What is seriousness? Seriousness is nothing but paying undue importance to something, at the cost of everything else. It stems from the inability to see that all of life is just a drama that is unfolding every minute. Seriousness is the result of over expectation from life. A small story: Two boys were building sand castles on the beach. They suddenly had a quarrel and one of the boys got angry and kicked the sand castle. The other boy went and complained to the king about it. The king began to laugh at him for making so much out of just sand castles. But the king’s advisor, a Zen monk, started laughing at the king. He asked, ‘When you can fight battles and lose sleep over stone castles, why do you laugh at these boys for fighting over sand castles?’ If you really look to see, all our seriousness is just about sandcastles! For the child at that young age, sand castles seem precious. Whereas for us at our age, stone castles seem precious that’s all. Whether it is a sand castle or stone castle, the seriousness behind it is the same; just the object of seriousness is different. So don’t laugh when children fight over sand castles. Seriousness closes your mind to the openness and freedom of life. It makes you dull and dead. It curbs your thinking and makes you stick to the familiar patterns that you already know. Seriousness kills creativity. It destroys spontaneity. Science has proved that when you perform a task in a relaxed and light manner, your thinking and decision making capacity is automatically enhanced. The same task when performed in a serious manner dulls your mind. All our seriousness is just sickness. When I say all, I mean ALL. And all our sickness originates from seriousness. Seriousness begets sickness and sickness begets seriousness. One night a man called me on the phone and started crying. He said, ‘I fall at your feet, Swamiji! Please help me. I’m so depressed! I am going to end my life!’ and so on. I tried to calm him down and finally said ‘Why don’t you come to the ashram tomorrow morning and spend a few days with me? Let us see what can be done.’ He replied ‘Tomorrow Swamiji? Oh… tomorrow I have to go to the office… shall I come next weekend?’ Most of us are like this getting unnecessarily tense about our so called problems. Just one jolt is enough and our seriousness will drop. When we wake up to reality we see how insignificant our problems really are. When you do something too seriously or you’re too concerned about the result, you are actually not allowing yourself to perform at the optimum level. Of course you need to make plans and to think ahead but with sincerity, not with seriousness. Seriousness is not the same as sincerity. Sincerity is focusing on the task with enthusiasm and youthfulness. Sincerity is giving the task your best without worrying excessively about the result. When you are serious you don’t enjoy, you don’t laugh. How can you laugh when you are serious? Either you are serious or you are laughing. You can’t be both at the same time because the very definition of seriousness is such. When you are sincere you can be laughing and playful. You can continue to do in a playful and joyful way, and because you have finished the job, you have been sincere! With sincerity there is no worry, there is only enthusiasm. When you are serious you are egoistic because you fail to see that the whole thing is only a cosmic drama. You feel that you are a separate entity, too much of ‘I’ and so you are serious. If you understand that the whole thing is only a drama you can never be serious. When this understanding happens at a deep level, you will do things for the sheer joy of moving in tune with the cosmic drama or Existence.