Life Questions

When Privacy Matters: Why Do We Like to Be Left Alone?

A Talk by Sadhguru From the 90-Day Wholeness Program in 1994

In a throwback to the initial days of the Isha Yoga Center, here is an excerpt from a talk by Sadhguru during the legendary 90-day Wholeness Program of 1994 at the Isha Yoga Center. He explains where the need for privacy actually comes from and how it is an obstacle on the spiritual path.

Why Do We Have a Need for Privacy?

Question: Sadhguru, sometimes I feel cornered and need some privacy. And I’m also wondering, isn’t wanting to be alone part of the spiritual process?

Sadhguru: You are feeling cornered because you are closed. There is a boundary beyond which you do not allow anyone. When someone enters there, you feel cornered. The whole effort is to break that boundary.

Being alone is different. You can really be alone only when everything is a part of you, and there is nothing else and no one else except you. That ultimate realization is aloneness. Separation is not aloneness. Then what is this privacy? Whenever we feel uncomfortable, we want to be left alone. No one is intruding, and they do not even know how to intrude. The moment you set a boundary, they will leave you alone. Only I am intruding into everything. Even if you set up a barrier, I will come in another way. Had I just left you, you would not be here today.

When You Are Standing in Your Own Way

A lot of you are still in that state where if you are simply told something, even if it is the best thing for you, you get a little irritated. This is because you have your own personality, your own will, and your own privacy. We have to talk to you as if we are asking you. But actually, seeing what is best for you, we are telling you. Even though it is best for you, you will resist because someone is telling you. If your surrender is total, this is unnecessary. If someone oversteps your privacy, you will be offended. If there is no need for privacy, then there is no possibility of getting offended.

It needs trust to hand yourself over like that. We told you because if you were given a choice, you would do something else. I have told you many times, but after a few days, you will again come and say, “This is not for me.” Forgot about “me.” There is no “you” right now. As long as your being is not established, there is no “you.” There is only a mess of mind and emotions. Do not consider this mess that you have gathered from outside as “you.”

When I am talking to you, I know I am not talking to you as a being. There are moments when you are with me as a being. In those moments, there is absolutely no problem; nothing needs to be said; everything happens the way it has to happen. But when you come with your mess, we have to talk to you. We have to handle your mind and emotions carefully. Otherwise, if you do one wrong thing, this tangle may run away. The inner being may be dying to be here, but the tangle of mind and emotions may take you away.

Two Paths to Oneness

My being and your being cannot be different. If you are on that level, we can do anything we want; there is no question of privacy. Universality means either there is only you, or you are not there. These are the two ways. The path of responsibility is that there is only you. The path of surrender is that you are not there. If only you are there, the whole existence is you; there is no privacy. If you are not there, there is no question of privacy at all.

The physical body needs some privacy – that is different. But when you fall in love with someone, then there is no need for privacy because somewhere, there is a feeling of oneness. When it comes to universality, do you need privacy? A Yogi walks naked on the street. He has got no problem, no need for physical privacy. I am covering myself not because I need privacy, but because you are not able to digest it. Because even when you look at me, you have this need for privacy. The moment love enters your life, the need for privacy disappears. Only because love is lacking, privacy is a big issue in your life.

When the Need for Privacy Disappears

The need for privacy is a need for separation. It is a boundary that you have set. When your responsibility is unlimited, you are moving the boundary to the infinite – that means there is no boundary. If you tell someone to remove this boundary, can they remove it? They do not even know where it is. You are setting your boundary with your responsibility. If you are a clerk, you want to become a manager because you are trying to increase your boundary. Everyone has an urge to increase their boundary.

Why do you want more money, friends, and property? You are longing to become bigger than you are right now. A piece of property does not make you bigger, whether you own one acre of land or a thousand acres. Only when your responsibility has increased, do you feel a little bigger – the boundary has been extended. When you move into unlimited responsibility, there is no boundary on you, and no need for privacy anymore.