What is your identity and your purpose in life?
It’s a question that plagues many of our minds. And with all the constant chatter and opinions around us, our perspective becomes clouded, making it hard for us to listen to our inner voice.
What if I told you that you could turn that around and find your purpose? What if there was a way for you to rise above all the noise for a chance to truly understand yourself and discover your identity? What if our guest today tells you exactly how to stop struggling and start being true to yourself?
If this has piqued your interest, then you, my friend, are at the right place. For a long time, this man has been working towards the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of humanity. He has touched the lives of millions worldwide and continues doing so each day. He is jovial, articulate, and he is a yogi. If you haven’t already guessed it by now, his name is Sadhguru.
“Once you come to an unwavering state of awareness where you identify with nothing but the core of your being, liberation cannot be denied to you.” – Sadhguru
Sadhguru has a unique ability to make the ancient yogic sciences relevant to contemporary minds. His approach does not focus on any specific belief system, but instead offers powerful and proven methods for self-transformation. With this idea, he gave birth to the Isha Foundation: a nonprofit organization that now has over 300 centers globally, supported by over nine million volunteers!
The last time I had Sadhguru on my show was for Episode #965, and I am super excited to have him on my show again. But before we begin this knowledge-packed episode, let’s first get to know the legendary Sadhguru a little more.
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is an inspiring yogi, mystic, visionary, speaker and author, who has been named one of India’s 50 most influential people. He is dedicated to the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of humanity. Sadhguru possesses a perspective on life that never fails to intrigue, challenge, and surprise all those he encounters.
He has been teaching yoga since 1982. In 1992, Sadhguru laid the foundation for the Isha Foundation, a nonprofit spiritual organization. The Isha Foundation is committed to raising human consciousness, and stimulates global harmony through individual transformation. One can deep dive into the ancient science of yoga by selecting one of the many transformational programs offered by the foundation.
His book, Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy, is a New York Times Bestseller and is a profound read for anyone who is looking at transforming their lives. This book gives you a perfect glimpse of Sadhguru’s early life and spiritual awakening and talks about the many moments that led to his eventual enlightenment.
“Confidence and stupidity are a very dangerous combination, and they generally go together.” – Sadhguru
Sadhguru is a regular speaker at some leading educational institutions like MIT, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Oxford. He has also spoken at major global forums like the United Nations and the World Economic Forum to discuss issues like spirituality, socio-economic development, and leadership.
It’s always such a joy to sit down and connect with Sadhguru. I know that you’ll find value in our conversation. A lot is coming your way, so sit tight, and enjoy the ride.
A common saying associated with the word karma, and something that we have all heard growing up is, “You reap what you sow, and if you do something bad, then something bad will happen to you.” But is this all that karma is about? Or is there something more?
“[There] are some people who [try to] control [others] either with fear or guilt. This has been the basis for a whole lot of things happening in the world. If you do this you will go to hell, or if you do that you will go to hell. … All these kinds of things are essentially [to] control humanity [through] fear and guilt. … [But] karma is not about fear or guilt, [it’s] about liberation, … about freedom.” – Sadhguru
Sadhguru states that in each of us lies traces of early humans and mammals. Evolution has not only allowed us to adapt physically to the planet but also spiritually. He calls us all a composite of human memories which have become a part of our subconscious. How we utilize this power to make our choices is what karma is about.
“So many things may have happened [to me], but [the] kind of [action] I perform right now is 100% my choice. [We can] use [our experiences], as a manual and blossom into a fragrance, or [we can use] this to smear [the filth] around us and walk [ahead]. This is the choice that everybody has when unpleasant things happen to us.” – Sadhguru
We all have this ability in us, to deep-dive into our subconscious and unlock our memories, to seek within us the answers to the questions that torment us. Your joy should not lie in another person’s failure, but it should be amplified by the well-being of others. If you feed on misery, you will never come out of misery, but if you plan your actions in a way that addresses your misery, then you are already in a better place.
Sadhguru cautions against one thing in particular: having a limited identity. It happens when a person is unable to connect with oneself and is overly influenced by external factors that imbalances the world around them.
