Guiding Light: The art of letting go

Sri Sri Ravi ShankarUpdated: Sunday, November 13, 2022, 08:09 PM IST
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Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, “You cannot get into yoga (union with the Self) unless you drop the desires in you.” Therefore, the question is how to drop the desires. Meditation is the art of letting go of your desires.

Any joy you experience in life is from the depth of your Self when you let go all that you hold on to and get centred in that space. That is called meditation. Actually, meditation is not an act; it is the art of doing nothing! The rest in meditation is deeper than the deepest sleep that you can ever have because in meditation you transcend all desires. This brings such coolness to the mind. It is akin to servicing or overhauling the whole body-mind complex.

We look at everything but we do not look at the faculties that we are made of-our body, breath, mind, intellect, memory, ego and the self.

Are you aware of your body? You become aware of your body only when it aches. Attending the body is not just about food and exercise; it is taking your attention to each part of your body and loving it consciously. Your body is the closest thing to you; it is the first layer of existence. The second faculty is breath. What makes the skin different from leather? It is the breath. Our first act, when we came to the world, was to breathe in and cry out. The last act will be to breathe out and hopefully others will cry. The third faculty that we possess is our mind, through which we perceive. Then comes intellect. Even as you are reading now, your intellect is judging. It is accepting or rejecting what is written, questioning my words. The fifth faculty, which is our memory, functions in a very funny way. If you receive ten compliments from someone and one criticism, it is that one criticism that will cling to your memory.

Then there is ego. When you are happy, something in you expands. That something is ego. Ego brings happiness; it brings creativity, shyness, grief. If you are shy and timid, it is because of your ego; joy and pride are also due to ego; behind every fear, there is ego. Any stiffness or unnaturalness in us is ego too. But knowledge of your ego can strengthen you; it can eliminate your vulnerability.

The next faculty is something that does not have tangible boundaries. Sometimes when you are relaxed or you are in love, you feel a sense of wonder, that there is something more mysterious in life than we are aware of. That something is the self, the consciousness, the atma. You may hardly notice it, but those few seconds give you so much peace and tranquillity. Preserving those moments will enrich your life.

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