Sadhguru talks about the mind’s desire to be special, and how this is counterproductive on the spiritual path.

Sadhguru: For many people, the reason why the spiritual path seems to be a struggle is that their culture and social situations have always taught them to be special. One’s whole life effort becomes focused on this. To be special means to have something that others do not have. But this is not special, it is a convoluted sense of wellbeing. Right now, if your only joy is that someone else does not have what you have, if this is the only pleasure in your life, we call this perversion not being special.

People can find pleasure in all kinds of things. Once, two men were captured by fierce cannibals from a neighboring tribe. After a meeting with their headman, the tribe decided to cook the men alive. The men were placed in a pot of water, and as the fire started burning and the water became hotter and hotter, the older man started laughing – really laughing. The younger man said, “Are you crazy? Do you know what is going to happen to us? Why are you laughing?” The older man said, “I just peed in their soup!” People find pleasure in all sorts of perverted ways.

A Sore Thumb

Spirituality is not about becoming special. It is about becoming one with everything. This disease of wanting to become special has come to people simply because they have not recognized the value of the uniqueness of their being. By living on the surface for so long, their whole effort has been to be special. As long as this effort is on, you are only working counter to the spiritual process. The whole dimension of spirituality is to melt and become one with existence, not to stand out like a sore thumb.

In so many ways, the mind always wants to be special. That is the nature of the egoistic mind. It can only compare logically. The moment this comparison comes, competition starts. The moment competition starts, your life sense will disappear because now it is only about being better than others. It is because of this foolish endeavor that we are in the ridiculous situation of having to teach people about their own nature. We have to remind people about their own original nature simply because they are lost in trying to outdo someone or everyone around them.

Ordinary to Extra-ordinary

Some time ago, our yoga program brochures used to say: “From Ordinary to Extraordinary.”  People thought they would become special by doing the program and would ask me “Sadhguru, how will we be special?”  I would always tell them, “You are going to become ‘extra’ ordinary – more ordinary than other people.”

The more you try to be special the further you get from the truth. So much suffering and mental illness have come from this desire to be special. Instead of deriving perverse pleasure from the fact that someone does not have what you have, if you genuinely make the effort to become one with everything, this internal struggle will completely go away. If you recognize your uniqueness and also every other being’s uniqueness, you can neither become less nor more than anyone else.

Editor’s Note: Find more of Sadhguru’s insights on spirituality and the science of yoga in the book “Ancient technology For The Modern Mind.”

Indian RupeesUSA Dollars

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POSTED IN:Sadhguru, Master's words
TAGS: Spirituality
  • Hemanth

    Becoming “extra” ordinary! Haha.. Sadhguru’s typical wit and wisdom! Love it.

  • Ceekaykay

    The general perception of being special
    Is being a cut above the rest
    Even if it be in matters too trivial
    People vie to be among the best

    So you have to put your friends down
    To rise and seemingly shine
    Even if really you are a recognized clown
    having crossed the ridiculous line

    I too want to be extra extra extra ordinary…Thank you Sadhguru

    • Isha Iyer

      wow that’s awesome! :) great poem!

  • subhash

    In one breath Sadguru talks about being ”extra-ordinary’ or ‘more ordinary’, in another ‘unique’. How on earth ‘more ordinary’ is unique and unique ‘one with everything’ – please someone solve this for me.

    • Sid

      hehe! you have to understand that that IS the nature of the existence that you are in. in one way, everyone is definitely equal, there is no doubt about it! if you look close enough, everything is just life and there is no ANYONE either, it is a grand play going on. HOWEVER, you will not find another person like your mother – no exact copy! even a mango from another mango is different, there can be no doubt about that. even if they look the same, and are genetically the same, this mango is different from another mango – it has a huge existence of its own! you won’t find another to replace it, as there is no context of time at all. at this moment, this mango cannot be replaced. it is like your keyboard in front of you – at this moment THIS VERY MOMENT tell me if you can actually replace it? no, it is totally unique by itself.

      and the contradiction is that everything is the same! same energy, same existence, same life.

      you must grasp this, as this is where you exist. everything is wrapped together and confused and blah blah… in one breath you can say the whole world is nonsense and in another you can say it is a breathtaking phenomenon that is so complex that no mind can grasp!

    • mahesh krishnan

      Bro…humans have five unique fingers in their hand and its ordinary..if someone have five similar fingers its special…We all are unique by nature but in ignorance we all want to be special …Being unique is a great gift than being special….

    • apples or oranges

      Are apples greater than oranges?

      ….. No… neither apples nor oranges are superior or inferior…..
      both are equally important , ….both are ordinary…

      But does that mean ‘apples=oranges’ …. ?
      No… both are unique … no need to compare…

    • Ramji

      wow !! u r really genius….what a question….

  • sita

    pranam sadhguru,
    please help me also to be your “extra”ordinary.i am always seeking to be special or compare with others in almost all areas of life.only you can help.

  • raja mohan naidu


  • Ambedkar Podeti

    Shambho!!! Sadhguru, thank u very much… recently i have struggled to be ‘Special’, but life teached me that no one is special..all are same…your articles are very useful, as if this articles are for me…

  • Vijay

    pranams sadhguru! its like a strong bang on my head! constantly my mind plays this game of comparison and m sick of it! but one good thiing is… before isha i didnt even know i was sick but now after isha i know that how sick and stupid i am… now there is a possibility to work upon with of your grace! :)
    – Shambo

    • Ed

      I feel the same.

  • Ranjani

    Namaskarams Sadhguru…thanks for reminding me again!!! I feel like a balloon who is getting punctured time and again with your grace…cannot express more!!! AAdu AANeya nungi…gOde Sunnava nungi…Maggadaliruva anna nanne maniyu nungitha thangi…KOdagana kOlli nungitha!!

  • Uthya Balan

    Sadhguru ji awesome article… Sadhguru ji your words are a gift to me… Plz bless everyone to experience this uniqueness in oneself… Thank you so much Sadhguru ji…

  • srivani

    Thanks sadhguru , for always showing the right path..

  • BRSM

    Thank you! Working on it every day.

  • Esoteric pilgrim

    Ya sadguruji,
    Your teaching are great,and brings people closer and closer.,..making them know who is he,by teaching WHO AM I.