What does it mean to live in "The Beautiful State?" Each of our individual lives are full of positives and negatives, of successes and failures, and of suffering. So how might we move past our suffering and enter a more beautiful state of being? Often people think we must overcome entirely our personal sufferings, but the beautiful state isn't about achieving the impossible. It is about creating and nurturing the kinds of lives we want for ourselves. Join our guest Preetha Ji as she helps us explore ways to achieve that beautiful state of being.
Preethaji: So it is important that we nurture, have a very clear vision, we have a clear vision for our external life, about the comforts that we want to have, the achievements that we want to create. But let us have a spiritual vision for our inner state of being that becomes the very foundation on which you can build a beautiful life.
Jeff VO: Welcome to Commune, where each week we explore the ideas and practices that bring us together and help us live healthy, purpose filled lives. I’m your host Jeff Krasno...and welcome to Commune.
Preethaji: In the functional level, I would say that I am a transformational leader, the founder of O&O Academy, the author of The Four Sacred Secrets.
At an emotional level, I am a mother to a 15-year-old daughter, a friend and a partner and a wife to my husband. I'm a friend and a mentor to all the faculty in the academy, and a mentor to thousands of people whom I come across in my life.
And at the consciousness level, I am everything that has gone before me.
Jeff: You are a guide or a mentor to many, many people, and you help people awaken and find consciousness. Has this always been the case? Have you always felt this deep level of connection to others?
Preethaji: From the time I've been a young child, if I have to look at one quality of mine that is worth talking, it is the experience of connection that I have with people. I felt very connected when I was young to the people around me, and for a long time I thought that is the way the world lived. I thought everybody was deeply connected to everybody else. But then when I was nine or so, I saw that it is not the way the world is experiencing each other.
But connection has been something that comes natural to me, and that's something that I nurture. And this experience of connection that I have had got strengthened more with the experience that I share with Krishnaji, my husband.
Jeff: And this feeling of inseparability and connection, is that central to cultivating the beautiful state?
Preethaji: When we are in a suffering state, it could be a state of anxiety, of fear, of loneliness, of insecurity, of hurt, any state of stress, any state where you are in suffering, in that state you are separate from people and life.
You could be angry fighting for justice. You could be in a state of fear constantly projecting a painful future, or you could be experiencing loneliness where you feel separate from everybody else. But one quality that underlies any suffering state is separation.
It is important that you are able to dissolve that suffering state as and when it arises for you to cultivate a beautiful state. And in that beautiful state you are not separate, you are not alienated, but instead you expand to include others. When you are in a state of loneliness or insecurity, you could be amidst many people around you, but you are not awake to it. You're not alive to it.
A state of loneliness I would say is not an absence of company, but it is a state where you feel disconnected from everything else around you. So one quality of a suffering state is a state of disconnection. And when you experience, when you're able to dissolve these suffering states, when you expedience peace, joy, calm, in that state you feel more connected to life, you feel expanded, you're being present.
Jeff: It seems though that modern society, particularly modern Western society, which is so mired in individual materialism, makes us easy hosts, easy prey, for feelings of isolation and atomization, fracturedness, separation, whatever you want to call it, that literally this notion of success of happiness is portrayed by a house with a picket fence around it. You know, this started in the 1950s here in the United States, kind of the last time we had any kind of sense for common destiny or common good, but sort of undermined by this decade in this generation that's led to 70 years now of individual materialism that has essentially riddled the modern condition, particularly in the West.
How do we then cultivate first the awareness of feeling separated, and then actually cultivate the ability to foster connection?
Preethaji: If you look at the world around us, Jeff, you know, when I meet people, most of them are struggling, and they really do not know what they're doing with life. They do not know what they're doing, why they're doing, why they're in a relationship, why they have children, what is their purpose? They are lost. Many of them. I would say most of them.
They have this wrong belief that once you find achievement, say 10 years ago, 10 years later or 20 years later, then you will become happy one fine day. But you are fueling the state of unhappiness. You are fueling the state of suffering constantly that even after you have achieved, you really do not know how to be happy because that's not what you have prepared yourself for. You are nurturing or you are fueling states of anger, fear, of loneliness and that continues even after you have achieved.
It is only two kinds: people who have made it and people who have not made it in life. People who have made it in life are anxious of losing everything that they made, and people who are not made it in life yet, are fearing if their aspirations would be realized or not. It is the same anxiety whether you made it in life, whether you're successful or not.
But what I'm seeing in my travel globally is people are looking for a different solution. People are coming to see that they are moving their lives towards greater destruction and greater disorder, and they want to find a solution. And I'm seeing many, many more people like that.
