Namaskaram! Good morning, Matthew!
Good morning, Sadhguru.
How are you, Matt?
I’m good, man. Where are you finding yourself?
Right now I’m somewhere in the southwestern corner of Georgia, just about to enter Florida, maybe. Brunswick; somewhere around that.
Alright. Well, I’m in Austin, Texas, so you’re an hour ahead of me.
Yeah. But you look at my background, it looks like I’m in the Amazon forest.
Yeah, man! I knew you were somewhere where it’s fertile. A bit jungley. Yeah. You going around on the book tour?
Yes. Meeting people, talking, doing a little bit of… you know, meeting people. That’s it. No major events. No major events because of the pandemic. No assemblies, but just individual people.
That’s my last year. I wrote a book, Greenlights, put it out, and I did it all virtual. It was all this. For a year. There were some people that I miss being there in person, but I must say that, in a lot of ways, this way of communicating is very intentional. Because I was in Milan, Italy, at 9 am; London, England, at 10; New York at 11; LA at 12; and when the meeting was over at 1 I was having lunch with my family.
What jet do you use?
This jet! That’s what I mean! I was all over the world, and I was done at one o’clock. And thirty seconds when I was done, I was having lunch with my kids. I was like: this system’s okay. I kind of like this in ways.
I think in 2020 probably I’ve done four times more work than I would normally do traveling. Easily.
Yeah. Still finding time to get on your motorcycle?
Oh yes. But right now, this trip I’m driving a truck with a small camper. So not entering any hotels or homes. Just living on the truck, cooking for myself, and managing things.
I’ve got four Airstreams, and I’m in one of them now in my back yard. And this is what I take on the road right here. This particular Airstream.
Yeah, I got something that can go offroad. A little small, not very—it’s not bigger than Airstream, but this will go where you want.
Nice. Nice! Well, cool, man. I’m glad we’re going to get to talk for a little while, say howdy. I’m glad to meet you. I’ve got a friend of mine, Marc Benioff, who’s turned me on to you. He’s an avid listener of yours.
How’s Marc? Is he in Hawai’i or in California?
No, no, he’s over further west. Hawai’i.
Yeah. Hawai’i. That’s what I asked. He told me last time he is in Hawai’i.
Yeah. Yes, he’s doing good. He’s the one who turned me on to you.
Yeah. Let me ask you a few questions, and we’ll get some conversations about all this good stuff. You know, your opening on karma—and we could spend hours talking about this, because this is my juice here. When we say, like, “lift the haze of the contradictions.” Let’s talk about some haze-lifting on the contradictions. There’s a symbol to me that has meant a lot to me. It comes from the Bible. Matthew 6:22. It’s the mandorla. And it’s saying—and even Ralph Waldo Emerson talks about it. We talk about future and past. We’re talking about heaven and hell. We talk about good and evil. And we see these contradictions that butt each other. And the mandorla covers itself and is the third eye in the middle, and says that that spot is the spot of paradox. That spot is where all the truth lies. That’s where all the colors of the truth lies. It’s not a contradictory shade of gray and compromise, it’s actually where all the good stuff is. Paradox has been very helpful for me in understanding, and having a high third eye, and not being so dualistic. Let’s talk about that a little bit. Can you jump on that?
Yes, Matthew. What is contradictory is essentially in the psychological space of the human being. In reality, existentially, nothing is contradictory. Everything is complimentary to everything else. Is the day contradictory to the night? No, it is complementary. If it was all day, you wouldn’t know what is night. If it’s all night, you wouldn’t know what is day. So essentially, human perception itself—because it is through five sense organs—it can only always perceive only a part of it. See, if I show you this part of my hand, you cannot see this part. If you see this, you cannot see this. This is the nature of all our perception. All the five senses are able to perceive only with the context, otherwise they cannot.
So because of that, because we are fed with this kind of part-information, our mind tends to think that everything is contradictory to everything else: mMan is contradictory to woman, night is contradictory to day, light is contradictory to darkness. No, they’re all complementary to each other. It is just that, because our perception is so fragmented, five sense organs are made that way, these sense organs are only good for survival process. If you want to know, they’re no good. They’re only good to help you to survive on this planet. That you can do by perceiving things clearly through your sense perception. If you want to know life the way it is, if you want to know this phenomenon of life the way it is, you have to go beyond your sense perception.
In a way, the entire yogic science is all about this. Even the karma that we’re talking about is all about this, because all the karmic inputs are in this sense; bits and pieces of information out of which we are trying to make something. This is like a child starting to—let us say we give him a million-piece jigsaw. He puts four pieces together and says, “Here, I got it! This is a bear.” Alright. But there are a million other pieces that you have never seen. So looking at life in pieces through keyhole visions makes everything look like one is against the other. But existentially, nothing against anything else. Because, as we sit here—see, that is your body, this is my body. This is my mind, that is your mind. What you call as “my body,” what I call as “my body” is: what I have accumulated is “my body,” what you have accumulated is “your body.” What I have accumulated in impressions is “my mind,” what you have accumulated as impressions is “your mind.” But there is no such thing as “my life” and “your life.” This is a living cosmos. You have gathered a little bit, I have gathered a little bit. We’re enjoying that.
The privilege of creation is, the magnanimity of creation is, that though we are really nothing in this existence, it has given us an individual experience—which is a tremendous, tremendous privilege. Unfortunately, human beings are not able to appreciate or understand this privilege. Though you are not even a speck of dust in this cosmos, you have an individual experience. You can look at it from your own end as if you are the whole universe yourself. But if you take this individuality too seriously, everything will be contradictory. Once it’s contradictory, as you get more invested in these contradictions, conflict is a natural outcome, you know?
Yes. Heard! You know, you said in your book, “Destiny is what you create for yourself. Fate is when you fail to create your own destiny.” I am a believer in responsibility.
I heard that you don’t drive through the red lights.
I’ve run a few red lights! Alright? But again, I say, you know, for people who say, “Oh, it’s all vague.” I always, like, half-jokingly say, “Okay, then run all the red lights. See what happens.” I mean, I believe that the prime mover, or a God—whatever, our life—wants our hands on the wheel. Say we are self-determining creatures. Don’t just take the hands off and just completely In shāʾ Allāh the whole existence of going through the world. So there’s responsibility and fate, I think. And there’s the fate of responsibility. And that’s—is that sort of what that line’s saying? “Destiny is what you create for yourself. Fate is when you fail to create your own destiny.” That would be—I mean, fate is a fact in waiting.
Fate is a destiny unattended. You did not attend to certain aspects of your life, so they will go by the tendencies that exist within you, or by the social situations that are happening around you. So if you allow outside situations to simply happen the way they happen, largely it’ll happen to all of us reasonably the same way if you’re living in the same place. But destiny means you take charge of it. And though many times we may not be able to change all the physical situations around us, still we can change the way we experience it. Nobody can stop us from that.
What is your life is essentially the way you experience it. What is your life is not in terms of what you have around you. What your life really is is the way you experience it. And the way you experience it, or whichever way you experience it, happens within you. What happens within you? If you don’t take charge of that, I think it’s a wasted life. Outside situations are not always governed by us. There are too many forces around us. Everything is not determined by us.
What we have outside right now—we were talking about technology. Well, if you and me existed 500 years ago, 1,000 years ago, what we could do would have been very different. So what we are doing now, let us not take too much pride in what we are doing right now, because this is a consequence of the times in which we exist. If we did exist here 10,000 years ago, I don’t know if you would have found a cave in Austin or I would have found in India. So…
Yeah. Yes. We’d’ve been somewhere else doing it some other way.
Yeah. So what we are doing is a consequence of times. But how we experience it is entirely ours. A caveman also—there were cavemen and cavewomen who were joyful and miserable. Today, in the 21st century, with all the conveniences, there are joyful and miserable people still. Alright? So it is: the way you experience is determined by you, not by the situations around you.
Myth of Selflessness
Heard. Heard. Thank you. You say this line, and I love the—
Are you reading the book? I haven’t read it yet. I’ve been trying to open it. It never happens.
Well—you haven’t read your book? You don’t need to. You wrote it. You know, I actually just got this two days ago. I have not had time to read the whole thing. But I’ve gone through it and seen some nuggets that felt like lyrics that, like, oh, I like that song! Oh, okay, okay. I hear that! And here’s one of those. “Karma is about shifting responsibility from heaven to yourself. In this, you become the maker of your own destiny.” Now, you just talked on that. But I want to bring up an idea that’s something—and my pastor tells me I’m pushing a big rock up a tall, steep hill with this idea I’ve got. But as a person who likes to play with words (I do as well), I believe that we should be—I’m trying to redefine the word “selfish.” That being more selfish is actually being more selfless. That being more selfless is actually being more selfish. That we have greater gratification, greater joy, we have greater gifts, the more selfish we are, the more individualistic. Now, I know that can go out of hand. And I don’t mean when it’s at the expense—I don’t mean selfish at the expense of excluding a lot of people, or making contradictions. But I’m trying to redefine the word “selfish.”
Let me define the selfish for you. See, there is nothing here in your experience without involving yourself. So you do not know life without yourself. Only because you exist there is life. If you did not exist, what do you know about life? There is simply no possibility. So selflessness is just an idea; a futile idea. The only way you can exist here is selfish. The question is like this: for somebody, selfishness means it’s all about themselves as an individual. For somebody else it’s for him and his family. For someone else it’s him and his community. For someone else, his selfishness for him and his race or religion or nationality. I’m saying: why are you stingy about your selfishness? Why don’t you be absolutely selfish? Why don’t you make your selfishness cosmic? At least global?
What is it selfishness means? “I want to be well, I don’t care what’s happening to you.” Why don’t you make your selfishness like this: “I want every creature on this planet to be really well.” And once you have set this course for yourself, it’s not that you’re going to solve all the problems. At least you’ll be doing your best. And this is all a human being can do. That the question is only about: are you doing everything that you can do or not? Because, in our lives, if we do not do what we cannot do, there is no problem. In our lives, if we do not do what we can do, we’re a disaster. So my express mission is to see that every human being is doing everything that they can do with a sense of inclusiveness. Selfishness is the only way you can be inclusive. What does selfless mean? What does selfless mean—you’ll stop breathing, is it? I’m saying it’s just an idea which has never happened. It is just a foolish idea. There is no such thing as selfless, because the very basis of your experience is self.
Yes! Yes! Yes!
Question is: is your selfishness inclusive or exclusive? That’s all.
Voila! Voila! Don’t be stingy with yer selfishness!
No, don’t be stingy with selfishness. At least with selfishness, be generous.
Yes! Y’know, you obviously have a great sense of humor. I’ve found that sense of humor is something that, one, it’s been a great tool for sometimes unlocking those contradictions for me and for other people. But often it’s seen—I’m one of those persons that will laugh while the “wound is still a little bit too fresh.” You know what I mean? And I’m like, “Well, no. It’s already happened. So let’s start laughing at it now. I’m still going to be responsible and try and fix the problem. But can we do this while we giggle through fixing the problem?” And some people that turns off because they go, “Wait, it’s too early to laugh. You can’t laugh. It’s too early. We need to be serious about this thing.” And I’m going, “No, I’m still going to do the work. Can we just laugh while we fix the problem? Or find a way to agree on something—whether it’s politically or—”
You have a right to cry only when you’ve just dropped out of your mother’s womb. That’s the only time you have a right to cry! After that you should be laughing outright. And now about when the wound is too fresh. See, let me tell you this. See, as I said already, all the external situations, our life situations, will not ever happen 100% the way we want. Doesn’t matter—small situations, big situations. As your involvement grows in the world, you will see more and more things will not happen the way you want. So what happens in the world, we must understand: it’s a reality which involves many, many forces. We are also one little force in that. So we can push it—we can use our skills, we can use our intelligence, we can use our influence—and push that piece as far as we can. But there are too many pieces. It will never happen 100% your way or anybody’s way. And I’m glad it is so, because if it all happened your way, where the hell do I go? A little bit your way, a little bit my way, a little bit somebody’s way—this is the way the world is.
But now you’re talking about wound. Wound happens within you. So this one’s place, which you call as “myself,” must happen 100% your way. If this is happening 100% your way, you will just see that what a joke it is, everything that happens around you, and how ridiculously it can happen. So when you see this, it’s not that you have to have a sense of humor. Laughter is inevitable. When you laugh within yourself, maybe words also come that way. I never thought I have a sense of humor. These days, people are telling me, “Sadhguru, you have a sense of humor.” I thought always that’s so. It’s just that all the humors in my body are working well. That’s all.
Let me tell you this. This happened. Shankar Pillai once had a franchise for Radio Shack. I think Radio Shack has closed down now, if I’m right. Is it closed down or still on?
I think they did. I think you’re correct.
So he used to have a franchiseeship for Radio Shack. So one day he ordered a particular component. Looking at the catalog, he saw he wanted a component which is 669 number. He ordered. And the component arrived after a few days. He looked at it, and they had sent the wrong number. It was 966, they had sent. He wrote back to them furious: “You sent the wrong part!” They said, “Just turn it around and see.” Most of the time, life is just that. You’re seeing it one way and freaking. Turn it around and see—you will laugh at the whole thing.
Exposure to Randomness
Just flip it over. Yes. Or say it back to front. What makes sense? The foot’s on the other shoe. In writing my book, I noticed ways that I got what I wanted in life; ways I got what I was seeking. And I was very clear, even going into writing it, that there have been many things where I’ve engineered the success, that I have set the goal, that I said where I wanted to go, and went to it, and attained it as a traveler. Okay? Set goals and go get them. But I was surprised at how many times that I found and got what I wanted, or succeeded, when I did not know what the hell I was looking for. When I was, like, I’m going to go seek it—
Those are the best times, huh?
Oh, they’re awesome! The one-way ticket, you know? With no return ticket. To go on a walkabout and going, “I don’t know what I’m—”
You don’t do walkabout in America. You need to go to Australia to do walkabout.
I’ve done the walkabout in Australia. I’ve done a walkabout in Mali, Africa, in Peru, the fuga mundi. And those times I got what I needed. But I didn’t know what I was looking for. I just put myself in a position to get rid of all the frequencies that I was having in my Western world and my busy life. I wanted to go someplace where nobody knew my name, where I didn’t speak the language, where time was going to run way too slow for me until I got on time. And then, all of a sudden, realized that, oh, I feel the rhythms of this place, I’m enjoying my own company. Because those trips for me, the first twelve days, I did not my enjoy my own company. Oh, we had it out!
If you do not enjoy your own company, that means you’re in bad company, obviously.
Well, it took twelve days. But I think there’s a value, if you don’t enjoy your own company, to go: “Oh, that’s why I need to spend more time with myself, then.” So we can work it out. Because I’m the one person that I can’t get rid of, so let’s work this stuff out! But after about twelve days, I have a breakthrough where I’m, like, “Okay! I’ve shaken off my demons. I’ve pulled off my talismans. I’m a nekkid child.” And that’s when, all of a sudden, bong! an answer comes. And I’m light. And I’ve shed certain guilt. And I’m present. And I’m not looking around the bend to see what’s coming. I’m not looking over my shoulder to judge where I’ve been. I guess my point is: sometimes we don’t know what we’re looking for, but we go find it. You talked about seeking the unknown. But to put ourselves in a place—do you think there’s a value about put yourself in a place so you can hear it? Put yourself in a place so you can receive it?
See, people keep coming to me and say, “Sadhguru, please bless me. This should happen, that should happen.” I tell them, see: my blessing is: “May all your dreams not come true.” They get shocked! They said, “Sadhguru, why?” I say, “See, what can you dream of?” Right now I don’t know what you’re drinking. Suppose it’s coffee. If you have had one cup of coffee, maybe you’ll dream of a barrel of coffee. If you have a million dollars, maybe you’ll think of a billion dollars. I’m saying: all your dreams are just exaggerations of what you already know. If you go like this, you’re ensuring that nothing new ever happens to you.
So my blessing is: may your dreams not come true. May things that you could never dream of happen to you. If you have to be an open possibility like this, it’s very important that we understand. That is why karma is important. Karma means it’s the bedrock of your memory. It’s the bedrock of your memory means: who you are right now, as a person—Matthew as a person, as a physical person, as a mental person, as an emotional person, and even as an energetic person—it is a certain volume of memory. Here there is evolutionary memory, there is genetic memory, there is articulate and inarticulate. Well, unconscious, subconscious, and conscious memories. All this memory put together, an amalgamation of this, is one person called Matthew. Similarly, every other person.
So now, do you want to stand on the stage of this memory? Let’s say we see this memory like a platform. If you stand up on this, the richness of your life plays out and you can do your duty’s dance on that stage. But if you sink into it, it becomes like a quicksand, and the past just takes away people. See, most human beings just see what is it that they are suffering in their life. They’re suffering what happened ten years ago now, sitting here. And they’re already suffering what may happen day after tomorrow. Essentially, they are not even connected with life. They’re mistaking their psychological space as existential. They are suffering two most incredible qualities that only human beings possess on this planet, which is a vivid sense of memory and a fantastic sense of imagination. Unfortunately, most human beings are suffering this.
Essentially, they’re suffering evolutionary process. They’re just saying: “If I was an earthworm, I would be more peaceful.” Yes, earthworm is a fantastic creature. It is very eco-friendly. All that is fine. But the possibility is limited. The significance of being human is: the possibilities are unlimited. Possibilities are immense. This is why we are on top of the evolutionary pile. When I say on top of the evolutionary pile, of all these millions of creatures which are there on this planet—well, we are trying to reduce their numbers, unfortunately—but of all these millions of creatures, in terms of evolution, in terms of our neurological capabilities (perception and assimilation of what we perceive), we are on top of the world. But most human beings are not feeling on top of the world because they are sinking into the platform of their memory. This vast memory is a tremendous thing.
See, otherwise, today—I’m just saying—see, here I’m sitting. There is an evolutionary memory in me which tells every cell in the body, clearly speaks, “this is a human being.” Suppose I got fancy for dog food and started eating dog food for three days. Will I become a dog? No, there is evolutionary memory within me which will never allow anything like that to happen. Now I’m here in United States. Let’s say I eat only American food. Will I become an American person, will my color change, will my everything change? No, because there is genetic memory in me. So who you are, who I am, is essentially memory. The question is: will you stand upon this platform and do your act, or will you sink into it and die? This is all the choice you have.
Boom. Yes. Yes! You say “I hope your dreams don’t all come true.” I love that!
Don’t you say that. Don’t tell everybody. They will curse me!
The Game is the Point
But tell me—here’s what I hear when you say that. We’re such a result-oriented people and culture. I gotta have my result. And if I just get to the top of that summit, I’ll have the tada-moment. And we get to the top of the summit, we see it’s a false summit. There’s millions of more summits on the other side. You keep climbing and there’s another one. There’s not a tada-moment where we go, “Aha! I’ve got it all figured out!” I think we also get caught up so often in short-term gains and short-term return choices that give us short-term return on our own investment, us. And we’re not making choices that are going to buy us delayed gratification—not only longer in this life, but after we’re gone, for our kids and our grandkids and our great-great-grandkids. So it’s all a process is what I’m hearing from that, and how I’m choosing to take that line. It’s all a process. Enjoy the process. You do not ever get there. That’s the point! That keeps it a game! Because if you got there, the game’s over!
See the finish line! Everybody’s interested too much in finish line, especially in the Western world. They think finish line is everything. If you’re so interested in the finish line, do you understand what is the finish line for life? You want to cross it quickly, is it? It’s ridiculous! Everybody wants to live! So living here means that now you’re breathing, and here, this is living. So if you’re too much interested in the finish line, then you will cross it soon—that is: you will cross it when you’re alive. Because so many people are living as if they are dead. They do everything, except for a few needs that they have. A whole lot of people are dead to all other possibilities of life. In yoga there is a very good kind of a saying, which says: “If you have one eye on the goal, you will have only one eye to find your way, which is very inefficient.” So you’re rendering yourself incapable of life simply because you want to get somewhere.
Where do you want to get? Some imagined place. Where is that place? It is just an exaggeration of the past you’ve already experienced. Because you cannot imagine something that you’ve never seen. You cannot imagine something for which there is no data. Because your mind essentially functions from the data that you have gathered, which is essentially your past. So you want to repeat your past, and then wondering why life is so boring.
