Guiding light by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Learning the art of letting go

When someone blames or praises you, just observe what happens to your breath, what happens deep within you. If someone gives you a compliment, it doesn’t become a part of your breath. But if someone insults you, your breath starts burning and your heart gets filled with anger and remorse. Generally, people get stuck in negativity and unpleasantness, rather than positivity or pleasantness. Of course, when you love somebody, love becomes a very deep part of you. Suppose you have an ideology you strongly believe in, then that becomes a part of your breath. For example, some people are committed to doing something good for the environment; then day and night they will think about it. Or someone has a particular project in their mind, then that project becomes a part of them. They are fully into it, and it’s OK.

But renunciation is the ability to drop everything and rest. Many people do not succeed in a project, because they become feverish about it. They lack renunciation. Whether you like it or not, every night before going to bed you renounce everything. If you don’t renounce, you won’t be able to sleep. Insomnia is a sign of non-renunciation.

However, renunciation has been wrongly understood. Living in the moment and making the mind free is what renunciation is all about. It does not take away fun from life. You know, people have such wrong ideas. They feel, “I don’t want to be a monk. I just want to enjoy life.” The word renunciation has been distorted to its maximum limit. I tell you, there is nothing scare about renouncing.

You think you have control over your entire life. But let me tell you that you have zero control over yourself. Often, we try to control other people’s life, their thinking, their feelings, the way they should or shouldn’t behave or the way they should live. When one lacks control over oneself, he cannot control anything or anybody.

Renunciation happens only in the present moment. When you are in silence, you are not acting. You are amidst the chaos but inside, you are tranquil and peaceful. You live these opposites simultaneously… and this ability is in the seed form in everyone. Only those who renounce can come to God.

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