Be Greedy – Don’t be Content

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Wisdom For Seekers


Contentment is not the greatest virtue. If you are content, then you have forsaken the possibility of growing further. You must be greedy. And, you should not be stingy. Because you are stingy, you don't aspire for higher possibilities.


Duration: 14 min


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Be Greedy – Don’t be Content

The following is an unedited transcript of Sadhguru's video. For better readability, breaks and highlights have been added by the editors.

I know that many of you have been brought up on the idea or ideology that contentment is the greatest virtue. If you’re content with who you are right now, you’re not even aware that if you are willing to strive, who you could be. The possibility of a human being causing his own evolution, the possibility of a human being blossoming into a beautiful state of fragrance and beauty, has been completely discounted – that is why contentment.

Once it happened that a newly married woman or a girl went back to her mother’s place and said, “My husband is such a wonderful man that he gives me whatever I ask.” The worldly-wise mother looked at her and said, “Obviously you’re not asking enough. ” That’s the mother’s advice, this is the mother-in-law. So obviously you are not asking enough from life, that is why you are content.

The problem right now is you are stingy about your greediness

If I am greedy would it be better? Yes, you must be greedy. The problem right now is you are stingy about your greediness. The problem in this world is not of greed, the problem in this world is people are stingy. They are stingy, that’s why they don’t aspire for the biggest possibility, they want to save themselves for the next world. If you were greedy, you would want everything from life, isn’t it? Would you be just satisfied with little more money or little more property or little more power or little more pleasure? If you were truly greedy, you would aspire for the highest, isn’t it?

Now greed is not the problem – people are stingy, that’s the problem. Enough – the word ‘enough’ must be removed from our vocabulary because enough is relevant only to the physicality of life. If you are being served food, at some point you have to say it’s enough. It doesn’t matter what, anything that is physical, at some point you will have to say, ‘Enough’. And enough or contentment has become a valuable thing in people’s minds, only because they have not looked at or they have not explored dimensions beyond the physical. Because physicality is a limited entity, physicality is a limited quantity by itself – anything that’s physical is within certain limitations.

So if you get greedy with the physical, there will not be enough for somebody else. Suppose there is this much food [gestures with hands], if you say, “I want all of it,” then somebody else will not have it. There’s only this much land, if somebody says I want all of it, nobody else will have it. Like Mahatma [Gandhi] said, “There is enough for everybody’s need, not enough for even one man’s greed.” That is true with the physicality.

If your life is beginning to explore dimensions beyond the physical, contentment is a very bad idea

If your life and the realm of your experience is limited to the physical nature of the existence – enough, contentment is a good idea. But if your life is beginning to explore dimensions beyond the physical, if something beyond the physical is becoming a living reality in your life, contentment is a very bad idea. That means you will stunt yourself. The very possibility of becoming a limitless being, the very possibility of becoming a boundless nature you will destroy – the moment you say, “I will be content,” contentment is a boundary.

‘This’ much is enough means you’re drawing that big a boundary. Enough is not a good idea, contentment is not a good idea, your limited ideas of success is not a good idea. Till this being allows itself to blossom to a boundless state, you should not be content, you must burn with discontent. Now contentment need not be brought into our life as an ideology. It is just that if your aspiration becomes limitless, if your aspiration and desire is not selective, it desires for just everything, then naturally you would not limit yourself to the physicality of the existence. When it is no more selective, desire just becomes a powerful energy to expand, to burst open this being who is containing himself with contentment.

People are trying to achieve contentment at different levels, at different stages of life – please see this. What you call as contentment is just containment. You try to draw a boundary of some kind of, some semblance of sanity for yourself. But that boundary satisfies you and gives you sanity only for a short period of time. Then it has to be expanded, otherwise it is not going to work.

At the age of twenty, whatever you thought is going to be your contentment, does it remain your contentment when you are thirty? Whatever your ideas of contentment at thirty, does it remain contentment at forty? Unless you’re going down the tube. Unless your life is a total failure, then your idea of contentment will be coming down. But if you are on a upswing, your ideas of contentment keep expanding, isn’t it? If you’re a failure in your life, only then your idea of contentment becomes smaller, otherwise it’s constantly expanding.

Contentment is just a cautious way of attending to boundlessness

Contentment is just a cautious way of attending to boundlessness. You’re being cautious – you want to go towards boundlessness in installments. In installments if you seek the infinite, you are a lost case, because nobody has ever reached what we refer to as infinite by counting, one, two, three, four, five. Through installments you are not going to go to the infinite. That cannot happen in the very nature of things. If you choose installments as a way towards boundlessness or infinite nature, you will just become endless counting, that’s all that can happen. Endless counting will tire you one day. Just count and see – today you start counting now, don’t stop, just keep counting simply at your own pace, not at my pace, at your own pace – one, two, three, four, five… start counting, don’t stop. You see till where you can go without tiring yourself – not physical exhaustion, I am saying you will just be tired of counting because you know it’s not getting you anywhere.

So desiring process is a limitless process but you’re limiting it by being selective about your desires. I desire this, I desire that, I desire that, I desire that, but not this, this and this. If you take away the discriminatory nature of your desire – if you sit here right now and do not desire for anything particular, just desire for everything, just everything, just see if your mind can do it. Don’t desire for anything in particular, just simply desire, for everything. First of all, you don’t know what is everything. Nobody knows what is everything, isn’t it? Everything that you know and everything that you do not know, just desire for all the things that you know and do not know – you will see desire, the energy that you call as desire becomes a powerful force to become meditative.

Meditation, devotion is just this – a desire without a goal, a powerful desire without a goal

Meditation, devotion is just this – a desire without a goal, a powerful desire without a goal. If your desire, if your energy becomes full force, not towards anything, this is meditation. If you are on the spiritual process there is no such thing as contentment, there is no such thing as enough, greed is the rule. Is it okay? Greed is a bad word though. No, but greed is the rule, because limitless desire is generally considered greed, but it’s not true.

Greed is going by installments – if someone is taking larger installments than you, you consider that as greed, isn’t it? Yes or no? Yes or no? If somebody is going for larger installments than yourself, you consider that person greedy. If they’re going at the same level of installments as you, you consider that competition. If somebody is going at a smaller installments than you, you call that incompetent. Isn’t it so? Someone is taking – they only desire for this [small] much, when they are successful, they go for that [more] much, you look at him and then, “Ha! He’s not my class.” Somebody is going at the same level of installments as you, that’s competition. Somebody is going for leaps and bounds – greedy!

So greed is a very relative term. Everybody is attaching a certain level of desire as greed, according to their understanding, according to their limitations. In my vocabulary there is no such thing as greed, because I feel a human being should seek nothing less than everything. And when he is seeking everything, small things will not keep his attention. He will not be thinking of food, he will not be thinking of currency, he will not be thinking of pieces of property – he will be thinking of the largest possibility, nothing less.

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