Can one’s home feel like an ashram even in the midst of the city madness? Sadhguru looks at how to grow spiritually and create a conducive atmosphere at home.

Questioner: When I stay in the ashram, my spiritual practices happen so effortlessly. But when I go home, after a while, it becomes very mechanical. How to grow spiritually and maintain this effortlessness even at home?

Sadhguru: Essentially, a home is an arrangement to live. People make arrangements according to their means and according to their needs – or sometimes according to their neighbors’ needs! I hope your home is according to your needs, and not according to someone else’s idea as to how you should live. You must make your home the way it works for you.

A home is not just the building. It also includes all your other arrangements – your wife or husband, your children, maybe your parents, your neighbors, and the neighborhood. The idea of living in a town or city instead of living in the forest is to make our lives easier, to have infrastructure and a community. It may not be working for you right now, but you chose to live in the city so that life would be a little more effortless. You choose an arrangement that is convenient for whatever purpose you live for.

What Makes an Ashram an Ashram?

What makes an ashram an ashram is that everyone is here because they want to be here – they are not trapped here. You need to create such a situation in your home too. Just see if anyone is feeling trapped in your home. There may be people who feel that way, and you don’t even know. They may be speaking to the neighbors, not to you. They may not feel entirely trapped, but maybe suffocated in some way. If they are feeling suffocated, open larger windows for them, or put them on the rooftop – whatever is needed to make sure everyone is there because they want to be there.

Do not volunteer only in the ashram – be a volunteer at home tooYour home should be an arrangement for your growth.

Once you create this atmosphere, suddenly, home is a nice place to be. But if there is even one person who does not want to be there, he will create a certain atmosphere and a vibe that is difficult to live with. First of all, check yourself – is this the place you want to be? If it is not, see why. If it is, see why. Engineer your home in such a way that it feels like a wonderful place for you to do your sadhana (spiritual practices), to live well, to be peaceful, and to be joyful. Let this not become a hellhole for you – it is your home. It is an arrangement that you made – no one shoved you into it. It must work the way you want it to.

Above all, clean yourself from all the stupid competition and opinions that you have about how you should live in the city. You do not have to be in a particular way to achieve certain things. You can be completely different, do completely different things, and still get there. In many ways, I am a living example of this, regarding the spiritual process. People think you are not spiritual if you turn your head briskly. They think you must turn it slowly, and you must speak gently. People have certain ideas how someone who is spiritual is supposed to be. Set patterns are destroying your life.

Set Up A Conducive Atmosphere

If you are a spiritual seeker, why can’t your home be set up like an ashram? It would be great if everyone was a volunteer at home. Do not volunteer only in the ashram – be a volunteer at home too. Many people have shared with me, “Never in my life, I ever thought cutting vegetables could be such a fantastic experience.” I said, “Why? You never ate vegetables in your life?” “Yes, but…” When they are at home, they expect someone else to do it.

The fundamental thing is to make sure everyone is there because they want to be there. Set an atmosphere where your home is not a place to be stuck in but a place to grow in. Your home should be an arrangement for your growth.

Editor’s Note: This article is based on an excerpt from the February 2014 issue of Forest Flower. Pay what you want and download. (set ‘0’ for free). Print subscriptions are also available.