The Power of being Alone

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Be Inspired / Mental Health


Buddha said, "It's better to walk alone, than to walk with a fool". Not always being together is good, being together can be a nuisance! A Human beings can be conscious, and be complete within ourselves, without the need of company. For transformation to happen, one needs to realize that they are an 'individual' - that's the power of being #alone.


Duration: 11 min


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6 min read

The Power of being Alone

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

When Gautama the Buddha was asked, “Is it better to walk alone or in company?” He said, “It’s better to walk alone than to walk with a fool.” Well, that’s him, not me. He was quite sure that only a fool will walk with you. So he said, “It’s better to walk alone than to walk with a fool.” Certain lore in this country says, when you want to do a short and quick journey, walk alone. When you want to do a long journey, walk in company. But the important thing is, who is walking with you? Not always being together is a good thing, many times being together can be a nuisance.

If one does not know how to be by himself or herself, then being together can be a lot of nuisance

So, first and foremost, unless you are a twin, even then, we come alone and we go alone. If one does not know how to be by himself or herself, then being together can be a lot of nuisance. We are referred to as human beings. Human beings means – every other creature is what it is, simply because of what it does. But a human being can simply ‘be’, which is a unique quality of the human being, that we can simply be, that we are not compulsive action, that’s what it means. Our action is conscious and judicious, but generally when people get together, generally, people are in compulsive action. It can be an association, where there could be a purposeful action or it can be a gang, where there can be more purposeful action or it can be a crowd, which can be a compulsive action.

So, essentially, to be human means we have reached that point of evolution within ourselves that if we wish, we can simply sit here, just be. We can consider as to what action to take, and what not to take. This is definitely individual. When individuals come together, we say it’s “We” in plural, but still it is individuals who have to come together.

To be an individual means you are not further divisible, that means you are just one. People find different ways to divide themselves, within themselves. In India, with a 10,000 years of cultural history, we have invented various words to divide ourselves. It’s very common for people to talk in terms of atma, paramatma, ahankara, this one and that one. But every culture has this in their own way. When things are going right, when good things are being done, if you ask people, they say, “Yes, I did it.” When things don’t go right, when things go wrong, then they will try to find somebody, if they don’t find anybody, he’s always there [pointing upwards].

When they are very wonderful, of course they take pride in being how wonderful they are. When they turn nasty, they say, “It was my ego.” Mr. Ego is always a fall guy.

So individual means, that if I’m wonderful, it’s me. If I’m nasty, it’s me. All of you, are you 24 hours wonderful? Hello? Are you 24 hours wonderful? No, no, sometimes wonderful, sometimes nasty, sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly. It’s okay. If we understand it is me who is capable of being absolutely wonderful, and it is me who is capable of being absolutely nasty another moment, then gradually the number of moments of nastiness will keep on receding. If I see what is wonderful is me, what is nasty is – in India, we have many words – “It’s my karma. What can I do?” No, you must fix this. Being an individual is very important. That means you’re not further divisible.

If I’m wonderful, it’s me. If I’m nasty, it’s me. If I succeed, it’s me. If I fail, it’s me. You have to fix this

If I’m wonderful, it’s me. If I’m nasty, it’s me. If I succeed, it’s me. If I fail, it’s me. You have to fix this. I’m just asking you a simple question – Within this [self], how many people? Hello? How many people within you? One? Two? Only one. If you’re one, you’re normal human being. If you’re more than one, you’re either schizophrenic or you’re possessed. You either need a psychiatrist or a exorcist. But you will see whenever things don’t go right, another guy will pop up from somewhere. So becoming an individual means you killed all those pop-ups and just said, “This is me.” This what is me has many dimensions.

If I don’t see this is an individual, I cannot divide this further, then transformation will not happen. If transformation does not happen, if people come together in that state, there will be more mess than solutions. All creatures hang out together. Whether it is various wild creatures, most of them hang out together. Even monkeys who are just one step behind us, they are also in bunches.

It is only human being who can sit alone and transform himself or herself, because this is the prerogative of being human, that we can simply be. This is why you are called human being. You’re capable of being. You are not in a compulsive state of activity. If you want, consciously you can evolve, in this evening you can evolve, if you’re willing. It doesn’t take a million years, because our evolution is not biological anymore, our evolution is conscious. For every other creature, it is fixed. Nature has fixed two lines, within which every other creature lives and goes. But once you have come as a human being, there is only bottom line, there is no top line. There is no limit as to how a human being can become.

So before we associate ourselves with people, it’ll be good, every day in the morning or a certain period of your life if one withdraws to spend a little time with oneself – and see how, in what ways can this be a little better than the way it was yesterday. This life, how it can be a little better life than what it was yesterday. Because most people are coming together for their needs. To fulfill needs, people come together. Some people come together to fulfill a purpose or a cause. Some people come together to eat, drink and be together because they cannot be alone.

This is something that every human being must do. A certain period of time, you do one thing, just 24 hours, take a break from everything. Not today, right now you’re among people. You take a break sometime, just 24 hours and don’t read, don’t watch television, don’t use a phone, simply sit in your room, alert, not sleeping. And if you watch the nature of your mind, you yourself will certify “This is a madman.” Because for most people, their mind cannot stay on any one thing, unless they’re in activity, simply they cannot be here. In compulsive state of psychological activity is on. When you are like this, you cannot ‘be’. That means you cannot be a human being.

Being has to happen, only then togetherness will be very rich. If you know how to be by yourself, then coming together will be hugely rewarding and of tremendous value, that means we came together consciously.

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