Overcoming Perfectionism
& The Thorn Of Desire

Our body is an illusion, it doesn’t stay the same, it keeps changing. Our emotions also keep changing. So, in that sense, it is all an illusion.

Have you read my tweet about happiness? When you look at somebody`s face, if they don’t look happy, it is because there is a thorn of desire in their heart.

Your sadness is because of the thorn of desire in your heart. If you don`t take notice of it, it will turn into sarcasm, cynicism, frustration, and anger. You need to pull it out and throw it, then you will feel uplifted and happy.

These are the four stages:
1. Sarcasm
2. Cynicism
3. Frustration, and
4. Anger

Many times we don`t notice why we are sarcastic, or cynical, or frustrated and angry. Why does this happen? It is because of this thorn of desire.

If you are angry, either you hurt yourself or you hurt others. If you get angry at others, you become sad and if you are angry at yourself, then also you become sad. In either case you become sad.

Many a times people don`t notice this at all. Even if one notices this, he doesn`t have the courage or willingness to remove it and throw it. If you manage to pull it out, you will find joy, enthusiasm, and contentment, and this is a siddhi (special ability). This requires both self effort and grace. You need to put some self effort and then grace follows.

Questions & Answers

How to remove this thorn?

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: 

Self effort. First we should notice the cause of sadness. Why are you upset? You are upset because things are not perfect, or people are not perfect, or you are not perfect. Only these three things can make you upset. You should keep some space for imperfection in things, people and in yourself.

See, you are either worried about your job, your relationships, or your health. Know that all these things, whether you have them or you don`t , you are going to die. The drama will be over. Whether you are a villain or a hero, the play will be over. The moment you realize this, what happens? You are able to see things from a bigger context. Your consciousness which was limited, which was being crushed, suddenly expands.

Look back and see how many of your desires got fulfilled and how many have not been fulfilled. Isn’t life still is going on? Can you see how you had been upset for nothing? As a baby you were upset about so many things, right? As a school boy you were upset for stupid things. One friend did not talk to you and you got so upset, isn't it? So now, wake up and see, it is all so silly. This realization is wisdom.

You know, when we were young, if we told our teachers of our desires, they would never let our desires get fulfilled. They completely destroyed our desires. We all grew up with this kind of training. Our teacher made sure to destroy even our small desires. If you find something is not perfect and if you mention it, they would say, 'No, that is perfect. You are not right'.

In the olden days, people had this way of completely smashing your desires, so that you are happy and centered. In those days there was only one choice, either you have your desire or you have your Guru; you couldn’t have both.


Is it possible not to have any expectations or desires?

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: 

Life runs on desires. I'm not telling you that you shouldn`t have any desire. It is desire that has brought you here; you wanted to come to satsang and that is what has brought you here. It is desire which makes you eat food, it`s desire which makes you travel; it is desires that makes you do everything. 

Since there are so many desires that arise, some get fulfilled, and some don`t. If you remain happy whether the desire is fulfilled or not, then it does not become a thorn. 

For example, suppose you want to watch a movie and you go to the cinema hall, but there are no tickets available,will you get upset? If you get upset then that desire has gone into your heart. If it has not gone into your heart, you will say, 'Oh, I didnt`get the ticket, never mind. I’ll watch another movie, or go for shopping, or do some sightseeing'.

There are two types of desires:

1. The desire of the universe, by which everything runs. It is an instinct

2. The desire that you take into your heart and nurture

I am not classifying desires as good or bad. However, there are some superficial desires which come and go that do not achieve anything great.

When a desire gets into your heart, that can make some big thing happen. Mahatma Gandhi had the desire to free the country. That desire got into his heart and when that did not get fulfilled, he got upset.

Then, what did he do? He went into silence, prayer and fasting. He nurtured that desire in a very different way. He did not get cynical, sad, or frustrated because he had realized that it was a desire in his heart and so you would never find frustration in the face of that old man. The same with Nelson Mandela. So that desire did not turn into a thorn.

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