Sadhguru looks at why joy is our fundamental responsibility and answers a common yet pressing question for many, “How to be happy in life”. He gives us 10 tips towards making this a reality.
Sadhguru: When you are fundamentally joyous, when you do not have to do anything to be happy, then every dimension of your life – the way you perceive and express yourself and the world – will change. You will no longer have vested interests because whether you do something or you do not do something, whether you get something or do not get something, whether something happens or does not happen, you will be joyous by your nature. When you are joyous by your nature, your actions will rise to a completely different level.
10 Tools Towards a Happy Life
#1 See that being joyful is your fundamental responsibility
The first and most fundamental responsibility for a human being is to become a joyous being. To be happy is not the ultimate aspect of life. It is the fundamental aspect of life. If you are not happy, what else can you do with your life? Only if you are happy, can other great possibilities open up.
Whatever you do, it is only your inner quality that you are going to spread. Whether you like it or not, that is the reality. Unless something of true value happens within you, you cannot do anything of tremendous value to the world. So, if you are concerned about the world, the first thing you must do is transform yourself into a joyous being.
#2 Realize that joy is your original nature
It does not matter what you are pursuing in your life, whether it is business, power, education or service, you are doing so because somewhere deep inside you is a feeling that this will bring you happiness. Every single action that we perform on this planet springs from an aspiration to be happy because it is the original nature. When you were a child you were simply happy. That is your nature. The source of joy is within you; you can take charge of it.
#3 Put things in perspective
Today morning, did you see that the sun came up wonderfully well? The flowers blossomed, no stars fell down, the galaxies are functioning very well. Everything is in order. The whole cosmos is happening wonderfully well today but just a worm of a thought worming through your head makes you believe it is a bad day today.
Suffering is happening essentially because most human beings have lost perspective as to what this life is about. Their psychological process has become far larger than the existential process, or to put it bluntly, you’ve made your petty creation far more important than the Creator’s creation. That is the fundamental source of all suffering. We have missed the complete sense of what it means to be alive here. A thought in your head or an emotion within you determines the nature of your experience right now. And your thought and emotion may have nothing to do even with the limited reality of your life. The whole creation is happening wonderfully well but just one thought or emotion can destroy everything.
#4 See the mind for what it is
What you call as “my mind” is not yours actually. You don’t have a mind of your own. Please look at it carefully. What you call as “my mind” is just society’s garbage bin. Anyone and everyone who passes by you stuffs something into your head. You really have no choice about whom to receive from and whom not to receive from. If you say, “I don’t like this person,” you will receive a lot more from that person than anyone else. You really don’t have a choice. If you know how to process and use it, this garbage is useful. This accumulation of impressions and information that you have gathered is only useful for survival in the world. It has got nothing to do with who you are.
#5 Move from psychological to existential
When we talk about a spiritual process, we are talking about shifting from psychological to existential. Life is about the creation that is here, knowing it absolutely and experiencing it the way it is; not distorting it the way you want. If you want to move into existential reality, to put it very simply, you just have to see that what you think is not important, what you feel is not important. What you think has nothing to do with reality. It has no great relevance to life. The mind is just chattering away with nonsense that you have gathered from somewhere else. If you think it is important, you will never look beyond that.
Your attention naturally flows in the direction of whatever you hold as important. If your thought and your emotion is important, naturally your whole attention will be right there. But that is a psychological reality. That has nothing to do with the existential.
Suffering is not showered upon us, it is manufactured. And the manufacturing unit is in your mind. It is time to shut down the manufacturing unit.
#6 Stop pursuing, start expressing
Today we are seeking happiness so vigorously that the very life of the planet is being threatened. Don’t be in pursuit of happiness. Know how to express your happiness in the world. If you look back at your life and see, the most beautiful moments in life are moments when you are expressing your joy, not when you are seeking it.
What you save will never be your quality. What you dispense will be your quality. If you save your joy, at the end of your life no one will take account, “She saved every bit of joy in her; she’s the most joyfully dead.” They will say, “This horrible creature never even smiled in her life.” But if every day you dispensed your joy and love, people would say, “Oh she was a joyful and loving being.”
When you get up in the morning, the first thing you should do is smile. At whom? No one. Because just the fact that you woke up is not a small thing. So many millions of people who slept last night did not wake up today, but you and me woke up. Isn’t it great that you woke up? So smile because you woke up. Then look around and if there is someone, smile at them. For so many people, someone dear to them did not wake up today morning. Everyone who is dear to you woke up – Wow! It’s a great day, isn’t it? Then go out and take a look at the trees. They didn’t die last night either.
You may think this is ridiculous, but you will know the reality of it when someone dear to you doesn’t wake up. Don’t wait till then to realize the value of it. It is not something ridiculous, this is the most valuable thing – that you are alive and everything that matters to you is alive. When on this disastrous night so many people did not wake up and the loved ones of so many others did not wake up, you and your loved ones woke up. Isn’t it a fantastic event? Appreciate it and smile at least. Learn to look at a few people lovingly.
#8 Remind yourself to smile!
For many people, it just takes an hour to forget all this and pretty soon their reptilian brain wants to bite someone. So give yourself a dose once an hour – a reminder of the value of life. If you are very insensitive, remind yourself every half-an-hour. If you are horribly insensitive, remind yourself every five minutes. It takes only ten seconds to remind yourself. You could do it in just two seconds too – “I’m alive, you’re alive. What more?”
#9 Transform what’s within
At present, the quality of your life is not determined by the clothes that you wear, the educational qualifications that you carry, the family background that you come from or the bank balances that you hold. Rather, the quality of your life depends upon how peaceful and joyous you are within yourself.
Definitely, somebody who does not have food and who is deprived of the basic needs for survival can be physically miserable. That needs to addressed. For such people, we must take care of those things first. But for most others, their needs are an endless list. You think the man who is driving the car is happier than the man who is walking on the street? No. It is not decided by what you have. It depends on how they are that moment.
#10 Stop the comparison with others
Most people are miserable not because of what they don’t have. It is simply because they are comparing themselves with someone else. You are driving a motorbike, you see somebody in a Mercedes and you make yourself miserable. For someone on a bicycle, he sees you on a motorbike and that is a limousine for him. Somebody walking on the street looks at the bicycle and thinks, “Wow, if I just had that, what I would have done with my life!” It is a foolish game and it is just going on.
All those people who depend on external situations to be happy will never know true joy in their lives. It is definitely time we look inward and see how to create personal wellbeing. From your own experience of life you can clearly see that true wellbeing will come to you only if your interiority changes. If you depend on the outside to bring joy to you, you need to understand, the outside never happens 100% the way you want it. When this is the reality, at least this one person – you – must happen the way you want it to be. If you did happen the way you want yourself to be, the very natural choice is joy. That is not something that you have to pursue. If you fall back into your original nature, joyfulness is the only way you will be.
Download the free ebook “Inner Management”, where Sadhguru offers effective tools to enhance our capabilities, and gives us a way to open up a whole new dimension of life that frees us from external influences.