Recently, I spoke at the 6th World Confluence of Spirituality, Power and Humanity held in Kolkata. Dr. H.P. Kanoria, an unpretentious billionaire and a philanthropist at heart very kindly invited me as a guest of honor for the second year in a row. I’ve personally known many extremely wealthy individuals, but very few like Dr. Kanoria who are committed to make a difference to the world and invest a significant portion of their human and financial resources in causes directly relevant to our society.
They wanted me to address the audience and share my thoughts on why is there so much unrest in the world, and more importantly, is spirituality a panacea for happiness? The faster we are progressing, the quicker we seem to be derailing. The more comforts we acquire, the more uncomfortable we get with our lives. More and more of us are becoming increasingly impatient, distracted, depressed and dissatisfied with where, who and what we are. We are doing everything we possibly can to be happy, to be at peace, yet happiness and peace look like the ever elusive summer clouds. Why?
Personally, I think inner unrest, discontent and unhappiness are not the causes we need to worry about. For, they are not even the causes to begin with, they are only the symptoms. We are not dissatisfied because we are unhappy. We are not distracted because we are impatient. These are like acnes on an oily skin. They blemish the skin but it’s the impurity in the skin that has created them at the first place. So, if unrest, intolerance, violence, impatience, unhappiness are not the causes then what are, you may ask? And whatever be the causes, is spirituality the universal answer?
The truth is that the source of all good and bad in our world stems from one thing. In my view, it is resistance. Just look around and you’ll find most of us lead a life of great resistance. We are trying to resist other people, ideas, circumstances, beliefs, situations and everything else we want to avoid. And, this leads me to the crux of the matter: what do I really mean by resistance? Here, in simple terms:
Almost every one of us has only two key problems in life. They are, in fact, the only two challenges. Eliminate these and there is no resistance, unhappiness or stress. First: people want something that they don’t have. Be it health, wealth, power, love, attention or anything else. Second: they have something that they don’t want. Once again, be it anything. We sail through, often against the winds, a life of several decades constantly working towards what we think we must have in our lives or evading what we think we shouldn’t have.
From this ideology of wanting what you don’t have and avoiding what you don’t like, originate the demons of unrest and unhappiness. They are the result of an inner turmoil, they are born out of resistance, they are the outcome. And, any outcome is not determined by our preferences or desires, it is but sealed by our actions. Therefore, resisting the outcome is foolish. You must focus on the path. If you are sailing in the sea, sooner or later, the waves will get choppy, they will rock your boat. God won’t make the sea calm just because you are praying for it in the middle of the ocean. He can’t afford to because countless aquatic creatures’ lives depend on those tempestuous waves.
You can’t fight with Nature, its scale is too immense. But, unfortunately, in great ignorance, vanity or pride, that’s exactly what most of us are doing. Does it mean we should accept everything lying down? And is it wrong to want something, you may contend? The answer is no. There is nothing fundamentally wrong in trying to shape your life a certain way or to want something from it. But, we must remember that we are responsible for our desires, choices and actions.
Even if you are not happy with your present, the truth is what you are today is what you once wanted to be, who you are today is exactly who you’d once aimed to be, what you have today is what you’d once wished for. Everything you have today is what you’d once asked for. And, most of what you are facing today is the result of manifesting those thoughts. It is easy to forget but it’s the brutal truth. If someone is struggling to pay a mortgage, chances are they own a house they once wished for. Nature gave them a house, but repaying the home loan is their personal obligation. Nature might give them a car because they once wanted it so desperately, but they are responsible for creating the means to pay the insurance. You might have hoped for a beautiful, intelligent and loving partner, but you have to do your bit to have them keep wanting you (a lot of which depends on their own priorities, by the way).
Spirituality is the art of being one with nature so you may draw from its vast reservoir, its limitless resources and become a potent medium to carry it forward. In doing so, you are enabled, empowered and rewarded beyond your wildest dreams. Above all, you are blessed with peace and happiness. So, yes, spirituality is not just a panacea, in fact it’s the only panacea. Because spirituality is transcending your ego, it is going beyond religion and concepts, it is replacing your individual thought with the cosmic consciousness. It is yoga, union, of the highest type.
The question then is how to be one with nature? Well, Swami has an answer for you. On my priority list is a task I aim to complete by June 2015 (if not earlier) that will address this question and show you the simplest possible way for this day and age. Without the slightest exaggeration, I am telling you that I’ll unearth a great secret for you. And no, it’s not a book in case you are wondering.
Stay tuned, if you trust me. Or if you are curious. Or, even willing to experiment. But, believe me only after validating what I’ll share with you.