Questioner: With respect to interpersonal promises and intrapersonal promises, I feel there are two types of promises that we make to others and to ourselves. How do we balance both of those, especially considering that sometimes we have to keep the interpersonal promises at the cost of your intrapersonal promises?
Sadhguru: A promise is meaningful and valuable only when you make it to somebody else. Because, you make a promise to somebody because they don’t know what the hell you’re going to do with them. Hello? That’s the reason why they demand a promise from you, isn’t it? Hello? You say, “I will give it to you.” They’ll say, “Promise”? Because you say one thing and you do another thing. So, promise is a meaningful thing only in a relationship with somebody. With yourself, what is there to promise? What is there to promise?
Promise is a transaction between two people. It is like signing an agreement. See we’re making a business deal, we sign a contract. Why are we signing it? So, that we don’t go back on it, right? Because today what we think is very nice, tomorrow morning, I may have a different perspective. So, tomorrow morning if I have a different perspective, I want to change the deal tomorrow morning. But I have signed, can’t go back on it. So, promise is a verbal signature. I say, “I promise,” that means I’m going to do it. I’ve signed. Not held by some legal contract, but by my own integrity – because I said so, I will do so.
But when it comes to myself, what is there to promise? This people may be using to deal with their compulsive nature. ‘I promise myself I will not drink before seven o’clock in the evening! 7:45 PM. Don’t make such promises because the only way, the only and only way you can handle your compulsiveness is with consciousness, just know this. There is simply no other way. Whatever commandments you have from elsewhere, whatever promises you make to yourself, whatever vows your take, they will all make you freaky. You may stop one thing, something else will happen when you forcefully make yourself do something within yourself.
This, can I tell you a joke? Okay. But this is a serious question!
It once happened, Shankaran Pillai offered…[laughter]. You can’t do that – he is not always funny, sometimes he is serious. Shankaran Pillai offered a ride for an office colleague, a female office colleague, a young woman, because she didn’t have a ride that day. So, he was driving her, then suddenly he became like an octopus, that is, his limbs were all over her. She pushed him away and said, “You Idiot! I got into your car thinking you are a decent fellow. What are you doing here?” He said, “I’m sorry, I quit smoking”.
Don’t do things forcefully with yourself. The only way you can beat compulsive process within you is by becoming more conscious. If there is darkness in this room, can all of you together, with all the strength that you have, can you kick the darkness out of this hall? Hello? No, if you just turn on the light, it’s gone, isn’t it? Because you must understand, compulsiveness is just absence of consciousness. Like darkness is just absence of light, compulsiveness is just absence of consciousness.
Instead of becoming conscious, you’re trying to play tricks with darkness. It’s not going to work like that. If you compulsively, strongly stop one thing by will, it will manifest itself in some other way, and some other way. No, you must become conscious. How to become conscious, that’s another part.