Questioner: Namaaskaram Sadhguru. Could you shed some light on why so many teens around the world are suffering from anxiety disorders?
Sadhguru: Adolescence means springtime of life. If you’re having trouble with spring, I can imagine how you’ll handle your winters. Hello? Hmm? It’s a springtime of life. When everything is high energy, your body is at its best, hmm? If you’re having trouble dealing with that part of your life, I can imagine the rest of your life how you will handle.
This is not any one age – maybe studies are being done on specific people, but toddlers have diaper issues, adolescents have hormonal issues, middle-aged people have crisis, old age sold to pharmaceuticals. When you’re young, you bought drugs off the back street. When you’re older, it’s over the counter. Nothing much has changed, it’s just become legal, everything is becoming legal, you know? Hello? A lot of things which were not legal are becoming legal, isn’t it?
So, this is not to make a joke out of somebody’s suffering, but you need to understand what’s happening. There are many, many dimensions to this, I don’t think I can cover all of them in these few minutes, but to just put some perspective to you.
See, there are five sources of receptivity for you. From the outside world, there are five openings – your vision, your hearing, your smell, your taste and your touch.
The simplest aspect of life is this – essentially, your eyes are designed to take 12 hours of light, 12 hours of darkness. Starlight, moonlight, okay? Now, literally every waking moment of your life, light is penetrating, no room.
And sounds – just imagine, suppose you lived in the same place, it is still here like this. If you stay in the ashram, it’s still quiet. If you lived here, once in a way, once in a way some noise happened, otherwise generally quiet, little bit of insects making noise, this, that – that’s about it. Now 24 hours something is going on, automobiles are going on. In United States everywhere there is some machine buzzing all the time! It’s like, you know, if I travel here for 6 weeks, 8 weeks, it becomes like booooom, something is going on. In any building you sit, something is going on. When I go back to ashram in India, if I sit there it’s still like that, absolutely still. And the impact that it has on your system is tremendous! But this buzzing that’s going on – see, it’s going on, even here!
I’m still holding my ground, I don’t know, without telling me, they might have already installed, I said no air conditioners in the ashram, in the cottages. Why I’m saying this is, you come to a yoga center because you want to bring your system to a certain level of stability, balance. Because without balance, doesn’t matter what talents you have, what intelligence you have, what capabilities you have, without balance you’re no good. All these things will work against you, your own intelligence will work against you.
So, all the time there is sound and vibrations going on. As if that’s not enough, people are wearing headphones, and all the time “dang, dang, dang, dang.” They call it music, the musician doesn’t even bother to play it – it’s just a machine, banging in your ears all the time. Well, that’s maybe better than listening to people around you. Maybe you think it’s better than the automobile noises that surround you, but non-stop impact of sound, non-stop impact of light, non-stop impact of various other inputs – this affects everybody.
And adolescence means they are molting literally, from one stage to another, quickly. This is a time when there should have been a very stable atmosphere. Most people don’t have such a stable atmosphere. One thing is, because of various things that I already mentioned. Family situations are not stable, parents are also screaming. Hello? Yes, they are! Because every movie, every television show, everything is showing in the house – if you’re angry you must shout, you must punch the door, if not somebody, at least you must punch something, you must break something. This is becoming the norm. Everybody thinks that’s the way to handle your emotion. Hello? Examples are being set, people think that’s the way to handle your emotion. No!
If your emotion’s going out of control, shut up, close your eyes and just sit down in one place, hmm? Yes! That’s a way to handle your emotion. If your emotion is going out of control, just shut your mouth, close your eyes, sit down in one place, don’t mess with the rest of the world. Hello? At least this much responsibility you must have – when you’re messed up, you don’t mess the world. Keep it to yourself, your mess, that much you must have, isn’t it? No, everywhere people are demonstrating that if you’re emotional, you have to kick something, you have to break something, you have to throw something at somebody, or at least at the wall!
So, all this – and tell me, suppose there was no television, and there was no cinema, how many times in your life would you have witnessed somebody being shot? But now that you’re watching your cinema and television, how many shootings have you seen? Hundreds, thousands probably, isn’t it? You think it has no impact? Not only that, from the age of 5, all they learn is shooting, shooting, shooting, shooting – maybe just on the screen, but sometime they have to come off the screen and do the real thing. Yes, or no?
Now, like this I can go on – endless number of things we are doing in the name of so-called “modern life” – which is a way of messing life – every life is mess, not just adolescence. Because adolescents are still on your hands. You are complaining, parents are complaining because they’re still on their hands. Once they go out, their husbands and wives are complaining, nobody listens to them. Hello? The same brats have gone out and married, and made children, and everything. Hello? Yes, or no?
Maybe with age, if they become little less energetic, or at least in the evening they drink and they’re in hibernation. Either they’re out somewhere earning their living, when they come home, they’re in hibernation. That way everybody’s safe. But this is not the way to conduct life. Even if you’re exuberantly alive, you should not be damaging to any life around you – that’s life! Hello? The only way to see that you’re not dangerous is that you’re sedated. That’s not a good life. Hello?
Now, this is a phase of life when changes are happening so rapidly. All these impacts, which are on every life on the planet, not just human life – every life on the planet, maybe plays up a little more in the adolescent, or maybe it’s just the same as you. It is just that you thought they’re your little sweetie pies. Now, they’re showing genetic qualities. If a smaller version of you is like that, you must look!
One simple thing is this – if every human being knows simply how to sit still, just a few minutes a day, no great spiritual sadhana, nothing, simply sitting still – if this can happen, world will change in many ways.
But still, we have to handle these inputs, these inputs are too many. In your homes, you can do this. Where I live, most of the time I will never turn on the lights, unless I want to read something, or whatever. You will see, your eyes will adjust and you’re able to move about, everything is fine. Or if you need something, a couple of lamps will take care of that little bit of light that you need, to move around. All the time bright lights on, it is telling on your system. The input is too much – for your eyes, for your ears, you must bring down the input.
See, if you had to see colors, you had to wait for the sunset, sit there and wait. Then, one spectacular color arose, but if you’re looking at your phone, it went away. But today, you turn on the television, every goddamn color in the universe is just going on, and on, and on – endlessly! All this has immense impact – light, sound, color. If you lower the input into your life and to your child’s life, one way or the other – do whatever you have to do – you will see, they will grow up in a much more balanced way. This is the simple thing you can do.
For the adolescents, this has to be brought forth – a little bit of hatha yoga, most of them will go through this phase of their life effortlessly.