In this excerpt from the 1994 Wholeness Program, Sadhguru looks at how it is only when we operate through the mind that “old” exists. Otherwise, everything in the existence is always new and fresh.
Sadhguru: The whole existence is always brand new. Every moment, everything that you see is becoming nothing and becoming something again, millions of times. This is why Gautama Buddha spoke about anitya [impermanence] and Adi Shankara about maya [illusion]. Everything is never really there. Every second, everything is falling apart, coming together, falling apart, and coming together again, millions of times. Existence is ever new – it is only in this moment. It is created, is gone, and is created again. The whole creation is based on this principle. The only thing in existence that carries the “old” is your mind. When you operate through your mind, everything – things and people – become old. If you look at everything as it is, everything is always fresh.
Mind and memory
On the first day, when the participants came for the program and there was torrential rain, some were contemplating going back. They had probably never been exposed to that kind of rain. A lot of people do not even come out of their house when it is raining. Besides, how you experience rain in the city and how you experience it in the country is very different. Outside, everything seems much closer to you, even if the thunder happens miles away. When there is a real storm, go outside and stay there for some time. It takes a tremendous amount of endurance and common sense. Most people will be terrified. When a thunderstorm comes up, they cover themselves with a blanket – as if the blanket is going to stop a thunderbolt from striking them. If it has to strike you, it will strike you. A blanket is not going to stop it – you would have to build a bunker in your house.
Maybe it was the thunderstorm that put people off. In any case, on the next day, they were walking with their heads down. Very few people looked up at the mountains. After two, three days, their spirits lifted, and in the mornings, they were watching the mountains, appreciating how nice they are. After about 10 days, they did not look at them anymore. Since the mountains are always there, they became old in their perception.
A lot of people who are here have never even looked at the mountains, or maybe just casually. “Mountains… They are always there. What is there to look at?” They have become old to them. They have not become old – even now they are brand new. It is only because you look at everything through the filter of your mind that your memory turns everything into something old. That is the curse of life. That was the fruit of knowledge that Adam and Eve ate. Until then, everything was fresh and fantastic for them, but once they ate this apple, the world became old. As long as things seem old to you, your desires will drive you endlessly. Like a madman, you will keep seeking new things.
There are stories of Zen people who lived on one side of the river, and on the other side of the river, there was a village. They could see light; they could see smoke; they could hear talking and shouting, but they could not see the people. They could feel life, but they did not really know what was there. Still, these people lived on one side of the river for decades, never thinking of going to the other side and finding out who was living there or what was happening there. This is because every day, when you get up in the morning, everything is so fantastic here – where is the time to go somewhere else and investigate? But human beings even went to the Moon – they want to go to Mars. They are not satisfied because in their minds, everything is old.
Open your eyes!
Just one look can be enough, as the French author and philosopher Albert Camus put it in one of his books. Intellectually, he came very close to enlightenment – so close that he was on the verge of madness. He made many attempts of self-inquiry. If someone had taught him meditation, he would have become a wonderful, realized being. But there was no one to initiate him. What he said in the book “The Myth of Sisyphus” is almost like the Upanishads, like the Gita – it just lacks the experiential quality. On an intellectual level, he had seen everything – but he had no experience of it. Even though he was so close to realization, he missed it – because of his intellectual thinking and because the right atmosphere was not there.
In this book, he said that if you open your eyes and really look at life the way it is for a few minutes, even if after that, you are locked up in a dungeon for the rest of your life or you do not open your eyes anymore, it is perfectly okay. This was his own experience – this was how he felt. And this is the truth – if you really look at existence even once, it is sufficient. It has enough to offer. Only if what you have seen is sufficient, you can be truly meditative. Just looking at the sky once can be sufficient. Even if you go blind afterwards, that one look that you had at the sky can sustain you for your whole life, if you are really receptive. Otherwise, everything becomes old, because you live out of your memory instead of your awareness.
The ebook, Encounter the Enlightened, includes more from the Wholeness Program. Available at Isha Downloads.