A young student asks Sadhguru about handling the difficult situation of being caught in the middle of parental fights. In response, Sadhguru offers some surprising, yet sage advice – be a smart ass! This punny wisdom applies not only to young ones, but to anyone struggling in relationships which have turned sour.
Sadhguru: Human relationships, as beautiful as they can be, can be the ugliest part of your life if you do not conduct them right. It is not always because we did something wrong. Most of the time, there is no substance, but it gathers so much significance that people fall apart and ugly things happen.
They came together with enormous love, affection and longing but it has turned out like this. If you witness such things so early in your life, instead of getting tangled up in it, you must understand and make up your mind that this is not how you are going to conduct your life.
This is not just about husband and wife. In any relationship, if the other person does something – even unknowingly – you become like a porcupine. I use the word “porcupine” because I have had a close encounter with a porcupine.
A lot of nastiness is happening. If we rise above that, we will become successful human beings.
I was in a narrow cave exploring the place and I got trapped with both my hands stuck. There was a porcupine in the cave that got wild with me and turned around and started charging me. I wasn’t able to crawl back because my hands were stuck. They raise a lot of dust when they charge, so I wanted to close my eyes because he was throwing dust in my face, but I wanted to keep my eyes open because I wanted to see where the quills are coming! Fortunately, it turned out to be only a mock charge.
The porcupine is an appropriate example for these quarrels at home. Initially, they blister their thorns and they try to mock charge. Somewhere, after a few mock charges, it loses control and then it turns into real poking.
When other people say ugly things to you or make nasty accusations about you and sometimes do nasty things to you, to look beyond that and walk gracefully in your life takes a certain sense within yourself. You should bring this sense rather than getting into the turmoil of whatever nastiness is happening in the country, the community or the family. A lot of nastiness is happening. If we rise above that, we will become successful human beings.
Somebody says something nasty because something nasty is happening within him. You cannot spit out something nasty unless something nasty is happening within you. If somebody spits out something nasty, they need your love, compassion or distance. Initially, you try love. If it does not work, compassion. If it does not work, distance. But do not get into the spiral of that nastiness because there is no end to it. It will suck you in. I have seen so many brilliant people with wonderful capabilities getting into the spiral of nasty relationships and going down the chute.
When you are still young, what is happening with your parents may be a big issue. But every generation had parents. After some time, you will see that what they do and what they do not do does not affect your life. You will grow beyond that. Right now, if your parents are offering you the opportunity that you grow beyond this very quickly, please make use of this opportunity! It does not matter what comes towards you, you must make it a stepping stone to stand on.
You know, there was a smartass. It so happened, Shankaran Pillai had an old donkey. It had become very old, so he was trying to sell it, but nobody wants to buy an old donkey. Then, one day in the morning, the donkey was braying piteously because it had fallen into an open well which was dry. The terrified donkey kept making ugly noises, wanting to come out. Shankaran Pillai’s friends and neighboring farmers came and looked at this. They said, “This is a useless, old donkey. What is the point? Anyway we told you a long time ago that you must close this dry well. Let’s close it with the donkey inside.”
What other people did to you is not the question. “What have you done to yourself?” is the big question. You must do the best. Be a smart ass.
So they started putting basketfuls of mud into the well. As every basketful fell on the donkey, the donkey shook off the mud and stood on top of it. Like this, as they threw mud, it started coming up. They were surprised, “Wow! This is a really smart ass!” As they threw more and more mud, he just came up, up, up – and he walked out. Shankaran Pillai really loved this intelligent donkey now. He tried to go and hug the donkey, but the donkey turned around, kicked him in the face, and trotted away. You be the donkey, okay.
It does not matter what life throws at you, you shake it off and stand on that. Every experience in our life should make us better, richer. We do not look for sweet experiences. Whatever comes our way, we make it a basis for our growth, maturity and wellbeing. You can never decide what the world will throw at you, but what you make out of it is one hundred percent yours, always. You must make the best out of everything that comes towards you.
If a lot of ugly incidents happen in your life when you are young, you must become wiser than everyone else. But most people choose to become wounded. You cannot carry your wounds anywhere. When you die, you leave the body, so you cannot carry it like a badge. Most people are carrying their wounds like a badge – “You know what happened to me?” Whatever the hell happened to you, what have you done with yourself? This is the only question. What other people did to you is not the question. “What have you done to yourself?” is the big question. You must do the best. Be a smart ass.