Sadhguru talks about the mind’s desire to be special, and how this is counterproductive on the spiritual path.
Sadhguru: For many people, the reason why the spiritual path seems to be a struggle is that their culture and social situations have always taught them to be special. One’s whole life effort becomes focused on this. To be special means to have something that others do not have. But this is not special, it is a convoluted sense of wellbeing. Right now, if your only joy is that someone else does not have what you have, if this is the only pleasure in your life, we call this perversion not being special.
People can find pleasure in all kinds of things. Once, two men were captured by fierce cannibals from a neighboring tribe. After a meeting with their headman, the tribe decided to cook the men alive. The men were placed in a pot of water, and as the fire started burning and the water became hotter and hotter, the older man started laughing – really laughing. The younger man said, “Are you crazy? Do you know what is going to happen to us? Why are you laughing?” The older man said, “I just peed in their soup!” People find pleasure in all sorts of perverted ways.
A Sore Thumb
Spirituality is not about becoming special. It is about becoming one with everything. This disease of wanting to become special has come to people simply because they have not recognized the value of the uniqueness of their being. By living on the surface for so long, their whole effort has been to be special. As long as this effort is on, you are only working counter to the spiritual process. The whole dimension of spirituality is to melt and become one with existence, not to stand out like a sore thumb.
In so many ways, the mind always wants to be special. That is the nature of the egoistic mind. It can only compare logically. The moment this comparison comes, competition starts. The moment competition starts, your life sense will disappear because now it is only about being better than others. It is because of this foolish endeavor that we are in the ridiculous situation of having to teach people about their own nature. We have to remind people about their own original nature simply because they are lost in trying to outdo someone or everyone around them.
Ordinary to Extra-ordinary
Some time ago, our yoga program brochures used to say: “From Ordinary to Extraordinary.” People thought they would become special by doing the program and would ask me “Sadhguru, how will we be special?” I would always tell them, “You are going to become ‘extra’ ordinary – more ordinary than other people.”
The more you try to be special the further you get from the truth. So much suffering and mental illness have come from this desire to be special. Instead of deriving perverse pleasure from the fact that someone does not have what you have, if you genuinely make the effort to become one with everything, this internal struggle will completely go away. If you recognize your uniqueness and also every other being’s uniqueness, you can neither become less nor more than anyone else.
Editor’s Note: Find more of Sadhguru’s insights on spirituality and the science of yoga in the book “Ancient technology For The Modern Mind.”