Feeling Worthless? Sadhguru on Usefulness in Life
Have you ever felt worthless or like you can’t do anything right? Sadhguru explains that the value of life is not in its usefulness, but in its beauty, exuberance and intensity.
Q: Namaskaram, Sadhguru. Somehow I feel that I can’t do anything right and that I’m a liability to others. What can I do about that?
Sadhguru: You need to constantly hold your attention on what you want to do, without diverting it for a moment. Start by trying to commit your attention on something for an hour, then a day. If you maintain your attention and there is enough intensity to it, every door in the universe will open to you. The ultimate possibility will become a reality for you if only you make it the single top priority. The problem is that right now, you have many priorities. This does not mean you must give up your life, or that you should do a particular thing. What you do is immaterial. But there should be only one priority. If you keep it that way, why should you be a liability?
In Tamil Nadu, there is a much valued tree called pungai maram (Indian Beech). It does not bear any edible fruits. Nor can you brush your teeth with its twigs, unlike the neem tree. But it is hugely valued, simply because it quietly does its own thing. It is said that this tree is most loved by the singing birds of southern India. There are scientific claims that certain trees generate more oxygen than others, and that they therefore draw more life towards themselves than others. I do not want to go that way, but if you sit under a pungai maram tree, the coolness that it exudes when you sit under its shade is very different from that of any other tree. We could go into reasons, but by dissection, you will only know physical aspects – you will not know the essence.
Life’s Value is Not in Usefulness
We value life for its beauty, exuberance and intensity, not for its usefulness. So, do not try to be an asset, or else someone may want to buy you. Just keep yourself exuberant, joyful and beautiful within. Hungry people will look for fruits in the tree. Joyful people will look for flowers in the tree. When we started the ashram, there were only three trees in the entire land. When volunteers and residents came together to plant trees here, there was a segment of people who only wanted fruit trees and vegetables. But I insisted on planting flowering trees.
Flowers are useless and so fragile. But if you come to the ashram, especially those of you who live in big cities, who have to take in stink on a daily basis, you must enjoy the fragrance of this place, which is happening because of these useless flowers. So do not try to be an asset. Just be life – full-fledged, in every way. Everyone loves to be around a full-fledged life. If you are a constipated life, slowly, the stink will rise to your head. Purity is not a quality – it is the absence of filth. If you want to become a wonderful human being, you do not need additions – you need subtractions. If you drop certain things, you will be wonderful.
A Complete Life
You do not need any add-ons, because this life is complete by itself, and it is beautiful by itself. Just look at yourself – for your system to function the way it does, you must be a complete life. If you do not feel complete right now, it is because you do not know how to use your brain. Either you should learn to use it for your wellbeing, or you should learn to keep it aside for a while. Do not look at yourself or others as assets or liabilities. I do not value life for its usefulness but for its quality and exuberance.
The castrated bullock that is drawing the cart looks at the rampaging bull elephant in the jungle and thinks, “What a useless life!” That is what happens when you are castrated and only think of the usefulness of life. What is useful about you being born and dying one day? What is the use of the human race? What is the use of this life? There is no use to life. It is just that if you hit the right pitch, life is fantastic.
Editor’s Note: Find more of Sadhguru’s insights in the ebook, “Life and Death in One Breath”. Purchase and download at Isha Downloads.
A version of this article was originally published in Isha Forest Flower, January 2017. Download as PDF on a “name your price, no minimum” basis or subscribe to the print version.