Most of the time, people determine the course and nature of their lives by what they like and dislike. “I like this, so I do this.” The question is not about what you like. The question is, does everything around you like you? You like something, you dislike something – it doesn’t mean anything, because both what you like and what you dislike are two different kinds of bondages. Both what you like and what you dislike distorts your perception. If you like somebody, you will exaggerate them in your mind. If you dislike somebody, for sure you will exaggerate them in your mind. Exaggeration means you are unable to see things as they are. If you are unable to see things as they are, you can never handle life the way it should be handled. So liking and disliking exaggerates either in positive or in negative ways, but it distorts life. So what you like is not important. Have you made yourself in such a way that not just people, but just everything likes you, every creature around you likes your presence, even the flowers, the plants and the trees?

"How can the plants and the trees like me?" They are extremely sensitive to who you are. They respond accordingly. If you make yourself in such a way that the very earth that you walk upon likes you, then you will see, everything in your life will become a blessing. If everything around you dislikes you, you will see, everything that could be wellbeing, could become a curse. Right now, there is no curse sitting on human life. It is things that people want, it is things that people aspire for, things that they work for, strive to have in their lives, which turn into curses in their lives – their work, their property, their relationships, their own body, their own mind, which is the cancer of their life. It never rains misery. It is just that things that you like have become a source of misery.

So spiritual process is not about pursuing what you like – it is about striving to make yourself in such a way that even the birds like you, the squirrels like you, the insects like you, the mosquitoes love you. [Laughter] Otherwise, the very water that you drink, the air that you breathe, the food that you eat, can turn into poison in the system. All of it can become nectar, only if they like you. Making yourself in such a way that the creation and the Creator cannot help liking you, that is the striving. It is not about fulfilling your likes or destroying your dislikes. It is about making yourself in such a way that every atom in this existence likes you, wants to yield to you. If existence does not yield to you, you may do what you want, but nothing will work in the real sense. You may do something, you may become something, you may earn a living, but you will just go through a cycle without anything tremendous touching your life.

I want you to learn to stand, walk, sit, and breathe in such a way that even the stones around you like you. “How do I know whether they like me or not?” You will know for sure. If you are sensitive about being like that, you will also be sensitive enough to distinctly know that. There are some plants here, the touch-me-nots, that are clearly telling you, “We don’t like you.” [Laughs] Others are also telling you whether they like you or not; you just may not be sensitive enough to know their language. You need to be told loudly and clearly. Don’t become like that.

Do not become in such a way that everything has to be shouted into your ears. You must become in such a way that if you look at somebody, before they speak, you know. For this, you need a certain sense of receptivity. Receptivity will not happen to you if you are too full of yourself. The less you are, the more you receive; the more you are, the less you receive. If you are too full of yourself, nothing bigger than your nonsense will happen to you. If there is no such thing as ‘myself,’ if you simply sit here, the whole existence will dance within you; you will become an instrument of the Creator. Otherwise, you will only be a bundle of thoughts, emotions, prejudices, and rubbish.

This is the choice every human being has – either to exist here as a limb of the Creator, as an Ishaanga, as we call them these days, [laughs] or to exist here as a bundle of thoughts, emotions, and nonsense that you have gathered. This choice is available to you every moment of your life. If this striving is there, it will deliver you to a different place of gracefulness, where every stone, every pebble, every rock, every tree, every atom in the existence speaks to you in a language that you can know. Otherwise, you are alone in this vast existence, constantly feeling insecure, unstable, psychologically challenged. It is not a gift, it is a choice. If one makes the right choice, the right things will happen; if one makes the wrong choice, wrong things will happen. It is a very fair and just existence, I want you to know. It is not like a social structure where some people can get away with wrong things. In this existence, it doesn’t matter who you are, if you jump off the roof, the earth will break your leg – no exemptions; nobody is spared. You are high caste, you are low caste; you are this rubbish, you are that rubbish – nobody is barred. For anybody who is willing, the possibility is open. For everybody, the stick is also there. You make the right choices, everything is open; you make the wrong choices, everything will knead you in a different way.

So if pain comes, if suffering comes, if misery happens, it is not time to look around. This is always the problem: If you are miserable, you think somebody else needs to be fixed. No. If you are miserable, this [refers to oneself] needs to be fixed, not somebody else. “No, I’m miserable. Fix the situation for me.” No – if you are miserable, who should be fixed? If you are sick, who should be given the medicine? Shall we give it to somebody else when you are sick? If you are hungry, shall we give the food to somebody else? No. It only works if you give it to this [refers to oneself], isn’t it so? If it is like that with food and medicine, is it not true with every other aspect as well? If you are miserable, something else or somebody else need not be fixed, only this one [refers to oneself] needs to be fixed. Just to understand this simple fact, people take lifetimes. [Laughs] They think something else has to be fixed. It happened one day. I might have told you this before, but let me tell you again because anyway you miss the point many times. [Laughter]

On a certain day, Shankaran Pillai went drinking with his friends. Yogis and drunkards both are timeless, you know. They don’t know the passage of time. He intended to go back home at 8 o’clock, but drink after drink, he became unconscious of time. When he looked at the watch, it was 2:30 a.m. He thought it’s really late, and he wanted to get back home quickly, so he took a short cut. As he was walking through the shortcut on his unsteady legs, he fell into a thorny bush. His whole face got scratched up. In this condition, he went home, and he tried to find the keyhole – that took another half-an-hour. [Laughter] He finally opened the door, went inside, went into the bathroom and looked at himself in the mirror; he was bleeding all over the face. So he opened the medicine chest, fixed himself whichever way he could, quietly crawled into bed and slept. Morning 8 o’clock, his wife took a bucket of cold water and threw it in his face; he got up. She said, “You idiot, once again drinking?” He said, “No honey, I haven’t touched a drop. Since I promised it six months ago, I haven’t touched a drop.” She held him by the shirt, dragged him into the bathroom and showed him, the band-aid was all over the mirror. [Laughter/applause]

It doesn’t work like that. Only somebody who is completely unconscious will do such things. If it is hurting here and you fix it there, it is because you are completely unconscious or inebriated. Whenever you are miserable, you want to fix that one and that one and that one; no – this one [refers to oneself] needs to be fixed. If you put band-aid on the mirror, it doesn’t heal your wounds. You have to attend to your wounds. Both your miseries and joys are caused from inside. So it needs to be attended here, not somewhere else. The sooner you learn this, the more graceful and wonderful your life will become. If you take a lifetime to understand this, life will have its ways. Life is very cruel to idiots. It doesn’t spare anybody. Life deals with stupidity very brutally.