Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?
The day the COVID-19 lockdown was announced across India, Sadhguru had this to say, “Those of you who are on the spiritual path or so you thought—this is a grand time for you. Those of you who are very strategic thinkers, this is a fantastic time for you. Those of you who thought you were musicians or artists, it is an absolutely miraculous time for you. Those of you who thought you are students—not that you are going to school or college, I mean you are a real student, you want to learn—it is an absolutely beautiful time for you.”
While Sadhguru alerted us to the dire realities of the current situation, he also pointed out many unprecedented possibilities that have opened up for us. These could greatly enhance our lives even in these troubled times, and we can take pride in being a part of the solution, instead of the problem.Time to Check If We are Human
Sadhguru: Right now, your fundamental responsibility is to stay alive and to keep everybody around you, especially those who are vulnerable, alive. We have to pass this test. This will only happen out of responsible action.
The fundamental decision: Are we that kind of people who are always a part of the solution or are we a part of the problem?
We have to make up our minds: are we human beings or human creatures? If we are human beings, we should know how to be. If you know how to be, then social interaction is only by choice. If it is not necessary, you can keep to yourself. For those on the spiritual path, being alone, keeping a distance from people, becoming silent are not issues–these are opportunities.
Most human beings are not in this sphere of life unfortunately, so they will struggle. But it is important that those who call themselves spiritual seekers must be super vigilant, willing to step out and do what is needed if the need arises. When everything is well, everybody is fantastic. When challenging times confront us, that is when who we are really matters.
The fundamental question is just this: Are we that kind of people who are always a part of the solution or are we a part of the problem? This is all we have to decide. I have decided. I want all of you, wherever you are, to take this one stance right now: that in these really challenging times for humanity, you shall be part of the solution, not part of the problem. This commitment everybody must take. This is very, very important.
It is a Reminder of Mortality
I want you to understand that the virus is not against you. It is just trying to make its life. Unfortunately, its aggressive way of making life takes away your life. This is just like human activity. Human beings, in search of their well-being, have destroyed life on this planet. Similarly, the virus just wants to thrive, and you are the host. Right now, the fear of virus essentially means mortality is staring in your face. So, you understand how fragile human life is.
This is the time to look at life as it is—not to indulge in adulteration of the truth.
At a time like this, it is good to make a distinction between what is me and what is just mine. What is me, is of vital importance. Whatever may belong to you, you may spend a lifetime gathering them, but there is no container service at the end of your life. We have come here with a limited amount of time and energy. Now there is a reminder of our mortal nature by a microorganism. This is the time to look at life as it is—not to indulge in adulteration of the truth.
Bringing Pratyahara into Life
In today’s world, the amount of visual and the audio input is so heavy that turning inward looks like a very remote thing for most people. A situation like this is a good time to check yourself out and use this opportunity. There is a dimension in Ashtanga Yoga called Pratyahara. Ashtanga Yoga is not a brand, it means eight-limbed yoga. One of the limbs is Pratyahara. Pratyahara means taking your sensory engagement from the outside world and putting it inside. You will see, if you just close your eyes for hours on end in a day—consciously and not sleeping—there is a new dimension of energy available to you.
This is a good time for you to bring some Pratyahara into your life. Just sit with eyes closed. It is alright that the mind is running away, let it run, don’t try to stop it. It will run because it has a certain karmic momentum. If you just leave it for some time without tending to it, it will slow down and stop. All I am saying is, do not engage with the outside world for whatever number of hours that you can. Start with an hour and push it to six-to-twelve hours a day. You will see, you will have the necessary energy to hit the peaks.
Time to Contribute, Not Criticize
It is unfortunate that at a time like this when there is an imminent disaster ahead of us, for the nation, for the world, some do not care what happens to the rest of humanity. All they care about is spilling their vitriol. I hope the virus will cure them of this poison and they will do something useful.
It can pass off without too much disaster if we behave responsibly and do the necessary positive action.
As a generation of people, we have never faced this kind of a situation. This is a bigger emergency than anything that you have known. This is a time when everybody must stand up and do whatever little positive things we can do in our lives. It can pass off without too much disaster if we behave responsibly and do the necessary positive action.
Right now, a lot of things are being done by the government, by various agencies, and above all, by the medical professionals, the police and the forces. They are putting their own lives at risk. So, don’t just sit and crib about everything. See in what way you can contribute without getting out of your house, maintaining distance from people.
Express Your Gratitude
As a nation, I think we lack the ability to acknowledge people when they deserve it. In the past, we were a culture where for every small thing that we received, we always bowed down to each other, but unfortunately this has gone away. Right now, when medical professionals, security agencies, and people who manage essential services are risking their own lives and the lives of their families, it is terrible if we do not acknowledge them. Every day in the morning when you get up, at least till this passes, generate one thought in your mind that we are truly grateful for all these people who are risking their own lives.
Opportunity to Make a Generation of Wonderful Human Beings
Turning off all the machines in the world to this extent, definitely, has a serious and wonderful impact on the ecological structure of this world. If we have sense, as all the schools get six-eight weeks summer holidays, the entire humanity must take three weeks off every year. No machines, no automobiles, no industry, nothing for three weeks.
Because without wonderful people, there is no wonderful world.
If the world has to become better, better technology is not going to do that. Human beings have to upgrade themselves. There is no such thing as enhancing a society because society is just a word, nation is just a word, world is just a word. Without transforming individual human beings, there is no transformation in the world.
So, at least focus on this much: whatever work you are doing in your life—whether you are cooking or making tea or running the country—become ten per cent better. Ten per cent better in everything—physically, mentally, emotionally, and in your competence of whatever you are doing. Every one of you must do this because you will never get this time again in your lifetime. If we do this ten percent improvement every year, in ten years’ time, we will be hundred percent better than what we are. This is the only way you can create a wonderful nation and a wonderful world. Because without wonderful people, there is no wonderful world.
|Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, and visionary, and a prominent spiritual leader. An author, poet, and internationally renowned speaker, Sadhguru is the founder of Isha Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to human wellbeing. (www.isha.sadhguru.org)
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