Sometimes one person is ready and the other is not. If you want to give to another, but do not yet feel ready, then don’t worry about it. If you are not ready, don’t give. Even a tree doesn’t want to give all the fruits until they are ripe. When the fruits are ready, the tree doesn’t even give; the fruits just drop on their own. Learn about giving from nature. Even if you want a fruit and then pluck it by force the tree cries, Oh, I am not ready to give to you; you took it by force and hurt me. But if you would wait for a day or two, all you’d have to do is just touch the fruit and it comes into your hand. Even if you don’t touch it, it drops.

Like the tree, you are born to give when you are ready. So, each person in the relationship should be considerate and patient; each should know if they or ready and the potential partner is also ready. If someone wants you to be in a relationship before you are ready, then it is like they are trying to eating a raw fruit and not a ripe one. And, of course, that will be tasteless and they may even get a stomachache. When giving is just one-sided there’s no joy there because there’s no giving and taking. So the best thing is if you think somebody is going to try and force you to make a commitment before you are ready, put a fence around yourself until your fruit is ripe. Live in a protected environment until you are mature. Then like a strong tree, you will be able to freely give of yourself. You can apply this idea of protecting yourself to become stronger to anything and any relationship.

Someone once asked me how they could retain their peace while living in a city. I advised that if you lose your peace while living in that kind of environment you should just leave. Protecting your peace is more important. But, if you can retain your peace, don’t worry about whether you are in the city or the country; it doesn’t matter. If you are peaceful, you are peaceful wherever you are. If you are going to get disturbed in a particular environment then you have not found the real peace in you. If you are only peaceful because everything outside is going your way then that’s a borrowed peace. If you have found the true inner peace, you can be anywhere and you won’t ever lose it. Nobody can take it away from you.

You might feel peaceful and secure because you have a lot of money in the house, but if you are robbed then you will lose that so-called peace. That means your peace was dependent on something. Many times, we just say, “Oh, I want to be peaceful so I have to go into seclusion.” It’s okay, I don’t object to that. That is where you learn how to find your peace. But remember, when you go to a quiet place, you are not going there to get anything from that place. You are going there because that place reflects your own inner peace. At least while you are there, you can analyze: How is it that I feel so peaceful here? Where does it come from? There is nothing to disturb my peace, so I am naturally peaceful. This kind of temporary seclusion doesn’t give you peace, but it also doesn’t disturb your peace. Once you become strong, then you will be peaceful wherever you are.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda