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Loosen Your Grip

By Sadhguru Email By Sadhguru
January 2018
Loosen Your Grip


Sadhguru shares the background to his latest poem “Mingle,” as well as his observations on why it is a struggle for human beings just to be happy. He says, “You are life—everything else, including the body and the mind, are accessories to life. Accessories are there to facilitate and enhance, not to overshadow or occupy life.”

Someone very dear to me passed on. As I was at the [Isha Institute of Inner Engineering in Tennessee], gazing at the wonderful valley rich in life, and became aware of his passing, two poems seeped out of me. Here is one for you.




Ah, the joy of knowing
that your very body
shall become the green
leaf and the red flower

Over time there shall be
no visceral evidence of
One’s earthly venture
The very sod that we
walk upon are us

Every leaf and flower
are us. Only in Spirit
can you know this
Mingle. In this Mingle
is the essence of all that is life.

If you can know this Mingle when in flesh and blood, the fullness of this experience is generally referred to as self-realization. But let’s not even talk about mukti. Just keeping themselves healthy, peaceful, and happy is a big issue for a lot of people. Some resort to pharmaceuticals, alcohol, and drugs—others have come up with so many different ways in which they are trying to become peaceful and happy.

In one of his manifestations, Shankaran Pillai was a verbally abusive husband. One day, he suddenly stopped in the middle of a litany of abuse and said, “I’m screaming and yelling at you all the time, but you are never yelling back at me. You seem to be very peaceful. Are you secretly doing Isha Yoga? What is the trick?” She looked at him and said, “I just cleaned the toilet.” He said, “What?! How are cleaning the toilet and being peaceful connected?” She said, “I use your toothbrush.”

Being peaceful and happy is a huge effort as long as you are lost in your psychological activity. One fundamental reason why human beings are incapable of handling their own mental structure is simply because they want to be better than someone else. Once, Shankaran Pillai was trekking with a friend in the Velliangiri forest. Then they saw a tiger, looking at them hungrily. Shankaran Pillai pulled out a new pair of sneakers and put them on. The friend said, “You fool, run! What are you wearing shoes for? Do you think you can outrun the tiger?” Shankaran Pillai calmly said, “I don’t have to outrun the tiger—I just have to outrun you.” Never has a tiger eaten two people at a time.

This is the modus operandi of a whole lot of people—they just want to do a little better than someone next to them. That is something we are trying to change. Don’t even look where someone else is running. Just make sure that you are doing your best, that you are running at your peak. Whether someone else is doing better than you or worse than you is not the point. The point is that you feel like life. The nature of life is not worry, disturbance, resentment, anger, or anything like that. If you look at any other life-form, whether it is a blade of grass, a tree, or an animal—if the fundamental requirements are taken care of, life is exuberant. Only human beings are getting depressed—why? Because they don’t feel like life. They are just a bunch of thoughts, emotions, ideas, prejudices, and nonsense.

The only way to really feel like life is to distance yourself from your psychological activity. All the one-hundred-and-twelve methods that Adiyogi offered fundamentally lead to that place where your mind starts to function purposefully, rather than being all over the place. Drinking, popping pills, even closing your eyes and breathing in a certain way are all attempts to get your mind to give you some space. If you want a permanent solution, you need a clear distinction as to what is really you and what is not. Anything that is not you is only with you for a brief amount of time: your body, your thoughts, your family and friends, your work, your possessions, and so on.

What occupies people most is their own body and mind. Depending on how you hold them, you will either suffer them, or you will be spot-on with life. It doesn’t take effort to be life. I’m just reminding you—you are life. People want to drown themselves in alcohol, drugs, excessive food, or whatever else because in some way, they have come to the conclusion that the solution is not to be life. But that’s not a solution—that’s a deception. I want you to be conscious that you are life. This is the reason why I’m constantly reminding you that you will die one day.

Don’t live like a mechanical creature, who can walk and talk and do whatever things you do but cannot be life. No matter what you do, it proves you are life. Even when you die, it proves you were life—otherwise you couldn’t die. You cannot escape this reality, neither with tricks of life nor with death. This is not a trap—this is a tremendous possibility. The soil that you walk upon is aspiring to become life. If there was no aspiration, the soil wouldn’t stand up as a tree. Essentially, everything in the universe is aspiring to be life, and to become a higher life. The only way to quieten this aspiration is by pretending to not be life or by getting enlightened. The same result but worlds apart.

The simplest and most fundamental thing you can do for you and everyone around you is just to be full-fledged life. You don’t have to be in any particular way.

You are life—everything else, including the body and the mind, are accessories to life. Accessories are there to facilitate and enhance, not to overshadow or occupy life. If you were aware every moment of your life that everything you possess, including your thoughts and emotions, are only accessories, you getting depressed would be out of the question.

But there are depression warriors who feel I’m not supposed to say this. There are too many people who are making not just a living but lots of money by talking about illnesses and human suffering. They don’t appreciate it if you address the root of the problem. It may sound cruel, but unless you realize that depression is your making, there is really no way out of it. The pharma companies celebrate that.

All you have to do is to distinguish between what is “you” and what is not. You must hold whatever is not you in a certain way, depending on what its nature is. But whatever grip you employ, unless you are able to loosen the grip if you want to, you are heading for trouble. Consciously look at how you are holding things in your life. You do not need to give up anything on the outside. The question is, within yourself, are you able to loosen the grip? Imagine you are going to die tomorrow. When you die, you anyway are going to loosen the grip on everything. You probably would have seen some dramatic depictions of death in movies, where a character loosens the grip, and life is gone. If you loosen the grip on your body, thoughts, and emotions while alive, you will become exuberant. It is like playing golf or riding a bicycle—if you hold it too tightly, it won’t go anywhere. If you loosen your grip, you will have a smooth ride in life.


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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