You Don’t Want to Wake Up

The first thing I want you to understand (if you really want to wake up) is that you don’t want to wake up. No one does. The first step to waking up is to be honest, to admit to yourself that you don’t like it. You don’t want to be happy. You don’t want to make happiness first and foremost in your life. We want other things first. Or to put it more accurately: We…

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Grace

Sooner or later there arises in every human heart the desire for holiness, spirituality, God, call it what you will. One hears mystics speak of a divinity all around them that is within our grasp, that would make our lives meaningful and beautiful and rich, if we could only discover it. People have some sort of a vague idea as to what this thing is and they read books and consult gurus, in the attempt…

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The Only Reason You’re Not Happy Right Now

Take a look at the world and see the unhappiness. See if you can find a single person who is fearless, free from insecurities, anxieties, tensions, worries. Two out of three of us are unhappy, according to the Harris Poll, and three out of four of us are stressed, according to the APA’s annual stress survey. What is making you so unhappy, miserable, alienated from yourself, stressed, afraid, at times unkind to others and condemning…

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Spirituality Means Waking Up

Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don’t know it, are asleep. They’re born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence. Waking up is unpleasant, you know. You are nice and comfortable in bed. It’s irritating to be woken up….

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The mystic rickshaw driver

Once, many years ago, I discovered something that revolutionized my life. I met a rickshaw driver in Calcutta named Ramchandra, who, although he was dying of a painful disease and was so poor that he had to sell his skeleton before he died, still he was a man filled with faith and interior joy. He was a man who had reincarnated himself during this life. I suddenly realized, I was in the presence of a…

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All is well

All mystics – whether Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindus, Taoists, or Shamans – no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion, they are unanimous on one thing. That all is well. All the mystics tell us that even though everything is a mess, all is well. It’s a strange paradox, to be sure, but it is nonetheless true. Tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They…

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You are not your depression

The reason you suffer from your depression and your anxieties is that you identify with them. You say, “I’m depressed.” But that is false. You are not your depression. If you want to be accurate, you might say, “I am experiencing a depression right now.” But you can hardly say, “I am depressed.” That is but a strange kind of trick of the mind, a strange kind of illusion. You have deluded yourself into thinking—though…

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Living for nothing

There’s a lovely saying of Tranxu, a great Chinese sage, that I took the trouble to learn by heart. It goes like this: When the archer shoots for no particular prize, he has all his skills; when he shoots to win a brass buckle, he is already nervous; when he shoots for a gold prize, he goes blind, sees two targets, and is out of his mind. His skill has not changed, but the prize…

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The way the world is

We’re always bothered by the problem of evil. There’s a powerful story about a little boy walking along the bank of a river. He sees a crocodile who is trapped in a net. The crocodile says, “Would you have pity on me and release me? I may look ugly, but it isn’t my fault, you know. I was made this way. But whatever my external appearance, I have a mother’s heart. I came this morning…

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The real human tragedy

Life is a banquet and the tragedy is that most people are starving to death. That’s what I’m really talking about. There’s a story about some people who were adrift on a raft off the coast of Brazil perishing from thirst. It turned out that the river streaming out to the sea was flowing with such force that its fresh water extended out a couple of miles, reaching the raft. The reality was that the…

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