Just Doing It: Expectations in the Spiritual Process
A seeker expresses frustration at not discerning progress on the spiritual path. For those worried about what “level” they have reached, Sadhguru advises, leave behind the worries and expectations and just do it!
Q: I have been doing yoga for one and a half years now. The more I wait, the more frustrating it becomes. How do I know where I am on the path of spirituality? Up to what level have I reached?
Sadhguru: All levels are relative. You want to be one step above someone else who started only one year ago? As long as this level-business is there in your head, there is no spirituality. When the frustration builds up sufficiently, when you think, “To hell with this yoga, I am not getting anywhere anyway,” just keep doing it. The whole yogic process is structured in such a way that you cannot do it without being alert. The day you remain alert without being interested in getting anywhere, when you just do a simple process, something will explode within you. As long as you keep thinking, “What level am I? Am I going one ahead?” you are still in the rat race – you do not go anywhere. So forget about the levels.
Entanglement or Liberation?
Being involved but not entangled is the essence. Just do your practice in the morning. And throughout the day, be aware of the other aspects that were taught to you. You have to make it in such a way that every aspect of your life becomes yoga. Sitting, standing, eating, sleeping – everything is yoga. Yoga means that which allows you to reach your higher nature. Either you use your body, mind, emotion and energies to entangle and mess yourself up, or you use the same four faculties to liberate yourself, to move into higher and higher dimensions of blissfulness and wonderment within you. The instruments of imprisonment and instruments of liberation are not different.
Your body, mind, emotion and energy are all functioning, but at different levels for different people. In one person, the body may be dominant, in another the mind may be dominant, in another person the emotion may be dominant, while in another, the energy may be dominant. The proportions of this concoction are unique for each person, but it is the same four ingredients. You are all the four. Unless you do a yoga which handles all four in an appropriate proportion for you, you will not move ahead.
Make the Practice into an Offering
The basic practices are designed to open up the fundamental aspects. There are many reasons why it takes a certain amount of time for different persons. Do not worry about that. You made a commitment. Just do it. If you do not know how to just do it, do it as an offering. “This is not for me. I will just do this yoga every day, dedicating it to my Guru.” That is a simple way to remove this rat race in you.
It can be an endless thought process if you keep asking “What level am I in? Am I better than somebody who started before or after me?” Making the practice an offering is a simple way of stopping this nonsense and just doing it. Whether it is spirituality or anything else for that matter, life will not yield to you because you desire it. Life yields to you because you make yourself capable. Whether it is money, love or a spiritual process, anything in this world yields to you because you do the right things, otherwise it will not.
On a certain day, a man fell into a septic tank, right up to the neck in filth. He desperately tried to come out, but he could not. After some time, he started screaming, “Fire, fire!” Neighbors heard this fire call and called the fire brigade who then came rushing. They looked all over the place – no fire. Then they found this man in the septic tank, pulled him out and asked him, “Why were you screaming ‘fire?’ Where is the fire?” Then the man retorted, “If I had said, ‘shit, shit’ would you come?” You have to do the right things, otherwise right things will not happen to you.
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A version of this article was originally published in Isha Forest Flower June 2009.