The First Step in Spirituality
Sadhguru looks at how it is only when we realize we are mortal that our spiritual process begins. He gives us a simple process that we can put to use every hour, to serve as a first step.
Vinita Bali: So Sadhguru, what are some of the things that you know, all of us who are here listening to you, what are the one or two things that we can do tomorrow, which will… which will increase this level of awareness, perception, thoughtfulness?
Sadhguru: Oh! You’re talking about a takeaway, hmm?
Vinita Bali: In a sense but you know, an enduring takeaway. It’s not light hearted, it’s not you know. because we’ve… you know. we’ve heard a lot and I’m sitting here and saying, okay, so what do I do differently tomorrow?
Sadhguru: Let’s say to learn A-B-C, the twenty-six alphabets - at least if you had learned the Indian… Indian languages, you know fifty-four whatever - twenty-six alphabets, how long did you take to learn to write them properly in their proper order and use them whichever way you want, how long did you take?
Vinita Bali: Oh! I’m still at it, a long time.
Sadhguru: At least three- four years minimum.
Vinita Bali: Yeah, yeah.
Sadhguru: To learn to make sentences and use the way you want, maybe you took twelve-fifteen years of education.
Vinita Bali: Much longer than that, yes.
Sadhguru: Yes? So, you gave so much just to learn some word craft but to know something about the fundamental nature of your existence, which could just change you dimensionally, you want to know it in two minutes. Why are you so unfair?
Vinita Bali: No, I only want to know where to start in two minutes.
Sadhguru: Okay. Where to start? Just do this much - before you go to bed today, one thing is, every hour, okay, remind yourself, right now it’s going to be eight o’ clock, eight o’ clock remind yourself – “Wow! I’m still alive” (Laughter). No, don’t laugh. So many people who go to bed today will not wake up tomorrow morning. More than a million people on the planet will not wake up tomorrow morning. Tomorrow morning, suppose you wake up, (Laughter)… Yes, who knows? You always think, “It’s not me, it’s going to be somebody” (Laughter) - very cruel (Laughs). Tomorrow morning if you do wake up, first check (Gestures) “Am I really awake, alive? I’m still alive, wow!” You don’t have to do anything, don’t scream or something (Laughter), at least one big smile, “Okay, I’m still alive, over a million people didn’t wake up tonight (this morning?), but here I am, alive” – fantastic or no?
Sadhguru: What is the biggest thing in your life? You are alive right now. So, you’re still on tomorrow morning – just one smile, wow (Gestures)! Then maybe there are two, three, four people who matter to you much in your life, just check (Gestures) (Laughter), he and she and that one and this one is alive – all alive, great! If one million people died tonight, which they do every night, at least ten million people lost somebody who is dear to them but none of those, who are very dear to you are gone today, fantastic or no?
Sadhguru: Tch, another big smile, don’t tell anybody (Laughter), just smile, okay, great. Eight o’ clock in the morning – wow, eight o’ clock, still alive. Every one hour, just do this exercise, okay? Every one hour, just remind yourself, check (Gestures) – on. Please understand this, if you think about god, you will become hallucinatory. Only when you are conscious about your mortality, will you want to truly know the nature of this life (Referring to oneself). When you know you’re on right now and tomorrow morning, you may be poof, gone, now you want to know, “What the hell? What is this (Referring to oneself)?” I’m real right now but tomorrow morning, gone. So many people who are so real and on, suddenly gone. Can’t believe where did they go but you thought about it for ten minutes and then you got busy. You had to text, “My father is dead” (Laughter). But remind yourself of your own mortality. Let the question deepen. If you can do it every moment, it’s great. If you cannot, at least once a (an?) hour, remind yourself that you are mortal. You are not immortal, you are mortal. If you know that you are mortal, suddenly you will see in a few days, you have no time to do any nonsense, which doesn’t mean anything to you. You will do only what really matters to your life. You have no time to do any rubbish with anybody. You will have time only to make the… do the best things that you want to do, what you truly care to do in your life and nothing other than that and that’s what you should be doing because it’s a very limited amount of time (Applause).
I want you to know it’s a very brief life - that is, if you’re a joyful person. If you are a miserable person, of course it’s a long life (Laughter). So (Laughs), if you’re joyful, if you live for hundred years, it’s gone too quickly. If you’re miserable, what a long life you will live, you know. So, it’s a very brief life, you should not be doing anything other than what truly matters to you, isn’t it? Yes or no?
Sadhguru: But you are doing so much nonsense, which doesn’t mean anything to you, simply because you think you are immortal. Otherwise people are saying, “No, I will live up to eighty, maybe hundred. So, I will do this at seventy. I will… I will smile at my neighbor when I am seventy-five you know, when all my work is done (Laughter). When all the property issues are settled (Laughter), after that I’ll smile at him.” There is no such guarantee. Has anybody here come with a guarantee card for two days (Laughter)? No, you could be dead tomorrow morning. I’m not wishing that, I bless you with a long life but it’s possible, right? Every day, it’s happening to a million people means, can’t it be you and me tomorrow morning, I’m asking? Yes or no?
Sadhguru: If you are conscious of your mortality, becoming aware will naturally happen because the significance of being alive will blossom. You used all kinds of words, which are straight from the American coast – mindfulness, awareness, mental alertness – no, you need to separate these things. Being mentally alert will help you to survive better. If I’m mentally alert, I can drive better, I can do my work better, I can do something else better, it’s survival.
Vinita Bali: Right.
Sadhguru: Awareness is not about survival. When I first asked you the question, how do you know that you’re here, you went around and then you said, “I’m conscious.” Only because you are aware, you’re alive. Your awareness is aliveness, your aliveness is awareness - the question is only about how alive. Lot of people think if they are fifty percent alive, it’s pretty good. Yes, you can survive fifty percent but you need to understand, if we want to torture somebody… if you want to torture somebody, what would you do? You’ll kill them? Suppose you got… got employment in hell, let’s say, you’re given the job of torturing people, what will you do? Kill them? Hello?
Sadhguru: No. Keep them half alive (Laughter/Applause). If you keep them half alive, that’s called torture. So right now, this is called self-torture, maybe you’re preparing for employment elsewhere (Laughter). Because right from the age of two or three, people… your parents are asking you, “What will you become? What will you become?” Wh… Well, I’m born as a human being, I’m supposed to strive to become a human being. See, every life on this planet, whether it is a bird…if it’s a worm, insect, bird, animal, tree, whatever, every one of them is stri… striving to become a full-fledged life and that’s all. A worm is trying to be a full-fledged worm, a tree is trying to be a full-fledged tree - that’s all a human being also, to become a full-fledged human being. No, no, what will you become means what kind of job will you get – from the age of three (Laughs)! This madness has come because of this whatever the last century of poverty in the country, people are so deprived and they think if they don’t have a job, they won’t eat anything. Tch, you know, it comes from a certain poverty consciousness – we must pass it, that generation is passed.
Right now, if you have a few brain cells working, you can make a li… living, yes? You don’t have to be qualified for anything. If you have a few brain cells working in your head, you can make a living, that’s not a (an?) issue anymore. There was a time it was like that, it's no more like that, it’s time we leave that, it’s not about what you will become, how you will be. What will be the experience of your life? Will it become the peak experience or is it just a mediocre nonsense – this is the question. Because once you have come as a human being, whatever happens, it’s not enough, something more needs to happen. Yes or no?
Sadhguru: You may think you’re doing different things. The man who goes to the temple, the man who goes to the bar, the man who goes to work, the man who goes to conquer the world, every one of them is just seeking a larger slice of life. Some people go to the mall, some people go the PDS, just like that some people think it… it comes free in the temple, so they go there, somebody else go (goes?) to conquer the world, somebody goes shopping. What is it that you’re trying to do? Just trying to have a larger slice of life. But it doesn’t matter if you gather the whole world around you, you will not have a larger slice. Your larger slice will happen only if your ability to perceive is enhanced. If your ability to experience is not enlarged, then you can have everything around you, still your experience is the same. Modern life is just that. No other generation had the things that we are having around us, most homes are looking like a warehouse (Laughter) because their shopping trips, they don’t know where to keep it, everything is falling all over the people, there’s no place for the people, full of things, but does it bring well-being or happiness or anything? No.
