(Below is the talk given by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the Institute of Chartered Accountants on 15th June 2016, in London)
If there no peace, there is no prosperity, then I don’t think you will have any job to do (laughter). Accountancy has no job if there is no prosperity, and the basis of prosperity is peace. Actually, this is a catch 22 situation -- if there is prosperity there is peace, and if there is peace there is prosperity. It’s sort of the chicken and egg situation. Peace is such an ingredient in everyone’s life, without which no creativity is possible, no intuition is possible, and without which you don’t have energy either. So how do we find inner peace? The journey begins here!
Do we ever take out a little time to reflect on ourselves? As I am speaking, we are all speaking together. I am not speaking alone. Each one of us is having a dialogue with our self. Are we aware of the dialogue that is going on within us? As I am saying something, you are saying 'Yes' or 'No', am I right? You have to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. So you are also talking. That aspect of our mind or consciousness which agrees or disagrees is our intellect, and it is very important that we throw some light on our own intellect. Now, how do we do this? Self reflection! Reflecting on our self removes a lot of confusion and cobwebs from the mind.
Whether one agrees or not is a different question, but do we know that we are agreeing or disagreeing? Are we conscious of our agreement and our disagreement? This is vital for the development of our intellect – the sharpness of the intellect, clarity and perception. Are we all 100% here? Most of the time our memories haunt us. As we are listening to a talk, 101 things that we are concerned about plays in the background. Psychologist say that when you are listening to someone speaking for about 10 minutes, you’ve mentally gone out for a tea or coffee break three times in those 10 minutes! So, the presence of the mind is inversely proportional to the impressions in the mind – lesser the impressions in the mind, more the presence.
Now, in this stimulant world, when we are bombarded with so much stimulation, is it possible to have good presence of mind? I would say – yes, we can! The human mind is capable of handling both.
Are we here? We have to come back. We take little trips here and there, every now and then. Coming back to the moment brings that alertness.
Usually, our mind is very sharp and alert in four situations :
1. When there is fear. Sometimes fear becomes a motivating factor. When there is fear, mind does not go anywhere, it is 100% in the present.
2. When there is 'wow' factor, a wonderment, then the mind does not go anywhere.
3. When is an opportunity; it could be a big business opportunity, then you are right there. Greed can also put our mind in the present moment. Then there is love and commitment for whatever mission you have taken – that can keep you right there on the spot.
4. When you are doing yoga, breathing exercises and meditation, then you are in the present moment. And this presence of mind brings clarity in our perception and makes our expression satisfactory.
When our expression is not satisfactory, we find that what we convey is not really what we want to convey. A lot of people find it very difficult to convey what they feel. Usually people end us saying, "Nobody understands me, I am misunderstood". Haven’t you heard this many times? This is due to lack in our expression. So, attending to that which is the central point, the core of our existence, around which our professional and personal life is revolving, can bring these abilities to us which we may not have or we may aspire to have.
We can do multiple things at the same time – be centered, happy and not allow anyone to steal our smile. So, I have come up with number of small techniques, some ancient and some modern and that has seemed to have helped people.