Guiding Light: Learning how to live

To live in the right way is a very difficult art, and unless one begins to learn it when quite young and to make an effort, one never knows it very well. Simply the art of keeping one’s body in good health, one’s mind quiet and goodwill in one’s heart— things which are indispensable in order to live decently—I don’t say in comfort, I don’t say remarkably, I only say decently.

Well, I don’t think there are many who take care to teach this to their children. If at a tender age, when you are taught, for instance, how to squat, if one was taught at the same time not to think or to remain very quiet or to concentrate or gather one’s thoughts, or... all sorts of things one must learn to do, like meditating; if, when quite young and at the same time that you were taught to stand straight, for instance, and walk or sit or even eat—you are taught many things but you are not aware of this, for they are taught when you are very small—if you were taught to meditate also, then spontaneously, later, you could, the day you decide to do so, sit down and meditate.

But you are not taught this. You are taught absolutely nothing of the kind. Besides, usually you are taught very few things — you are not taught even to sleep. People think that they have only to lie down in their bed and then they sleep. But this is not true! One must learn how to sleep as one must learn to eat, learn to do anything at all. And if one does not learn, well, one does it badly! Or one takes years and years to learn how to do it, and during all those years when it is badly done, all sorts of unpleasant things occur.

And it is only after suffering much, making many mistakes, committing many stupidities, that, gradually, when one is old and has white hair, one begins to know how to do something. But if, when you were quite small, your parents or those who look after you, took the trouble to teach you how to do what you do, do it properly as it should be done, in the right way, then that would help you to avoid all — all these mistakes you make through the years.

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