Q: Emotions seem to be more trouble than they are worth. Aren’t we better off without them?

Sadhguru: If there is no emotion at all in a human being, you cannot call him human. Emotion is a beautiful aspect of human life, without which a human being would become ugly. But as with anything, if emotion becomes unbridled, it becomes madness. If your thought becomes uncontrolled, it will become madness. If your emotion becomes uncontrolled, that too becomes insanity.

Emotion is not the Problem

People see emotion as a problem because they have painful emotions. If they had beautiful emotions within them, would they call them a problem? If you were full of joy, love and compassion within yourself, if that is how your emotion was taking shape and finding expression, would you consider it a problem? No.

If you try to become devoid of emotion, you will have suppressed emotions, and you will become dry.

If your body was functioning very well and beautifully, would you call this a problem? No. If it is painful or diseased, then sitting, standing or bending in the morning is really painful – so you would think this body is a problem. Similarly, you may say you want no emotion simply because you have made a mess out of it. If you had truly beautiful emotions within you which made your life like a flower, you would not think of not having emotions.

I am not telling you to leave your emotions or go beyond them. All I am saying is whether it is your body, your mind, your emotion or your energies – the four dimensions which could be in your experience right now – the first and foremost thing is to make them very pleasant. Once they are very pleasant, they are no longer a problem. Only when the emotions are no longer a problem – when people are not aspiring for anything else and are very joyful – does the longing to go beyond arise.

Neither Here nor There

Otherwise all you are trying to do is survive. Even if you are calling for God, it is only a call for survival, isn’t it? When you fail to survive here, you start thinking about making it in heaven. If you could not make it here, what is the guarantee that you will make it there? Basavanna, a celebrated sage and a great poet from Karnataka, said, “Illi salladavaru alliyu sallaraiya,” which means, “Those who do not make it here will not make it there either.” So, this is not about going beyond emotion. You must go beyond, but “beyond” does not mean beyond emotion or mind or this or that. You must go beyond the limitation which is holding you right now. Emotion and thought can also become a method and a tool to pave the way for you.

If you use your mind to transcend your limitations, we call this gnana yoga. If you use your emotion to transcend limitations, we call this bhakti yoga. If you use your body to transcend limitations, we call this karma yoga. If you use your energies to transcend limitations, we call this kriya yoga. Every one of them is a gateway. A gateway can either block you, or let you beyond. So, your emotions are not to be shunned and rejected to go beyond. You cannot shun them. If you try to become devoid of emotion, you will have suppressed emotions, and you will become dry. Your emotion needs to be accepted in a very deep way so that it becomes your friend. A friend is someone who is pleasant to you.

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Sadhguru’s 2-in-1 book “Emotion: The Juice of Life & Relationships: Bond or Bondage”, available on Flipkart and Amazon.