I hope you know that more than the external factors, it is you, yourself, who stops you from living, living your life of dreams. A lot of people are afraid of saying “Yes” to life. And why are they scared of opening up, to spread their wings, to scan new horizons? After all, who in their right mind would say no to joy, bliss and happiness? Do you know why? Primarily because from the early childhood we had to seek external affirmations, there was always someone around who would need to approve your actions, someone whose permission was necessary. Parents at home, teachers at school, bosses at work, friends in the society, governments, organizations, religious authorities, you name it.

Not only are we brought up in a conditioned environment but it is conditional too. Before you can have what you want, there is some condition you are expected to fulfill. Consider the following usual conversations most people go through in their lives:

Child and parent:

“Can I have a  candy?”
“Finish your dinner first!”
“Can I play?”
“After you finish your homework.”
“Can I watch TV?”
“Clean up your room first.”
“Go to sleep now!”
“Okay, I’m going to bed.”
“Make sure you brush your teeth first.”
“Can I take a day off from school today?”
“NO!”
Can I this, can I that, can I here, can I there, can I now, can I later and on and on and on, you fill in your own memories.
No, no, no, first do this, first do that. No, no, have you thought about this, have you thought about that etc. etc. Say Sorry, say Thank you, say Please.

Employee and boss

“Is it okay if I leave an hour early today?”
“Today? Are you serious?”
“I’m planning to go on a family vacation next month.”
“Next month? You know it’s the busiest time of the year.”
During your performance appraisal: “Your performance is good but you could improve in some areas. Congratulations, you get the maximum raise. Three percent.”
“Thank you.” The inflation rate is nine percent you say to yourself in your head.
“Can I ask you a question please?”, “I’m sorry for not meeting the project deadline.”, “Thank you so much…” and so on and so forth. You learn to utilize these golden words in a conditional environment. You are treated like a kid in a grown-up body.

Imagine the nature of most conversations between two partners, with other family members, with your coworkers, other people in the society, with your accountant. Simple living made reasonably, if not unnecessarily, complex. And this is intelligence?

There is a difference between being childlike and being treated like a child. In a way, if you do not start living for yourself, this world will never let you graduate from your school. It will treat you as a child — forever telling you what is good or bad for you, feeding you with what it thinks is right for you. I hope you have had the time to reflect on how precious your life is. The difference between life and death is just that one breath, just one moment. You inhale but do not exhale, that is death. You exhale and do not inhale again, that is death.

All those infinite possibilities you could be exploring, flying several thousand feet up from the ground or being six feet under, it mostly depends on that one moment, between breathing versus not-breathing. If you are waiting for the work to finish, if you simply have to tick off a few items before you start being yourself, I am afraid such a moment will never come. I am not suggesting you run away from your responsibilities but if saying Yes to life is your priority, there are opportunities waiting for you. Now is the time to live, now is the moment to enjoy.

Mulla Nasrudin went with his friend to attend the funeral of a rich man. His friend was flabbergasted at the plush and luxury settings.
“Look at that coffin, it’s made from sandalwood,” he exclaimed, “and they have spent ten thousand gold coins on the decorations. See his dress, it’s made from handwoven silk! They are putting precious stones, gems and pearls next to him. The tombstone is made from exquisite marble.”
“Wow!” exclaimed Mulla, “now, that’s life!”

Do not deprive yourself of the joys just because you are not fulfilling certain conditions others have placed on you. As long as you are not hurting anyone, you are good. Live! Do what you have always wanted to do, be what you have always wished. Give yourself a chance, do not be so hard on yourself, give it a try. Now is the perfect time, for perfection is simply a perspective, and ‘now’ the only real moment.

Go on! Say Yes to life. Break free. Discover your own truth.

Peace.
Swami
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