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Why do you worry ?

How to deal with difficult situations.

Suffering is not actually caused by any situation. We think we know how things should be, but they are different. We feel responsible to change it, but we can't. And then we suffer. A video about how it really works.

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Complete text for reading along:

Good morning.

I'm so happy that I can make another video this morning, and I want to use the opportunity again to answer a question which reached me through email. I will just read the question out.

The question is from Corinna from Germany. "For me it is like this: I'm looking for an apartment and a place where I can arrive with my son. He's five years old. He will start school next year, and it feels urgent that I find something suitable, because that's where I want to stay then at least for the school years. I don't feel comfortable where we live now, in an apartment that is way too expensive. But I just can't find anything. Somewhere though, there's the trust that the right thing will happen in its own time, even if it sometimes makes me despair. As a single parent with a small child, I'm not welcome on the housing market, and of course that makes me feel worthless."

I love this question. I love to answer this question because this is something, this is a situation all of us know, every one of us, you, me. We are in a situation, we think we know what should happen, we think we know that this is not right, and we think we need to change it, we need to do something to make it right, to make it better, to solve the problem, and we can't. And for a mother, this is especially strong. I'm a man, I don't have the experience first-hand myself, but I have the great luck to live with a lady who has children, with my partner. And with her I see how it is, how the mother and the children are connected, how they are one, how they are really one, and how the mother feels for the children, knows everything the children need, she feels what's important for the kids and naturally, she wants to provide it. Naturally, she tries everything to make it as best as possible for the children. And then, to have the feeling to not be able to do this is very strong for a mother.

So, what's the problem here really? I find it always helpful to understand what the real challenge is I'm faced with. In this situation, we can't change the housing market, we can't change the landlords and how they rent out their flats.

This question has two levels. The one level is that we think we know what's right. We think we know how it should be. We think, the situation we are in is not right, it's not the right flat, it should change, I don't feel comfortable, I need a better place, I need a cheaper place, and it's urgent, I need to find it soon, it's important. And by this belief, we create the problem.

The problem is not the flat. The problem is not the money. The problem is not the rent. The problem is our belief, our conviction: this is not right, it must change. And this is difficult, because with every cell of our body we believe: this is not right. It is a problem, we know it so to speak, and we believe this. And we can't imagine any other solution than the one we have in front of our eyes. And we are sure: it can't stay the way it is.

The second level to this question is that on top of this, we believe: I have to do it, I have to solve this problem. Not only do I know how it should be, I am the one who has to make it happen, somehow. I can't, I can't, but I should be able to. And this is the suffering. The suffering is not the situation. The suffering is our belief that the situation is wrong, and this amazing pressure we put on ourselves. This conviction: I must do it; I need to change it.

They are stories from people who found themselves in an impossible situation, who found themselves in a situation which was absolutely impossible, but it was also clear that there's nothing they can do. Maybe they were in grave danger, and they were sure: this is the end. But it was clear by the circumstances that there's nothing, nothing they can do. And in that situation, the only thing they could do and the only thing they naturally just did was: letting go. There was nothing they could do. It was clear, there's nothing for them to do. All they could do is give up, let go. And then there was no problem. They became totally quiet. The situation was not the problem. They just surrendered because there was nothing else to do. And then it continued in ways they couldn't have ever imagined.

But usually, it is not like this. Usually, we find ourselves in a situation where we think we know what should happen, and where we think we should be able to do it. I experienced this myself so many times, so many times in my life. A situation where I just became desperate, because I thought I'm responsible, this is my responsibility to make it happen and I can't. I didn't really know this before I came to my spiritual master, Soham. But when I came to him 23 years ago, I traveled with him for 20 years. 20 years, every week, we went to another city. He gave Satsang at that time, one week in this city, one week in the next city... So, when we arrived in a town, it was my job and the job of my fellow crew members, some people who traveled with Soham and helped him with all the practical things around Satsang... it was our responsibility to prepare the space, the room. We were traveling with two and later with three vans where all the technical equipment and the things we needed to make the room cozy and welcome for the guests, we had two or three vans full of stuff, and we had to unload this, bring it into the room, prepare the room in time so that Satsang could happen. And naturally, I felt responsible that this is being made possible. And during these years, I faced so many situations...

I remember one in particular. This is a long time ago, maybe 20 years. It was in Hamburg, and in Hamburg we had a really an impossible situation. The room where Satsang was supposed to take place was on the fifth floor in a very old building. It was a lovely room, but it was on the fifth floor, no elevator and a very very narrow winding staircase. Fifth floor, two vans full of equipment, heavy boxes, many boxes, and there was me and two or three other crew members... and we weren't strong muscle people. We were thin, weak people, willing but weak. So, we arrived there, and we had no idea what to do. We had no idea how to get this stuff up without dying. Just the pure... simple fact that our strength was not sufficient to carry all the stuff up... and this was a typical situation where I just felt desperate. It was like: how should I do this? It was like this: I felt responsible, this is my responsibility that this will be possible. I have to make it happen, but I can't, I'm not strong enough. I didn't know what to do. I literally was in despair.

I mean, when you look at it from the outside, you have many ideas, there are many things one could do. But when you are in the situation, it's different. You feel responsible, and you feel: I must do it, and you know you can't. And the only thing I could do in this situation was realizing: I can't do it; I just can't do it.

And then something interesting happened. When I came to this point where I realized: I can't do it, where doing stopped, where I realized: I can't do it, where I let go... then things started happening which for me at that time looked like miracles. In this particular situation, once I surrendered and said: okay God, if you want this to happen, you need to do it, I can't... two minutes later, three guys come around the corner, strong guys, big guys, and they say: hey, we wanted to come to Satsang tonight and we want to check whether you need help. And then, these guys open the vans, take these huge boxes as if they are nothing, and carry them up five stories, and they have fun. I remember this one guy, he takes one of our heaviest boxes which two of us crew members were barely able to lift... he takes the box, a long box, puts it on his shoulders and walks away with it all by himself and he has no trouble at all with this, he's so strong. So here I am, looking in amazement how God does it. And things like this I experienced again and again over the years.

Over the years I found myself in so many situations with the setup and packing of all the Satsang equipment where I felt responsible but incapable, where I knew: okay, this I can't manage. And then, as soon as my let go happens, as soon as this little bit of trust I have comes to the surface and I say: okay God, okay Life, if you want Satsang to happen, you need to have an idea, and then it happens.

Another situation which happened so often for me where I felt the same way was when we arrived in a city, and I and my fellow crew members, we needed places to stay during that week where we can sleep and cook and eat. And the way we did it at that time was: when we arrived in a new town and when one of us needed a sleeping place, at the end of Satsang, Soham would ask the audience: hey guys, I have a crew member or some crew members who need a place to stay tonight. Who can accommodate them, who can take them home? And you know, for me this was such a fear-loaded situation: arriving in a town, setting up Satsang, working during the evening and not knowing where I will stay that night. It felt like: I must have a place, but will I have a place? Will I be taken care of? I was scared. I was really scared, often.

But I never was without a sleeping place, never. And Satsang took place every time. Not once did I ever experience that it didn't work. Life always supported it. Life always supported me. But it took a long time for me to learn this.

And we learn this by two things. This knowing that life really takes care... you learn it by being with a person who knows this himself or herself, like I had the luck to be with Soham, and he never had any of these problems. He was never desperate. He knew by himself, in every cell of his body he knew: it will happen. I don't know how, but if it's supposed to happen, it will happen, and it will not happen because I worry, it will not happen because I'm desperate, it will not happen because I'm trying... no, he knew already then when I met him 23 years ago, he was already full of this knowing, full of this trust. And by being with him, slowly slowly it also came to me, I picked it up, little by little.

And the second way we learn this is by experience. We begin to find out in little situations, and then we notice: oh wow, I didn't know what to do, I was so desperate, there was nothing I can do, so I just had to let go... but what happened then could have never imagined. It's like little miracles happen for us, and when we begin to experience this in little things, then slowly we catch on, we discover: wow, there's a totally different way of how life operates. And then we try this more and more, and we begin to trust more and more. And slowly slowly, we discover: it's not me, I don't have to do this, I can't do it, but life does it anyway. Life does it always.

Now, when you are a mother, this is not so easy. When you are alone, when you have no responsibility for other people, then it's kind of easy to say: okay, maybe this is true what this guy says, maybe there's something to it, I want to find out. And then you start experimenting, then you say: okay, since I don't know anyway what to do, since I'm hopeless anyway, I might as well try this, and trust. But when you have the responsibility for other people, and especially when you are a mother and you feel this responsibility for your children, it's very hard. You have the feeling: I can't experiment, I can't make a mistake, I need to do the right thing. Every step I take must be spot on. And then it's very difficult to find out, and you hold on to this responsibility you perceive that you have.

But then life helps us. You know, I did not learn this trust... I did not learn this knowing because I'm so wise and so cool that I knew it. No. It was literally that life forced me to discover it. In all the situations I was where I had the feeling: I must do it, I must be the one who makes it happen, it's important... I didn't let go at some point and trust because I was so cool and wise, no! I was just at my wit's end. Life literally forced me to give up, forced me to surrender, forced me to acknowledge: I can't do it, here I'm powerless. And then, after being forced like this, then I discovered: wow, how life does it, it's like a miracle.

And that's what life is doing with you right now in your situation, Corinna. You are convinced the situation is wrong. You're totally convinced. You don't feel well in the flat, that's wrong. The flat is too expensive, that's wrong. You can't stay there, but you don't find another apartment, and that's wrong. You should find one and it should happen soon, it's urgent, but it doesn't happen, and that's wrong.

This is ego. This is what we call ego. Ego is not something which stupid people have, or some egocentric crazy people have. Ego is exactly this: this outlook on life all of us share. Our totally normal, totally common belief: I must do it. Our belief: I know how it should be, and then: it's my responsibility and my ability to make it happen. This, how we perceive life to function, this is ego: "I know, and I must do it." And this makes for the suffering, nothing else.

I have the habit of reading in Swamiji's autobiography every morning. Swamiji is my Indian Guru. He came into my life about six years ago after I already had been with my spiritual master Soham for many many years, and every morning, I read a little bit in his wonderful amazing autobiography. And it often happens that I read a paragraph or maybe only a sentence, and what I read touches me so much that I immediately stop after that paragraph or sentence, I just let it sink in. And then later, I start my day. And sometimes, what I read touches me so much that I read it again the next day and the next day and again the next day, and sometimes a week passes where I read the same sentence every morning again and I just can't go further, because it touches me so much. It's like I'm not done with it yet. I just read it again with great joy.

And right now, I am at a sentence like this since a week. And this sentence fits to Corinna's situation. Swamiji says: "All problems of man come to an end once he learns to accept everything." "All problems of man come to an end once he learns to accept everything." This is strong stuff. And in my experience, I can say: this is true. It's my experience, my own experience since a long time, that this is the way.

But for you this might feel totally impossible. When you are in a situation like Corinna describes, when you are in a situation where all you see is a huge problem and all you feel is this responsibility: I must do this... you have... you don't know what good should it do to accept this situation. Like Corinna with her son: why should I accept this, this is not right, it must change. And we have the feeling: when I accept the situation, it will never change. When I accept this, I will be stuck in this situation for the rest of my life, it's like life ends. It will never be different anymore. If I don't do something, I'll be stuck in this problem, in this impossible situation, for the rest of my life.

This is how it feels. And you're totally convinced about this. This feeling is so strong, so believable, it feels so natural to us. We trust our assessment of the situation, that the situation is not right, and we know: I must do it. This is the opposite of what Swamiji says. This is ego. But life is very merciful. I have to take care of my legs; they fall asleep from time to time.

Life is merciful. Life brings us... like it happened to me in these many years with Soham on the road... life brings us into these situations where we come to our end, where we believe so strongly: the situation must be different, and at the same time where we find out: I can't do it.

And then there are two possibilities you can do. And the one thing... what we usually do is: we try harder, we try more things, we work harder on it. We contact more landlords, we look through more and more newspapers to find a new flat, in a situation like Corinna's, we try to have more ideas, be more creative, fight more... And we are convinced that we are doing the right thing. And you become more and more desperate. We lose all of our strength, and nothing comes out of it.

But there's a second way, and the second way is this: you are in a situation, you tried everything you can, and it doesn't work, and then you say: this is interesting; I think I know what should happen, I think I know what the solution would be, but it doesn't work. Whatever I try doesn't work. This must mean that it's not supposed to happen. This must mean: life has a better idea. I don't know about life's idea, but it must mean there's something else which will happen, sooner or later. And then you let go, and you relax, and you think: okay, I'm curious how God will handle this, and then you let go.

You tried everything. That's natural. That's good. That's what we do. We think we know what's right, and we try it, and usually this works perfectly fine in our everyday life. But as soon as you come to a situation where we get the feeling: hold on, something doesn't work here! Then you get alert: oh, maybe I don't know what's supposed to happen. Maybe I'm ignorant. Maybe I better let God do the thing. And the more you learn this, the more you are forced to discover this by the grace of life, the more relaxed you live, because more and more you discover: all these things are managed by life.

You know, our only problem is that we cannot really see far enough to really know this. I'm sure you had this experience that when you look back on your life, you can see how perfect things happened, especially in those situations you thought: nothing is possible, where you thought: this is the end. Where you despaired. And then you look back at these times, where you surrendered, where you were forced to give up, and then you see the miracles that happened out of that. You see...: how was this possible? It happened, but it wasn't supposed to be possible, but it happened anyway.

I have so many examples like this in my life, and when we look back, we can see this, the perfection of things, the miracles which happened in our lives... but we don't have this ability to see this when we look into the future, and that's why we doubt, and that's why we fear, and that's why we despair. There are people, there are gurus, they are so... they are so full of this letting go, of this acceptance Swamiji talks about in this autobiography... they are pure acceptance, they accept everything which comes to them, and... and these rare beings, like Swamiji is one of them... he describes it how it is for him.

He says, you know, it's like the disciple, the ordinary human being, you, me, he says: the disciple can look... it's like the disciple sits on the ground and he can't look very far. He can only look a few meters; he can only see what's immediately around him or her. So, he worries. He doesn't know what's coming. But the guru, who is living in complete acceptance, it's like the guru is high up on a very very high tree, and from there the guru can see in all directions, into the past and into the future, and he sees everything what comes, and as we see only miracles when we look into the past of our lives, the guru only sees miracles coming in the future, so he shouts down to us: hey guys, why do you worry? Only good things come.

But we, sitting on the ground, we can't see this, we worry, we despair. And that's why all these gurus, like Jesus, Jesus was just another great miracle guru, they all say the same thing: why do you worry? Let life... let life do its thing, as life always did its thing. Let God handle your life. They say always the same thing. And for us it feels: wow, I can't do this! When I do this, my life falls apart. But it doesn't.

Just a few days ago, I read about another Indian guru, Neem Karoli Baba, he was also a very amazing, totally cool guru, he left his body 50 years ago... and I read a quote from him. He said to his disciples: "Hey! You know me! Why do you worry?" It's like he says: you know God, so why do you worry! Why? And when we dare to do what Swamiji suggests: "accept everything!", when we accept how we feel, when we accept the situation we are in, forever, when we just accept and not worry about changing anything, then miracles happen, only miracles. It feels like it.... They are not really miracles. In fact, that's just how life operates. This is just how life functions, when we allow it to happen, when we let go, when we accept... then life takes over.

As long as you hold on, as long as you say: "life, leave me alone, I do it myself..." Life is very gentle with us, life says: "okay I don't want to disturb you, do your thing." But when you come to the point where you... first you are forced to let go, but later, more and more you just want to let go, it it's just... it's such a joy to let go, and the more you let go, the more you accept, the more life happens by itself and it feels like it happens in miraculous ways.

There are so many miracles I experienced in my life with Soham, just because I was around this being who is pure acceptance. And all the disciples of these great gurus in India, they talk about all these miracles happening around their guru all the time, and this is normal, once you accept everything. And you can find out for yourself in your own life. It takes time to learn this, but that's the way. And the more you accept, the more you become your own guru, the more miracles happen all around you all the time. That's my experience.

I stopped worrying in my life totally. I have no clue what will happen in my life. I have no clue how my life will continue and unfold, and I don't have plans for my life. I don't have ideas how it should be. I let life do. I stopped worrying about these things a long time ago. I just accept what is today, and what comes tomorrow I will accept, no matter what it is. And then, life is easy, and miracles happen all the time.

Corinna, I don't know how you will find a flat. I don't know. I have no clue how this can work. What I do know is that whatever will happen will be perfect, and it will be perfect in ways which might seem miraculous to you when you look back. But that I know.

Thank you for listening.

Don't worry.