“There is only one evil in the world, and that is limited identity. … Traditionally in the yoga culture in India, before we start education for a child, the first and foremost thing is that he must take a cosmic identity, … and understand that our identity is limitless. Education is seen as empowerment, and you must not empower a person who has a limited identity [because then] they will cause havoc.” – Sadhguru
You can only use education to expand your identity after you learn to truly connect with yourself and with everything around you. It’s like how Spiderman said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” The answer to channeling this power effectively lies in the practice of yoga.
“Yoga means union. It means you consciously obliterated the boundaries of your individual nature and your experience of life expanded. Once you sit and experience everything around you as a part of yourself, after that you do not need any morality … or commandments. … But with limited identity, everything like competence, individuality, and … intelligence becomes a curse.” – Sadhguru
The practice of yoga is much more than just twisting and turning your body: it’s like a key to unleashing your inner potential. If practiced the right way, yoga allows you to find a balance between your body and mind, which in turn equips you to spread positivity and alleviate pain from the world.
It’s one thing to find your identity, but if you are not conscious about it, it will just end up engulfing you. Sadhguru talks about the need to create a healthy space between your body and mind to avoid being overpowered by the identity that you have created for yourself.
“No activity is [possible without identity. … If you do a practice called Shambhavi [Mahamudra], … [You can use it to create] a little space between you and your body, between you and your mind, … then there [will be] no suffering within you anymore. Because suffering happens in only two ways: physical suffering and mental suffering. … Once there is a little distance [it will be] the end of all suffering.” – Sadhguru
It is not easy to let go of your suffering just like that. It takes a lot of patience and the right practice for one to reach such a level. But once you do, would that bring you closer to defining yourself?
“You can only define that which has physical boundaries. … But there is something natural within every human being that the moment you realize you are restricted by a boundary, you want to go beyond that. Whoever you are right now, you want to be something more. … This is an innate longing [in] humans because there is something within you that is not physical in nature. … [This is where yoga comes in]. Yoga does not mean twisting and turning, yoga means union. It means that you consciously obliterated the boundaries of your individuality so that you experience the union with everything [within and around you]. This is not an idea … [or a philosophy], this is the nature of existence.” – Sadhguru
Simply put, you have to start thinking differently to resolve your concerns.
“You must [always strive] to see how life can blossom to its fullest. … [When that happens], somebody may become rich with money, … [or] knowledgeable, … [or more] loving, … someone may become an artist, … [or a wanderer]. But a fully-blossomed human being is a joy to see no matter what they are doing or not doing, … they are still assets to the whole of humanity.” – Sadhguru
Once you picture yourself blossoming, not alone but with everyone around you, you will start manifesting your thoughts and beliefs into reality. This is how your karma can turn things around for you. The story of your mortal life is in your hands, and it is a powerful tool. If you utilize its full potential, you could become a formidable force in the evolution of humanity.
There is just so much more to this physical life, and the knowledge and wisdom imparted by Sadhguru is insurmountable. I tried to fit in as much as I could in this post, but to check out the tons of valuable information I missed, you could watch the complete episode here.
However, before we wrapped up our conversation, I took an opportunity to ask Sadhguru how he defines greatness. Here’s what he had to say:
“If it can be defined, it is not great enough for me. And as I said, [having a] definition means that it has clear boundaries. Well, if you can be here without any sense of boundaries, [then] that’s greatness.” – Sadhguru
And if you, my friend, feel inspired after watching this episode of The School of Greatness, then I would be really thankful if you could leave a five-star rating on Apple Podcasts. Also, if you wish to learn more about Sadhguru’s life and work, you can explore his website here. You can also connect with him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
What would be even more wonderful is if you could take a screenshot of this episode and tag @sadhguru, and me, @lewishowes on Instagram with your greatest takeaways from it.
I want to leave you with this quote from Mahatma Gandhi who said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Something I love to reflect on that brings me a lot of joy and happiness is being of service to other people in any way that I can. This podcast is part of that service. I hope that it brings value to each one of you.
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