The Mite of Pride
“Do not wait until life beats you in such a way that you may not recover. Once you make yourself far more significant in your mind than you are in this universe, you become a vested interest.”
On this Spot, Sadhguru writes about what holds us back from reaching our ultimate destination. He points out the three major burdens that weigh us down and likens them to parasitic mites that don’t allow bees to fly light and go far. Sadhguru says, “The cruel reality is that time is ticking away for all of us. When time is running out, we should get where we want to go quickly.”
The moment you utter the word “spiritual,” people will talk about detachment. The moment you talk about holding a relationship of some kind, people will insist on attachment. “You are not attached enough to me – that is the problem.” What is this attachment and detachment all about? Birth comes with attachment. Without attachment to your mother’s body, you wouldn’t be born. Death is also attachment, but a more inclusive one – you become one with the Earth. But because it is an indiscriminate attachment, it does not have negative consequences.
Attachment arises from a mistaken sense of exclusivity of body and mind. Because you think your body and mind are exclusive, you feel trapped. Even though you may not realize it until you die, you have built a prison for yourself that no one can get into. Because you feel trapped, you want to put your hand out of the prison cell and hold on to somebody, in order to feel some sense of connection. You catch that unfortunate person who happened to walk by and don’t let them go. This is called a love affair. And then you get deeply attached to this one person, because you have closed yourself off to the rest of the universe. And that person is usually not in any better state and also gets deeply attached with you.
Both of you cause an enormous amount of torture to each other. But you remain attached, because if you let go, you will be alone again in your own prison. With 7.3 billion people minus one, you will feel terribly lonely. The need for attachment comes from the misunderstanding that you are a separate existence of your own. Your very breath is a clear statement that you are not a separate existence by yourself. You are in constant communication with the whole of existence.
Attachment is not necessarily about the other person. You are most attached to your own body, and above all, to your own thought and emotion. Your thought is of paramount importance to you. The way you think is the way the universe should be. If the universe is not functioning as per your thought, it does not strike you that there could be something wrong with your thought – you think there is something wrong with the universe.
One reason why attachment happens is because you take yourself too seriously. If you try to dismantle your attachment bit-by-bit, you will have a lifelong spiritual circus going on. You may be trying to get rid of your attachment by not smiling at anyone. Your attachment is something that you made up in your mind. If you stop making it up, it won’t be there. Attachment is a side effect of self-significance. If you don’t want the side effect, don’t swallow the pill. Unless you rid yourself of self-significance, spiritual process won’t get you anywhere.
Most human beings will only come to their senses after life beats them up in some way. How pathetic. Shouldn’t what is best for you, what is highest for you naturally be your priority? Not only after some disaster or disease happened in your life. When everything is well, this is the time to look at what the highest possibility is for you. Do not wait until life beats you in such a way that you may not recover. Once you make yourself far more significant in your mind than you are in this universe, you become a vested interest. Out of that, likes and dislikes arise. As the ignorance progresses, it will turn into love and hate, attachments and aversions. These are all symptoms of the fundamental ailment of self-significance. An exaggerated sense of who you are will make you suffer in many ways throughout your life. And above all, when the moment of death comes, it will be the most painful exit.
You are just one more creature in this vast cosmos. If you don’t understand that, go stand on a mountain or fly on an airplane and look down at people. Such tiny little creatures, but they have such a false sense of who they are. You are just one more little creature, but with how many blessings you have come, how many faculties, how many capabilities. If you were conscious of this reality, you would naturally move towards the highest possibility. As long as you have a false sense of significance, it needs spanking. “No Sadhguru, I’m a good person.” I know many of you are very good, and that’s a pretty bad problem.
This happened – a lady was walking down a street in New York. A young man came by, snatched her purse, and ran away. Another young man immediately chased after him, and after a few minutes, he came back with the purse and gave it to her. Overwhelmed with gratitude, she opened the purse and looked. There was one fifty dollar bill, two twenty dollar bills, and one ten dollar bill. She thanked him profusely and said, “But there was a hundred dollar bill in my purse. Now, there is a fifty, two twenties, and one ten. How did this happen?” The young man said, “The last time I gave a purse back to a lady, she didn’t have change.”
