The desire for external things grips you very easily because through the senses, it is the outer world that you experience. You see things with your eyes, you hear sounds with your ears, your nose gives you the experience of fragrance and your tongue gives you taste. All your senses bring you the news of the outer world but they cannot give you any hint of the inner. The body is meant to give you the information about the outer world; the body is a bridge between the outer and the inner, the soul. Hence the body gives you information about the outer and naturally, receiving these messages from without, consciousness starts moving and focusing outwards.
The eyes see out, not in. And whatsoever you can see, you naturally assume that it is the same way to see within. All your senses are outgoing. They are bound to be because the senses are not needed for going inwards. I can experience that which is within me without the senses, but there is no way to know the external world without the senses.
All the senses of man have developed because of his desire to know the outer world. My hands can touch you: I can touch everything outside with my hand but I cannot touch inside my own hand. My eyes can see everything else but they cannot see themselves. For this reason, consciousness flows naturally to the outside. You become involved with acquiring more and more possessions. Man becomes rich in things but he remains poor within. Man can become very powerful in the outer world but remain very weak, poor in the inner world. And as long as there is inner poverty, no outside power or ability is of any worth.
Secondly, all around you are people who are focusing on the outer – and the mind of man is a great imitator. We learn everything by imitation. A child learns the language which is spoken in the home; naturally, there is no other way to learn a language. A child will believe in the religion that his parents believe in; he will start visiting the temples where his parents go for worship. Wherever his parents, his family, his town, and his country are going, he will also join the same game.
You flow with the crowd. And everybody is running on the outside, so you also start running with them. All your education is for the outer journey but there is no education for the inner journey.
In ancient times India had tried for that: during the time these Upan-ishads were written, the attempt was at its peak that before a child could become entangled in the outer world, he was sent to the gurukul, the mystery school of a spiritual master where people were focused on the inner search. Before somebody could become lost in the outer, we wanted to give him a taste of the inner. And when someone has had a taste of the inner even once, then nothing of the outer will be of more value to him. Once a person has had even a taste of the inner journey then the mad race for the outer will lose all color for him. The outer will look dull to him. When somebody who has tasted the inner moves into the outer world, itis only out of care, concern, not out of ambition and desire. Then even if he becomes engaged in the outer world he will remain a witness, he will not be a doer.