It is important to know about interpersonal relationships. What keeps and what really disturbs interpersonal relationships? The relationship gets disturbed when disagreement begins.
Just look at yourself. Have you always agreed with yourself? You had some idea yesterday; today you may have a different idea. Five years back you had other ideas that do not necessarily agree with the ideas that you have today. So when you have disagreement with yourself, why should it not happen with someone else?
The ‘someone’ you have a disagreement with is just a photocopy of your old or the new self. So you need to take a look at your own thought patterns and emotional patterns, there is a rhythm in them. And there is a rhythm in the consciousness. We need to find a harmony between all these rhythms within us and that’s what is called spirituality.
Spirituality is not just fantasising; it’s observing your own existence. Have we thoroughly known our body? You can know someone else’s body but have you experienced your own body? Experiencing your own body, your breath, your mind, your emotion and the source of your life is meditation. Meditation is experiencing the life force and being conscious of it; and it is done effortlessly.
Mind and body function on completely opposite laws. In the realm of mind, effortlessness is the key. You cannot remember something by putting effort. The moment you relax the memory comes back. Creativity, intelligence and memory — all these faculties within us happen effortlessly. But you can build muscles only when you put effort.
How do you listen? The sounds come and fall on the eardrums but if the mind is elsewhere, can you hear? You are listening through that faculty in you that is called the mind. When you are listening, you are either agreeing or disagreeing. Notice whether you are saying yes or no. This something by which we say yes or no is called the intellect.
It is the same consciousness that functions as man, buddhi, chitta, ahankaara. Our ancient people have called the four different faculties as Antahkaran Chadushtaya. Similarly, if you observe memory, it clings onto something that is negative. Ten compliments you will forget from someone but his one insult will stick to the mind.
This needs to be reversed; and the process of reversing this tendency of the mind from clinging on to the negative and moving to something positive is called yoga. Yoga makes you like a baby again. It not only revives your nature, it also keeps your heart and mind young and bright. Yoga improves perception, observation and expression.
For maintaining interpersonal relationships, you have to first have a relationship with yourself. Your relationship with yourself is called integrity. If you have no relationship with yourself, that’s called lack of integrity. Secondly, being informal keeps your interpersonal relationship strong, for it gives space for mistakes to happen. You cannot expect perfection in any relationship or situation.
Today one of the biggest problems with the world is emotional instability. When we create an informal outlook and cordial environment around us, we grease the friction and become the master of our environment and not feel helpless about what is happening around us.
Life is very complex. There is no set formula. When you think that you are very honest, that you are righteous, you become a little stiff inside without even knowing it. You point your finger towards others and become intolerant. When you recognise that there are flaws in you, you are then able to accommodate the flaws in other persons.
That’s why it is said, ‘‘do a good deed and forget about it’’. It is not only your vices or bad qualities that will harm you. Even your good qualities can make you stiff, rude and angry. That is why you should surrender both bad and good qualities. Relax and let go.
There are three types of perfection — perfection in action, perfection in speech and perfection in feelings. Many who have perfection in their action and speech do not have that at their feeling level. Some have perfection in their feelings and also speak very good but their action will not be perfect. For example, tailors in India. They will speak sweetly but won’t give clothes for Diwali in time. They will smile but will not do work.
We don’t keep things in mind; we speak right, but do not do work on time. People from other countries see this as a big problem with us. They say that Indians are very nice but they do not do work. On the other hand, the foreigners work on time, but have a lot of things on their minds. Anger and fatigue fill their minds. The three perfections are called trikarana shuddhi — one should try to be perfect in all the three spheres.
If you have a positive state of mind you become creative, entrepreneurs and successful in anything you do. There are some books about positive thinking in the West such as How to Win Friends and Influence People. The man who wrote this book committed suicide. People in the West talk about affirmation. Affirmation is, you wake up in the morning, sit on your bed and affirm to yourself, ‘‘I will be good from today and that I will love myself’’. All these affirmations you put on yourself. This is not at all a healthy thing.
Meditation is the only way you can transcend the negative thoughts and then positive thoughts will come spontaneously and automatically. Stress and tension cause negative attitude. Suppose you don’t sleep for two days small things can start to irritate. And if you have rested well, the situation will be different.
Some people always blame themselves for something that goes wrong in a close acquaintance. Leave this ‘always’ — like ‘‘I want to be always happy’’. Take life as it comes. Sometimes you are upset or angry; it is ok to be upset or angry. Life does not stop for anything; it moves. Just move with the flow.