Heard. Heard! Yes! Repeat offenders. Reciprocity. Going in circles. I hear ya. I’ve done it before. You say yoga means “union.” Definition of yoga, right? Well, the root word of religion comes from ligare and re. And ligare means “to bind together,” and re means “again.” “To bind together again.” The prescriptive definition of religion. Yoga means “union.” Those are somewhat synonymous. Is that fair to say yoga and religion would be synonymous definitions, or at least in its direction?
Well, in its sense it would be, but not in its present form of practice. Both, I’m saying. The way yoga is practiced in America is not synonymous with union. The way religion is practiced largely across the world—
The way religion is practiced in the world is not synonymous with what religion is, either. Yes.
Yes. So both of them, in definition, maybe they’re the same. But unfortunately, the way it is practiced is very different. But why yoga is simply because this is not based on belief system. It is based on your experience. At least you know where the hell you’re going. With belief system you just believe you’re going in a certain way, which gives you a certain psychological comfort. It gives you solace. So essentially, the choice is this: are you seeking solace in your life? That is, you want to just quieten your mind and be happy with little things? Or are you seeking a solution for this life? Because once you are encumbered with this human intelligence, if you don’t immediately get engrossed with some petty thing around you, it is natural for every human being to think, “What is all this about? Where did I come from? Where will I go? What is the process of this life? What is the meaning of this? What is the purpose of my existence here? And is my existence just a blimp that I just come and vanish, or is there something else?” Essentially: what is the nature of my existence? This is a question that no human being can avoid unless somebody works on you very young, and tells you you’re this, you’re that, you are going to this heaven or hell, or whatever—unless somebody washes you up like this, it is very, very natural for every human being to ask these questions. And these questions are good, this confusion is good, because when you realize, you do not know.
See, people have misunderstood, and unfortunately not understood the significance of “I do not know.” “I do not know” is the most significant thing in your life. Because the moment you see “I do not know,” the longing to know, wanting to know, seeking to know, is a natural consequence. Once there is a strong seeking, knowing is not far away. Because anything you wish to know about life, you don’t have to search through a microscope or a telescope, because you are life. This is life! Right now I may call this by a name. Right now it may have an identity in the world. But essentially, this is life. And this is the only life I can experience.
See, right now, all these beautiful trees—I don’t experience them. I only experience them the way they happen within me. The way they reflect in the firmament of my mind, and how I relate to them—whichever way, I will only experience these trees within myself. There is no way I can experience those trees out there. And that’s true for everything. You cannot experience anything out there. It can only happen within you. All experience—pain and pleasure, joy and misery, agony and ecstasy—can only happen within you. Every kind of experience happens within you. When you understand this, well, if you realize “I do not know,” and then you start looking, naturally you will understand this. Once you understand this, finding the nature of your existence and becoming the master of your destiny is a natural consequence.
The problem is: we kill “I do not know” with belief systems, ideas, philosophies, ideologies. If you keep all these things aside—I think that’s what in some way you did in your desert. I don’t know which desert you went to. You didn’t go to Kalahari, did you?
No, I went to the Sahara, and then west Texas.
The Blind Spot of Knowing
Ah, okay. So, in a desert means: you’re alone. So, as you said in your own words, initially you’re confused and struggling. But then, as you pay attention—because when you have nothing else to pay attention to, you naturally pay attention to how you work, every muscle in your body, the breath, heartbeat, everything—then you will start noticing: what you call as “within,” or what you call as “me,” is an entire universe. And that’s the only universe you’ve experienced. You have not experienced any other universe. The only and only universe, and the only and only world that you have experienced is what has happened within you. Once you realize this, then you fix the world the way you want it within yourself. Outside world, we do our best.
So you think it’s the outside saying—because I’ve gone through that with me. I’ve felt like I had to be in the know. Only recently have I shaken hands with the fact that, no, I love to be in the know; I also want to be in the know of what I don’t know. I want to know what I don’t know, and then known that I do not know. And saying: oh, that’s a good thing, Matthew!—is what I’ll tell myself. But do we not give ourselves enough credit? The “I don’t know” is like a blind spot. It’s like, whoa, I don’t know what’s behind me—
No, no. “I know” is a blind spot. Let me clear this. “I know” is a blind spot. See, right now, let’s say you’re driving. A truck was coming behind you and you saw it in the mirror. So, do you see what is behind the truck? So you know there is a truck coming. But that’s a blind spot. It blocks everything else. So right now you think “I know.” That’s like a blot in your brain. It doesn’t allow you to see anything else. If you see “I do not know”—“I do not know” is not about things around you.
Fundamentally—see, you and me are sitting here, talking long distance. We’re sitting on a round planet. The damn thing is spinning all the time, and also hurtling through the space at tremendous speed. In the middle of nowhere—nobody knows where this cosmos begins, where it ends—in the middle of nowhere, a tiny little mechanism called “solar system.” In that, tiny little super-tiny place called “planet Earth.” In that, Texas is a micro-super space. In that, Austin city is a super-super-micro space. In that, you’re a big man. This is the problem. Because the moment I think “I know,” I become big in my perception. Once I become big, inevitably I’ll make a fool of myself—whether I realize this in this life or not, somebody who has eyes to see will see: this is a bloody fool!
Value of Seeking
Yes! I love it. “I know” is a blind spot. Heard! But we tell ourselves—the world tells us—the opposite: that, no, the self-assurance, the confidence (even if it’s a false confidence), to get you more of what you want. We reward that in life—in this life, in the mortal life. We reward that with money, with jobs, with even blue ribbons and gold medals sometimes. Is it an act of courage to lean into the “I don’t know,” to seek what you don’t know? Is it a courageous act, or does that too much come from a belief system? I’m just trying to make it tangible, because in this… you know…?
Yes. Right now, do I know you are Matthew—I won’t dare try the second name—
Rhymes with: “What would Madonna say?”
So I know you are Matthew McConaughey, but do I know you? I don’t know. I know you, because when I see a person, I know there are many things that I need to know to interact to be with them and everything. But do you know some life absolutely? You do not know. So the “I do not know” does not mean you’re ignorant. “I do not know” simply means that maybe, right now, I’m seeing the surface. I am always willing to look deeper and deeper and deeper. But the moment I say, “Oh, I know what’s Matthew”—he’s a file in my mind. It’s finished.
So “I do not know” does not mean that it’s ignorance. See, we must understand this. See, however much knowledge you have—even if you have digested the libraries on this planet—still, what you know in this cosmic space is minuscule. But our ignorance is boundless. So the whole yogic system always identifies with ignorance. Because if I identify with my ignorance, then—whether I am awake or asleep—my intelligence is always on. It never sleeps. The moment I say “I know,” my intelligence goes to sleep. It gets lazy. This is essentially determining what is the quality of your life.
So do not ever let your intelligence go to sleep by saying “I know something.” Do you know a blade of grass? I am asking all the top scientists on the planet: “Do we really know a blade of grass absolutely?” We do not know! As you look deeper and deeper and deeper into it, there’s more and more and more to it. See, the top scientists in the world are openly saying: “We not only do not know, we will never know.” Alright?
So does it mean these people are ignorant people? No! They may have more knowledge than most people on the planet. But they are saying this because they have looked deep enough into life. And if you look deep enough into life, you’ll naturally see what you know is minuscule, what you do not know is an endless possibility. So do you want to take away the boundless possibility because you know a spot?
“I don’t know” is not ignorant, it’s an endless possibility.
Ignorance is a boundless thing. Knowledge is a very limited thing.
What is Expansion?
Fun. Fun! That’s what this sounds like—fun! Hah! The adventure. Ah! Can you open up your definition of “expansion?” What most people would say would be your teaching, you call it technology. I like—that clicks with me, too. But can you talk about your definition of “expansion” for us?
See—I mean, before that, what you referred to as technology—why this is technology is: see, if I give you a belief system, you may believe it, you may not believe it. If I give you a teaching, you may like it, you may not like it. If I give you a philosophy, you may agree with it, you may not agree with it. Now I give you a technology. All you have to do is learn to use it. Whoever learns to use it, for them it’ll work. It’s as simple as that.
So it doesn’t matter. Right now, you know, some people who are complaining when that ISIS war was going on in Syria and Iraq. In America, some people that I know were complaining: “Can you believe it? They are using our iPhones and doing all these attacks!” I said, “This is technology! Whoever learns to use it, it’ll work.” You don’t have to say any of your religious slogans to make it work. You learn to use it—it works. So yoga is a technology. You just learn to use it. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you believe, what you don’t believe. All this doesn’t matter. You just learn to use it, it’ll work.
So what is expansion? See, the word “yoga” means this. Well, you already came to a little verbal meaning of that, which simply means “union,” or actually, that other definition you said. I’m sorry, I’m neither Latin nor Greek. So you said something about yoking, alright?
Religion. Ligare: “to bind together again.”
To bind together. The word “yoga” literally—if go back to its original meaning—it means “to yoke.” You yoke together. Now, what yoking means is: see, when you sit here, you are an individual person. This is why I said the greatest magnanimity of creation is: it gave us an individual experience. There are swarms of insects here. For them, they don’t have an individual experience. They experience themselves as a swarm, as a species. But we experience ourselves as an individual. Unfortunately, instead of enjoying this privilege, we have made this into a point of conflict—conflict between each other all the time: me versus you. But this is the greatest privilege; that we can sit here.
I want you to just imagine: suppose you looked at you or me from, let’s say, galaxy Z. What are we? Even through a telescope or a microscope, we are not visible. It doesn’t matter what they have, we are not visible with such a tiny speck of dust, literally. But we have an individual experience. It’s not a small thing. We can look at the universe and wonder what this is all about! This is not a small thing. So this individual experience, or the sense of being an individual—when you take it too seriously, then you get lost. Then you have to yoke with the creation: you have to become one with it. Only then you know life. Otherwise you are misunderstanding your psychological world as existential.
Right now, this is all the problem with human beings. Somehow, nature trusted that if we give you so much intelligence, you will make the best out of it. Tell me, Matthew, in your experience or in anybody’s experience, does intelligence spell solutions or problems? Intelligence means solutions, isn’t it? Unfortunately, today it’s human intelligence which is causing all the problems, simply because we are too stuck with our individuality. We don’t understand this is just a privilege. Tomorrow morning, if they bury us in the land, we will become one with everything, alright? All these countless number of peoples who walked this planet, and they also thought they are great people, where are they? All topsoil right now! You and me also will be topsoil unless some friends choose to bury you real deep, thinking you may raise from the dead, you know? Fearing, rather!
So I’m saying: we are anyway part of this. Without taking a breath, we cannot live. Without food, water, we cannot live. Without constant interaction, we cannot live. But we are acting like concrete block individuals: we are absolutely individual. Yoga means you obliterate the boundary of your individuality so that you experience your universality. Once you experience your universality—if I experience everything around me here, everybody around me here, as a part of myself—after that, do I need any morality? Does somebody have to tell me: don’t drop them, don’t kill them, don’t do this, don’t do that? Once I’ve experienced something as a part of myself, with that I have no conflict. This is yoga.
See, right now, for example, these five fingers—I have five more, okay? I’m only showing you five. These five fingers—you also have five. Not bad! So these five fingers, right now I experience them very much as a part of myself. But this is just the food that I have eaten. Food I’ve eaten means: it’s just the soil that I’m walking upon right now; it’s just a piece of the planet. But right now, this is very much me. In my experience, this is totally me. Now, why is this so? See, right now, there is a glass of water here. The water in this glass—is this me? No. If I drink it, will it become me? Of course. More than 70% of my body is water.
So what is it that happened? All that happened was: as you have a physical body, you have a sensory body. Your sensory body is the boundaries of who you are. See, if you do this, Matthew: with your right hand, just touch your left hand. Is that you? 100%, isn’t it? Touch the chair on which you’re sitting: is that you? No. How do you know? It’s just that here there are sensations, here there are no sensations. So essentially, what you’re saying is: what is within the boundaries of my sensation is me. What is outside the boundaries of my sensation is not me. So the sensory body has a presence of its own.
We can just do this experiment right now. Just close your eyes. Just for twenty seconds, briskly rub your hands like this. Hold them about three to four inches away from each other. Something happening between them, isn’t it?
So what is happening is just that, because of exuberant movement, now your sensory body expands. So you know why people are rubbing each other all the time: because somebody who is not you, you begin to experience them as a part of yourself—maybe momentarily, but it happens. So right now, what yoga means is: you sit here—without any outside activity—just sit here and make your life energies so exuberant and active that your sensory body expands. If your sensory body expands to the size of the room in which you’re sitting, you will experience everything around you as a part of yourself. If your sensory body expands like the universe, then we say you are a yogi. That means you become one with everything.
Today, if you go to a yoga program in a studio, people are calling themselves yogis. That’s not what it means. It means that you obliterated the boundaries of your individuality and you became one with everything in your experience. Even if this happens for a few moments in your life, after that you are never the same again. Because everything that you see—man, woman, child, tree, animal, bird; everything—somewhere deep inside you know: this is part of me. When you know this, you don’t have to be driven by commandments or morals or values or ethics. No! You are running out of your humanity; the life that you are. And that’s the way you should be. If your humanity is dead, then you need a lot of morality. If your humanity is alive and overflowing, everything will be fine, you will do the best that is for yourself and everybody around you, and we would completely live a different life. And right now, with this pandemic and everything, this becomes very essential. This is the time for us to stand up and show what kind of human beings we are.
Yes. Yes! Individually. And what you just said about the individual experiences—that’s who we are. That’s all we have. But the yogi is connected with the universe. So the “I”—that’s where the “I” meets the “we.” The yoke of the “I” and the “we.” Would that be fair to say. That’s how I phrase it. Or “I” and the “All.” Is it “I” and the “All?”
“We” means there are still multiples, alright?
The “All?” “I” and the “All?”
Yes. You are the “All” right now. You know, I launched a whole ecological program in India based on this. I saw that we had to increase the green cover in the state in which we were, which was at about 16.5% at that time. The aspiration was 30%. So I told them: “See, you have to plant 114 million trees in the next eight years.” They rolled their eyeballs and said: “How is that possible? Do you know what is 114 million? How can we plant that many trees?” So I told them what is their population—it was about 62 million. I said if all of you plant one today and one more after two years, then it is a done thing. Only thing is: all of you will not participate. That’s the whole problem. So I made a simple process. I made people sit under trees and made them breathe. I set up a spiritual process for them where I clearly made them experience, see: what you exhale, the trees are inhaling. What they exhale, you are inhaling. Literally, one half of your breathing apparatus is hanging out there. Once they felt this experientially, you can’t stop them! They’re still planting trees all over the place today! We have planted millions of trees and it’s still going on. Right now our goal is to plant 2.42 billion. And Marc Benioff came in between, and now he’s telling me a trillion.
What’s after that? Is there such a thing as a gazillion, or does it go straight to googleplex then?
No, no. After that, you know, one day I have to be buried under a tree so that you become good manure for one tree, at least. But that’s all the flesh I carry—only for one tree!
Heard! So, question. So, you have that experience, which you said would last about four and a half hours when you were on your rock with your favorite tree growing up through the crack. And you had that experience. How many years ago was that?
That was when I was—that was 1982.
Bring Something Back from the Trip
So ’82. So 21 and 18. 39 years, here we go. So I think many, you know—most people go and have had certain experiences where they felt like what I would call crossing the truth and going: whoa! I know I’ve had experiences in my own life where I’m like: that was true, it landed on me, it was as light as a butterfly but strong as a lightning bolt. I know that what I just realized is true for this time, that time, and all time, and I have to tell myself: now, the hard work, Matthew, is going back into the busy society and maintaining it. Now, the problem with the maintaining is, I was doing tools to try and hang onto it, which is not what you’re saying. You’re saying when it happens, it’s not needed.
