Question: Why is life full of ups and downs?
Sadhguru: There are no ups and downs. Life is happening in different ways. The world is full of situations, and a million different situations are happening in a day’s time. It is just that your moods are going up and down. If you bring a sense of equanimity into your mind, you will be able to admire the beauty of the mountains and valleys. But right now, the way you are, if life goes up, you suffer; if it comes down, you suffer. You are asking this question mainly because your experience of life has become a suffering. But for you to suffer, it does not need any special situation.
Human suffering is always because of how you experience whatever may be happening or whatever may not be happening. People can even suffer that which is not happening. That means people are suffering that which does not exist. So obviously suffering is your creation. Physical pain can come from outside, but suffering is always self-created because it is just your psychological process. The psychological process is something that you can make anything out of. If your psychological process is happening consciously, you would have kept it pleasant, irrespective of what was happening around you. But because it is happening compulsively, wherever you are, you suffer. Please see, people have learned to suffer just about anything in the world. If you are not married, you suffer because you want to be married; if you are married, again you suffer. If you have no children, you suffer; if you get children, you suffer. If you have no job, you suffer; if you have a job, you suffer. If you are alive, you suffer; if death comes, you suffer. What is it that you do not suffer?
The question is not about what is happening and what is not happening; it is about the way you experience it. If you understand that you can make the psychological process, whatever is happening in your mind, happens the way you want it—if you are conscious—definitely you would make it happen the way you want it. If you made it happen the way you want it, whatever happens, you would make sure it is pleasant. Then you would not see any situation as positive or negative. Situations—some happen the way you expect them, some do not happen the way you expect them. It is the unexpected which brings adventure, challenge, and excitement into one’s life. If everything goes as you planned, you would not want to commit suicide, but if things do not go the way you want it, you become unhappy. The only reason anybody is unhappy is because things are not happening the way they think they should happen.
After all, it is the way you think, so you can think any way you want. Every situation that happens has its consequences, but even the consequence is a situation. If you know how to create your psychological situation the way you want it, then you can manage outside situations to the best of your ability. What happens happens, what does not happen does not happen, but you can manage to the best of your ability, and that’s all any human being can do. He is doing the best about where he lives and whatever conditions he lives in. If a person, irrespective of his external situations knows how to be pleasant within himself, then he is surely on the spiritual path. He need not do any mantra, he need not go to any temple, he need not pray to any God. If he knows how to maintain his interiority in a pleasant way, irrespective of what is happening around him, he is definitely on the spiritual path. Ultimate liberation cannot be denied to him.
The writer is a world-renowned spiritual leader