For Krishnaji and me, having a transformed state of consciousness is not the end-all of life, nor is having all the wealth and comforts the be-all of life. Krishnaji puts it this way. He says we need to be a Buddha driving a Benz. That is our vision for our participants, our students across the world. We want an individual who lives in a transformed state of consciousness at the same time experience a beautiful family, abundance with effortless ease.
And we see that when you are in a beautiful state, in a state where you are not separate, we see that the entire universe comes to support you on your heartfelt purpose. The more separate you are, you see that the universe is hostile to you, where you see constant problems and challenges mounting in your life. But the more connected you are, you feel the universe is your friend.
So the vision is for an individual to live in a transformed state of consciousness and experience a great external life.
Preethaji: Actually, what is happening is we are attached, we are obsessed about our emotions. We are attached to our anger. We are attached to our hurt. We are attached to our loneliness. We are attached to our fear.
What Krishnaji and I speak is not detachment from material things, but if you're able to detach yourself from your obsessive emotions, then you would be a bit the Buddha. You would be experiencing deeper calm, deeper peace. At the same time, you'd be creating a beautiful life, not only for yourself, for your family, and you would be actually improving the lives of so many other people around you.
Jeff: Yeah. It's almost like we're addicted to the state of suffering because it provides us some sort of familiar comfort.
Jeff: Like, "Oh, I know that anger. I know that jealousy. I know that desire. I feel comfortable there because I can just keep going back to that." Even though in some ways it's our undoing and it keeps us from finding ease and contentment.
Preethaji: Absolutely. I always share this fable. There are two women, one selling fish and the other selling flowers. They both go to the market, sell their respective products ,and they're getting back home and it begins to rain. So the fish seller decides to spend the night at the flower seller's home, and then they have dinner together and they go to sleep.
And in the middle of the night the fish seller is very uncomfortable, so she moves from one side to the other side. She tosses and then finally she says, "Okay, let me see what is disturbing me." She looks around and she sees a basket full of jasmine flowers very close to her, and they're fresh jasmine flowers. And then immediately she's able to identify her problem. She pushes the basket full of flowers away from her, she draws the basket full of dried fish very close to her. She sprinkles a little water on it, takes a deep breath, and feels totally comfortable with it and goes back to sleep.
That is what we are doing. We are very comfortable with the smell of dry fish. Our dry fish is our anger, is our hurt, is our loneliness, is our sadness, is our insecurity, and then we are so comfortable being there, it has become our home. It is a place of familiarity, and we are addicted to it. And we get back to it again and again. Sometimes when there is a change in the external environment, sometimes when there's challenge in the external environment, but in many cases what I observe is even when there is no need.
Jeff: Right. And I think you make an interesting point about the nature of problems. You're not saying the problems don't exist.
Preethaji: Absolutely. Every species experiences a pressured situation. The plant is experiencing a pressured situation. The insects are, the animal kingdom is. But we are very unique. Human species is very unique. We have the unique capability of internalizing the external pressure, and then we go on with it for days and sometimes years and decades together. We live in that inner dialogue.
So what we make is a clear distinction, but the challenges that we face and the continuation that happens internally, the challenges are challenges. They're our problems, but we begin to obsess about ourselves. We begin to continue this inner dialogue over and over again. And this is what we call a suffering.
Jeff: So let me give you like a practical, real life example.
Jeff: So let's say... Well, it would be hard for me to lose my job because I'd have to fire myself, but I might do that someday. In fact, that's actually the purpose of a leader, is to probably fire himself.
But let's say I got fired from my job. Now that's a problem, right? It might be a problem for my family. I can't provide the way I'd like for them. It might be a problem for my ego, but let's not talk about him. But it is a real life problem.
Jeff: But if I understand you correctly, I could approach that problem from two different places, from a place of suffering or from the beautiful state.
Preethaji: Yes, so we have a problem. You're losing your job. The problem is definitely to find another source of income by which you are able to support your family and make sure that they are taken care of well. That is a practical problem, but your focus probably is not limited to the practicality of that particular problem. If you bring attention internally, there would be a constant dialogue where you probably are in anger with a boss. You're feeling he did not listen to you properly. You probably feel that what has been done to you is not just, or there is this feeling of constantly projecting what is going to happen to my family. Why am I put in the situation? Why am I given this? Why was I put in this situation where I have to face this in my life?
If you are able to observe yourself, that inner dialogue is an engrossment with yourself. It is not about the situation. It's not even about the family. It is an engrossment with yourself. If we have our own 12 to 60,000 thoughts, that's what a human being would have. 12 to 60,000 thoughts, 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day. Of it, 80% is old and out of the 80%, 80% is negative in nature. That is a large part of our lives. We are living with old thinking, old habits [inaudible 00:17:07] and thinking that is engrossed with ourselves, thinking that doesn't actually create any value to our lives.
Jeff: Is the beautiful state, is that about being in the present moment or is it essentially finding an awareness of your suffering and the ability to stop brooding over the past and miss projecting into the future?
Preethaji: A beautiful state is a state where you are present. It is a state where you are free of your inner conflict, your inner noise, and it is a state where you feel expanded beyond yourself.
In a beautiful state, you dissolve the suffering that is arising within you. You bring attention to it, you bring awareness to it. And that state of suffering you see very clearly is an engrossment with yourself and it is a state which is separating you from others. And then in that awareness, you nurture a beautiful state of connection where you feel expanded to include others in your life.
Jeff: But we tend to wildly fluctuate between suffering and that state. We don't have the skills per se to consistently access it.
Preethaji: Because we have not been taught that it is important to live in a beautiful state. What we have been taught so far is that we need to achieve in life. We need to be successful. We need to have all the abundance and prosperity so that people will respect us and we will be looked upon or the society will accept us. That is what we've been taught ever since we are children and I think we continue to do that to our children. We have not been taught that it is important to live and nurture a beautiful state in one's being. And since we do not bring attention to what is fueling within you, it is like you're just putting everything under the carpet, thinking that what you're experiencing is just within you and it is not impacting your life.
But the truth is we are not separate and isolated individuals and what happens within us, we are connected to the universe though there are meta neurons, which makes us feel that we are very separate, but at the level of consciousness, we are not separate. So our state of being is in direct communion with the universe. So when you are in a suffering state, you're telling the universe that I am open to problems. When you are in a beautiful state, your universe becomes your friend and supports you.
Jeff: Yeah, and I assume that is part of the motivation behind writing a book.
Preethaji: Absolutely, yes. The vision behind The Four Sacred Secrets is to help individuals become Buddha, driving a benz along with their loved ones.
Preethaji: In The Four Sacred Secrets, we shared the four sacred secrets that will help your discover a beautiful state and also help you nurture that beautiful state in life.
Jeff: Mm hmm (affirmative). And what are the core components of that journey? I mean they're secrets. I'm not sure you can tell.
Preethaji: I can tell you. It is a secret to be shared. The first sacred secret is a spiritual vision where you are able to redefine your purpose and experience deep inner clarity. The second sacred secret is inner truth where you are able to dissolve all the stressful states as and when it arises and experience beautiful states. The third sacred secret is accessing the universal intelligence that is we are more than what we think we are. We are part of this unitary fabric of life, the entire universe. And there is a way to access this universal intelligence. So the third sacred secret teaches you to access the universal intelligence so that you manifest your heartfelt purpose. The fourth sacred secret is spiritual right action. We are constantly faced in our lives with the ongoing theme or the ongoing dilemma of whether to say yes or no, whether to say, let's be together or let's separate or let us push or pull. We are constantly faced with this dilemma and it is become the ongoing theme of our life. So this four sacred secret gives you a blueprint so that you will know what would be your right action at a given point of time. It is not an action that is coming from a scripture, but it is an action that emerges from your state.
Jeff: You don't want for anything. I mean you could easily connect with tens of thousands of people in India, in Chennai, where you felt an unbelievable, I mean I don't know what you call it.
Preethaji: [Akom 00:15:03]. Akom.
Jeff: Oh, yeah, you call it Akom.
Preethaji: The mystic power house.
Jeff: And maybe you know and and you have your many festivals that you produce and lead. The Peace Festival, which is also coming up and maybe we could talk about that too, but I guess my deeper question is why are you doing this?
Preethaji: The more smiles I see greater is a life that feels very fulfilling. A purpose emerges from being able to feel and connect to other people.
Preethaji: And when I see, or when I am working with the people in any of the programs, I see the transformation that happens, not as limiting to that one individual alone. I see it being carried forward in many, many, many generations.
Jeff: Yeah. I'm reading a book by Victor Frankel, it's a book that many people have read, Man Search for Meaning. He says that man finds meaning in three places. In work, in love, and in suffering. So he's coming from a very specific point of view. Obviously, he was someone who survived the concentration camps in Germany during World War II.
You can see the depravity so clearly and deeply in marching people into crematoriums and gas chambers. At the same time, that very same experience also produced people that could walk into those same gas chambers with their head held high and full of dignity, and finding a sense of meaning inside of that suffering. Is there meaning in suffering?
Preethaji: If you put a torch light on suffering, not as problems, not as challenges, I make a clear distinction there between problems and challenges that we face in life with the state of suffering. If you have to put a torch light into that state of suffering, it is a state that separates us. It is a state in which you're preoccupied with yourself, you are engrossed with yourself. And from a suffering state, when you are in this preoccupation, when you are self-engrossed from that state, your actions actually create more division.
