A New Beginning

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Every end creates a sense of completion and relief, while every new beginning brings a sense of hope and enthusiasm and so, there is celebration associated with both. The past has made you wiser, the future beckons you to act and it is in the present that you can plan and begin. Although bitter experiences of the past should not prevent you from taking risk and plunging into adventure, one should also not be foolish in repeating old mistakes. A few moments of reflection should become a daily routine to infuse inspiration, innovation and intuition, all of which are much needed for planning and action. In the hustle bustle of daily routine, one tends to lose sight of inner strength or the power of one’s own mind. Spending some time with nature and some in introspection, meditating and doing acts of kindness can keep the level of joy and enthusiasm in one’s life. Cynicism, which sets in during the course of interaction in society, needs to be checked. It was once considered a fashion of the intellectuals and although in small doses, it can add colour to life, beyond a limit, it poses the danger of engulfing one’s own personality and making one miserable. Unfortunately, today we view many of our icons, whether in politics or business, with a cynical mindset. This leads to an atmosphere where higher values in society cannot flourish, innovation cannot happen and the chances of communication breaking down are very high.
When mid life crisis begins in teenage, society is rattled with drug abuse and violence, humanism appears to be utopia, joy, love and compassion remain only in books and on celluloid, corruption and crime appears to be accepted as a way of life, then these are signals for us to rise to meet these challenges in society.
The extension of an individual is a family and the extension of families is a society. We have to address all such problems at the root cause. Transformation in the society can only happen with transformation in the individual. After all, it is only a few sick individuals who cause trauma to the whole society like the person who recently opened fire at little children in an elementary school in the US. While people like this certainly are severely unhealthy, we are quick in blaming them as culprits without seeing the victim inside them. A person causes hurt to fellow human beings because they carry deep hurt within themselves. They end up taking such extreme steps because nobody reached out to them. So, making sure everybody around is happy and emotionally sound becomes our responsibility as well; otherwise, they might harm us or our loved ones out of their frustration. If we have just a few people with such a magnanimous outlook, who can take responsibility for everybody’s emotional well-being, society has a very realistic chance of being peaceful and harmonious to a large extent. The very first step to achieve this is education. To me, education is not just collecting information but building a sane and pleasant personality. Aggression and selfishness can be checked by inculcating an attitude of service at a very young age.
There are little things that we can all do to keep our environment stress free. We must develop a habit of sharing our joy with others. If you are happy, infect others with your happiness; don’t keep it to yourself. Any action done with this idea behind it is service and the best form of service is uplifting someone’s state of mind. Of course, we must be careful and sensitive so as not to upset anyone with our enthusiasm. When we decide to share what we have been given, the Divine showers more abundance on us.
Being spiritual is not turning a blind eye to the world. On the contrary, as you learn more and more about yourself, you come to know more and more about the world as well. A new dimension of looking at everything opens up and you start inferring things which are beyond the obvious. Somewhere within we all want to know who we are, why we are here and what the purpose of life is. Most people choose to overlook these questions as a waste of time. Being spiritual is just keeping this little fire of enquiry alive, not extinguishing it, not giving up the pursuit. These questions serve as a compass and help you bring a sense of direction to your life.
As you pass through events one after the other, realize that life is like a river. There may be stones on the path but the river flows above them. No year passes without a touch of joy or without posing any challenge. One should plan to utilize every moment of joy to serve and see every challenge as an opportunity for growth. 2018 has not brought the end of the world, but 2019 is certainly a new beginning.
(The author is a Founder, Art of Living)