No. It doesn’t need maintenance. See, you’re not maintaining the sky, are you?
You’re not maintaining the sky. So in our perception, in human perception, boundlessness means the sky. Boundary means the planet. So when something is really boundless, you cross some limits. See, so many people, especially—maybe not so much in Texas; I don’t know, but more in California (I’m going there in a few days)—everybody talks about how they broke their barriers because they smoked this, because they drank this, because they did this. See, all this is fine. I’m not saying it’s not genuine. See, it can be induced in so many ways, okay? You can simply do it if you just dance yourself crazy. You know, like how the Native American people were doing. They were just dancing themselves into states; literally bordering on life and death kind of dance. But because of that, they broke through.
But these kind of things if you do, you will have experiences. Definitely it may bring some sense of wisdom. But it’ll also get you addicted to that particular activity. If any exp—
That particular activity. Maybe a dance, maybe a drug, maybe a smoke—whatever it is. I’m saying: if you create any experience within you with a certain physical activity, naturally you will get addicted to that physical activity. It may be alcohol, it may be drug, it may be sexuality, it may be adventure, it may be jumping off the mountain. For different people it may be different things. But essentially you will get addicted to the activity, because you see that activity as a source. Now, this is what is significant about the yogic process: that there is a step-by-step ladder, if you climb, then, after that, without any activity, sitting in this space, you can be in that state. Once that happens, there is no maintenance.
Voila! Ahoy! Ahoy! Ah! Oh, beautiful! I would love to go on talking hours, days, and hanging out, et cetera. You know, I really dig where you’re coming from and happy you’re sharing what you’re sharing, because I think you’re turning a lot of people on to themselves. And amen for that! For keeping us involved; involved in what we need. Like you said: we need personal involvement now more than ever to evolve as a species, it seems, you know?
See, this is a time—I’m saying particularly in India, right now, last two weeks have been grim, alright? It’s been a very grim situation out there, and still going in that direction. Well now, lockdowns, curfews, all coming. Maybe it’ll turn back a little bit. But we need to understand this: that we have come to a time where there are many—not mainstream scientists. There are many, you know, other kinds of scientists who look at various things. They may not be 100% wrong or 100% right. They’re talking about how this has all happened because of the biological push we have done on other creatures, whatever. This is a script for a Hollywood—that how we pushed the biology and how all the virus sat together and planned and got at us. I’m saying not that.
But I’m just saying: essentially, we have reached a point. Different generations have reached different kinds of situations. But we have come to a place. Our fortune is right now. This virus, the sole carrier is human being. Earlier, we had this kind of pandemics or epidemics where carriers who are mice, birds, mosquitoes, other kinds of things. We couldn’t stop them. What we were thinking of in our mind at that time is: how to completely eliminate all the mice on the planet, how to get rid of the mosquitoes absolutely. Genocide. We were planning genocides on them. But right now it is us. We are the carriers. You can see this as a great blessing and a great curse. You would see it as a blessing if you are a conscious human being. Because if all of us across the world—I know this is right now a utopian thing—if all of us had the sense, for fourteen days, just be with two, three people that we are and not meet anybody for fourteen days, the pandemic is largely over. Alright? But we won’t do that. We need a haircut. We need to go to the pub. We need to do this. Somebody needs to go to the temple. Somebody needs to go to the bar. Everybody has all this because we are such compulsive creatures right now.
The significance of being human is: there’s nothing big about us, except that we can conduct the same things that the animals do consciously. We eat, we sleep, we copulate, we die. Alright? The question is: if we do it consciously, it looks human. If you do it compulsively, it looks animalistic. So right now this is the time for us to exhibit how conscious we are. As a generation of people, what sort of people are we? Simple commitment. I will make sure I am not infected. But if it so happens I am infected, I will ensure it will not go to one more person. This much commitment, if we take, it’s over.
It’s a small, short-term inconvenience for long-term freedom.
And also we are too committed to our lifestyles. We are not committed to our life. We think our lifestyles is life. No. Lifestyles is a consequence of time; the times in which we are living. Life is the real thing. So right now, focus on life. That this life should not be put to risk, no other life should be put to risk. Lifestyle doesn’t matter. You can make your lifestyle differently. What is the big deal? See, I’m driving and sleeping in a truck! So I’ve changed my lifestyle completely.
I hear you! I hear you! Great talking to you.
Thank you, Matthew. Wonderful.
I look forward to our next time.
Yeah, I hope to catch up somewhere.
[???] with the laughter an all. I hope you have a great road trip and keep enjoying yourself out there, getting off-road, and we’ll talk to you next time wherever you are.
Yep. I’m crossing Texas. Keep the cowboys off me, yeah?
C’mon! You’ll fit right in here. Come on in! Howdy! It’s about 974 miles east to west. C’mon through, man. Stop wherever you want. Hospitable stay. We’d love to have you. Let me know when you come.
Yes, thank you. Thank you, Matthew!
Sadhguru! Appreciate it. Yes, sir.