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Live in the golden present, then you won’t have any anxiety or any fear of losing anything. Look at the sparrows, they just fly around. If they are hungry they just go and pick up a grain from anywhere. They are not constantly worried about what will happen tomorrow, what will happen to this or that. Human beings seem to be the opposite. The minute somebody predicts there will be a flood we try to buy all the grains and store them. We don’t see the birds doing that. They don’t worry about tomorrow. They seem to feel, “Today, I have the grain, fine, let me enjoy.” That is why they are so happy. So, living in the golden present is important if you want to keep your peace of mind. That doesn’t mean that you should not plan for tomorrow. Plan it, but don’t worry, obsess, insist on that plan.

Remember that there is a Cosmic plan, a greater plan. God, or the Cosmic Consciousness, has already planned everything and everything goes according to the unfolding of that plan. Even our plans are part of that unfolding. Things will happen like that. Sometimes, you think of the “right” plan and it happens. Sometimes you think of something and it may not happen. Ultimately, there is only the unfolding of the plan, so you shouldn’t worry about it. That’s why I appreciate the quote from Thomas à Kempis: “Man proposes and God disposes.” So we can propose things and then leave it to the Higher Power. We shouldn’t insist, “Oh, this must happen.” If it doesn’t happen, then what? We lose our minds. So, make tentative plans and feel, “This is my plan, how about You?”

That way, we will never get disturbed over anything. After all, what is the most important thing in this life? What is it that we all want to have? Peace and to be happy always. Eternal happiness is what is called “ananda,” joy or bliss. There’s a verse in the Bhagavad Gita where Sri Krishna at one point, in a kind of exclamative way says, “Ha! People want peace, peace, peace! People want to be happy, happy, happy! That seems to be the quest, the common goal. But, how on earth can they be happy without peace in their mind?” His exact words are, “Ashantasya kutah sukham,” which means: “How can there be happiness without peace?”

If you ask him, “Well sir, that’s what I really want then. If you say without peace there is no happiness, how can I get peace?” Naturally, you will ask that question, no? Sri Krishna knows this question will arise so in another place he offers us the key to peace saying, “Tyagat shantir anantaram, the dedicated enjoy unending peace.

We may get into peace temporarily when we sleep, but the minute we wake up, we are completely disturbed. “What am I to do today? I don’t even have a single penny to get a ride to the office.” I see a lot of unpaid bills.” The minute we get up, we become ashanti, restless. Only in deep sleep we seem to find the peace. Why? Because in that sleep we forget everything. We are not connected with anything, including the body and mind.

Imagine there is an abscess on the hand and it pains so awfully, you find it difficult to forget it. You go to sleep, with great difficulty, and the minute you sleep do you feel the pain? No. But, the abscess is still there, is it not? Your arm is there, the abscess is still there, you are there, but you don’t feel the pain. However, no sooner do you wake up and the pain is there immediately. So, what happened to that pain when you slept? Where was the pain? If the pain was there in your hand you should have had the pain. If it is in you, you should have had the pain in you sleep.

So, what is pain after all? Your connection. The connection between your bodily sensations and the thoughts about the pain is the link. In sleep, the connection is temporarily cut off. The “switch” is in off position. When you wake up, the switch goes on automatically. Then you feel the pain, you feel the pleasure, you feel everything—everything is experienced in the waking state. But the minute you sleep, everything is gone. So, all the pleasures and pains, all the dualities are in the mental imagination. Once the mental connection is cut off, there’s no pleasure, no pain.

Now, how can we experience the same thing while we are awake? If we can enjoy the peace of that same deep sleep while we are awake we will be super happy. This is what is called: jagrat sushupti, to sleep while you are awake, or in other words, samadhi. How to achieve this? By knowing what has happened in our sleep. In our sleep, the mind gets detached from everything and just rests in its True Nature, in pure Consciousness. That Consciousness or Self is pure peace, contentment, openness.

So, when we are aware of ourselves as that Self while awake, we will be always peaceful and joyful. That awareness can only dawn when the ego stops demanding, expecting, and attaching to things. Then, we can lead lives of tyagat, of dedication, of trust in the unfolding of the Cosmic plan. Then we will truly enjoy the beautiful things of the world, without the tensions, stresses, and worries. The most precious thing in the world is inner peace—that will save your life today, tomorrow, and always.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda