Sunday, April 4, 2010

How to respond to the suffering in the world

Questioner : As a capitalist society, here in the US and elsewhere, we tend to function out of our economic interests.  For me it is hard to be happy when I know that things that I buy involve exploiting people and that I am living in a society that in some way promotes violence around the world.  How am I supposed to focus on myself only and forget about the suffering of the world ?

Sadhguru : Oh, you are just on the way to becoming a human being! [All laughs]...  because a human does not land here as a human being, he has to become one, he has to evolve.  If a dog, a monkey or a tiger is born, it is already a dog, a monkey, a tiger.  If it eats well, it will become a good tiger.  A tiger is never sitting there, worrying itself out how to become a good tiger, "Will I end up has a house cat?" [All laugh]  There are no such struggles in it.  Food is all it has to take care of.  But you are born as a human.  To become a worthwhile human being you have to do many things.  What is human is so complex and so beautiful, you have to make it.  Your mother just deliver you as a raw material; it's your project to become a humanbeing.  How well you conduct this project is how wonderful a human being you become.  So, you are beginning to become a little sensitive to somebody else's suffering, that's good.  You are on the project. [Laughs] "It must happen, It must happen" something within you should cry.  Otherwise how is it supposed to happen ?

                                          Let's say half the world is miserable right now - it actually is.  Now if you make yourself also miserable, you are only adding to the problem.  They are miserable for one reason, you are miserable for another reason.  This doesn't solve the problem.  Only if you are joyful, only if you know what it means to live beautifully, you can create this for somebody else too.  How can you make it happen for someone when you don't know yourself what happiness is ?  You will think, "If I dump food there, it will be okay."  It will not be okay.  That's how the world has handled it.  They think if you throw some aid, it is going to be okay.  It is not going to be okay because you yourself don't know what it means to be okay.  So, if you are concerned about life around you, the first thing is you must be concerned about this life [referring to oneself].  If you do not know how to take care of this one [referring to oneself], how will you take care of that one [referring to other] ? Only if you know how to keep this one in the best possible state, you also know how to take care of that one.  Otherwise, just with good intentions, you will cause misery to everybody in the world.  More misery happened to this planet out of good intentions than out of bad intentions.

Questioner : I hear what you are saying but for me to focus on my own inner happiness is almost like a selfish thing to do ...

 Sadhguru : See, when you say "selfish", I want you to understand, the very basis of your existence here is the Self.  Everything is self-ish - put a hyphen.  [Laughs] It's all self-ish.  If you are concerned about the rest of the world, which everybody should be, either you are concerned about them as rest of the world, or you are concerned about them just the way you are concerned about yourself.

                            If you are concerned about that one just as you are concerned about this one, if you go to fix that one without fixing this one, what will that one tell you ?  That one will tell you, "First take care of yourself.  What nonsense are you going to do to me ?"

Questioner : It's hard for me to sit down and focus on yoga or something like that ..........

Sadhguru : That is because you have prejudiced ideas about yoga.

Questioner : If someone is getting slaughtered in Darfur, Africa right now with a machete, it is hard for me to go to the mall, hang out with my friends and enjoy myself.

Sadhguru : Going to the mall is different, doing yoga is different. [All laugh.]  Yoga does not mean that you have to sit and focus on yourself.  Whether you go to the Darfur or to the neighborhood, there are problems everywhere. If you reach out to the problem in the neighborhood or in Darfur, wherever you wish to, wherever you are capable of doing something, in what condition would you like to go there, both physically and mentally ?

                               We are working in Sierra Leone.  Let's say tomorrow morning I'll drop you in Sierra Leone.  I'll give you two years time to make a difference; let me see.  You will get lost in the problem.  I have dropped people there who have spent three, four, five years training themselves to do this.  Now they went there.  Just go and see the kind of difference they have made in three month's time because they know what to do with themselves and what to do with other people.  If you do not invest this time in yourself to enhance your capabilities, if you just go there with great emotion, you will get lost in the problem.  Just good intentions won't do.

                              If you want to make a difference, you need capability.  Otherwise you will sit in your house and crib about everything in the world, and nothing happens.  If you are interested in doing something, the first thing is how to enhance your capabilities, your own ability to deal with life.  Otherwise how are you going to reach out to anybody and do anything ?  In the remotest part of India, at every street corner, if you go and sit in the tea shop, right there revolutions happen; they change the world.  But the moment the tea is over, the revolution is over. [All Laugh]  Haven't you seen tea shop revolutions ? Right there everything is happening - they know how to run the country, they are advising the prime ministers, they can be the batting coaches for Tendulkar [great indian cricketer].  The only thing is they don't know how to make a good tea. [All Laugh]  Everything else they know.  So, just being concerned, just being emotionally charged about a problem is not a solution.  Solutions will come only when we empower ourselves.  If you do not take time to empower yourself there will be just not one Darfur, we will create a thousand Darfurs on this planet.

                              Out of good intentions people have done more horrible things than out of bad intentions.  So if you are concerned about humanity, please empower yourself, so that no matter what kind of situation you are placed in, you are not going to be broken and shattered by the situation, you will do the best you can do.  First empower yourself, is that a crime? That is yoga - a technology to empower yourself.



                  "After going there, I realized how advanced India is.  Sierra Leone is in such a bad state.  I had never imagined that even today, people are living in such conditions.  They don't have proper food to eat.  They don't have proper clothes to wear.  Not just for a particular community - the whole country is like that.  There is no proper education.  There is no culture.  There are no role models.  There is nobody to look up to.  It's just so painful to see that.  I could not believe that in today's world, there is a place like that.  While we are living this kind of life, there is another part of the world where people are living in such conditions - such unimaginably pathetic conditions.

                        Just the simple thing that there is somebody caring for them, there is somebody to be with them, not really offering any money or anything, but there is a human being standing next to them as a human being - it meant so much to them.  And it meant so much to us.

                    For all of us, these two month's in Sierra Leone have been one of the greatest experiences, one of the deepest experiences in our lives.

                                                                    Swami Rijuda


                                          "I have been trying to write something about Africa for the last two months.  Usually words come so easy but now I find a lump in the throat and a tightness in my heart with the very thought of this people and this land.

                                          Africa broke my heart.  I was devastated, shattered, being there.  I had always wanted to work there, but the ideas I had about it were nothing compared to the reality of the whole situation.  My deepest pain is seeing human beings unable to reach their full potential, unable to even have a chance of knowing life deeper than just survival.  And all this was there; a diminished humanity, and the whole situation obscenely exaggerated by the efforts of so many people wanting to do something but incapable of really making a difference, and by those who are still seeking to exploit and exploit and exploit.

                                        Whether it was War, exploitation, slavery, greed, whatever the reason in the past, for ignoring and misusing an entire continent's plight, I cannot see any reason.  There is no justification for the fact that millions of people have to live in such conditions when the world is splurging in luxury.  Tears flood my eyes as I write this and all I can say is that after being there, I cannot eat as I did before.

                                        Every morsel of food that I put into my mouth reminds me of the six weeks we had there.  Six weeks where, for the first time in my life, I had to think whether I would spend 1 dollar to eat something to sate my hunger or not spend it.  It is not that food was not available, but it was not easily accessible because of the pace of work that was going on.

                                        And that itself made me realize just how much I take for granted.  These people, still dancing,  still celebrating life in spite of all the struggles, all the fight for survival, have made me more human and more willing."

                                                                                        Tina, Isha meditator.

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