Children, in our minds we may be carrying the burden of many sorrows. Our grown-up children may be unemployed, our daughters still unmarried; there may be obstacles in the construction of a new house; we may have persistent health problems, frequent family feuds; our business may be running at a loss, etc. As we find ourselves thinking continuously about our problems, we suffer like a smouldering heap of sawdust. The mind is full of tension. This tension is the root cause of all diseases. The only way to remove this tension is by surrendering to God.
Do we gain anything by letting ourselves be weighed down by tension? Instead, we should do what we can to the best of our abilities, with the power given to us by God and leave the rest to the Divine Will. There is no use at all in fretting or fuming about what has happened and what is going to happen. This moment alone is ours. Children, be careful not to waste the present moment on useless worrying.
Do not plan your dinner while preparing your lunch. Do not think about the salt you are going to use in tonight's meal while adding salt to the soup you are cooking now. And don't regret that the soup you made yesterday wasn't a success. Just concentrate on the soup that is boiling on the stove at this moment. Be alert and conscious of this moment.
Amma remembers a story. A woman was on her way to the market carrying a basket of eggs on her head. As she walked along the road, she began to daydream: 'I'll get a good price for these eggs. With the money I can buy a few more hens. Those hens will lay so many eggs that I'll soon be able to buy a cow. That cow will produce so much milk that before long I can afford to buy several cows. From the money I get from all that milk, I shall buy a farm. The farm will make me so rich that I'll be able to buy a beautiful mansion. By then I'll be so rich that many young men will be after me. When I meet them on the street, I'll wiggle my hips and walk like this...' And as the woman wiggled her hips, the basket fell from her head and all the eggs lay broken on the ground.
My children, such is the outcome of building castles in the air and forgetting the present realities. Tomorrow is in God's hands, and all that has happened in the past is like a cancelled cheque. Neither yesterday nor tomorrow can ever be today. Only this moment is ours. Life is so fragile. The next breath is not in our hands. Therefore, my children, try to live in the here and now.
This doesn't mean that you shouldn't prepare for the needs of the future. Before building a house, a plan has to be drawn. But while we draw that plan, our attention should be on that alone. And while building the house, our attention should be focused on the construction work alone. That is what Amma means when she says, 'Live in the present moment.' It's all right to prepare for the future. But is there any benefit to be gained by worrying about what may possibly happen in that future? What is important is that we spend this moment usefully and joyously. Amma is explaining how to achieve this.
We should live each moment in such a way that we get maximum happiness (true happiness) out of it, and that it benefits the world. If we are to experience bliss at this moment, we have to forget the past as well as the future. This will be possible if we surrender completely to God. Then life will become a festival. All the 365 days of the year will be days of celebration.
So let us surrender to the Supreme God. Let us make our entire life a festival.
(The writer is a world-renowned spiritual leader and humanitarian)