the world; so many types of prejudices. Wisdom is to rise above prejudice and see the whole world as one family.

If everyone has this idea of a one world family, there will be no war, no crime and none of the problems that we are facing in the world today. See how many people are being killed. There is so much violence in the world. This is all because of lack of a broad vision and wisdom.

With meditation, yoga and breathing techniques, get over stress. With wisdom, get over prejudice, and reflecting on your own life and having the confidence and faith, get over insecurity.

Once you get over stress, insecurity and prejudice, then you are like a child, full of joy, and happiness simply wells up in you. Happiness is already there, it is just covered by these three things, and once you removed all these three things, it becomes obvious.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian and spiritual leader, an ambassador of peace and human values. Through his life and work, Gurudev has inspired millions around the world with a vision of a stress-free, violence-free world.  He has founded courses that provide techniques and tools to live a deeper, more joyous life and he has established nonprofit organizations that recognize a common human identity above the boundaries of race, nationality, and religion.