The morning sun was accompanied by a cool breeze. The rain overnight had soaked the earth. Crimson rays of the rising sun played on patches of water to create a riot of col­ours on the ground. Chirping birds sang in chorus. Butterflies flitted about in step with the song of the birds. It was a mix of wonderful sights and sounds. A bird invited me to its world of melody.

Why is love a stranger in our lives? Where is the urge to overcome separation in love? When physically apart, we can feel the separation – we pine for the loved one who is far away. At the spiritual level, however, physicalities do not matter. At this level, you do not have to strive to become one, for you are one. The urge to become one at the physical level alone is a great source of unhappiness.

A young man once asked me: “Is it possible to be happy in this competitive world? It appears that we succeed only when we cheat others. Can one really build a happy life on a foundation of distrust?” An Indian maxim goes like this: “However hard you search in the mouth of a crow, you will not find any teeth there”. Many of us search for happiness where it does not exist. The Bible says, “The Kingdom Of heaven is within you”. The Gita says, “Happiness is within”. But we search for happiness not within ourselves but outside. We get lost in the details and forget the essence… that lies in ourselves.

Most of us are busy with the trivialities of life and in the process miss the essential. We are unhappy in life because we are victims of our expectations. We have to learn the art of sidestepping our expectations. You might ask: “How can we live without expectations?” My question is: “Have expecta­tions made our life easier or more difficult?” We suffer on account of expectations. We do not trust our intelligence; but we trust our expectations.

Have expectations, but let not your happiness depend on them. Operate from love, not expectations. Love provides caring energy. This energy will make you effective and happy.

There was a Zen master. He was frail but had a power­ful presence. He could push huge boulders effortlessly. Some­one asked him, “What is the secret of your strength? Where does it come from?” The Zen master replied, “Before push­ing a boulder, I communicate with it, request its permission and support in my effort. And then the boulder gets moved miraculously…”

Power comes from the mystery of love, not from our expectation of how others should behave.

A carpenter from China created a unique piece of furni­ture. It was a piece of art, and was liked by many. When asked how he made it, the carpenter replied, “Before cutting a tree in the forest, I talk to it and take its permission, intuitively understanding which tree would submit to being felled. The furniture made out of such a tree will always be a piece of art”.

Love has power, the power to create. We should learn to draw this power. If our expectations emerge from love, we become masters of our expectations. Otherwise, we are slaves to them. Misery is not a product of a cutthroat world; it is the result of expectations from a world bereft of love.