A very famous story. King Pyrrhus of Epirus was asked by his friend Cyneas, ‘Sir, if you conquer Rome, what will you do next?’
Pyrrhus replied, ‘Sicily is nearby and will be easy to take.’
‘And what will you do after Sicily?’ Cyneas asked.
‘Then we will pass over to Africa and plunder Carthage.’
‘And after Carthage, sir?’
Cyneas enquired, ‘And what do you expect as a reward from all these victories?’
‘Then,’ said Pyrrhus, ‘we can sit down and enjoy ourselves.’
‘Can we not,’ suggested Cyneas, ‘enjoy ourselves now?’
If you can enjoy yourself now, then there will be no mourning, ever.
Do Not Postpone
Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.
A child who was taught from the age of three or four “You are here for a reason” would face a very different future. Such a child would see the search for meaning in life as a natural thing, the spiritual equivalent of learning your ABCs. There would be no years of postponement, followed by desperate inner turmoil. “Why am I here?” doesn’t have to be a fearsome existential question. It is the most joyful exploration a person can undertake, and we do our children an immense favor by presenting it as such. A child who paid attention to just this one principle would have a far richer life – a more successful life – than countless adults for whom “spirit” and “God” remain forever locked in a world of abstraction.
We are postponing. That postponing becomes an inner dialogue, an inner monologue. Do not postpone. Live right here and now. And the more you live in the present, the less you will need this constant “minding”, this constant thinking. The less you will need it! This is there because of postponing, and we go on postponing everything. We always live in the tomorrow which never comes and which cannot come; it is impossible. That which comes is always today, and we go on sacrificing today for tomorrow which is nowhere. Then the mind goes on thinking of the past which you have destroyed, which you have sacrificed for something which has not come. And then it goes on postponing for further tomorrows. That which you have missed, you go on thinking you will catch somewhere in the future.
You are not going to catch it! This constant tension between past and future, this constant missing of the present, is the inner noise. Unless it stops you cannot fall into that silence which is prayer.
Learning from the story Now: Do Not Postpone
Don’t Postpone Anything Beautiful Until Tomorrow:
Don’t postpone anything beautiful until tomorrow. And postpone any-thing bad as much as you can – death may come in between, and you will have been saved from doing something bad. If you get the idea to do something bad, postpone it for as long as you can. Death is not very far away – if you can just postpone some of your bad actions for ten or twenty years, your life could become divine. Death is not far away, if someone is able to postpone his evil acts for a few years, his life can become pure. Death is not far away – and someone who postpones to do something good for too long will not experience any bliss in life.
Remind yourself that there is an urgency to do something good. And if you are feeling something good, then just begin with that. Don’t think and postpone it until tomorrow. A person who thinks a-bout doing something tomorrow does not really want to do it. “I’ll do it tomorrow” is a way of postponing. If you don’t want to do some-thing, you should be clear that you don’t want to do it; that is another matter. But to postpone until tomorrow is dangerous. The person who postpones something until tomorrow has in a way postponed it forever.
If something in life feels right, then the moment it feels right is also the moment to act on it. You have to begin in that moment.
So keep in mind the urgency of doing things that are good and of delaying things that are wrong. Also keep in mind that the keys that has given you to experiment with about goodness and truth are not intellectual doctrines. If you act on them they can do something for you. If you are ready to act on them, these keys will help you. And if you use them, they will transform you. These keys are very alive, they are like fire: if you kindle them even a little, you can experience the birth of a new man in you.
There is another birth which you don’t get through your parents, but which happens through meditation. And that is the real birth. It is only after this birth that one becomes a dwija, twice b-born. One has to give this birth to oneself. So don’t feel satisfied and at rest until you have known this second birth within yourself. Until then, no energy should remain dormant within you. So gather all your energies and start moving.
Postponement is simply stupid. Tomorrow you will also have to decide, so why not today? And do you think that tomorrow you will be wiser than today? Do you think that tomorrow you will be livelier than today? Do you think that tomorrow you will be younger than today, fresher than today? Tomorrow you will be older, your courage will be less; tomorrow you will be more experienced, your cunningness will be more; tomorrow death will come closer – you will start wavering and being more afraid. Never postpone for the tomorrow. And who knows? Tomorrow may come or may not come. If you have to decide you have to decide right now.