ABC of Life

ABC of life brings expansion and a sense of belonging to creation, not to speak of commitment to human values

With natureA wareness, belongingness and commitment hold the key to success. They form the ABC of life. In any field, we need ABC. Are we aware of what we are telling ourselves? This level of awareness is vital for society because this is what can prevent crime. With this level of awareness, it is impossible for a criminal to commit a crime.

There was a thief. He went to meet a saint. He told the saint that he had a compulsion to steal. The saint said, “I am not going to tell you not to steal. But, when you steal, do it with awareness.” Three months later, the thief came back to the saint and said, “With awareness, I could not steal.”

It is the same with anger. It comes with a burst, you lose it. But, what have you actually lost? You lost awareness. You can arouse passion, and that passion can become an impulse to destroy. But, to be creative, you don’t need to arouse a passion, you need to be focused and, most importantly, you need to be aware.

Expand your awareness

Now, how to bring up one’s awareness? You start with simple and small things in life. Things that seem insignificant, like hearing the birds singing, seeing the sun set, and so on. This would bring up your awareness.

Awareness nurtures intellect. Belongingness nurtures the heart. And, commitment nurtures life. The problem is that creators are only a few, and they succeed because they have a lot of commitment.

If we are observing the ABC, then we can make a big change in society. Ask yourself the question: do all people in the world belong to me? The day you ask that your spiritual journey has begun. With this context of awareness, you can understand cosmology.

In some temples, there is a tradition called sankalpa. It reminds you how old this Universe is, and then from there, it brings you into this moment. Cosmology brings awareness. Other methods for raising awareness are meditation, breathing and pranayama. You need energy and you will not get that only from food and sleep. Meditation and a silent state of consciousness will also give you energy.

C is also for commitment and compassion. Smile more. A bit of humour can keep you out of trouble. Look into the mirror everyday, and smile. The higher you go up in the corporate ladder, the smile starts shrinking. I measure success by the smile. How strong your smile is will show how secure you are. And, this is what, I think, indicates success in your career.

Smile your way through

To be able to smile through any situation in life, you need a little knowledge about yourself, about your mind and your consciousness. You need to learn a little bit about your breath. We need to know a little bit about all the layers of our existence: that is, body, breath, mind, intellect, memory, ego, and the self. This is what I call Art of Living, learning a little bit about yourself; the seven layers of our life. And, that makes us live in the present-moment, and it helps us to maintain the innocence that we are all born with, and feel at home with everybody, anywhere.

Does anybody teach you, at school or at home, what to do when you are upset, or angry, or depressed?

Learning something about our breath is very important. Our breath has a great lesson for us, which we have forgotten. For every rhythm in the mind, there is a corresponding rhythm in the breath; for every rhythm in the breath, there is a corresponding emotion. So, when you cannot handle your mind directly, you can do it through breath. The rhythm in breath can help you get in touch with the depth of yourself, your soul, your consciousness.

The ABC of life brings expansion. It brings an awareness of existence, belongingness to the whole creation, and commitment to human values in life.

This will help broaden our vision and deepen our roots.

– As told to HARSH Kabra

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of Art of Living, is one of India's most venerated spiritual and humanitarian leaders.


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