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THE QUESTION OF LIFE

Your mind is always focused on what you want and you are busy wanting something all the time. Before one wants to vanish, another comes up; they are in a queue! When you ponder over this very nature of our mind, the question ‘what is the purpose of life?’ comes up. This very question is a sign of being human and it enlivens the human values in us.

Don’t be in a hurry to find an answer to the question; be with the question. The one who knows the answer will not tell you. And the one who gives you doesn’t know the answer. This question is a means to go deep within. You can’t go deep within by reading books or doing things here and there. They may be of help to some extent, give you some understanding, but will not serve the purpose.

Deep inside everyone is smiling, but we are not in touch with that smile. Getting in touch with that smile, being natural, simple and innocent is enlightenment. Enlightenment is all about living from a depth of life, not getting stressed in any circumstances. It’s all about being able to influence circumstances and situations rather than getting influenced by them.

Some say the purpose of life is not to come back to this planet again. Others say love is the purpose of life. Why would some people say they don’t want to come back? Because they find there is no love here or when there is love, it is very painful. If this place could be so wonderful and full of love and divinity, then the desire of not to come back will naturally drop. When we see the purpose of life from every angle, then the end product of life is a love that doesn’t die out, a love that doesn’t cause pain, a love that grows and remains forever.

So how do you get to that point of love where it is free from the distortions and you are at ease with yourself?
You have to see that what is really obstructing you from that innocent love is your ego. What is ego? Ego is like a dream.

A dream exists until it doesn’t exist. You can’t call a dream real, but you can’t call it unreal either because you have the experience. Ego is simply being unnatural. The ego is not a substance; it is a nonsubstance like darkness. Darkness is only a lack of light. There is no substance called ego. You could say it is just a lack of maturity or the lack of pure knowledge. Knowledge is an aid to develop the innermost state of you, which is love. Love is not an act; it is a state of being rather than an act. We are all made up of love. When the mind is in the present moment, we are in a state of love.

Train the mind a little to live in the present moment. Observe the nature of the mind. The mind clings onto the negative quality. Ten compliments and one insult, the mind will remember the insult only.

The mind always vacillates between the past and the future. When the mind is in the past, it’s angry about something that has already happened; but anger is meaningless as we can’t alter the past. And when the mind is in the future, it’s anxious about something that may or may not happen.

What will happen to me tomorrow? Did you notice that you had the same question last year, two years ago also? But when we are in the present moment and look back, our anxiousness and anger appear so meaningless. So when anger and anxiousness drop off, the mind just becomes full of joy, full of love.

THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY THE AUTHOR ARE PERSONAL

SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR The writer is an Indian yoga guru, a spiritual leader, founder of The Art of Living

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