Meaning of Life
Different people define their lives differently. Everyone assigns a meaning to their life and that motivates them to go on.
But what is the real meaning of life? What is the goal that is really worth achieving? What makes our life worth it? Definitely life isn't just to accomplish one goal after the other and then eventually die.
In this ground breaking series, our Celestial Friend, Shreee talks about the real meaning of life.
Please note, this eBook is a compilation of spontaneous live talks delivered by Shreee to his disciples. These talks are meant for the modern man with examples from the real world. YouTube links are available for each talk.
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The Blind Chase 4
The Present 7
Meaning of Life 12
The Blind Chase
Let me start by narrating a story. It is an interesting and well known story.
Bhura, a puppy dog, was born of Bhuria, a she-dog. Since childhood Bhura, the puppy saw his father Kalwa and several uncles running, barking, fighting, and doing many other things. Like every other puppy he desired to do the same but was unable to because of his short legs, little tail, and small body. His limited capabilities didn’t support his desires. But he watched all the other dogs around and learnt from them. Children watch and learn. What is taught to children does not have much impact. Children learn whatever the see others doing.
An achievement that held the highest value in the dog community was how fast one could run to chase a car. A lot of effort went into trying to chase cars. Since childhood Bhura saw his father and uncles running after scooters, bikes, cars, and other vehicles. But most of the times they failed to catch up. In fact none of them were ever able to catch up. But failure never undermined their resolve to catch the next vehicle. They never got demotivated or disheartened. Bhura was also motivated to do the same. He started practicing at a very early age. He started with two wheelers and bicycles first. It was challenging for his age. His father took a lot of pride in the fact that he was a lot better than the others. Bhura’s father was a very respectable member of the dog society because he had once managed to chase a biker down. Other dogs were still struggling to chase down bicycle riders. Chasing and catching a car was a distant dream for them. Because of this terrific achievement of chasing down a biker, Kalwa, Bhura’s father was regarded as a very respectable dog. Bhura, an efficient progeny, a sincere child, the pride of his parents, never wasted his energy in other things.
There’s a common saying in Hindi that says Honhaar Birhaan ke hot cheekne paat (If the early leaves of a sapling are smooth, it is likely to grow into a strong tree). So a sincere child can be identified from an early age. Bhura was one such child. His parents were proud of him. He worked very hard and ran at a good speed. Catching a car was his only goal, only dream, only passion. Everyone had very high hopes of him. He worked hard to improve his stamina and achieve his goal. He never wasted his time with useless stuff. Laila, a she-dog in the neighbourhood had taken a liking for Bhura but Bhura was just not interested. She tried to woo him but Bhura was too serious for his goal of catching a car.
The trouble was that they lived in a small village. They had to wait for a long time for a car to drive by. There weren’t a lot of cars in the neighbourhood. Gradually, Bhura as well his parents made up their mind that he should move to a bigger city, where there are a lot of cars. So finally the day came when Bhura prepared to leave for the big city. Laila was crying, Bhuria, his mother was trying to hide her tears. She was sad to see him go but was also happy that he was going to make it big in life. Kalwa, his father was extremely proud while seeing him off. Bhura left the small village to chase his dream. In the big city, Bhura was amazed to see lot of cars around, and lot of dogs chasing them. There were dogs bigger than him and who ran faster than him. Bhura was the fastest dog back in his village. But in the big city, there were so many others who were much faster and more talented than him. Most of the other dogs in the city were much more passionate than him. They did a splendid job at chasing scooters down. They did so with a lot of ease. A handful of dogs had even managed to chase some 800 cc cars. But their aims grew bigger and they wanted to chase 2700 cc cars. Of course there is no end to ambitions.
Bhura had left his village with a lot of confidence. When he ran after a car in the city, the other dogs ridiculed him. They laughed at his claims of being a gold medalist back home. Bhura felt embarrassed and hurt. His ego was bruised. But because Bhura was an intelligent kid, he took the insult with a pinch of salt and resolved to do even better. He deliberately remembered the pain from the insult because he thought it would motivate him to work harder. Eventually, he learnt how to catch up with 800 cc cars. His ambition reached the next level and he resolved to catch up with bigger and faster cars. He earned some recognition in the dog community of the city. He felt he was closer to the goal. But every single time, he just missed the big cars by a fraction. He kept working extremely hard but just could not catch up with the big cars. As time passed, he started to feel restless. He thought he was growing older and his stamina was waning. He didn’t want to live a life without having achieved his goal. He didn’t know what to say to his family back home if he failed. He knew people back home had placed a lot of trust in him. And he had placed a lot of trust in himself too. The meaning of his life was to achieve his goal. He worked extremely hard, but it just wasn’t working out for him.
He had heard a lot of stories about dogs who had managed to achieve this goal. There were a lot of legends he had heard. He once heard about a Saint dog. He was told that the Saint Dog’s blessing could help him achieve his goal. He had tried working very hard – and that had not made him achieve his goal. So he felt hopeful about this Saint dog’s blessing. His hope was fading. No matter how logical we are, our desires make us want to believe in miracles. That’s what happened with Bhura too. This Saint dog was very respectable & well known in the society. Bhura decided to go to this Saint dog and request him to share the secret of being able to catch up with a big car. He had spent his whole life finding a way out; and had failed. He went out to find the Saint dog. He was determined that he would give up his life at the Saint’s doorstep if need be; but will come back with a solution. He managed to find the Saint dog. The Saint dog was old but had a very graceful presence. He was very peaceful – he seemed to have no ambitions, no desires. Bhura fell in his feet and begged for his blessings. He told him he wanted to be the number one dog; and he wanted to catch up with a big car. The Saint dog asked him to get up, but Bhura refused to let go of his feet. He was determined to find a solution. He didn’t let go of his feet for an entire day and night. The next morning, the Saint dog gave up and promised to help him in the afternoon.
Bhura went to the Saint dog in the afternoon and bowed down to touch his feet. The Saint dog said he would bless him and his blessing will make Bhura reach his goal too. But before that the Saint dog asked Bhura to answer this question, “What will you do once you catch up with the car?”
The Saint dog gave him two days to come back with an answer. Two days passed, but Bhura didn’t come back. Two years passed, but Bhura didn’t return. Many years later, he was found in his village teaching other puppies not to waste their lives chasing cars.
Click here to watch this recorded talk on YouTube.
Godly morning again!
From the very childhood our mind is conditioned in such a way that it always hankers for something in the future. Mind always looks in the future. Mind is never present here and now. We are rarely present in the moment. We are always somewhere else. Just notice and try to contemplate on how your mind actually works. You will realize that you continuously think about the future and sometimes also regret the past. So, the mind dwells either in the future or in the past. It is never here and now.
Why is it so? You see, we are never present in this moment. But, life is here in this moment only. Life is nowhere else but in this moment only. Life is existential; it exists in this moment. There is nothing existential in the future. Future is only an imagination and a thought. Future is not real. Isn’t it? On the other hand past is also non-existential. It is just a corpse. It is just a memory; and we keep thinking about it over and over again. So, the past is merely a thought. Both past and future are non-existential. Then what is existential? It is this very moment. Life happens in this very moment. And we are never present in this moment. It simply means we are not living life. Past and future are nothing but thoughts. Life is here and now; in this moment. So, actually we never live. We only think, dream, and imagine. In actuality, we have never encountered life. People say life is beautiful. You must have heard this statement many times. But can you say with all honesty that your life is indeed beautiful? The answer is no; because you have no experience of a beautiful life. There are a few moments of temporary happiness; but overall life is not beautiful. Do you think people who say life is beautiful are all liars? No, they are not lying. The life they are living is nothing but a cluster of thoughts and memories. That is what they think life is all about. What they term as ‘life’ is not actually life. It is a dream. The fact is they don’t know what life is in its true essence. When thoughts and dreams disappear; we become alive. That is when we experience life in its true essence. We encounter life only when the thoughts from the past and the future disappear. When we are awake in this very moment; we experience life. And it is beautiful. The actual life is certainly beautiful. To truly believe that life is beautiful, you need to first experience it.
Let us understand how the mind works. Mind always believes that happiness is somewhere in the future. The mind has many goals, ambitions and aims. The mind makes us believe that we will be happy once all these goals and ambitions are accomplished. See for yourself. Since the very childhood, our entire training is such that we continuously aim to score well, find a decent job with a handsome pay-cheque etc. We are told that growing up will make us happy. Try to recollect your childhood memories. You had so many dreams in your childhood. Whether that dream was regarding a business venture or marriage - it doesn’t matter. But, our happiness always lied in the future. As we grew up, we struggled and struggled. We suffered a lot of hell to accomplish our dreams. We kept collecting all the sufferings of the past as memories; and also kept running towards the future dream hoping to find solace after achieving it. That way, we live the past again and again by remembering it; and run towards our future goals at the same time. As a result, our lives are empty, frustrated, and devastated. A life that does not guarantee happiness in the future, a life which is full of guilt and suffering from the past - is nothing but gradual death. It is depressing and frustrating to live a life like this. So, mind comes up with a trick to solve this problem. It starts day-dreaming. Mind starts fantasizing. Now fantasies are also of so many types. We fantasize that we are taking revenge on people who have done us wrong in the past. We have murdered so many people in our fantasies. As civilized people, we only kill in fantasy – not in reality. We also fantasize about that person getting killed in an accident. We are very intelligent, pure, humble and spiritual people. How can we think of murdering someone in reality? We just fantasize about something bad happening to people who have been unfair to us. We fantasize teaching people a lesson for being so harsh on us. But, this is also as good as cold-blooded murder. It is a pious murder. Since we are sophisticated and spiritual people, we don’t want the blame either. We don’t want the blame of killing someone. We also do not wish to accumulate bad karma. To avoid karma getting back to us, we just hope and pray for people to be punished for their bad karma. Indirectly, we wish bad things for other people without realizing this is also bad karma. The fact is, when you murder someone in the outside world, you’re caught by the law. But in the spiritual world, you’re considered guilty even though you think or wish for someone’s death/murder in your head. In the outside world you can avoid punishment if you are cunning enough; but in the spiritual world, even your intentions are taken into consideration. You get rewards or punishment on the basis of your intentions. And if you look closely, you’re getting the reward/punishment moment to moment.
Think about your day dreams. You dream of owning a 750 sq yards plot. You plan to build a massive 5000 sq feet bungalow, which has 6 bedrooms in it, so on and so forth. In reality you just own a 2BHK apartment and even the apartment’s possession you will get in 4 years. So, that’s how the mind plays tricks. You own a 2BHK apartment but you dream of a 5000 square feet bungalow. Is there any possibility of happiness in your life if you stop day dreaming? Daydreaming makes it evident that your life is frustrated. If you are happy in your life, there is no need to daydream. But, you daydream all the time. That proves that your life is frustrated. Just think if you don’t daydream, what will happen to your life? You will say don’t take away my imagination from me; daydreaming is the only reason for the little happiness I have. Your life will have no happiness if daydreaming is not a part of it. Your life will be empty. You constantly console yourself when you daydream. Because without daydreams, either you carry the burden of the past or you wait for the future. Daydreaming works as a stress buster for frustrated lives. Even though these dreams are not real; they are all lies. If you still think there is nothing wrong in daydreaming, then it’s fine. Then, shops should start selling medicines that help you go into a deep slumber. When you are in deep sleep, they will induce a dream in your mind. You will tell them beforehand, what kind of dream you want and they will induce it in your mind. The induced dream will start playing in your mind. After a certain age, you can just take all your money to them and ask them to give you a high dosage which will make you go in deep sleep for the remainder of your life. While you are in deep sleep, a beautiful induced dream will continuously run in your sleep. If you think there is nothing wrong in daydreaming, this sounds like a better option, right? I think sooner or later this will start. You can just go to a place and never come back from there. You will be in deep sleep for the rest of your life and a dream will run in your mind. And, that dream will be created and manipulated according to your wish. So, there will be no fighting and you will just enjoy the beauty of the dream. In real life, the same thing can be wished by several people. But in dreams, that is not a concern. What you want can be induced in your dream as well as several other people’s – at the same time. Demand and supply are not really a problem. So, there will be no fights. Do you think such a life is fine? So, Life is nothing but a lie because you are dreaming all the time. It is non-existential. This life is nothing but hell. Don’t blindly believe in what I am saying. Just contemplate and ponder over it. We always wait for the future. We think when we will achieve a particular thing, we will be happy. But, what happens after we achieve it? Imagine that you want to achieve something. Call it X. This X can be anything. It could be a car, the latest mobile phone, husband, girlfriend, job, etc. The day you get it, you’ll be happy for a moment, but then immediately you’ll want something else. The reason behind all this is nothing but your addiction to be somewhere else in the future. Now, it is almost impossible to be present in this very moment. You are not capable of even enjoying what you already have; because in order to enjoy it, you have to be present here and now. And that is never the case. That is why you are unable to enjoy what you already have. You are always looking ahead for something else. I assure you that the day you will have that 5000 square feet, ultra-luxurious bungalow, you will simply start looking forward to something even more expensive – maybe a mansion. You will start running after the new dream because you are not prepared to live in the present. You are addicted to being someplace in the future. So even if you get what you were looking for, you will not be satisfied. You will again start looking for something else.
You can understand the ordinary human phycology simply by watching these advertisements. What do they do? They give you a goal because you are always in need of one. You have been conditioned in such a way that you cannot be present here and now. You need a goal, an aim to follow. So, there are thousands and thousands of aims. You see, everyone has mobile phones, everyone has TV sets. They are in working condition too. Quality is such that it can work for 10 years or more. So, if everyone already has these things, how come companies are able to sell more and more new TVs and mobile phones? As soon as you have a TV set, an advertisement shows you a better one. Then you go for that. The same cycle is repeated over and over. What are advertisers doing? They are giving you goals after goals. When you watch an ad for something you never imagined to possess, you will want to possess it. You are always on the run to achieve something in the future. You remain stressed until you achieve the goal; but the stress remains even after you achieve it. That’s because there are other goals that need to be accomplished too. This is how the mind works. That is why the mind is always tensed. People say they need peace of mind. They should understand that peace and mind are contradictory. Peace of mind is not possible because the mind itself is disturbed. Mind is never peaceful. One experiences peace when he goes beyond mind. Otherwise mind is nothing but turbulence. Just ponder, contemplate and see that mind is a bulk producer of misery. Despite so many things we’re blessed with, we are miserable. We are always tensed, frustrated and sad. How can we be at peace when we have so many goals to pursue? How can we be happy when we know that we can be happy only when we will get something in the future? Being miserable is so common that it is barely noticed. If everyone in the world had only one eye instead of two, people will see one eye as a norm. They will hardly notice the missing eye. Likewise, since everyone is miserable, it is hardly seen as a problem. Misery only differs in degrees. If there would have been an instrument to measure the degree of sadness, people would measure their sadness frequently. Soon, people will start boasting about their degree of sadness. One would say I am 37 degrees sad. The other would proudly say I am 97 degrees sad. It will embarrass everyone else around him, and they will wonder why they’re not at 97 degree sadness?
We are all miserable but we don’t know it. So, I don’t suggest you to invite people to School of Life and say their lives will become happy. They would immediately say that “What the hell, I am already very happy”. Tell them they will become happier. Because even to recognize that you are not happy, you need a higher intelligence. Or, you need an experience which shows the hell you’re living in. Only then you can differentiate between what you think is happiness and the real happiness. Watch your thoughts. What do they bring? They constantly bring frustration and misery. You dream of a relationship; and the next moment that same relationship becomes hell for you. You dream of a job; and that job becomes hell for you. Is there anything which is giving you happiness in life? You have so many things which you desired at one point and thought they will bring happiness. Try to understand, we are living in the most advanced and comfortable time ever. But still we are not happy and ecstatic. That is why there is a need to understand how the mind functions. It would never let you be peaceful and happy. We always run to achieve something. But, we never give a thought to what we already have.
You must have heard that old parable many times but let me mention it again. In the outskirts of a village, an old beggar begged under a tree. He had been begging under that tree for the last 30 years. He dreamt that someday someone will give him a big donation. He looked at all the passersby and hoped to receive money from them. One day he died. Everyone has to die someday. The life where the mind works in this particular pattern is nothing but a gradual death. So we can say that day the beggar’s process of gradual death came to an end. There’s a common Hindi phrase that conveys the same. When someone dies, people say “Wo poora ho gaya”. In spirituality we use the term “poorn”, which means the person is now enlightened. But in this case the process of death is completed. Life is nothing but a process of dying. We don’t live every day; we die a little every day. The beggar died too. After his death, the place where he used to sit was cleaned up and cemented. While that place was being dug and cemented, they found a box of gold coins buried under the ground. Just half a foot under the ground where that beggar used to sit, a box of gold coins was found. He was already a millionaire – but died a beggar. And it is true for each and every human being. We all live like beggars. But in reality we all are kings. Actually, God creates kings but the society turns them into beggars. We all are kings. We have a treasure. But to experience that treasure you have to stop this mind from following its pattern. You have to be the master of your mind. You have to learn how to switch it off.
Remember these few things. First of all, you need to understand something very important. We have been making a very basic mistake. We need to remember that we are not the mind. These thoughts and patterns are not a part of us. These have been given to us by the society. We have adopted these thoughts from the society. The mind is an instrument given to us, and we have learnt to use it from the society. Mind is an excellent instrument that has been given to us to use. It is a very important and useful tool. But the problem is we let the mind use us instead. We are not using the mind; the mind is using us. We are the prisoners of our mind. We are the slaves of our own mind. Why has this happened? What is the basic and root error? The error is that we forgot that we are not the mind. We are separate from the mind. We identify ourselves with the mind. We forgot that we are beyond mind. We identify ourselves with our mind, thoughts and our personality. We need to dissociate ourselves from the mind and the personality. This is the basic error we are making. Now, we need to master the mind – not act like its slaves. So, I repeat. We must understand this fact that we are not our mind, personality and body. We are beyond name and form. We are an immortal consciousness. But, we are never one with our being. We are always in becoming. We always want to achieve something; we have to do this and that. We are always in the future. We are never beyond mind. We are never settled in our being. We are never settled in what we essentially are. This is root cause of the disease. Hence, happiness is miles and miles away from us. Our lives are not beautiful. The real spiritual path is the one that leads you towards your real self. The one that teaches you to rise above your mind. The one that teaches you to be a swami and not a slave. So friends, meditation does this. Meditation gives you the experience and realization that you are separate from your mind. If you want to be happy in your life, which I know you surely do; there is no other solution apart from this. End of suffering comes only through meditation. You become the master of your mind through meditation. You can never be miserable when you realize that you are not the body and mind. You are an immortal and peaceful consciousness. All the misery and suffering belong either to the body or to the mind. When you are beyond body and mind, you can never be miserable. All insecurities will disappear. All fears will disappear. You can celebrate life. Then you can say life is beautiful. Then you can say it’s a cosmic joke.
Click here to watch this recorded talk on YouTube.
Meaning of Life
Since childhood, we have always been looking forward to the future. All our goals and aims are in the future; and this is the way we live. Happiness is always somewhere sometime ahead. We are always pursuing happiness; we are always chasing happiness because happiness is always a few steps ahead. Therefore there are a lot of books and articles like, “7 steps to happiness” or “5 steps to bliss”. These books tell you that you are a few steps away from happiness or bliss. It is always in the future. We believe that today is hell and tomorrow will be heaven. This is the way we live. And we run because the meaning of our life lies somewhere in the future.
For example, someone may think their life will be worthwhile when they’ll become the CEO, or own a big business. Someone may think achieving materialistic goals will give meaning to their life People set different goals – like climbing the Everest, fighting for the freedom of their country, etc. All these things define the meaning of their lives. Recently a movie called “Everest” was released that was inspired from a true story of people who died while trying to climb the Everest. When they were about to reach the pinnacle, their situation was so bad that they had to crawl in order to touch the tip of the mountain. They kept motivating themselves for the last ten steps in order to touch the peak. They barely touched the peak with their finger when they reached the top in a half-dead state. So this could also be the meaning of someone’s life.
We can define the meaning of our life through several different targets, aims, and ambitions. But you will not find people feeling happy even if they achieve these targets. As soon as they achieve one target, they will create another one. The whole cycle repeats. They start looking for happiness in the future again. This is the way people generally live; always somewhere else in the future. And they’re never satisfied, never happy. You may meet someone who thinks that the meaning of their life is bigger than their happiness. In order to achieve their targets, they’re okay to sacrifice their happiness. Only their target matters to them, happiness doesn’t. But this statement cannot be true; because whatever we do in life is only to achieve happiness. We think that once we would achieve our targets, we would be happy. Happiness is actually the target of all targets. But the fact is: nobody is happy. People are depressed, frustrated, and empty. Then they ask a significant question – what is the meaning of life? People keep defining a new meaning to their lives as they grow old. And after a few years, they see themselves frustrated even after achieving so many targets and goals. That is when they want to find out the real meaning of life.
So one thing becomes obvious that what they perceived as the meaning of their lives was actually meaningless. People find themselves to be frustrated despite accomplishing the respective meanings of their lives. So the search for the real meaning of life arises out of frustration. If not for frustration, why else would someone ask this question? This question arises because of the meaninglessness of the meanings that they defined for their lives. Do you think someone who is ecstatic and euphoric in life will ever ask what the meaning of life is? Do you think when you hug someone out of deep love, when you dissolve and lose yourself in the embrace – you would ask what the meaning of life is? I don’t think anyone even thought about it while making love. This question arises only when you’re frustrated; when you are disappointed that the meaning of your life failed at making you happy. There are people who are ready to die to get married to the people they love. They go against the society, against their family, etc. After a few years, they’re seen dying to get a divorce. And then they ask, “What is the meaning of life?” Some people desire for kids and when they have kids, they can’t sleep. During the day they work in the office, and during the night they work at home; because when it is time for them to sleep, it is play time for their kids. Then these people get frustrated and ask, “What is the meaning of life?” Pleasure for a minute results in a lifelong punishment. When all the meanings fail, and if you’re intelligent, you will ask, “What is the meaning of life”.
Do you know why this happens? This happens because the chosen meaning of your life lies far away from the present moment. There is another meaning which is meaningful. That is here and now; in the very living. Living life here and now is meaningful. It will not bring frustration. It will always bring bliss, and ecstasy. So actually the error is that we are looking for the meaning somewhere else - whereas life is a meaning unto itself. Life is existential; it is. Both past and future are mere thoughts and memories. They do not exist. Life is always in the present moment. If you are actually living life, it is meaningful and beautiful. When you live life beyond meaning, it is beautiful.
An example will make it clearer. Imagine you are enjoying an ice cream. If you are really enjoying the ice cream without thinking about the past and the future, if you are present in the moment and savouring its taste with closed eyes – the taste is the only target. In that moment, you will not be bothered about what you will get when you taste it with totality. You enjoy the very act – and that brings happiness.
It is like love. When you embrace someone out of intense love and someone asks you why you are in love; what will you say? Will you tell them you’re in love so that you can get married, or to have kids, or to get a share in the other person’s property? No! Being in love itself is a target. It is not a means to fulfil another aim. It is an aim unto itself. It is a reward unto itself.
When you go to the theatre to watch a film, the road and the car are the mediums to get you there. If someone asks why you are driving, you would say that you want to reach the theatre. But remember the little toy car you used to ride as a kid? If you were asked as a kid why you are driving, you would not have said – I am driving to the theatre. The very act of riding that toy car brought joy. It was an aim unto itself. The same way, life in itself is ecstatic. To live itself is beautiful, blissful, and ecstatic.
But the problem is - we never live. You might say that we are living. But that is wrong. We are sleeping, we are dreaming, but we are definitely not living. For example, you’re having fried rice for lunch. Are you actually present in the act? You are mostly absent. You are so obsessed with the mind that you’re always somewhere else. You’re only present physically – so it seems like you are present. But in reality, you are elsewhere. Life is now and here, and you are elsewhere. That simply means you are not actually living life. In this context, I hope you understand that we are only dreaming – we are not actually living. We are mostly absent in everything we do. So actually in the class of life, our attendance is almost always zero. There is always a letter from the University of Life that the attendance is short and we’re going to fail. Your frustration is like the letter from the University of Life that tells you that your attendance needs to be taken care of.
So life in itself is beautiful and ecstatic. Living life is rare because we are always dreaming and we are never in the present. So what are we supposed to do to enjoy the real meaning of life, which is not somewhere else but is intrinsically present into life itself?
Be present in all activities you do. Try to remember it as much as possible. You might forget in the beginning. But be aware and present in whatever you’re doing as soon as you remember it. The act isn’t important. The quality you put into the act is very important. This is also the correct definition of creativity. Creativity isn’t about the act. It is about the quality you add to the act. If you add quality to even a trivial act, it becomes divine.
I will share a story about something that I experienced. It is about the fact that when something is done with creativity, even something that is seemingly disgusting becomes divine and ecstatic. This story is from a Japanese movie called Departures. In that movie, a needy cello player stumbled upon a job where he was supposed to perform the last rituals for the dead bodies. His job was to clean, shave, change clothes and place the bodies in the coffin. In the first attempt, he threw up. He could not even bare the sight of dead bodies, leave alone touching them. But gradually he added affection, love and care to his job. He did his job with a lot of patience; while being totally present in the moment. He touched the dead bodies with a lot of care and affection. This turned everything around. The movie shows him growing over the disgust; and towards the end he finds his job aesthetic. Even doing the last rituals for the dead bodies became poetry; it was so beautifully done that you could feel it. This is the talent of the director that as an audience, you will feel disgusted in the beginning – and towards the end you will see the beauty and the poetry if you’re sensitive enough.
