4 Rules for a Balanced Life: Timeless Advice from a Mystic
The quality of our lives boils down to this: the nature of our relationship with ourselves and those around us.
We want to be happy and loved. We want our lives to mean something to someone else too. We are constantly taking actions and moving towards people we think will make our lives better.
The goal itself is simple but the players (you and others) aren’t. People can be quite erratic. We, on the other hand, are constantly making wrong assumptions about what we really need to be happy.
We create conditions here and there, and without realizing it, we’ve become so complex we don’t understand ourselves let alone others.
Here are four life-transforming words of wisdom from the Indian mystic, Sadhguru (Jaggi Vasudev), that reveals simple steps we can take to live a more pleasant life.
The Best Way to Treat Others
“Only when your attention and involvement is indiscriminate does life open up to you.” — Sadhguru
You are bad. I am good.
Here’s one of the major problems facing the world today: so many people think they are good.
And what happens when you think you are a good person? Everyone who doesn’t share your views about life is bad. We see this everywhere; race, religion, relationships, even your personality is the template for good behavior.
What we fail to understand is that everyone is living the best way they see fit. They have a set of rules they’ve grown up with that makes sense to them. The moment you label their way as “bad” you immediately lose any ability to understand them.
“There are joyful and miserable people,” said Sadhguru, “but there are no good and bad people.”
The point here is this: attend to people and to life with indiscriminate attention; don’t say this person (or set of people) is bad so I don’t deal with them.
As Goethe said, “Everyone has something in his nature which, if he were to express it openly, would of necessity give offense.”
You are not good or bad. You have your ideas; you have your own view of life; you have your priorities, and so do other people.
The moment you think you are good, you feel entitled to destroy the bad because the basis of goodness is determined by you.
The Importance of Knowing Yourself
“Human folly is that people are always trying to extract joy from outside.” — Sadhguru
We all love compliments. They make us feel good especially when they are honestly delivered.
But here’s the sad truth: most people become a bundle of opinions that they’ve received from others. They become shallow, clinging to everything people say or think about them. They burn themselves out trying to live up to expectations, oscillating between ecstasy and depression because they are not internally fortified.
The bottom line is this: depending on people’s opinions to evaluate yourself leads to a messy life. The better alternative? Know yourself. To become internally fortified:
- Spend time getting good at what you love to do. When you are good at something, it means you are helpful and people can depend on you for something.
- Know who really has your back. Relationships are everything. If you are always spending time with those who make you feel small, you’ll feel bad about yourself most of the time.
- Know your strengths, accept your weaknesses. A single flaw pointed out by “the court of public opinion” shouldn’t break your heart.
- Have a quiet time where you can reflect and slow things down. I like to write down a few things I was proud of during the day.
“Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside, awakes,” said Carl Jung. When you know yourself, you can build something sustainable.
How We Limit Our Life Experience
“The purpose of life is to live totally…When you think you have a God-given purpose, life becomes less important than your purpose.” — Sadhguru
What you need isn’t a purpose but a good intention.
I wish someone had told me this earlier. Being a lover of self-help books, I was exposed to this dogma at a tender age: you need a purpose. Not having a purpose felt like a curse.
Here’s the worse thing: how do you know when you’ve found your purpose anyway?
For most of us, we assume our “God-given purpose” has to be exciting, fulfilling, and life-transforming at the same time. We end up living a half-life, discontented and restless because we feel finding our purpose is the key to unleashing our potential and happiness.
Here’s a hard truth: most people use “searching for a purpose” as an excuse for avoiding life. They forget the most important part: the purpose of life is to live. Besides, when you feel, for any reason, that you’ve found your purpose, you shut everything else out.
Let your life be fueled by good intentions, not a search for a purpose; let it unfold beautifully. Enjoy the process. Let life itself mean something to you.
Seek Clarity, not Conclusions
“An ignorance that you are aware of and have acknowledged, is a far more powerful and profound state than a knowledge you’ve concluded.” — Sadhguru
The purpose of the mind is to seek and look for connections. But we often make this impossible.
How? We are constantly drawing conclusions about everything. We cannot bear not knowing. We must take a stand and belong somewhere. Without our beliefs, we feel lost.
Here’s the thing: when you make a conclusion about anything, your mind stamps it as absolute and closes off any other possibility. You become “confident” in your conclusion.
What we need isn’t to quickly draw conclusions and feel ourselves with false confidence. Most times what we need is clarity. As Sadhguru wisely said:
“Ignorance endorsed by a great authority will not become truth.”
Attend to life as though you’re crossing a highway; you don’t just confidently cross to the other side of the street, that will be disastrous. You wait and get enough clarity, then you crossover.
Several wrong ideas have been harbored and passed down from generations because people just want to jump to conclusions about everything. We can learn to be in a neutral state. No sides. No opinions. It’s not scary or unconformable; It’s actually liberating.
The more conclusions you make, the lesser attention you pay to life. Drop your conclusions and explore.
Summary: Keys to Bear in Mind
- Deal with people indiscriminately. The moment you think you are good, you feel entitled to destroy the bad because the basis of goodness is determined by you.
- Compliments are good, but don’t let your life be a bundle of opinions. It is better to know yourself so that your source of self-worth is reliable.
- Don’t let a search for a “God-given purpose” make you miss out on life. Remember, the purpose of life is to live totally. Just let your intentions be good, explore, enjoy every moment.
- Seek clarity, not quick conclusions. Learn to just be with an idea. Remember, ignorance endorsed by a great authority will not become truth.
Thank you for reading!