By Sri Swami Satchidananda

Very often we see people living in fear: “Will I get it or not? If I get it, how can I hold on to it? That is not a natural way of living. Why? Because you’re attached to the result, to the reward. That brings all the problems. If you get it, you want more; if you don’t get it, you are angry, disappointed and create a lot of problems for yourself. Didn’t Jesus talk about the little birds and sparrows? How many refrigerators do birds have? Do they stock their food? They don’t even know where they are going to get the next piece of grain. And that’s why they are so happy and free.

But, we human beings, don’t believe in that. We want to take care of ourselves yet, nature, or God in the form of nature, is already there to provide you with everything you need. It’s okay, take care of yourself but there is a limit for that. God is ready to provide everything for your needs but finds it difficult to fulfill your greed. Those who want to experiment with that can try that out. Simple living, high thinking. We create too many, so reduce them. The more you reduce your needs the higher your happiness is. When your needs increase your happiness decreases.

The main point here is that whatever you need you will get. And whatever you get or whatever you lose, don’t cling onto either. It’s not that we only need to learn to let go of negativity. Don’t keep holding onto anything. Whatever comes, pass it on, pass it on. Pleasure comes, let it go. Pain comes, let it go. Normally the tendency is to hold on to the pleasure and shun the pain, but both create problems because you are clinging onto something. Why are you clinging? You don’t want to lose it.

When the fear of losing something comes, you cannot be happy. You think you can be happy if you get a few million dollars in the lottery? Try it and get it, then you will know. Ask everybody who got big lottery prizes. Nobody is happy when they cling onto things like money, name, fame. If it comes, fine, accept it. If it goes, accept it. Then you are free.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna explained the qualities of his dearest devotee: The one who doesn’t get assailed by profit or loss, pleasure or pain, praise or blame. He didn’t say that his dearest one is the one who builds the most number of Krishna temples. No. The dearest devotee is the one who is balanced between the dualities, who has equanimity, and who understands that everything comes and goes.

You can’t have just the heads side of the coin. If you want heads, you get tails also. If you want one, you get the other. Pleasure is like that and pain is like that. They are two sides of the same coin. Ask the pleasure: “Will you make me happy always?” “Oh, no, no, no. Pain, my twin, is following me and will be here very soon. How can we void being pushed and pulled by dualities? The biggest way is to raise above both. The world is always full of ups and downs. It’s almost like going into the ocean. Can you avoid the waves? No. So what to do? Learn surfing and enjoy the waves by floating over them. The ones who know how to surf in the world will even look for big waves in life. When they have a big profit, they will surf over. When they have a big loss, they will say, “Hey, you know what, I lost $2,000 today. See how happy I am.” You enjoy both. Then you are a good surfer. Nobody can shake you. You always rise above. . .

Read the rest of this article in the Summer 2015 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine.