Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Just keep doing, don’t worry about it.
I think you have too much time to sit and think, 'Am I the doer or not'. Just do what you are suppose to do.
Every action has a reward; pleasant, unpleasant, or mixed. There are only three types of rewards. When you act, that action brings you some positive reward, or some negative reward, or some positive and negative reward. The effect of all these rewards stay only for some time. So the wise will not worry about it. In every action there is something positive and there is something that is negative. An action cannot be 100% perfect. Focus on the positive things that develop out of an action. And don’t worry about the effect of the action, just keep moving.
If you have done a wrong action, that has taught you a lesson not to repeat it next time. If you have done the right action, it encourages you to do many more of the same right actions.
If you find that in the action you did, there are some things that you could improve, then you can always improve on that.
Just move on, don’t say, 'I am the doer', or, 'I am not the doer'. Anyway no one is a doer in one sense, and in another sense, yes, you are the doer, because inside of you there are two.
There is a beautiful story in the Upanishads which says, 'On the tree of this universe, there are two birds sitting, one is enjoying the fruit, the other is just watching, like a witness'.
So, there is one aspect of you that is not doing anything, that is much bigger. And there is one aspect in you that is doing everything. Both are present in you.
Now you might ask, 'How?'
On one level, you find that you are changing. Your thoughts are changing, your emotions are changing, your body is changing. Yet at another deeper level, there is something in you that is not changing at all; it is the same. So it is not one or the other, it is both together simultaneously.
When guilt eats you up, or pride takes over your head, then you should understand that you are not the doer. Do you get it?
When you do something very good and you say, 'Oh I did it, I did it', that too makes you unhappy. Doing something good also make you unhappy because you do so much and then you say that nobody recognizes you, nobody listens to you.
So not being recognized for your good work makes you miserable, and if you do something wrong, that too eats up your spirit and creates a sense of guilt. When such things happen, know that you are not the doer. Be a witness then.
People who have committed the biggest crime on the planet, somewhere deep inside, they think, 'Hey, I didn’t do it, how did this happen'.
They feel surprised and shocked, and they feel that they are not the doer, it just happened.
If you talk to the biggest criminals on the planet, you will see that they find themselves being caught by an (criminal) act. Same way, someone who has done some excellent work, they also feel that it just happened; everything fell into place. That non-doership is an experience in itself.
When you have to do things, then don't say, 'Oh, I am not the doer'. Don’t go into that mode. It will only tear you apart. If you have to focus on some work, focus and just do it. I am not a doer, is an experience, sometimes it just dawns on you. And it is also a reminder to you when you are reeling in guilt, or in arrogance.
You say when we are scared of something, we should face our fears. My question is where do I get the courage to face these fears?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Know that you are not alone, and there is a universal power that loves you, and is with you. When you remember that you are being loved very dearly, fear vanishes. All your troubles begin because you don’t believe you are being loved very dearly. That is where the whole problem starts, and you start behaving in ways that pushes everybody away. You create a misery for yourself, because you doubt yourself; Am I good enough? Am I being loved? Does God love me or not? Do people love me or not? These sort of doubts. Just take it for granted that you are loved and liked, even if you’re a buffoon. Even if you are a clown, you are loved and enjoyed. People like you however you are.
Just move on, don’t sit and spend too much time worrying about yourself, examining yourself, and re-examining. Just take up a commitment and do what you need to do, and take deep rest with dispassion.
Three things are essential, Passion, Dispassion and Compassion.
When you have passion, you don’t worry. When you don’t have passion, that is when you sit and worry. Hesitation comes when you lack passion. Without passion life loses all its charm and you slip into depression. Passion is essential; invoke the passion.
Not only passion, dispassion is also essential. People tell you that you should be passionate, but I say you should also have dispassion. Dispassion is often thought to be a depressed state of affairs. People look very depressed and think this is dispassion. This is a completely wrong understanding. Dispassion makes you centered. It keeps your smile and equanimity. It keeps the intellect sane and emotions balanced. When you have dispassion you will stop complaining about anything to anybody. The world is the way it is, you won’t complain about people or situations, and you won’t complain about yourself. This is dispassion.
Many times we complain about others, including the ones we love the most. We make the other person defensive, or make them give explanations. It is such a headache!
Initially I used to get swayed by this. People would say, ‘You don’t look at me’, or ‘You don’t talk to me’, or ‘Are you angry with me’, my goodness! These days I do not answer such questions. If you think so, let it be. So be it. Never mind! When you get beaten up a little bit by your own emotions, that makes you strong somewhere.
It’s all just a matter of wanting attention. You give attention and they are alright. Just like babies – if you don’t attend to them they throw tantrums just to draw your attention. Have you noticed this? When you have guests at home and you are busy talking to them, that is when the children want to show you their paintings. They have already shown it to you ten times. But when you are having an important discussion, they come and disturb you! You wonder that this child was quiet, what happened all of a sudden!
We have not grown up from that stage, we always want attention from people. And for this attention we create tension for the others.
So with dispassion, you neither have attention deficiency, nor do you have any tension. You won’t sit and crave for attention. Dispassion is essential.
One more thing that is really beneficial is compassion. When you have compassion it propels you, it motivates you. When you have compassion for those who do wrong, you don’t feel hatred or bitterness towards them. Compassion greases passion and dispassion, and balances them out.
Dear Gurudev, all our lives we seek for love in our relationships and yet this love is so temporary. What is ultimate love or the love that never goes away?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You are made up of the stuff called love. What you are seeking here and there is what you are. Turn inward and repose. When you find that you don’t need love from anybody and you are the source of it, then you start giving. When you start giving in abundance, it comes back to you in abundance.
When I see beauty and talent in others, my mind either starts putting them down or feels jealous. I am complete in myself then why does mind reel in lack?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Perhaps you don’t realize that someday everybody is going to die. All those beautiful people, they are also going to die. All those living in the past were beautiful, and wars were fought and they all died. Those who you are jealous about, they are also going to die. Wake up and look, where is the jealousy? What is beauty? The so-called beauty that we think is only skin deep, is not beauty.
Beauty is the nature of our own spirit. When you are happy and content, the quality of consciousness or life that dawn inside you is the real beauty, not the outer appearance.
What is the best way to dissolve our karma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Just keep acting. Don’t worry, karma is past. Knowledge, awareness, meditation and good action, these things erase the past karma.
Being aware and knowing that the past is past, that it happened for whatever reason; the awareness of this knowledge itself erases the past karma. Do good actions, do something good.
In life you will have 101 reasons to get frustrated. However it is up to you keep the enthusiasm alive without allowing the frustration to seep in. Here are some pointers to help you keep frustration at bay.