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Contentment is Containment

By Sadhguru Email By Sadhguru
November 2014
Contentment is Containment

Misery is better than lethargy because there is an intensity to misery. Lethargy is death-like. In suffering there is intensity. Intensity has found a negative expression, but still there is intensity, there is life. But in lethargy there is no life. When I say lethargy, I am not talking about you not going to work. I am talking about a certain lethargy that has entered your life. You have become lethargic with life itself. It is called tamas.

If you become pure life, it is very beautiful. If you become a life which is intense but enslaved to certain things, then you will be saying, “If good things happen, I will laugh; if bad things happen, I will cry.” That is a deep state of enslavement to the situations in which you exist. The nature of life is such that nobody can control the outside situations 100% the way they want them. So, naturally you will have your dose of misery and a dose of joy. Once life is like this, you fear misery. Even if misery is not there on a daily basis, you fear what will happen to you all the time.

Look at your life: almost everything that you have done is only in pursuit of security. From education, to marriage, to a job, to whatever you are doing, it is all in search of security. Security is on many different levels—physical, economic, social, emotional, or psychological securities. And people want to go to heaven. They are praying to gods because they want ultimate security. So, if security is the basis of everything that you are doing, insecurity will be your quality. Insecurity means fear.

When you live in fear, can you also claim to be joyful? There may be moments when you forget your fear, but as long as it is there, there is no question of joy. You neither laugh all your laughter nor cry all your tears. You will live a life of insipidness. When fear is the basic emotion which decides the quality and the content of your life, you never know life. Every step that you take is only half a step.

People cannot do anything with abandon. They cannot sing with abandon, they cannot dance with abandon, they cannot work with abandon, they cannot run with abandon. There is no sense of freedom or abandon in them because fear rules everything. This you call as contentment. People are asking for contentment because they are scared of life.

Contentment means containment. Why would anybody want to contain his life? You cannot overdo life, you can only underdo it. Can you live or die too much? You can only live and die. If you have lived a life of contentment, that means you did not live, you contained your life. Now, does it mean to say I must be unbridled greed? That is not the point.

This idea of greed and contentment has come into your mind only because there is no strong experience of life. Greed has become a possibility in one’s life only because somehow their experience of life is not enough. They think by accumulating things, their life will become fulfilled. You may label them as greedy, but all they are trying to do is enhance their life by adding a lot of things. That is all greed is. What you call as greed is pursuit of more life.

When you are stingy in your greediness, that is when you become just greedy. If you become absolutely greedy, then you become spiritual because what you call as spirituality is not being willing to settle for anything. You are not willing to settle for a piece of creation. You are looking for unlimited expansion—that is spirituality. You are seeking the infinite—that is spirituality. That is greed, isn’t it? Greed unbounded.


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 ground-breaking 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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