Sadhguru answers a question about the ups and downs of life, and looks at the importance of creating a golden mean of blissfulness as a stable platform to go through life.
Questioner: Sadhguru, there are days when I am extremely happy, and there are days when I am extremely sad for no reason. How to deal with these ups and downs?
Sadhguru: In southern India, if someone laughs too much and is too happy, they say, “Don’t laugh so much. It will be followed by misery.” This is an unfortunate kind of wisdom some people have come to because life has been like that to them. If they experience too much joy today, misery will strike them tomorrow. This is because people work themselves up. In their minds, they multiply both misery and joy. Now you may ask, “If we don’t do this, where is the beauty in life?” Life is beautiful as it is. You do not have to give it a coat of make-up.
It is because you have no attention for life in its fundamental sense that you are lost in your psychological reality. The psychological and physiological aspects of who you are happen in cycles. You may be overly exuberant and on a high today and hit the bottom tomorrow. Most human beings are going through this psychological rollercoaster. You will always find some outside influence as an excuse, but even if we lock you up in a room and there is no one who can cause happiness or misery to you, still these psychological cycles will happen. Similarly, there are physiological cycles, and both the psychological and the physiological cycles can influence each other, depending on which is the bigger force at that moment.
The knowledge about these cycles has sunk into people in a certain way, and they kind of psych themselves into believing that anyway misery will strike them – and it will. If you understand that you alone make up both joy and misery, there will be no problem. The biggest mistake that people make is they try to be happy. And not only happy – they try to be happier than someone else. That is a serious problem. Do not try to be happy. Once you experientially know that whatever happens within you is caused by you and nothing else but you, you will be blissful. You will neither be flying high nor will you be in the dumps – you will just be blissful. This maintainable height of pleasantness may be different from person to person, depending upon the intensity and the amount of energy that you have, but it is a stable platform. If you want to enjoy an ecstatic state, you can always go up and come back. If you like melancholy, you can go down and come back up again.
The Golden Mean
This mean experience of blissfulness is the golden mean, the middle path that the Buddha and others have talked about. It is just that different people arrive at a different mean. This is not a passive, sedate state but a lively, pleasant state – like a nice morning. No thunder claps, but everything is fine, going well. This is where the “Good morning!” comes from. When you wake up in the morning after having been removed from the world for a period of time, it feels so nice. Even the afternoon is nice, and so is the evening and everything else, but it takes a withdrawal for you to notice this. It is like after having nothing but kanji [liquid porridge] for five days, you eat regular food again. You will suddenly notice how nice it is. Every moment is good in its own way, but it takes a withdrawal for you to notice this.
This golden mean is not non-participating. If you want, you can fly up and land again, or you can go down and come back again, but in any case, you maintain a certain level of blissfulness. Organizing this blissfulness is the work of your kriya. If you do your kriya properly, you will hit that golden mean and maintain it. From there, you can strive to set your golden mean at a higher, more exuberant level. Depending on how much energy and aliveness you generate within yourself, your mean will settle at a higher or lower level. But wherever it settles, it will be a beautiful experience for you. It is not effervescent ecstasy because you cannot maintain that, or if you do, you cannot be active in the world. You can get sozzled with ecstasy, but then you will not be able to do whatever you have to do.
If you want to be effective in the world, you need to maintain the golden mean of blissfulness – a blissfulness that is, for lack of better words, a combination of natural peacefulness and joyfulness. Let’s say you are moving around in the morning, making your breakfast, humming without knowing; you simply feel nice – this is blissfulness. Ecstasy is a freaked-out state of pleasantness. You cannot stay there unless you have reached a certain level of energy. There are yogis – they are called avadhutas – who are in such states of ecstasy that they do not even know that they must eat. They do not care to do anything. Someone has to feed them, someone has to take them to the toilet – as if they were completely drugged out. But in today’s world, there is no one to take care of you – you better come down.
A Stable Platform
You must hit your golden mean. It is time to simply sit – no matter if your knees swell, your ankles hurt like hell – you are blissful. One part is in heaven, one part is in hell – in between is the golden mean. That is why long meditations – to arrive at a state where you can be engaged in everything in the world, but still be blissful. If you do not have this stable platform and you get into activity, you will get lost. In today’s world, most of people’s lives are too controlled – nothing extreme happens to you. Suppose you were living in the wild, your golden mean of blissfulness would make you very alert and enhance your survival capabilities.
If you are miserable and depressed, you will not survive well – you will want it all to end and become the tiger’s lunch today. If you are too ecstatic, you do not care if the tiger eats you either. Only if you are in the golden mean, you can maintain your survival instinct, do all the work that you can, and still be pleasant to yourself and to everyone around you, which is important if you want to live in the world. If you are so freaked out in ecstasy that you do not care what happens around, you have to withdraw completely. Such people usually will not last too long – they will die young, but this does not matter – ecstasy serves its own purpose. They are in such a freaked-out state of ecstasy that life may pop out any moment. If instead of living for fifty years, they were in freaked-out ecstasy for five years and then died, it is perfectly all right. They have seen everything that human experience can touch – there is nothing more to do.
The Bhava Spandana program is to show you that you can freak out in ecstasy for no reason, which is nice, but you cannot stay there. If you want to always be in a pleasant state, you need to create a stable platform – a golden mean of blissfulness. Meditating a few days in a year will not do. The idea is to take the sadhana into your life. If you give yourself to sadhana, I will be a living reality in your life. Right now, I am a thought, a memory in your mind. If you want me to be a living reality every moment of your life, you have to invest some time into bringing clarity to who you are. If who you are is murky, whatever I am will be missed. There is no space, no nook or corner, not one atom which is not touched by the Grace of the Creator, but you completely miss it as long as who you are is murky. If you settle this, suddenly, it will be like a new existence altogether.