You cannot determine the experience of what’s happening within you from outside. It has to happen from within and it is… How enlarged your experience is, is how big your life is, not about socially how big people think you are. That may work socially a few things for you but it do… it doesn’t work in terms of life. So, when we say awareness, we are talking about the essential ingredient of life because only because you are aware, you’re alive. Isn’t it so? Yes?
Sadhguru: Now the question is, how alive? If you have to use an analogy - right now, this light is, you know, blinding me (Laughs). Now if you reduce the voltage, it’ll be like this (Gestures), it’ll light up only that much (Gestures). But they want it to light up everything, so they turned up the voltage. So, if you turn down the voltage, you will see only this much (Gestures), if you turn it up, you will see that much (Gestures), if you really turn it up, you will see the entire hall. Awareness is the same thing. Because you are conscious or you are aware, you know something. If you become little more aware, you will know something more, if you bo… know (become?) little more aware, something more. All these words are connected – pragna, the word guru, all these things are connected because pragna means you’re conscious. Because you are conscious, depending upon the intensity of your consciousness, accordingly your vision of everything around you is enhanced.
Now the word guru means, gu means darkness – tch, it’s a four letter word you know (Laughs) - ru means dispeller. So a guru is not supposed to teach you something, he is not supposed to give you a philosophy, not supposed to give you an ideology. It is just that he is supposed to throw little more light. Little more light means, if I sh… Suppose this hall is dark and you’re only able to see the first two rows, you are not able to see them (Gestures), if I flashed a torch light, you saw, “Oh, all those people, it’s a whole world out there.” But I switched off the torch, then you know, “There is something, now I have to see. What do I need? I need a torch beam of my own, okay” (Laughs)? This is the job. Pe (Laughs)… Because they… the children in the home where I am staying, they’re declaring, “He is… He is not like a guru, he doesn’t talk like a guru, he doesn’t look like a guru, he doesn’t walk like a guru, he’s not a guru” (Laughter). I’m very glad, I’m getting certified (Laughter).
Vinita Bali: Yes, yes.
Sadhguru: (Laughs) Now, about seeing everything the way it is because if I want to walk through this… There’re whole lot of people right now, belief systems, you believe in god, all right? Now, I know in the corporate world, people have shifted this, “I believe in myself” (Laughs).
Vinita Bali: Which is somewhat misplaced but that’s okay (Both laugh).
Sadhguru: Both are misplaced, they produce different kinds of impacts.
Vinita Bali: Absolutely.
Sadhguru: See, belief means what? Essentially, belief means you’re unwilling to admit what you do not know as “I do not know”. Whatever you do not know, you believe. If you believe, what it does to you is, it’ll give you confidence. Confidence without clarity is a disaster. Right now, let us say, I cannot see these people (Gestures), my vision is not clear but I have great confidence, I’m going to walk through these people. You know what I will do? I’ll step over everybody and go because I’m very confident. There’re whole lot of people like this. If my vision is clear, I will go through this without even touching anybody. If my vision is not clear and I have no confidence, I will ask, “Please, can somebody show me the way?” But now, I have no clarity but I have confidence – it’s a disastrous process. So believing in god, believing in yourself, believing in anything means – it’s just a “b” word, you know? You’re just bullshitting yourself about something that you do not know (Laughter).
Vinita Bali: Right, right.
Sadhguru: (Laughs) Wha… What is the problem, “What I know, I know, what I do not know, I do not know” – what is the problem with this? If this much sincerity enters your life, come to this much – “What I know, I know, what I do not know, I do not know. I don’t believe anything, I don’t disbelieve anything, I am willing to look at everything.” You’ll become a sensible human being and every one hour, you remind yourself you are mortal and ec… ex… you know, celebrate with a smile that you’re still alive, you will see wonders will happen to you (Laughs).
Vinita Bali: Thank you. Great (Applause)! So, even a free-flowing…
Sadhguru: Hey, wait, wait, it’s eight o’ clock.
Vinita Bali: No, no, no, no, we have more time (Laughter), we have more time, I was just going to say…
Sadhguru: No, I... I’m not saying that, it’s eight o’ clock you’re still alive, wow (Laughter/Applause)!
Vinita Bali: We are all alive (Applause)! That’s the collective celebration (Sadhguru laughs).