For those practicing daily sadhana and hoping to “get somewhere”, Sadhguru discusses the role of expectations vs. trust on the spiritual path.
Q: At times I ask myself, “Why this sadhana and what is its nature?” I hope something fruitful comes out of all my spiritual practices.
Sadhguru: So there is a hope that something will happen. That is why you do all this. Where there is hope, there is always fear attached to it about whether it is going to happen or not. When you hope and look forward to something happening, fear and frustration are waiting just behind. Another way of looking at hope is as an expectation. If a person has no hope, he is truly blessed because that person has no fear of failure. The fear of missing out on something is totally absent in such a person.
Hope & Fear Go Hand in Hand
How can a person not hope? For most people, life has always been like this: if you have to do something, you either need to be enticed or be pushed forcefully. If someone or something pushes you, it is always misery. If hope pushes you, there is an expectation of joy and fulfillment, which keeps you going. But as long as hope is there, there is always the fear that it will be shattered. The nature of sadhana is such that it is a process of growth, but when it is based upon your hope that one day you will see something, it has its limitations.
This reminds me of a story about a stupid servant. One day, the master asked him to go and get flour and salt, and gave strict instructions that he should not mix these two things together. So he took a bag and reached the shop where they were selling flour and filled it. Then he asked for salt. He did not know where to put the salt, but remembered his Master telling him not to mix the two. So he flipped the bag and filled it up. By doing so, the flour fell out. He carried the salt to his master, who asked him, “Okay, this is salt. Where is the flour?” The servant just turned the bag over and the salt fell out. Hope and fear are like this. When you start doing something with hope, whether it happens or not, both ways you are the loser because the fulfillment always falls short of what you hoped for. The dream and what happens in reality never match. The dream is always more colorful and vivid. It is minus all problems and the price you have to pay. You can just dream without paying the price, but when it gets actualized, it comes with a price.
Love & Trust
So, just do your sadhana joyfully, not with the hope of making it or the fear of not making it. Make the sadhana an offering and do it intensely but without hope. How can a person work intensely, but without any hope? Only when you really love. Generally, what you call “love” is simply some kind of hope. But when you truly love, whatever you do with your love is insufficient. Even if you offer yourself, it is insufficient. It is quite hopeless, but very intense.
There should be trust also, and there can be no trust unless there is love. When I say “trust,” I am not talking about loyalty. If someone is asking for loyalty, there is nothing spiritual about that place or that person, because a spiritual person doesn’t need loyalty.
Trust is not just about the spiritual path. To live on this planet, you need trust. The fact that you are sitting comfortably, that is trust. Because, you know, there have been incidents where the earth has opened up and swallowed people. Pieces of sky have fallen on people and crushed them to death. There have been situations where the very air that people breathed turned against them. This round planet is spinning and traveling at a tremendous speed and the whole damn solar system and galaxy are traveling at we don’t know what speed. Suppose Mother Earth decides to suddenly start spinning in the opposite direction, maybe you will fly off from where you are sitting right now – you don’t know.
So for you to sit, smile, listen and talk to someone, you need trust – enormous trust. Trust is not anything new to life. To be here, to take every breath in and out, you need trust. But you are doing it unconsciously and un-lovingly. Just learn to do this trust consciously and lovingly.
Editor’s Note: Excerpted from Mystic’s Musings. Not for the faint-hearted, this book deftly guides us with answers about reality that transcend our fears, angers, hopes, and struggles. Sadhguru keeps us teetering on the edge of logic and captivates us with his answers to questions relating to life, death, rebirth, suffering, karma, and the journey of the Self. Download the sample pdf or purchase the ebook.