During an episode of “In Conversation With The Mystic” at Duke University Medical School, Sadhguru, with Dr.Tracy Gaudet and Dr. Mitchell W. Krucoff, looks at how we can create health and wellbeing for ourselves. Sadhguru highlights the role of the 4 elements – air, water, earth and fire – and their importance in experiencing good health and a stress-free life.
Tracey: And so the title of this conversation… the subtitle of conversation with the mystic…
Sadhguru: That’s only for you. I am not conversing with a mystic, so I am at ease. (Laughter)
Tracey: ___ (Unclear) got it. I know and I have many questions you know. Sadhguru said, ‘I have never seen someone with so many questions.’ He said, ‘No answers, only questions.’ I think that the… the subtext which I actually am talking about because I liked it, is an experiential… for today, an experiential symposium on optimal health and well-being. And I think there is a tremendous amount for us to talk about even in that phrase. One is the role of experience and… and I will say that, you know, my office being responsible for cultural transformation, I’ve become obsessed with what is culture and the definition that I use because it guides our strategies. is behavior. This definition was given to me by Erma Rosenberger is behavior either collective or individual behavior based in experience and in sentence; meaning that if we are going to transform or shift what medical… the medical model is today and what healthcare is today, we can’t start with just the data, if people do not have an inner experience, not much will change. Do you… can you say some about what do you think the role of experience is in today and… and in healthcare and for us?
Sadhguru: See, you need to understand this – largely for most human beings, experience is being kind of created and regulated by the way they think and feel. But what you think and what you feel need not necessarily have anything to do with reality as such. There is something called as a psychological reality and there is an existential reality. By controlling or handling the psychological reality well, a lot of people can become healthy, a lot; because for lot of them, that is the cause of their ailment. And it can also fix other things to some extent. So psychol…. like right now, Mitch was talking about, you know, somebody prays and somebody creates a certain attitude around them of love and care and compassion, this is all psychological structure. You create a psychological structure with which you become open to certain dimensions of life. You… It becomes a possibility to transact in a certain way with least amount of friction and creates well-being. But there is an existential dimension to this. Existentially what are you made of… what are… what is the world made of, if you look at it, this is the most fundamental aspect of yoga. This is called as Bhuta Shuddhi.
This means elemental… cleansing of the elemental nature. The whole universe is a manifestation of five elements. So is this body. Out of this five, there are only four that you can really handle; another one you just experience, it’s the ambience for the other four. So, the earth, water, fire, air, and the space. So you only have to handle really four. With four ingredients, so much magic and mischief is happening in the universe. If there were four million, we would be not able to handle it. Four, for sure we can handle, isn’t it?
Four ingredients if they’re functioning the way you want them, then everything about you will be great. Out of these four, 72% of your water… I mean is…your body is actually water, so is the planet. The same composition of the planet you have in your body; about 12% is earth; about 6% is air; 4% is fire; the remaining is space – this is how it is looked at. If you master these four, even if you have a bit of control over these four, you will see miraculously you will generate health within the system. If you fail on this, then the next level of handling this is – nature has evolved certain things in the form of herbs and very things… many things which are healthful to us. So we can learn to use them. If you fail in that, then you can create a psychological structure which will create health for you. If you fail in that, then you go for the chemical treatment. If you fail in that, then you go for a surgery. (Laughs) Direct intervention of cutting something, putting something, if nothing else you are capable of doing.
But now you are talking about a large scale thing across the populations. We always think anything subtle cannot be done large scale. I disagree with that, this is my opinion; because it is just that we have not done enough work towards that and we assume that it’s not possible. To create a certain sensitivity towards something and approach it in a subtle manner is possible, but it’s only possible if it goes into every home, every parent, every man and woman in the… in the world or in the country starts working towards it. When you want such a big goal to be achieved, it’s not going to happen overnight. We must be willing to be committed for a whole generation or two, then something will happen; something wonderful will happen.
But right now, we are in today’s world, everything has to happen by today evening; if it doesn’t happen, tomorrow we dump it and have a new project going. So in that context, it will not happen. In that context, it’s bet… better we work towards a plastic heart and a plastic liver and a plastic kidney where we can start replacing them every five years and somehow function. See, health does not mean that just the medical parameters are okay. Health means you must feel a certain sense of wholeness. The word health itself comes from that word ‘whole.’A certain sense of wholeness – when you wake up in the morning, you are more alive than you are when you went to bed, you feel ten years younger than the time when you went to bed. If you feel like that, that means you are healthy.
It is just that all the tests are showing you are normal, that is still not normal because you have no experience of health. So when you say experience, ultimately we have come here only to experience life, isn’t it? So we know that experience is the most important aspect of life. Now we are talking about the word experience in two different ways. One is our experience of life itself, how profound and how wonderful it is or how nasty and how unpleasant it is. So the pleasantness that we generate in the body, we call this as health. Right now, that is the object of discussion. I don’t want to go further but the same pleasantness if it hits a higher pitch, we call it pleasure. But if your mind becomes pleasant, you would call it peacefulness. If it becomes very pleasant, you would call it joyfulness. If your emotions become pleasant, you would call it love or affection. If it becomes very pleasant, you would call it compassion. If your very life energy if you make it pleasant, we call it bliss. If it becomes very pleasant, we call it ecstasy. This is what a human being is seeking all the time. He wants pleasantness inside.
Well, if your surroundings become pleasant, we call it success. This is what every human being is looking for all the time. There is a whole science as to how to create the inner pleasantness. External pleasantness needs cooperation from many people. It’s not just yours. There are other stakeholders who may want to make it nasty for you. (Laughs) It needs many people’s cooperation but inner pleasantness is one hundred percent yours. But why have you not strived for it? We have not strived for it because generally we have spread this message, ‘It is not possible unless everything in the universe is fixed.’
When I first came to United States, one word I was hearing everywhere is, ‘stress management.’ (Few Laugh) I could not understand this because in my mind, we manage things which are precious to us – our family, our wealth, our business and whatever else which is valuable to us. Why would anybody want to manage stress, is something I couldn’t get for some time. (Laughs) It is just because we have spread the idea that stress is a part of your life. Stress is not a part of your life, stress is not because of your job, stress is simply because you do not know how to manage your own system.
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