Material Vs Spiritual – How To Resolve The Conflict?
Summary: A human being has two basic forces. One of preservation, and the other of expansion. Most people see them as conflicting. That is why 'material vs spiritual'. Sadhguru says - "These two longings – to preserve and to expand – are not opposing forces". These two forces are for two different aspects of life. If you identify only with the physical, this will be a conflict for you, otherwise these are collaborating forces.
article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org
What's so Unique About Being Human?
Sadhguru: As a machine and as a platform for life, the human body is faultless. The only problem is that it does not take you anywhere; it springs out of the earth and falls back into it.
These two longings – to preserve and to expand – are not opposing forces.
Isn’t that enough? At one level, it is quite enough. But somehow, a dimension beyond physicality has infused itself into this wonderful mechanism. This dimension is the very source of life. It is this that truly makes us who we are. In every creature, plant and seed, this is at work. In a human being, this source of life is even more magnificently obvious.
This is why human beings seem to live in a constant struggle between the physical and the dimension beyond. Though you have the compulsiveness of the physical, you also have the consciousness of being more than just physical.
Root Yourself & Reach for the Beyond
There are two basic forces. Most people see them as being in conflict. One is the instinct of self-preservation, which compels you to build walls around yourself. The other is the constant desire to expand, to become boundless.
You have no work with existence. You only have work with the existence that you have created.
These two longings – to preserve and to expand – are not opposing forces. They are related to two different aspects of your life. One force helps you root yourself well on this planet; the other takes you beyond. If you have the necessary awareness to separate the two, there is no conflict. But if you are completely identified with the physical, then instead of working in collaboration, these two fundamental forces become a source of tension.
All the “material-versus-spiritual” struggles of humanity spring from this ignorance. When you say “spirituality,” you are talking about a dimension beyond the physical. The human desire to transcend physical limitations is natural. Journeying from the boundary-based individual body to the boundless source of creation – this is the very basis of any spiritual process.
The Walls of Resistance
The walls of self-preservation that you build for today are the walls of self-imprisonment of tomorrow. This is an endless cycle. But creation is not unwilling to open to you the doors to the beyond. You are struggling with the walls of resistance that you have built around yourself. Robert Frost captured a deep truth when he wrote, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.”
That is why the yogic system does not talk about God, soul or heaven. Yoga talks only about the barriers that you have set up, because this resistance is all that needs to be attended to. The walls that block you are one hundred percent your creation. And these can be dismantled. You have no work with existence. You only have work with the existence that you have created.
Gravity and Grace
If I were to use an analogy, I would juxtapose gravity and grace. Gravity is related to the fundamental instinct of self-preservation in a human being. We are rooted to the planet right now because of gravity. Gravity is trying to hold you down; whereas grace is trying to lift you up. If you are released from the physical forces of existence, grace bursts forth in your life.
Like gravity, grace too is constantly active. It is just that you have to make yourself receptive to it. When you do, suddenly, you seem to function like magic. Suppose you were the only one who could ride a bicycle, you would begin to seem magical to everyone else! It is the same with grace. Others might think you are magic, but you know you are just beginning to become receptive to a new dimension of life. This is a possibility that everyone should realize.