Skepticism and Being Open – What’s The Right Balance?
Sadhguru answers a question on believing or disbelieving things outside of our experience, and speaks of how there is nothing wrong with doubt.
Questioner: Namaskaram, Sadhguru. I have heard you speak a lot about how it is important to neither believe nor disbelieve things that are outside of our experience. But my mind is so binary – it wants to go one way or the other, true or false. At the same time, I have developed a lot of trust because many of the things that you have said have proved to be true in my life. How can I stay balanced between being skeptical and being open?
Sadhguru: There are two aspects to this. There is something called “doubt,” and there is something called “suspicion.” Suspicion is sickness, because you are assuming that something has to be wrong. A suspicious mind is always a sick mind. Doubt is different – it means you do not know. It is not a crime not to know. If someone says something and you have trust in that person, you can invest some time, energy, and resources to explore and know. If you do not have trust in that person, you cannot invest that time and energy, because time and energy are limited.
How do you come to trust? One thing is if it makes sense to you. Another thing is if it has worked.
Basically, life is a certain amount of time and energy. If it is a bundle of lies and you invest your time and energy, it would be a waste of life. In that context, you need trust, but you should neither try to trust nor to distrust. How do you come to trust? One thing is if it makes sense to you. Another thing is if it has worked. Even if it has not worked for you, but it seems to have worked for everyone around you, you can invest some time to explore, not to believe. If you explore with the necessary keenness, you will see. Do not jump from trust to distrust, belief to disbelief.
If you come to the Inner Engineering program, everything makes sense to you, because that is the nature of the program. If you come to Bhava Spandana, nothing makes sense to you, but if you really give yourself these three days, it will blow you away. If it did not, nothing makes sense but it seems to work for people around you. They are being blown away, but you are still debating whether to throw yourself into it or not.
If you come to the Samyama program and you become meditative, you will think I am God because of the energy that is created there and what you experience there. Suppose you did not settle into your meditation; if in the end, all you got is numb legs and an aching back, I do not want to say the words that you will think about me! But what to do, this is a chance I am taking with you.
I am not doing anything that I believe or disbelieve. I am only doing what has worked for me. If it does not work for you right now, it simply means it needs a little more preparation. If you think, “Maybe it worked for you, but I’m made differently,” I can tell you, fortunately, you are not made differently. For any human being, the fundamental mechanics are the same. On the surface, our likes and dislikes may be different, our conscious memory may be different, but the basic mechanics are not different.
If it does not work for you, maybe you are not listening to the instructions. That is very much possible. It takes some people many years to realize that they got the instructions wrong. Or you are not keen and focused enough. Or it takes a little more preparation for you. Either way, it cannot not work at all, because it has worked for me.
Recently, someone filed a Habeas Corpus case for two chimpanzees with the New York District Court, because a university is using them for some experimentation. Like you can file for Habeas Corpus to obtain the release of a person who is unlawfully being detained or imprisoned, they said because chimpanzees have thoughts and emotions that are pretty close to those of human beings, they must be released. The court is confused. Never before, they have faced such a case.
Do not ever claim you are different. It is just that you have not been willing to really work with yourself. You want instant results. You can have instant results, but they will not last. We can flip everyone into a momentary experience, but to grow into it is best. It may take some time, but if you grow into it, it cannot be taken away. If we flip you into it, you flip in and flip out. If you want it to last, something more enduring has to be done. I know this much – what works within me has to work in every human being, because the fundamental mechanics are the same.