The Joy of Action - Sadhguru on Why He Does What He Does
Why would an enlightened being choose to continue engaging in the world? Sadhguru explains that the true joy of action is known only to one who has no need for action.
Q: You are managing all these activities in Isha, plus all the traveling, talks, you have to deal with people and answer the same questions over and over again. What do you get out of this? For me, it looks like a lot of stress. If I was enlightened, I would just go sit and be happy about it. Why are you doing what you are doing?
Sadhguru: The true joy of action is known only to that person who has no need for action. When you are compulsively active, you do not know what action is. If I close my eyes, I can sit like this till I fall dead. If I just sit in one place for any number of days, I do not have a single thought in my mind. I am just alive, that is all. No thinking, no emotions, nothing – just life. When you have no need for action, when there is no compulsiveness about your action, every single movement that you make with your body or in your mind or whatever you are doing, just tickles you into ecstasy. If you do not do anything, once again you are ecstatic!
The most beautiful part of my life is when I am doing absolutely nothing – not just in body, in every way – just not doing anything. But you get into action because you look around you and see it is needed. When anything beautiful happens to you, you have a natural urge to share it. Even if you hear a good joke, do you go home, cover yourself with a blanket and tell it to yourself? Or do you want to find your friend and tell him the joke? Somewhere, what is you and what is the other is not different; you cannot ignore it.
Does it mean we have to desperately do something? – No. As I said, if I close my eyes, there is no need for me to open them once again. I can just sit and finish my life. But people are living in various ways.
I do not know how much you are exposed to human suffering. Every day, I meet hundreds of people and my problem is the moment they sit in front of me, I see them through and through – every bit of them. It does not matter how joyful a face they put on, I see them through and through. If you look at the variety of suffering that human beings have invented, it is truly amazing. How many ways they have discovered to suffer! The keepers of hell are no competition for you.
There was a time when this whole thing was new inside me, and if I just looked at people, I would burst out in tears – always, anywhere. Because I am bursting with blissfulness and they are walking around miserable for no reason. Everything that I have, they also have within themselves but they are going around with a miserable face. I withdrew for long periods, just to not see them. Now, I have learnt to laugh because with tears, you cannot work. Now I laugh, not because you are suffering and I am not, but because of the way you are creating suffering for yourself, when there is absolutely no need to.
What is Most Needed
You may think you have any number of reasons for your suffering, but please look at it sincerely – there is no reason. Somewhere, you lost your basic balance with life. You have gone off your rocker with life. What we offer as Inner Engineering is essentially so you can do something about this. My teaching or my method is not in my words. I am speaking logically to you because right now, that is the only thing you can understand. If you are willing to sit with me for one moment, without all this logical nonsense, I will make you burst. But you are sitting with me not because you experience me the way I am, or because you see any other value or experience, but simply because I am making logical sense to you. It is a very poor way of being with me.
After the Dhyanalinga consecration, I had set up everything to leave, but for some reason I stayed on. So I am anyway here among people, so I can do something. When there is no compulsiveness to act, you will naturally do what is most needed. Right now, what I see is most needed in the world is that people can move at least one notch up in the way they experience life. It would be a huge relief for themselves and for the planet.
A version of this article was originally published in Isha Forest Flower November 2008.