There are two kinds of minds. One is an open mind; another is a closed mind. A closed mind is that which says, ‘‘This is how it is. I know it. That is it’’. An open mind is, ‘‘Oh, may be! Perhaps! I do not know!’’ Limited knowledge and conformity to it makes a mind very hard. Whenever you seem to understand a situation and label it – ‘‘This is how it is’’, that is the beginning of your problem.
All problems always arise from knowing, not ‘not knowing’. Whenever you think injustice has been done to you, whenever you think you are a victim, whenever you think something bad has happened to you, all this falls in the category of ‘I know it, this is how things are’.
Suffering is a product of limited knowledge. A question is a sign of limited knowledge. But when there is amazement, patience, joy, waiting, then you are in a state of ‘I don’t know, may be, something, Oh, what is it? I don’t know.’ Something you cannot pinpoint. The whole life is a shift from the limited ‘I know’, to all possibilities. This is not just one world, there are many layers in this world.
When you are upset, you are not just upset for no reason. There is some string that is being pulled. When your mind is open to all possibilities, an event happens and there could be many possibilities for that event to be that way, not just in the gross but some other reason in the subtle as well.
Suppose you enter your room and find that someone at home has made a big mess in your room. You are irritated and attach that cause for your anger to that person who is there. But at that moment something else is in the air but you could only see that person creating a mess around and you attribute all the anger to that.
This is what limited knowledge does. Even after experiencing that you don’t see something beyond. There is a proverb in India that says: you fell in the well in the daytime, which you could see in the night. You saw the pit in the night, you were careful, you avoided and walked, but in the daytime you fell in the same pit. This means that you are not sensitive enough to see and recognize what is going on.
As we attach events and emotions to individuals, the cycle continues. You will never be free from that. So first detach an event and emotion from that person, space and time. If you go deeper and deeper, it is one existence, one Divine. If a pin is pricked into your hand, your entire body knows it, feels it.
So every cell is connected with the whole of you. In the same way every body is connected to the entire creation, to everybody, as there is only one life at a very subtle level, though it appears to be many in the gross.
So the wise person never labels individuals; in fact, in a wise person, all individual existence ceases. That is why one should not see any intention behind the other’s mistakes because one thoroughly knows and understands that it is nobody’s mistake.
You can be at ease with the uncertainty of the world when you realize the certainty of the consciousness. Often people do just the opposite. They are certain about the things in the world and uncertain about God. They rely on something that is not reliable and get upset. Many times, people who are uncertain don’t act, they simply sit and wait. Acting in uncertainty makes life a game, a challenge. Being in uncertainty is letting go. Uncertainty causes craving for stability and the most stable thing in the universe is our Self.
The world is of change, the Self is of non-change. You have to rely on the non-change and accept the change. People think that certainty is freedom. If you feel that freedom when you are not certain then that is ‘real’ freedom. If you are certain that everything is uncertain, then you are liberated.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, spritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation