Photo by Teddy Yang

We all look for excitement, thinking that it is a plus. But what is a plus? A minus crossed. A pendulum won’t swing to the plus side and remain there. When it swings to one side, it automatically has to come back to the other. When you want excitement, and swing to that side, you naturally have to swing back to the other and you just keep on swinging. Then what do you call yourself? A swinger!

Nature’s law is, the more you swing to one side, the more you swing back to the other. The world has seen enough of that kind of excitement. Not that I say you should not swing. Go ahead, swing, but at least look up and see the other end of the pendulum. The upper end of the pendulum doesn’t swing. It is fixed in one central place and remains there, well-pivoted; that’s why you are able to swing.

You can enjoy the swinging. We never say, “No, don’t have any excitement; don’t go to Miami or Las Vegas.” Go ahead. Enjoy. But can you enjoy without disturbing your peace? If so, okay. It’s a yogic act because it is done without losing the center. If you don’t lose the central point, you can swing along and really enjoy yourself.

Many of our lives are scattered instead of centered. We are on the circumference of a spinning wheel. The further away from the center you are, the harder it is to balance. If you want to remain on the wheel and enjoy peace, where must you go? To the very center.

Real bliss is maintaining equanimity of mind at all times, at all places, under all circumstances, not only in church or synagogue, but in Times Square or on the battlefield. Closing your eyes and sitting in meditation isn’t useful if you become useless as soon as you open your eyes. Real Yoga is applied equanimity, applied psychology, applied spirituality. Don’t get excited over profit or depressed over loss. In this life, we constantly face ups and downs, pleasure and pain, friendship and enmity. Some people praise you, some people curse you. We are constantly pulled and tossed between dualities.

You see God in a baby’s face because the baby’s mind is calm, pure, and tranquil. A baby will as easily give a smile to a deadly enemy as to a close relative. They will play with a newspaper or a dollar bill, a piece of clay or a piece of gold. They look at clay and gold, friend and enemy, rich and poor, profit and loss, as the same.

The world is a mixer. Wherever you see a right, there is a left. Wherever you see positive, there is negative. You can’t just draw a line and say, “This is all good and that is all bad.” If you don’t want a left wing, you should not have a right wing either. As long as you have a right wing, you are sure to have a left wing. So that is why we say neither go to the left nor to the right but come to the middle. It is on the middle path we find peace. And yet, there’s nothing wrong with the left or the right if we sit in the middle and use them properly. It’s something like the two oars of a boat: both are necessary. If you always use one, you will just go round and round and round.

Just be where you are. Enjoy the golden present. Do what is at hand. You are not going anywhere; you are not coming back from anywhere. We are where we are already, never going or coming. Everything is an experience, so experience it. When you eat, experience what you are eating. When you work, experience what you are working at. And, ultimately, experience the experience itself. See the seer, hear the hearer, know the knower.

People with millions of thoughts in their minds sometimes can’t even live happily for one minute on this earth. They want to go here, do this, do that, as if they have done everything that is to be done where they are. You are here now. Make this a heaven. You are in this town; make it heavenly. Begin where you are. You don’t need to look far away. Do that later, after you have improved your own place and surroundings.

You are all sparks of the divinity, you are nothing less than God. You have that divinity, that goodness, that inner peace and joy. That is your true nature, so why should you run after anything? Realize your True Nature and make sure not to disturb it by unbalanced thinking or actions. With this awareness, you will spread peace and joy wherever you are.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda