Remember one year ago in Ladakh, we had a terrible disaster. The series of cloudbursts killed many people and ruined many homes. Huge rainfalls were unheard of in Ladakh before 6th August 2010, and people were not prepared. The worst thing in this world is to be unprepared for anything. If you are prepared, especially mentally prepared, life would be so much easier. But we often do not think of the importance of preparation. Sometimes or whenever I say, “Live in the present”, many people think that it means “Dream in the present”, they think that I am encouraging them not to be prepared and just enjoy the moment-to-moment presence. To some extent it is true, because we all have to enjoy however short our life is, but to certain extent it is not, because we have to be prepared. Living in the present is actually a practice to prepare our mind by sharpening our awareness and our understanding on the life itself. Most of the time, we are not knowing what we are doing, we just let our wandering thoughts control us.
One of the main points of all of us coming together on 6th August, one year later, is not for celebration, it is because this is the day which is very much the learning point. We need to remind ourselves again and again, why was the disaster happening? Was it natural or manmade? Natural disaster is a well-known terminology that people use everytime something like cloudbursts, earthquakes, tornadoes etc happen in the world, but is it true or not? For me, I think it is manmade disaster. For generations we have not been respecting nature. Forget about nature, we are not respecting our families, other beings, our friends, our parents, we have to remember that we are one of species belonging to nature, we are not above nature. Therefore you have to now learn to respect each other. As all religions and spiritual beliefs say, respecting others and respecting each other is very important. This has to be practised and not only just talking. The minute you lose the sense of respecting others, you are not any more intelligent beings.
“Ladakh Loves Universe” and “Ladakh Loves U (or ‘You’)” are the same. people always they love their countries or their birth places, like “I love India” or “I love India”. Isn’t it much powerful to say “I love you”, and “You” or “U” can be anything! This time, as it says on the caps that we distribute to as many participants as possible, “U” stands for “Universe”, that is more powerful and effective. Don’t you think so?
Love becomes like lust or a tool to control others these days, and it transforms into disaster. Therefore you would not like to use the word “love”, you wouldn’t be liking to be loved, because if somebody loves you, it’s finished, you might be dead! It is that bad, that dramatic and that disastrous! We are daringly expressing it that way. For example, whenever we say “I love beef”, it means that we are going to eat them, indirectly we are slaughtering the lives of others, denying their rights to live.
Just simply think when you say “I love my wife” or “I love my children”, please tell me what are you going to do with your wife and children. It’s very dangerous if you love them like the way you love beef, isn’t it? Are you going to eat them up? Or we are going to take possession of them. “Love” for many of us means “control” in our world, it doesn’t mean “respect” or “appreciate”. It means we are going to take away their rights. The saddest thing is that we always think that we are above everything. We try to even engineer nature, because “we love nature”, but we don’t love nature as it is. We love the so-called “nature” that we are creating for our desires. But we forget that nature cannot be created, it is there and we are a part of it.
The bottomline is that love has to be understood as “respect” and “appreciate”, not as a lust or a tool to control. Whenever we say we love something or somebody, it is almost like wishing to take over them. We need to understand and appreciate that everything in this world is a part of nature and that we have to co-exist in harmony and in peace, otherwise disasters will take over. Disasters are there to tell us that there is disharmony and that we ought to be careful and ought to be making adjustment to return to nature. These are great lessons to be learned, otherwise disasters are just dramas, episodes after episodes of dramas, nightmares after nightmares.
Nature is our greatest teacher, as I have been saying repeatedly ever since I was able to talk. But we don’t realise, and therefore we are constantly in big mess. Most of the people these days, especially those in the modern society, are living in big stress because they are very far away from nature. We live by pressing buttons, buttons after buttons, we don’t even know what is the process of our life. The minute we start to lose touch with nature, we lose touch with our life, that means we start to live a very plastic life.
Spiritual practice is the process of understanding and improving our life. By “life”, I mean the inner being that will affect the outer existence, it is not the superficial life that many of us are experiencing these days, it is not about the kind of life that the televisions and commercial advertisements are selling to us. We don’t want to be controlled by imaginative way of happy living that is portrayed by others. We don’t need commercials to tell us how to live happily by owning mercedes benz, having expensive holidays, wearing expensive clothes and watches. We have to be very much in control and living in awareness, with full understanding of what is the true essence of living, if we really want to be happy and live a fruitful life.
Our modern education these days teaches us too much about selfishness and self-centred behaviours, actions and thoughts. The sense of us and others or rather the division between us and others is so strong that we have forgotten that jointly and collectively we are members of nature and this unverse. We are gradually losing our ability to share, to respect and appreciate.
This is the time to pause and reorganise our life, by reorganising our motivation. The thing is that if we are still alive, we always have the chance. Don’t wait any more, tomorrow is too late!