Sadhguru and Shekar Kapur on Stress
Sadhguru answers a question from filmmaker Shekar Kapur about stress. Sadhguru looks at how stress does not occur because of the nature of our activity or situations we are in. It is an inability to manage our inner situation.
Shekhar Kapur: I know. One last question, Sadhguru. And I will not say this interview ends, because I will come back for more, (Sadhguru Laughs) because there can’t be an end… end to this interview.
Sadhguru: There’s no end to this. (Laughs)
Shekhar Kapur: No, there’s no end. And one last question, because I know people will say, “Well, why didn’t you ask him about stress?” (Sadhguru Laughs) And I’ll say, “Well…” Because I don’t understand… I cannot define stress. (Sadhguru Laughs) There’re a lot of the things that… a lot of the questions people ask me, and very well know that… since I’ve been interviewing you, they’ll say… but I know that the… we get addicted to keywords, but is there a… is there, I mean, what is… is there a definition that we can assign to the idea of stress?
Sadhguru: (Laughs) I must tell you this. When I first went to United States a few years ago, wherever I went, everybody was talking about stress management. I really couldn’t understand this, because in my understanding we manage things which are precious to us, okay? (Laughs)
Shekhar Kapur: All right. (Laughs) Okay.
Sadhguru: Our business, our family…
Shekhar Kapur: Yeah.
Sadhguru: …our money, our wealth, our children – we manage all these things because these are all things precious to us. Why would anybody manage stress? I couldn’t get this. (Both Laugh) When this word was thrown at me everywhere, “Stress management, stress management,” I said, “Why manage stress?” It took me a while to understand these people have concluded that stress is a part of their life. Stress is not a part of your life. Stress is just your inability to manage your own system. Stress is not because of the nature of your work. The Prime Minister is comp… complaining of stress. The chapparasi also complaining of stress. In between, every other person saying his job is stressful and unemployed are stressful. (Claps) (Laughs)
Shekhar Kapur: Yeah.
Sadhguru: They don’t have anything to do (Laughs) – that also they’re stressful. So you’re suffering your job. If I get you fired, will you be joyful?
Shekhar Kapur: No.
Sadhguru: No. So, stress is not about your job, obviously, isn't it? It is just that you do not know how to manage your body, how to manage your mind, how to manage your emotions, your energy, your chemistry, you do not know how to manage anything! You’re functioning by accident, so everything is stressful. You get into a vehicle, you get into a car without a steering wheel or you get into a car, if you turn this way (Gestures), it goes in the opposite direction – you will be stressful, isn't it?
Shekhar Kapur: Yeah.
Sadhguru: So right now that’s the kind of mechanism you’re driving. Without understanding anything about it, just by chance you’re going, blundering through life – you will be stressful. So stress is not because of the nature of the activity that you’re performing, not because of life situations. Stress is simply because you do not know how to manage your… your own system. What is stressful for you, somebody is breezing through it. Isn't it so?
Shekhar Kapur: Correct.
Sadhguru: So definitely situation… Stress… stress is not situational. It is just an inability to manage the inner situation, not the outer situation.
Shekhar Kapur: Okay, Sadhguru. Can we end with a story?
Sadhguru: (Laughs) Stress story you want?
Shekhar Kapur: Well, there was a story that I don’t remember very clearly, but you told this to us, about higher purpose, about these people that were working in a temple. (Sadhguru Laughs) That seems to give a lot of what the…
Sadhguru: See, essentially the quality of our lives change and transform not because we change the content of our lives – only because we have changed the context of our life. Someone is living a beautiful life does not mean he’s doing something different when he wakes up in the morning. He also goes to the toilet. He also brushes his teeth. He also does the same things. But somehow his life is magical and beautiful because of the context. This could have happened to people when they fall in love with somebody. They were doing the same thing, suddenly they are in love with someone, suddenly everything is different because the context of their life has changed. But then once they fall out of it, again (Laughs) the context of their life changes and it becomes miserable. Now, changing the context is something which is voluntary, which is just something that you can do willfully. Changing the content may not be possible as you will. Because to change the content of your life, you need permission from the situations in which you exist, isn't it?
Shekhar Kapur: Yeah.
Sadhguru: But to change the context of life, you don’t need anybody’s permission. You… it is not at all situational. So on a certain day, three men were working in one place.
Sadhguru: So on a certain day, three men were working in one place. Another ma… another man came by and asked the first man, “What are you doing here?” This man looked up and said, “Can’t you see I’m cutting stone? Are you blind?” This man moved on to the next man and asked, “What are you doing here?” That man looked up and said, “Something… something to fill my belly. I come here and do whatever they ask me to do. I just have to fill my belly, that’s all.” He went to the next man, the third man and asked, “What are you doing here?” That man stood up in great joy and said, “I’m building a beautiful temple here!” All of them are doing the same thing, but their experience of what they’re doing is worlds apart. Every human being, every moment of his life could be doing whatever he is doing in any one of these three contexts and that’ll determine the quality of his life, not what he is actually doing. How simple an activity you’re doing or how complex an activity you’re doing doesn’t change the… the quality of your life. With what context are you doing, changes the quality of your life, isn't it?
Shekhar Kapur: Completely.