What can cause greater good to this world is when you are in a state of connection, where you're feeling what the other is feeling. Or where you're including others' well being along with your own. Or, you are experiencing life with the awareness that human experiences are not different. That we feel the same. Our love, our joy, our fear, our anxiety, the experience is just the same. When you are able to be in that state, when you feel expanded, than you include. That happens only when there is no suffering, only when you are not engaged with yourself. Only when you are not engrossed with yourself.
And actions that emerge from that place is going to be nurturing, not only to you and your life. It's going to be nurturing to anybody around you. Because you do not separate yourself from the other. It is not another ideal that I'm trying to give you, but it is where what, if you're able to see that whenever you're not suffering, whenever that engrossment with yourself breaks, you're able to be alive to life.
Jeff: Yeah. And are there practices that you can utilize or that you utilize in order to create a greater sense of connection?
Preethaji: There is the soul sync practice, which allows your body to relax and allows you to experience a state of expansion, which has a small window where you feel beyond yourself, feeling connected to the universe. That is a practice that is available for anyone and everyone. It is called a soul sync practice, it is a nine-minute practice. But there is also another practice, the Serene Mind practice. Anytime and every time you experience an inner disturbance, to bring attention to that inner disturbance, instead of putting it down in the carpet and allowing it to brew there, actually bring attention to it and beat it out of your consciousness.
As an individual, if you are looking at creating a better life, I would say begin with beating out all that is driven by separation.
Jeff: And one last question for you, personally.
Jeff: Do you ever live in a state of suffering?
Preethaji: Absolutely, yes. I-
Jeff: So you're not always 100% connected?
Preethaji: No. I would always, I receive this question again and again. But I would say, "Go ask my daughter."
Preethaji: No, you're not going to be angry now. You're raising your voice.
Jeff: I've never heard you raise your voice. It happens?
Preethaji: It happens only with my daughter, and sometimes with Krishna too. So, yes. Definitely, I do get angry. I do move into suffering states. But, having this wisdom, I know very clearly it is important for me to walk all of them. So I do not spend a long time in the suffering state. It is important for me to nurture a beautiful state if I have to be a wonderful mother or a great teacher, or a person who's actually help, or a person who's actually capable of helping another.
So in a suffering state, disconnect. So I don't like to be there. So we walk out of it.
Jeff: Yeah, I mean, I think in my own life, on my own connected journey, it's not my own journey, I suppose. I think what I suffer from the most is almost the discipleship to my own internal wisdom, where I know that when I am connected, I am at ease and I am content. I know that. Intellectually, I know that. I know that on a soul level. But I don't always have the discipline. And I think of discipline as the same sort of word as very connected to disciple, or discipleship. I don't have the discipleship or the discipline to my own self, to my own eternal and internal knowledge to consistently every day, every second of every day live from my infinite soul, from this connected place. From a place of love and compassion and charity and empathy. I spend, as you say, a good chunk of my day mired in my ego.
Which tells me that I am what people think of me, I am in competition with others, I'm separate from others. I am my resume. I am separate from God, all these things that life makes it very easy to live there. How do I work on my own discipline?
Preethaji: As I told you earlier Jeff, what is lacking in the civilization is the wisdom that it is important to nurture a beautiful state. That your state is not only experienced within you as an individual, but your state actually impacts the life around you. And with this understanding, with this wisdom, anytime and every time you move into a disturbing state, where you're feeling uncomfortable within your own skin, it is important that you bring attention to it. Life is all remain for us. We need, we probably have a lot of to-do list, and we feel this one, the state of being comes the last. But the reality is, the state of being comes the first.
Because dependent on your state, are, is the choices that you would make, the emotions that you would experience, the thoughts that you would have. And the actions that you would perform, and the destiny that you would create for you and your loved ones. Unfortunately, we put this the last, because we do not realize the power of the state. Knowing that in that state of connection, you become immensely powerful to impact another life, and knowing that state of separation actually takes you, robs you out of that power that you can experience, must push you into seeing your suffering state and dissolving it as the minute arises. Because if you do not bring attention to it, we would become the fisher woman. We would become the fisher woman who's very comfortable in the states of anxiety and stress, and we live in it.
And the more you are in it, the more difficult it is for you to get out of these states, so it is important that we nurture, have a very clear vision, we have a clear vision for our external life, about the comforts that we want to have, the achievements that we want to create. But let us have a spiritual vision for our inner state of being that becomes the very foundation on which you can build a beautiful life.
Jeff: Hmm. That's good. Thank you for doing this.
Preethaji: Thank you, Jeff.
Jeff: Thank you for your teachings, your tireless travel.
Preethaji: Thank you, I love being at Commune, I love doing the teaching there. It's so beautiful. And I appreciate your sincere efforts at wanting to create a difference in this world.
Jeff: Thank you.
Preethaji: Thank you.
Jeff: Likewise, God bless you.