We know how to catch you. This is not about your goodness. This is about becoming the life that you are supposed to be. Why has something so natural become so absurdly difficult? For most people, it’s society that makes them. We create a family, society, and nation for our convenience, to fulfill our needs, and to find access to a few things. But rather than the source of creation making you, society is making you. Society is constituted of all kinds of people. Most of them have no clue what they are doing with their own lives.
There is an intrinsic intelligence in human beings that naturally drives us towards our ultimate nature. People think there are some who are spiritual and others who are not spiritual. Being spiritual means to consciously move towards fulfilling yourself. Let’s look at the so-called “other people.” Whether someone wants money, wealth, pleasure, love, knowledge, drinks, or drugs, they are also in pursuit of self-fulfillment. They think these things will fulfill them. This is spirituality gone off track. When you are off track, the chance of you reaching your destination is very remote. If you want to succeed, you need to consciously move in the right direction.
This is not a moral question. This is a question of what makes the most sense. If you don’t employ your sense, you are contrary to the very nature of life. Essentially, your life is about fulfilling yourself. Whatever you do in life – whether you get married, take brahmacharya, or just about anything else – it is because you think that is a way to fulfill yourself. But if you go about it in round-about ways, by the time you find the way, time may have run out for you. In India, time is always depicted in fierce and terrifying forms, as Kali or Kala. The cruel reality is that time is ticking away for all of us. When time is running out, we should get where we want to go quickly. Diversions are only created in the mind. Life does not take you away from life.
Most human beings have not come to the realization that what is happening in their mind is not a reality. For them, not only what is happening in their mind, but also what is happening in their phone is the ultimate reality. The problem is that your thoughts become bigger than yourself and dominate everything. Once you create a false reality for yourself, you have to carry it with you. A few years ago, the honey production in the United States suddenly dropped dramatically. They found that one of the main reasons were parasites sitting on the bees’ backs. This little extra weight did not allow them to go far and collect enough nectar; colonies collapsed, and the honey production went down.
The same is true for human beings. The extra weight that you carry does not allow you to fly full force. The weight on your back is just this – your own pride, your own ego, and your sense of self-significance. These three are heavy weights, sitting on your back, not allowing you to fly long distances. If you want to fly all the way, first of all, you need the necessary energy. If you don’t have the necessary energy, and on top of that, you have this extra weight to carry, you won’t get far.
It’s like this – those of you who have been in southern India probably would have seen these greenish-brown dragonflies. Every year, these tiny little insects make a trip all the way to Africa, breed there, and the next generation goes back to India again with the monsoon winds. They fly across the Indian Ocean not by the strength of their wings, but by flying with the wind. These dragonflies are able to make the journey by the Grace of the wind. If you want to go all the way in life, you need Grace. Grace is always there. The question is, how do you become receptive to it? If you want spiritual process to happen, you have to get the mites off your back.
If you keep your pride, your ego, and your self-significance down, you will become available to Grace. When you sit with a Guru like me, first of all, you should know what you are asking for. It once happened, in a criminal court, at the point of judgment, the criminal pleaded, “Your honor, if you just give me some time, I can prove that I’m innocent.” The judge looked at him and said, “Okay, ten years. Next.” He got time, all for himself.
If you are seeking solace, worshipping whatever you believe will help. If you are seeking a solution, dissolution is the only solution. Right now, it’s monsoon time. Monsoon clouds go wherever the wind blows. When they shed themselves, rain happens. Peacocks will dance, flowers will bloom, crops will grow, people will eat. Life happens beautifully because the clouds shed themselves. Now, during the monsoon season, you should learn to shed yourself. The same breeze is blowing for everyone. The same Grace is there for everyone. How much of it you receive is up to you.
Love & Grace,