Sadhguru corrects a common misconception that spirituality is about finding yourself. In fact, it’s the other way around.

Sadhguru: The word “seek” tends to create a wrong notion in people’s minds. When we say “seek”, that means we are seeking to find. Seeking and finding are connected in language. But when it comes to spiritual process, they are not connected. A seeker is not seeking to find anything – especially not anything in particular. He does not know, so he is seeking. This is one fundamental correction that needs to happen in most spiritual seekers.

The idea or notion that you have to find the purpose of your life, or the source or the goal of your life has caused immense damage to spiritual seekers and set them up on an empty, endless run. Ignorant people have constantly goaded spiritual seekers to somehow find themselves. Maybe to start off on the path, you need a fruit to attract you because you only work with temptation – so something needs to be set up. But spirituality is not about finding yourself, it is about losing yourself. You are willing to lose everything that you call as “myself”.

The Ultimate Loser

If one can just sit and lose themselves into meditation, wonderful. If such a thing is not possible, play a game or dance and lose yourself into that. If you cannot do that, lose yourself into work. It doesn’t matter what, somehow learn to lose yourself.

If you try to find yourself, you will be on an endless run. A human being is constantly longing to be something more than what he is right now. If he knows only money, he is thinking of a little more money; if he knows power, a little more power; if he knows love, a little more love. There is something within him which will not settle for who he is. In whatever way you know best, you are trying to be a little more because there is something within you which does not like boundaries, which is looking for a boundless experience. Just think about this: if you have to find the boundless, when and how long and where do you think you will find it? It will be an endless run. But you can lose yourself. That’s easy because you are a limited entity. If you completely lose yourself, everything that needs to be found is found.

This should be “on” with your life wherever you are: through your work, activity and many other things, see how to lose yourself, not how to establish yourself. One who believes that he has established himself in some way is a lost case. As you believe you are becoming more established, you naturally become more insecure. Have you noticed, as your life gets more organized, you become more insecure? When you really had nothing as a child, you were okay. Then, maybe even as a youth, you didn’t have anything of your own. You could just walk around without any big hassle in torn jeans. But as life got more organized and you found more things, you had a family, children, a bank balance, property, now you find you become more and more insecure.

Most people are always working to become something. The very way the body is constructed, look at the ingenuity – whatever you give the body, whether a banana, an apple or a peanut, the body makes it into what it wants. Give it whatever you want, it only produces a human being. Something which has such intelligence and ingenuity is right now being used to trap yourself. The physical body is a possibility and also a trap. You can call this a home only if you have the freedom to be there when you want to, and go out when you want. If you went into your house and could not get out of it, that is a prison. That is what has happened right now.

The Inside Job

If you work to lose yourself, to become a nothing and a nobody, then you are no longer trapped inside the house. You begin to operate and experience a little beyond this. Slowly, as the walls of the home become more porous, it allows you the possibility of being beyond the physical. But if you have to lose yourself, it has to be an inside job. If I try to poke a hole in you, it would hurt a lot and I may get into trouble. So it has to be an inside job – with outside assistance but an inside job.

If you want to lose yourself, the most fundamental thing is your likes and dislikes. Everything else is based upon this. Most human beings have built their personality only on the basis of what they like and what they dislike. I keep hearing this in America – people say, “I’m a coffee person”, “I’m a green tea person”, “I’m a beer person.” Essentially, your personality is all about your likes and dislikes. If you like something, it gets exaggerated in your mind positively. If you dislike something, it gets exaggerated negatively.

Once you start this process, if you have a mild sense of exaggeration within you, we say you have a personality. If you have a strong sense of likes and dislikes, we say you have a strong personality. If you have extreme levels of likes and dislikes, we say you are a tyrant. If you have abnormal level of likes and dislikes, we say you are just crazy. But even when you took the first step, you must know you are crazy – not strong enough to be detected, but you are an undercover madman! You began the process. Maybe you will manage to regulate and control it through your entire life, or maybe you will lose control of it depending upon what life throws at you.

Try This Simple Exercise

I want you to try this simple exercise. Get three things that you like and three things that you don’t like. Maybe the things that you don’t like are people – don’t get them! Get their pictures. Now just see, the things that you like, if you want, you can dislike. The things that you don’t like, if you wish, you can actually like them. All it needs is exaggeration. You can interchange your likes for dislikes, dislikes for likes. But you will once again be back in the same state – it is just that you like different things and dislike different things.

Go through an experiment like this because it is very important for you to understand that all your likes and dislikes have no reality to it. You just made them up in your mind, “I like this, I don’t like this.” Even poison tastes good if you like it, you know! Go through this a few times – today, you like this, tomorrow you don’t like that. What you liked, you dislike for one day, what you don’t like, you like for one day. Just keep switching. After some time, you know that you have been playing a stupid game and destroying yourself. Don’t do that to yourself.

Do you want to spend your life doing your silly drama in your mind or do you want to know this life and experience it, or at least be touched by this life. That is why life is here, so that it happens in full force and blossoms into its fullest possibility. Life is not here for you to do your own drama. This is not your stage. This creation is the stage for the source of creation to dance in full glory. Life allows you a little freedom to do some side act, but don’t start thinking it is all true and cry your heart out. This is not your drama. Just allow this cosmic drama to touch you – that is what life is about.

Editor’s Note: For more of Sadhguru’s wisdom and tools to explore oneself, check out Sadhguru’s New York Times bestseller, “Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy”­­, available on Amazon.comAmazon.in.