How to overcome your compulsions?

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My question is about compulsion. Eating compulsion, drug compulsion, feeling compulsion, every compulsion in life, and how this is connected with lot of noise and disturbing that we have inside. How we express this noise inside through the compulsion to outside?

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How to overcome your compulsions?

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

Questioner: My question is about compulsion. Eating compulsion, drug compulsion, feeling compulsion, every compulsion in life, and how this is connected with lot of noise and disturbing that we have inside. How we express this noise inside through the compulsion to outside?

Sadhguru: See, what you call as compulsive is – generally people only recognize compulsive physical behavior. Somebody is addicted to drink, somebody is addicted to something else, somebody compulsively is abusive, or something else negative that they cannot avoid doing, is considered compulsive. But we must look a little deeper. The very way we sit and stand, largely it’s compulsive. Maybe if you are practicing Hatha Yoga, slowly, how you sit, how you stand, is becoming a conscious process – otherwise, it’s largely compulsive.

If we see your shadow, how you sit down, we almost know who it is, because you sit in a particular way, you stand up in a particular way. Have you noticed this? Every body has its own compulsive patterns. Compulsiveness is coming from ingrained memory. You can call it genetic, you can call it karmic, you can call it by many other names, but essentially, memory has taken over your life.

What spiritual process means is to create an awareness, to become conscious in such a way that we overwrite the memory – not just in small levels of compulsiveness of behavior, or food, or whatever else, but in the very compulsiveness of life which has to go through cyclical process of life and death. To beat the ultimate compulsion is the longing to be born, and the inevitable process of life and death.

So, when we use the word mukti – I know today there are mukti chocolates and ice creams… it’s okay, they are making the word popular, at least that way you use the word, eh?

Essentially compulsiveness means something is going cyclical

So, essentially compulsiveness means something is going cyclical. You are not able to beat the cyclical movement that’s happening within you either psychologically, emotionally, energy-wise, or physically in your behavior patterns. Maybe you are noticing only the behavioral patterns, the compulsive nature of your behavior, you are not noticing the compulsive nature of your thought unless it becomes very acute, compulsive nature of your emotion, compulsive nature of the way the energy patterns move, and above all, the compulsive nature of your very existence. Every aspect of life is influenced by memory. To what extent it dominates will decide how compulsive you are.

It is like – I think I said this some time ago…. [Swami come on stage to keep a glass of warm water for Sadhguru] Swami creeps upon me every day, but not compulsively! When on the headphones they hear my voice is little going like that [heavy], he’s coming with a warm drink, which sometimes I drink, and sometimes I don’t. But you can make this a compulsive pattern. That is, every day at 12 o’clock – I’m sorry, at 2 o’clock – warm drink [whether] you need it, you don’t need it. This is called developing good habits. There are no good habits. All habits are bad, because habit means you’re trying to operate in a compulsive pattern.

There are no good habits. All habits are bad, because habit means you’re trying to operate in a compulsive pattern

When you feel thirsty, you drink water. No, no, not like that – doctor tells you, “every day, 3 liters of water,” half the time you’re in the pee place. No, doctor should not tell you when to drink water. You must be conscious when you need water – something so simple! But no, no, no, it’s all set. When it’s all set, it looks like you’re functioning efficiently. Yes, you are. Efficiency without a heart is no good, it’s cruel. Adolf Hitler is very efficient, but inhuman. This is what will happen in everybody’s life – unknowingly, you become tyrannical. Maybe you will never be, fortunately, as capable as him, but you will become equally cruel to yourself and everybody around you, because you have your stupid sense of discipline.

Now… “But Sadhguru, if I don’t wake up my children at 6 o’clock, they will wake up at noon time!” It is true. It is true, you have to wake them up at 6 o’clock, otherwise they may become sloth. So, this is a fine game. Life is a fine game. If you want to do it in a crude way, you can do it. But if you want to do it well, it’s a fine game. The same thing can be done in many different ways. “So Sadhguru, how do I wake up my children, Sadhguru, in a conscious way at 6 o’clock in the morning, because they have to go to school at 7:00?” Well, there are many situations in the world, it’s not entirely our making, but we have to sink with it, otherwise we will become dis-aligned with everything. We have to wake up the child to send him to school at 7:00.

This happened. At 7:00 o’clock – not 6:00 – a mother came for the 10th time since early morning, and shook her son, “Wake up, you need to go to school!” He said, “Mamma, nobody likes me in school. The teachers don’t like me, the rest of the staff don’t like me, the bus drivers hate me. I don’t want to go to school!” So the mother said, “No, you must be responsible, you have to go to the school, after all, you’re the principal.”

To fulfil certain situations we create certain patterns, but the pattern can be conscious pattern

To fulfil certain situations we create certain patterns, but the pattern can be conscious pattern. It may be a rigid pattern, but a conscious pattern for a period of time to fulfil certain situations. But it need not become a part of our system. If you go with the rhythms of nature, naturally some things will happen in certain ways. Isn’t that also compulsive that every year in the month of June monsoon should come? Is that not compulsive? It is. That is the physical nature of the existence. It is by patterns – set patterns. Unfortunately, even the monsoons are becoming a bit conscious, and not coming. That’s an unfortunate break of pattern, but physical nature is made of patterns. Whether individual atom, or a cell, or a molecule, or the entire system – this is the way physical is made.

This is the difference, or distinction – a human being, knowingly or unknowingly, trying to establish that “I’m something beyond the physical.” No spiritual teaching might have gone into an individual person, but still, even that person is trying to somehow prove to himself or herself that “I’m something more than physical.” If somebody treats you just as a physical entity you don’t like it, isn’t it? Hello? Physicality falls into set patterns. A dimension beyond physical doesn’t fall into any set patterns. That is where… it is from that dimension the very idea of consciousness has risen in human mind.

Human beings right now, in the evolutionary scale of things, are like – let’s say a bird which was left in a cage for a long time, then, after many years the cage door is left open, but the bird never makes an attempt to fly, because it’s gotten used to the cage. It’s gotten identified with the cage, and it doesn’t fly. This is human nature right now. In the evolutionary scale of things, what was a crawling creature, now has become like this [human]. Now the lid is blown away, but still we don’t crawl out simply because of habit, the genetic influence causing compulsive behavior.

So, compulsiveness – don’t try to counter it, don’t try to forcefully beat it, you just have to become conscious

This happened. A 3-year-old boy told his friend, “When I grow up, I will marry the girl next door.” So the friend asked, “Why?” So the boy said, “Because I’m not allowed to cross the street.”

So, compulsiveness – don’t try to counter it, don’t try to forcefully beat it, you just have to become conscious. This is like the light and darkness business. You don’t fight with the darkness – that will be foolish. Compulsiveness is an expression of lack of consciousness. You don’t have to fight it. If you become more conscious, compulsive patterns will just disappear. It is like, if you turn on the lights, darkness is gone – you don’t have to fight with it. If you fight with darkness, you are on an endless fight.

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