The Travails of Modern Life

We bring you a series of excerpts from a recent interview Sadhguru gave to Hello! magazine. This second post deals with the issues we face in the modern world.

Sadhguru was recently interviewed by the lifestyle magazine Hello! in which he responded to a range of interesting questions. In a three-part series, we bring you excerpts from the piece which appeared in the magazine’s May 2013 issue. While the first post dealt with the material and the spiritual, in this part Sadhguru addresses some issues facing us in the modern world.

Question:Work-stress is a universal problem. How should one deal with it?

It is not your lifestyle, your work, your family or the situations in which you exist which cause stress. The cause is your inability to manage your system – your body, mind, emotions and energy. It is your lack of understanding and your inability to use this system the way it should be used. 

What can you do about stress? You need not do anything about it. Stress is like friction in a machine. There is friction either because the parts aren’t moving properly or there isn’t enough lubrication. The less friction you have, the more efficient the machine becomes.

I am not talking about managing stress or keeping it under the surface. I am talking about how not to create it, because stress is your creation. If you start a simple yogic process, you will find your whole system begins functioning at a certain ease. Then there is no such thing as stress. You can be most effective in your life only when everything is at complete ease within yourself. If your ability to act becomes effortless, then naturally there is no such thing as stress.

Q: Divorces are becoming common. What is the right approach towards a peaceful marriage, especially when couples complain of boredom in marriages?

Sadhguru: Relationships have become a problem because we are not using it to enhance our lives, we are trying to fill the gaps in our lives. If relationships have to be really beautiful, it is very important that a human being turns inward and looks at himself or herself in a very deep way before looking at someone else. If you become a source of joy by yourself and your relationships are about sharing your joy, not squeezing joy out of someone, you would have wonderful relationships with anyone. Is there anyone in the world who would have any problem with you if you are going to share your joy with them? No. You are trying to extract joy from them. That is where the problem is. If your relationship is about extracting something out of someone, it does not matter how much you manage, there will be constant trouble. If your relationship was an offering to the person who is next to you right now, everything would be fantastic.

Q: Petty crimes as well as heinous ones such as rape and murder are on the rise. We have leaders with blood on their hands. Can we change this fabric of society with individual effort?

Sadhguru: It has become a fashion to talk about how horrible the politicians are. Politicians did not land here from the sky. They are one among us who stood up to do something. Now, for whatever reasons, they have become the way they have become – and we cannot generalize that because you do not know how many have become like that and how many haven’t. Whenever I go to public meetings, people say “The politicians are corrupt.” I ask a simple question, “If you are driving in your city, and there is no policeman, how many of you will stop at a red light? Not even 10%! So if I make you the Minister, what kind of Minister will you be?” We only have the kind of leaders we deserve. No better, no worse.

Democracy is a people’s government. It cannot be a spectator sport, it is a participatory process. Participation does not mean you come out once in five years to vote and your responsibility is over. Democracy has various instruments through which you can participate on a daily basis in the governance of your country, state, city and street. People have not educated themselves about this because they have not cared. Only when people are actively involved in implementing government policies, those in power will also be in line.

Q: These days babies are born with iPads and mobile phones next to them. What is your opinion of this generation of children that is so tech-savvy that they learn to operate remotes before they learn to walk?

Sadhguru: Today, there are so many forces influencing children – friends, Facebook advisors, televisions; three-year-old kids are glued to the screen and we don't know what they understand or take in. This moment there is a toothpaste advertisement, the next moment somebody is talking about creating a beautiful world, the next moment there is a bombing. We don’t know how a three-year-old is drinking it up.

Would you give a sharp knife to an infant? No. I am telling you, the technology that you have today is sharper than a knife. You must choose an appropriate age and level of maturity before a child handles it. Unfortunately, society has moved in a certain way in imitation of what somebody else is doing in the West. Statistics say that there are 25-year-old video game addicts in the United States who spend more than six hours a day playing video games. Twenty-five is the age when a man makes his life. But they are playing video games, which are just ridiculous kids’ stuff, six hours a day. They can't come off it, they’re just on it.

Technology has no quality of its own. How we use it can make us or break us. It is left to the individual and the culture to bring this awareness into the child that technology is made for our wellbeing, not to destroy ourselves. If this is taught to every child, I think they will use it in a positive way.

In the other two parts of this Hello! magazine series, Sadhguru looks at the material and spiritual life and achieving our full potential.

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6 years 11 months ago

With all respect to Sadguru I do not agree with his opinion about the corruption of politicians. Political 'leaders' are supposed to lead the people for a better life. Otherwise cannot call them leaders. Everybody is coming from the same society, including you Sadguru. But you are different. So, society cannot be blamed for the corruption of the so called 'political leaders'.
Ofcourse, there are shortcomings in this democratic system and the leaders or the rulers are supposed to correct it, not the masses.
Thank you

6 years 11 months ago

I am still clue less how to teach the children the culture and technology which they are using currently. I bow my head to Sadhguru and would like to request him to throw some more light on this....

6 years 11 months ago

Political leaders are corrupt - but, who chose them ? We voted for them. Sadhguru points out that "We only have the kind of leaders we deserve."
If we the people who vote for them don't tolerate corruption even 1%, then we will chose the right leaders.

6 years 11 months ago

The law of demand and supply applies every where. You will only get what you need. If people were good and wanted good politician, they would actively participate in the govt making process and elect good leaders. Be the change that you want to see and world will follow.

6 years 11 months ago

In India people are between devil and sea, they have no other choice.

6 years 11 months ago

In my view you are taking a very limited view of the whole scenario. Sadhguru suggested a good example, if we do not have a policeman do we all obey laws, I think barely 10% would, so here we have got the people as leaders that we deserve. In democracy this is always a slow process, but it is self refining, it has improved to an extent of level of responsibility in last 3 decades and will only go further to be better

6 years 11 months ago

You hav not understood the 10% concept sadhguru is telling about. If only 10% people in the country are law abiding, you can expect only 10% honest politicians. Its a question of how much you deserve.

6 years 11 months ago

What Sadhguru is saying makes a lot of sense, as many people don't care very much about any issues - they disappears after a week or two. The news moves so fast that as soon as a problem is brought up, there is a huge hype about it and it is then quickly forgotten. What can a country expect from politicians if there is no determination? If people really cared, they would have removed the leaders from their positions and put smarter people there. However, it's more like one for himself in India, even the politicians are bursting through for their share (corruption etc.). I think that is the beauty of India though, the fact that there is so much chaos but yet everything goes on as normal. I do agree with Sadhguru, we only have these leaders as we have placed them in power. I think the country as a whole needs to take responsibility of what it has become rather than blame it on a few single people. This is what Democracy really is, the people leading the way rather than one or two. Other regimes are much more dictatorial.

6 years 11 months ago

The definition of a careful driver (these days) is one who looks very carefully in every direction before crossing a red signal. Sadhguru is 100% right as we all have in varying proportions elements of evil/opportunistic behaviour and it is just that some don't get the chance to use it. The "fortunate", ones will continue to loot and scoot or brazenly loot and stay put. Its a demons-mock-crazy life.

6 years 2 months ago

In my country your license plate mumber will be flashed by passing red light or even at high speed. It will cost the driver or the car owner lots of money!

A leader should care for the safety and wellbeing of it's civlians. Therefore citizens have the right to ask them for help and understanding for any injustice affected by society. A leader has to act like a wise father or mother for it's country or province civilians.

" Unfortunately, society has moved in a certain way in imitation of what somebody else is doing in the West."

I totaly agree that not all things from West is a improvement for mankind. Why is it that the majority of the western population is seeking for spirituality from the East, especially India?