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 Ecstasy. Mention the word today and most people assume that you’re referring to a drug. When did the joyful exuberance that should define the human experience of life degenerate into a fleeting chemically-induced high?

I am often asked by anxious parents about the high rate of substance abuse among youth. My answer is simple: As a society, what have we done to provide ecstatic experiences for young people? We live on a planet where the most successful people wear the most miserable faces. What message does this send out to the younger generation? If we suggest that success is misery, can it offer any inspiration to the youth of this world?

The middle-aged may be willing to settle for a staid life, but young people never will. I do not blame them for it. If you don’t yearn for the pinnacle of human experience, what kind of human being are you? The longing for ecstasy is perfectly natural. Only the method – if you’re seeking it through a tablet – is unfortunate.

Young people are encouraged to believe that they must spend an entire lifetime trying to earn their living. When a worm can take care of its survival pretty well, why should those gifted with basic human intelligence expend a lifetime on it? Survival issues should be easily addressed by a small part of your life energies. The rest should be focussed on your inner well-being, enabling you to live a joyously exuberant life.

My life work is just this: To bring the spiritual process within the reach of everyone on this planet. Why? Very simply, because if you really want to know the joy of existence, you must understand that your whole experience of life is generated from within, not from outside. Once you outsource your joy – whether to a boss, a partner, a family, or a chemical – you are enslaved. A basic spiritual process can empower you to take that first step inward.

Can a chemical offer one a taste of the spiritual? It can certainly offer an explosive experience. But while the spiritual experience leaves you with enhanced capabilities, drugs can damage your psyche and vastly diminish your mental prowess.

If we do not offer the right outlets for youth to find joy and peace, they will opt for chemical alternatives. The unfortunate reality, however, is that we do not live in a world where spirituality is easily available. We need to address this lacuna urgently. As there is a drug dealer on every street corner, there should ideally be a meditation peddler!

As a yogi, I have nothing against pleasure. I am only against small pleasures. I am pretty stoned myself: Perfectly drunk and fully aware, without any external stimulant whatsoever. My dream is to walk on a street where I see people around me who are just as drunk – not on alcohol, but on life.

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev


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