Will meditation help me to be happy?
Many people come to me and they say they are unhappy, and they want me to give them some meditation. I say: First, the basic thing is to understand why you are unhappy. And if you don't remove those basic causes of your unhappiness, I can give you a meditation but that is not going to help very much ¯ because the basic causes remain there.
The man may have been a good, beautiful dancer, and he is sitting in an office, piling up files. There is no possibility for dance. The man may have enjoyed dancing under the stars, but he is simply going on accumulating a bank-balance. And he says he is unhappy: Give me some meditation.... I can give him! ¯ but what is that meditation going to do? what is it supposed to do? He will remain the same man: accumulating money, competitive in the market. The meditation may help in this way: it may make him a little more relaxed to do this nonsense even better.
That's what TM is doing to many people in the West ¯ and that is the appeal of transcendental meditation, because Maharishi Mahesh Yogi goes on saying, 'It will make you more efficient in your work, it will make you more successful. If you are a salesman, you will become a more successful salesman. It will give you efficiency.' And American people are almost crazy about efficiency. You can lose everything just for being efficient. Hence, the appeal.
Yes, it can help you. It can relax you a little ¯ it is a tranquillizer. By constantly repeating a mantra, by continuously repeating a certain word, it changes your brain chemistry. It is a tranquillizer, a sound-tranquillizer. It helps you to lessen your stress so tomorrow in the marketplace you can be more efficient, more capable to compete ¯ but it doesn't change you. It is not a transformation.
You can repeat a mantra, you can do a certain meditation; it can help you a little bit here and there ¯ but it can only help you to remain whatsoever you are.
Hence, my appeal is only for those who are really daring, dare-devils who are ready to change their very pattern of life, who are ready to stake everything ¯ because in fact you don't have anything to put at the stake: only your unhappiness, your misery. But people cling even to that.
What else do you have to put at stake? Just the misery. The only pleasure that you have is talking about it. Look at people talking about their misery: how happy they become! They pay for it: they go to psychoanalysts to talk about their misery ¯ they pay for it! Somebody listens attentively; they are very happy. People go on talking about their misery again and again and again. They even exaggerate, they decorate, they make it look bigger. They make it look bigger than life-size. Why? You have nothing to put at stake. But people cling to the known, to the familiar. The misery is all that they have known ¯ that is their life. Nothing to lose, but so afraid to lose anything.
With me, happiness comes first, joy comes first. A celebrating attitude comes first. A life-affirming philosophy comes first. Enjoy! If you cannot enjoy your work, change it. Don't wait, because all the time that you are waiting you are waiting for Godot. Godot is never going to come. One simply waits ¯ and wastes one's life. For whom, for what are you waiting? If you see the point, that you are miserable in a certain pattern of life, then all the old traditions say: You are wrong. I would like to say: The pattern is wrong. Try to understand the difference of emphasis.
You are not wrong! Just your pattern, the way you have learned to live is wrong. The motivations that you have learned and accepted as yours are not yours ¯ they don't fulfill your destiny. They go against your grain, they go against your element....
Remember it: nobody else can decide for you. All their commandments, all their orders, all their moralities, are just to kill you. You have to decide for yourself. You have to take your life in your own hands. Otherwise, life goes on knocking at your door and you are never there; you are always somewhere else.
If you were going to be a dancer, life comes from that door because life thinks you must be a dancer by now. It knocks there but you are not there ¯ you are a banker. And how is life expected to know that you would become a banker? The divine comes to you the way it wanted you to be; it knows only that address – but you are never found there, you are somewhere else, hiding behind somebody else's mask, in somebody else's garb, under somebody else's name.
The divine can find you only in one way, only in one way can it find you, and that is your inner flowering: as it wanted you to be. Unless you find your spontaneity, unless you find your element, you cannot be happy. And if you cannot be happy, you cannot be meditative.
Why did this idea – that meditation brings happiness – arise in people's minds? In fact, wherever they found a happy person they always found a meditative mind. They become associated. Whenever they found the beautiful, meditative milieu surrounding a man, they always found he was tremendously happy ¯ vibrant with bliss, radiant. They became associated. They thought: Happiness comes when you are meditative.
It was just the other way round: meditation comes when you are happy. But to be happy is difficult and to learn meditation is easy. To be happy means a drastic change in your way of life, an abrupt change ¯ because there is no time to lose. A sudden change, a sudden clash of thunder...a discontinuity.
That's what I mean by sannyas: a discontinuity with the past. A sudden clash of thunder, and you die to the old and you start afresh, from ABC. You are born again. You again start your life as you would have done if there had been no enforced pattern by your parents, by your society, by the state; as you would have done, must have done, if there had been nobody to distract you. But you were distracted. You have to drop all those patterns that have been forced on you, and you have to find your own inner flame.