Ninety percent of people suffer each and every moment from physical and mental pains. We know that merely suffering these pains is pointless. And yet, it is not possible to live a stress-free life. It has been said that 50% of diseases are caused by stress. Do we want to suffer from chronic illnesses throughout our life and thus live a prematurely short life? If we do not, we must adopt a practical solution: surrender.
When we pour water at the base of a tree, the water reaches all parts of the tree. It will grow fast and yield fruits. However, if we water the branches instead, the tree will neither grow nor bear fruit. Our time and effort would have been wasted. Children, try to live in the present moment. Merely thinking of your family will not benefit either them or us. All we have is this moment. If we act intelligently in this moment, our future will undoubtedly be safe and secure.
Many people worry about their future. Amma isn’t saying that you shouldn’t think about the future. However, worrying about what is going to happen is like lying down to sleep under a tree inhabited by a venomous snake. How can one get any sleep if one is constantly haunted by the prospect of being bitten by the snake? Our lives, too, are like this. We worry incessantly about the future.
While planning, an engineer is wholly focused on the blueprint. During construction, his attention is fully on construction-related activities. We can likewise decide on the future we would like, and then act wisely in the present moment. Children, surrender all other problems to the Supreme.
Suppose we hold a cup of coffee. It won’t be too difficult to hold it up for a while. If we had to do so for an hour, our hand will start to ache. If we did so for the whole day, we would probably need to be admitted into a hospital! Similar is the case with our thoughts and emotions. If we do not unburden ourselves of them for at least a short while, we might not be able to think or act intelligently. We might even lose our mental balance. Prayer, japa (repeated chanting of a mantra), meditation and other spiritual practices are means of unburdening the mind.
As Amma always says, meditation is as valuable as gold. Meditation ushers in material prosperity, spiritual liberation and peace. The time spent meditating is never wasted.
A person’s blood pressure must be at least 80 and at most 120. When a person with abnormal blood pressure feels stressed, his blood pressure can go up to 150 or 200. This might cause a rupturing of small nerves in the head, leading to paralysis of one side of the body. Children, you must understand how adversely stress affects one mentally and physically. That is why Amma wants her children to surrender their mental burdens to the Supreme.
If we row a boat tethered to the shore, we won’t reach anywhere. Therefore, we must let go of the thought of ‘I’ and embrace the thought of ‘You.’ Let us offer ourselves wholly to God, imagining ourselves to be a pen or brush in His hands. We must cultivate such an attitude of surrender.
This does not mean that we need not strive. All our efforts are limited. What fulfils them is divine grace. When we reach home after a long journey, we might say, “We had a pleasant journey.” But while travelling, how many vehicles passed in front of and behind us? Just a moment’s inadvertence on the part of one driver could have caused our death. What saved us and brought us home was grace alone.
In order to win grace, we must cultivate humility in word and deed. Humility does not merely mean bowing down one’s head; the language of humility is the language of love. May the lamp of selflessness and devotion illumining my children’s heart become a beacon to the world!
Like the hornbill thirsting for rainwater, this world craves the pure waters of love and peace. There is terrorism and war in one place or another. We hear news of them daily. Many human lives have been sacrificed in the name of conflict.
If this meaningless human sacrifice is to end, we must investigate the cause. Security measures have been put in place in various places, including airports. Security screening is mandatory in many places. This is all very well. However, it is not a permanent solution. There are explosives more lethal than bombs the hatred, ill-will and enmity in human hearts! No machine can trace them.
Amma remembers a story. There was a party to celebrate the 100th birthday of a village chief. A reporter who came to interview him asked, “In all your hundred years, what achievement are you most proud of?”
The village head said, “Though I’ve lived 100 years, I don’t have even one enemy on earth!”
“Wow! That’s awesome! Surely this is an example that everyone must emulate. Tell me, how did you manage this?” the report asked with amazement.
The village chief replied, “I did not spare the life of even one of my enemies!”
This is the perspective many people have on doing away with enmity. Without eradicating such vindictive emotions, it would be difficult to bring about peace and contentment in society, and to eliminate terrorism.
Natural disasters are caused by man’s greedy exploitation of nature. We do not think about the future generations. Our ancestors were not like that. Their livelihood was wholly dependent on nature alone. Like those who milk the cow only after its calves have drunk their share, our ancestors fulfilled their needs only after ensuring those of the future generations. And today? Everything is for me and me alone... such is our attitude. It is akin to the case of a man staying on the top floor of an apartment; when he heard that a fire had broken out on the first floor, he said, “Isn’t it the first floor that has caught fire? Let those staying on that floor take care of their own affairs!” and did nothing. The longer we put off waking up and acting, the darker our own future will be.
Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi