It is the best day. The present day is the best day, not yesterday or tomorrow. Yesterday is a dead past, a canceled check. If you want to keep it, keep it. Tomorrow is a fantasy, it may happen or not. But today is the best day, because we are alive. Alive to make what we want to make. Alive to have a choice: to make the day or mar the day. It’s your choice. How to make the day is in your hand. This is the teaching of Mahavir. He does not teach you to depend on anyone—no props. You stand on yourself, your Atma. A building that stands on props has no security, it is supported by props.
This human life is the best gift we have, not money, power, position, name or fame. Realize what you are. Say, “I am alive, I am life, I can do what I want to.” It is a beautiful Saturday; instead of going here and there, you are here at the Lighthouse by 10:00 am. Who made you come here? No God, no guru, you. You decided to come here. So you could find out who you are. Others have told you what you are not, they’ve told you that you are a sinner. So you go on carrying this load on your head your whole life. Or they may have told you that you are handsome or beautiful, or ugly, an ugly duckling or cute as a rabbit. All different names for who you are, but no one has addressed you, the living life, the Atma that you really are.
In the olden days there was a narrow road with two people coming in two chariots from opposite directions. One had the belief that the person that gives way is weak, and the other person is strong, and he thought, “I don’t give way to fools.” But the other person, who was initiated on the spiritual path, thought, “I always give way to fools.” The person who calls you a fool is a fool within. When someone is not aware of himself, he blames others. The word “fool” came in his mind, not yours. There’s no need to argue with fools. Holding hate, revenge, and bad feelings only harms us. It is sad to carry negative vibrations of a relationship when it is over. One may be divorced but still married to the bad feelings, the negative vibrations. Instead recite “Namo arihantanum”, I bow down to myself, I can overcome my inner enemies.
One can be brave and tough in front of others, but inside be very weak. We succumb to our negative feelings. You can see a newborn baby, so beautiful in the crib. What happened? We lost our smile along the way. We need jokes to make us smile. When you are one with your Atma, you are happy, content, peaceful. When you are not, you are sad, angry, jealous. If you hold onto the negative energy, it will consume you, you become more unhappy, tense, uncomfortable. The negative energy burns you more. Enemy and friend are the same person. A man once bought a diamond ring for his wife, now they don’t get along. Misunderstanding, anger, jealousy got in the way.
This teaching is very fresh. It is today, not yesterday, not tomorrow. It is now or never. You have to make your commitment very strong: I will meditate. Making this commitment is like chewing gum day and night, eventually it will settle in your neurons. The bad things we try to forget and cannot, the good things we cannot remember—this is the longevity of negativity. I remember when I was a monk I knew a mother who was very old and about to go. She had four sons. They invited me to come see her. I told her, “Mother, you have to forgive everyone, first yourself, then everyone.” But she did not like her youngest son, who had married a woman from another belief. She had told him years ago, “I don’t want to see your face, because you don’t respect my opinion.” Still on her dying bed she would not forgive her son, she kept holding onto her negative feelings.
Everyone is here according to karma. No one belongs to anyone else. No possessiveness. You belong to the universe. Your body is not yours. Your memory is not yours. There was a very important man, a president of a large company, whose neurons were no longer working, and he didn’t know where the bathroom was anymore. Once you know that “I am Atma” you allow people to be, with no hate, no dislike, no judgment. If you don’t try to hold onto people, they will stay with you. Control is controlling, it cannot control, it does not work. The first forgiveness is with yourself. If you do not realize yourself, your Atma, you will not believe in yourself.
One of my friends is a Roman Catholic priest. We meet to talk, and one day we were discussing, what is sin? Sin is the denial of Divinity in yourself. We are living because of that Divinity. When Divinity leaves the body, we die. Mahavir was a simple person. But he had realized, “I am Atma” twenty seven births before. Man can become superman, when Atma becomes Paramatma. Seeing a statue of Mahavir is an inspiration: he overcame his attachments, his ego, and his Atma became Paramatma. When you realize yourself completely, your Atma becomes Paramatma. That is why I say, “Namaste” to you, I am saluting the Divine within you. When you realize that the Divine is within you, you will never put yourself down. The biggest sin is to put yourself down. When you go to see the President, don’t put yourself down. Without you he would be a beggar, for you have the vote. You can honor someone else, but don’t put yourself down. And make no comparisons, Seeing a very rich man, you might say, “I am nothing in front of you.” But why make yourself small? Continuously we are comparing. We bend over backward for the poor, we bend forward to the rich. Denial of divinity is sin. We have denial for so many years. Our conditions do not easily leave us. We go home and start comparing again.
Today is the best day, the day to make a commitment, not to me, but to yourself. Take advantage of the classes here at the Lighthouse. The teaching is so clear, so clean. There is no dogma, no putting others down, no comparing with others, but believing in yourself. I am so happy that so many of you are initiated and have made so much progress. I see it in your eyes, where you have been and where you are. When you close your eyes, see who is inside, that invisible Light that you are. Light bulbs and other gadgets are useful because of the electricity carried inside. In the same way we are all useful because of our Atma. If we don’t pay attention to Atma, what have we gained from the beautiful day? You have made this center an oasis. Whatsoever you do, you have deposited for your future. With one seed come a thousand blossoms. Your consciousness becomes your prosperity.
Every day in the morning I put my foot on the ground and say to myself, “Today is the best day, this is the day that I am alive.” Every day make a commitment to yourself. Even when there is a little cloud, say to yourself, “It’s half sunny”. The glass is not half empty, it’s half full. The emptiness or fullness is within you. How we look at life makes the difference. Try to see in your family what good qualities they have.
There was a lady who had married and divorced seven or eight times. She changed people, but her choice was the same. A lion, a donkey and a fox went together for hunting. When the hunt was done, the lion told the fox. “Make equal shares for the three of us.” So the fox made three equal shares. The lion choked the fox and he died. Then the lion told the donkey, “Now you make equal shares”. So the donkey took a little for himself and left the rest for the lion. The lion was surprised and said, “Donkey, you are smart. Where did you learn this?” The donkey said, “I learned from the fox”. The donkey learned from experience, but many times we don’t. We go through bad experiences, but don’t learn. We think we have sinned. But there is no sin, there is consequence. If you put a finger in a socket, you get a shock. This is not a sin, it is a consequence. You learn from it. Let each mistake be a stepping stone to go upward. Acknowledge the mistake and learn from it.
So my friends. It is a beautiful day. And it is up to you. Your day is up to you, it is your choice. Say to yourself, “I am pure, I am sure.” Listen to the inner voice, your Atma. Do not compare yourself to others or put yourself down. Make a commitment to yourself. Accept your Divinity.
Given at the Lighthouse Center, Inc.
19 August 2007