What I mean is that it doesn’t matter what the act is., What matters is the quality you add to the act. That quality is your presence into the act. When you are present, the mind cannot be there. You will be totally present; and you will be full of peace, bliss, and happiness. There will be no hurry, no rush. So always remember, the meaning of life is in living in itself. Sooner or later this question will arise in you that what is the meaning of life? Why don’t we die? Living life in itself is beautiful, meaningful, blissful, peaceful and ecstatic. For that, we need to practice to be here and now – in the present moment. We need to practice to come back. We are very accustomed and addicted to thoughts. Thoughts have become so compulsive that we are all suffering from OCD without even realising it. As far as our thoughts are concerned, we’re all suffering from an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). We are not in charge of our thoughts; we are unable to stop them. Thoughts run in our head all the time. Thoughts don’t let us experience what we’re living in the present. Be honest. Even while making love, are you really present? Some people constantly think about their performance, some think about something else, and some think about someone else. But the thoughts are always there. We may be physically present, but we are actually absent. So the procession of thoughts goes on and on and it doesn’t let us actually experience life. That is why I always tell you that spirituality is not a sacrifice. We do not need to renounce anything, No! Spirituality is the art of indulgence. Indulge in life. In fact spirituality is not for people who sacrifice worldly pleasures. People who renounce worldly pleasures are worldlier than the others. Spiritual people accept life and indulge in it.
There is a beautiful term used in the Gurbani; Rasik Bairagi (Detached Indulger). Someone who is spiritual in the real sense indulges in the nectar of life. And this indulgence gives him so much freedom that he doesn’t get attached to the worldly pleasures. Spiritual people enjoy the pleasures of life; but do not complain when the pleasures are not available. A spiritual person does not get into politics in order to attain to the worldly pleasures; and also doesn’t mourn when the pleasures are not available. Peace and bliss of a spiritual person are independent of the outside world.
So, start being present in your day-to-day activities. If there is nothing to do, then at least your breath is continuously at work. Be present towards that. Start watching your breath and you will be surprised that it is really very peaceful and blissful. When you walk, just be present and start feeling the touch of the floor on your sole. You would be surprised that even the ordinary act of walking is blissful. In the beginning, you might find it difficult to be present in the activities you do not enjoy. So start with activities that bring you to the present – like singing a song. When you sing, you enjoy it. When you dance, you enjoy it. And when you enjoy something, it means you are in the present.
So, the more you enjoy the small things in life, the more blissful you are. Small things like sitting in the balcony and looking at a beautiful bird with amazement; or looking at different flowers and their colours. Men can only see the different shades. Women can even define those shades as Magenta, Fuchsia, and this and that. Looking at these different shades is enjoyable. All our senses bring enjoyment and can bring us to the present moment. We can use the eyes to see and appreciate beauty – birds, rainbow, etc. Although it is best to appreciate the beauty of nature, it is not really a necessity. At least a spiritual person must spend some time in nature because nature is his temple. But if not nature, you can always watch a movie that has stunning visuals. Watch the beauty and be present. Being present will be easier when you enjoy something. Use your sense of hearing to listen to beautiful music. Light an incense stick and enjoy its fragrance. You may have taken the fragrance of an incense stick for granted before. But for once, close your room, light an incense stick and sit there with your eyes closed. Do it for five minutes and you’ll feel ecstatic.
So start enjoying very small things which are perceived as insignificant in our society. Small things like sunrise, sunset, patterns of clouds, rain, flowers, colours... Life is much richer if you have the talent to enjoy the small things. Also practice to be present in other small things. Be present in trivial day to day activities. And meditation is simply practicing to be present here and now. So this is the whole process. Meditate, enjoy small things, celebrate, sing, laugh, love, and be present in your day to day activities. Then you will never need to ask “What is the meaning of life?” The question will not even occur to you. If someone asked you what the meaning of life is, you will just look at him with a confused expression.
Click here to watch this recorded talk on YouTube.