Sadhguru: Relationships are necessary to exist in the world. You may not get married or raise a family, but you still have relationships with anything and everything around you. Whether you keep them beautiful or ugly is the only choice you have. For most people, though relationships initially bring joy, after a while they only bring anxiety. This happens because we have been building relationships out of compulsiveness, not out of choice. Please see, it isn’t your enemies who are taking your life. It is the things you have always wanted and which you have created with lots of care that are taking your life every day. If your enemy wants to kill you, that’s understandable. But it is your loved ones who are taking your life. Somewhere, we haven’t gotten the fundamentals right.</p>

If you had a choice between pleasantness and unpleasantness, between joy and misery, between beauty and ugliness, what would you choose? Definitely, you would choose joy and pleasantness. But why is unpleasantness happening? Why is misery happening? Simply because nothing of you is in your control; everything is happening accidentally. Your mind, emotion, energy and body are not happening the way you want them to happen. They are mostly decided by the external situations. If the outside situations are pleasant, you also become pleasant. If the outside situations are unpleasant, you also become unpleasant. Who you are is very deeply enslaved to the situations in which you exist. If someone tells you when you should get up, when you should lie down, what you should eat and what you should wear, you consider this slavery. But right now, someone else is deciding how you will be within yourself – whether you will be happy or unhappy. Isn’t this a most horrible form of slavery?

Building Relationships Consciously

So you have no relationships, you are just enslaved to things around you. A relationship is possible only when there is some sense of freedom within you as to who you are. Otherwise, this is just slavery and compulsiveness. Because of physical, emotional or psychological compulsiveness, you are building relationships of different types. When you exist here as a compulsive being, you cannot operate as a conscious being. Once there is no conscious way of existence, what you want will not happen. Whichever way situations push you, that is the way your life will happen. You become accidental. Once you exist here as an accident, you are a potential calamity.


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Only if you are an individual by yourself, you can hold a relationship. Otherwise, because of compulsive needs, you hang on to someone. That’s not really a relationship. This is just clinging. You would actually cling to anything. Right now it happens to be human beings. If you are not okay by yourself, if you are using the other person to fill in the gap, it will be constant trouble. If you really want to have absolutely fantastic relationships no matter where you go, first, you need to establish yourself as a joyful human being.

Choosing Joy

Lao-tzu, who opened up the path of Tao, was one of the most beautiful human beings that ever walked this planet. At the age of eighty-four, when he was on his death bed, his disciples gathered around him and asked, “Master, we have seen you in all kinds of extreme situations but you have always been joyful. What is the secret?”

Lao Tzu said, “Oh, that! It is just that every day when I wake up in the morning, a thought comes to me, ‘Today, shall I be joyful or miserable?’ Until now, I just happened to choose joy, that's all.”

That’s all it is. If you choose to be joyful this moment, you can be joyous. It is just that you have to make a choice every moment that you want to be joyous. Consciously, very firmly make a choice that you will live as a joyous human being. Don’t put it on mortgage – “But if this happens how can I be joyous? If that happens how can I be joyous?” “Whatever happens I will live as a joyous human being.” Make a choice like that. If you are fine by yourself, then wherever you go you will have wonderful relationships with people.

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Editor's Note: Images courtesy: Lao-tzu from Wikipedia