Seeing Through Midlife Crisis
Sadhguru, lately I’ve been experiencing a
deep feeling of emptiness in my life. Is this my
When was your life not a crisis? Childhood was a crisis, adolescence, searching for a career, midlife, menopause, old age, death—when is your life not a crisis?
Midlife must be balanced, isn’t it so? The problems of youth are over, the problems of old age yet to come. Midlife should be the best part of your life, but you are calling that a crisis. It is not that midlife is a crisis—you are a crisis.
What is passed off as midlife crisis is just that the energy of youth is gone. Now the energy is running out, so you think it is a crisis.
What you call a crisis is just a change. You don’t know how to deal with the change, so you call it a crisis. If you don’t want change, either you must go to your grave, or you must get enlightened. Otherwise there is nothing that does not change. When you resist change, you resist life, and you invite suffering.
Life is just situations. Some situations we know how to handle, some we do not. If you live a life where you already know how to handle every situation, you will die of boredom. If you do not know how to handle the next situation, you should be excited, but you think it is a crisis.
So there are two options: boredom or crisis. If you face a situation that you do not know how to handle, you have to organize your body, mind, emotion, and energy so that you can figure out how to handle the situation. But you don’t want to organize these aspects of who you are because they have become like a concrete block, which does not want to change. This concrete block wants to go through every stage of life in the same shape and form—this will not work.
When you are forty, and you still want to go about your life as if you were eighteen, you will feel forty is a crisis. Forty is not a crisis, nor is eighty, nor death. It is a natural process of life. Because you get identified with one stage of life, the next stage feels like a crisis. Nothing is a crisis; there are just situations in life. Is it changing the way you want it, or is it changing haphazardly? That is the only question.
Whichever way it changes, it is better than stagnation, because human life cannot bear stagnation. ‘Midlife crisis’ just means ‘my life is stagnating.’ ‘Everything is the same: the same house, the same dishwashing, the same husband.’ This is only a mental conclusion you have made. Otherwise, every day, every moment, change is happening in your body, in your mind, in everything—but you have no eyes for life. You are preoccupied with your mind, and your mind has become cyclical. It feels like stagnation and crisis.
If you observe everything happening around you, you will see life is a constant process of change; nothing is ever stagnant. Both within and outside, everything is constantly in a dynamic process of change. If you are involved with life, you will never feel it is a crisis. You are only involved with your thought and emotion, so it is a crisis. It is good that it is a crisis because otherwise, you will never look for a way out of falsehood. You will settle into falsehood for good.
Crisis is better than tragedy. If you entertain yourself with your own thought and emotion for the rest of your life, never realizing what you are doing, that would be tragic. Crisis is better than that—crisis could awaken you, but a tragedy finishes you off.
Understand that the crisis is 100% the making of your mind and your emotions. If you do not realize that, you will go on creating crisis after crisis. If you realize, it will disappear.
|Named one of India’s 50 most influential people, Sadhguru speaks before millions annually around the globe, including to prominent leadership forums such as the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, TED, and the World Peace Congress. From groundbreaking yoga programs to projects for rural communities and the environment, Sadhguru’s Isha Foundation (www.IshaFoundation.org) serves as a thriving model for human empowerment, which is reflected in the Foundation’s special consultative status with the UN.
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