I often quote Avvaiyar, a very great saintly female poet from South India. She was clever with her use of words and never wasted any. Just a few words were enough to give you a great message. Somebody asked her, “How can I arrive at my home?” or in other words, “How can I be liberated from all these things and enjoy supreme peace?” In her reply she said that when your selfish desires are dropped, all your bondages are dropped. Is it that simple? It is. The sage Sri Ramana Maharshi said that it is so easy to be free. But Nandanar, another sage, said, “Oh it’s very difficult to be free.” The fact is, that if you say it’s difficult, it’s difficult, and if you say it’s easy, its easy.

Unfortunately, we are all hypnotized into making everything complicated. If something simple is presented you may think, I can’t believe it can be that simple. I must really do this and that and add some intricate practices. I’ll have to go into a Himalayan cave for a long time, with my eyes and ears completely closed. Or, I’ll have to stand for at least half an hour on my head and undergo all kinds of austerities. Why might you think all that? Because you have already complicated your life so much that you don’t want to accept simplicity. So, to satisfy complicated people we give out complicated medicine: “Come on do this practice, do that, and every day you must repeat your mantra at least 108 times. You must also keep a diary of everything that you do and when you do it, and for how long.”

But really, it all boils down to this: just be as you are. Watch what is happening in your body and mind; become an eternal witness. Enjoy the fun, yes. Don’t worry what the body does, what the mind does, just enjoy whatever it is.

Always know that you are different from the body and mind. Then they won’t be mischievous because they’ll lose the vibration or the force to do mischievous things. The minute you separate yourself from them, it is almost like taking a powerful magnet away from the iron filings. Then the mind just operates by itself; it becomes clean and pure. But the minute you identify yourself with the mind, you begin to want so many things to come to you. And that gives room for all the trouble.

By nature, we are happy. If you realize your Self, you are naturally peaceful and happy always. There is nothing that you will want to achieve because you have it already. All your efforts to achieve power, money, or anything else, are based on wanting the happiness that those things temporarily bring. But when you have realized Truth, you experience the happiness that is always in you and you no longer need to depend on anything. You  are contented, you don’t want anything anymore.

Real contentment means that you know you are happiness personified. That is what you call freedom or independence. There is no doubt that everyone can experience this. There were, and there are now, men and women leading contented lives. You might be thinking, Well if I’m always happy and contented, what am I to do with the family and my business? Should I just leave everything and go? Don’t you think that I should have some duties, some responsibilities? Sure, in the worldly level you have to have some responsibilities, but you are no longer taking care of them because you are trying to get something out of it. The circumstances that are placed before you are there and you are simply doing your job, without expecting anything in return.

Because you are contented, you are not doing anything for your personal happiness; you just don’t need to because you are experiencing happiness all the time.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda