The essence of all practice is to be cool.
Life is not worth getting excited about because whatever you perceive is an illusion. If you like getting excited, then you can get excited. But if your excitement is anything more than enjoyable, then you're making a mistake. The essence of all practice is to be relaxed, to be at peace with yourself. Now, you can't really be at peace with yourself if you're trying to hold onto things that are illusions. Think about it for a second.
Nothing lasts. Consider everything that you've gone through and experienced thus far. How many things did you really get upset about in your life thus far? How many things have you freaked out about? A lot of things - that are completely gone now. The amount of emotional trauma that you've gone through over things that today have no importance - and they didn't have any importance then, except that you gave them importance by magnifying situations and giving them a power over you. It's understood that nothing lasts.
This universe is just like the sky. Clouds come and go, but the sky remains. The universe is unchanging. It takes countless forms. To be perturbed about whether there are a lot of clouds in the sky today is silly because whatever is in the sky is going to change. That's the nature of the sky. One day it's clear, the next day it's cloudy. One day it rains, the next day it snows, the next day it's sunshine.
So what we do is shift our attention to a realm that's so wonderful that it really doesn't matter what happens here.
Human beings affix themselves to things that are of little or no importance. They affix themselves to the transitory, to things that are impermanent. And in doing so, they get all upset. Nothing lasts; everything changes. Life changes into death, death changes into life. So the essence of all practice is to be cool, to be relaxed, to be poised, to be at one with the changeless and to go through the experiences of transience, the experiences of daily life and nightly life - to go through them with a very balanced, open viewpoint.
You're much too hung up, you human beings, on all of your ideas and your desires. You still have not penetrated the essence of yoga. You think that yoga is in some way going to make everything you want to happen work out, and you're going to be able to avoid what you don't want. That's not yoga. That's desire and aversion. The purpose of yoga is not to care about things, to detach ourselves from the ephemeral world, which causes us pain. The world doesn't cause us pain by the fact that it exists, but we cause ourselves pain because we attach ourselves to circumstances. And when those circumstances are in conflict with what we want or don't want, we experience pain. The answer is to pull our attention, our awareness, our focus, back from the physical world and to place it on something that's changeless and ecstatic, which is the pure and perfect light of reality, which exists inside all things.
There's another world other than this world. Oh, there are countless worlds, dimensions, planes, but there's another world that's formless. It doesn't have a form. It doesn't really change. That doesn't imply that it's static; it's beyond change and changelessness. The purpose of all yoga or Buddhism, Taoism, practice, enlightenment, occultism, whatever it is, is to reach into that plane, world, call it what you will, with our minds - to enter into that reality through the conscious focus of the mind. Just to experience that reality is to be free.