The Price of Happiness

06/13/2011 08:31 am ET | Updated Aug 13, 2011
  • Sadhguru Mystic, Yogi and Founder, Isha Foundation

Money is a device that started as a solution beyond the barter system. It was not complicated. It was just a means of exchange; a tool to make life more comfortable. If money is in your pocket, life is more comfortable. But the moment it enters your head, it becomes a perversion. You get identified by it. It becomes who you are. Once you get identified by it, you can never have enough.

There are many wealthy people who become miserable with just a little fluctuation in their net worth. But money is merely a means to an end. Like everything else, money has been created for our well-being. We forget this when we become deeply identified by it.

Instead of just having money to use, we become someone -- or something -- because of it. Then we begin to compare ourselves to other people instead of enjoying what we have. This becomes a kind of a sickness, where making money is then turned against your own well-being.

Everyone has different capabilities. If you just look at your own capabilities without comparing yourself to others, you will find a way to have enough money by doing work you enjoy without all the struggle. Money is definitely needed, but how much money do we really need? If we equate our idea of a successful life to a joyful life, we would find our need for money would dramatically decrease.

How much money and comfort does one actually need to live joyfully? Never before have people been as comfortable as they are today. The kinds of comforts and conveniences that even royalty did not have 100 years ago are now available to ordinary people. Yet, it cannot be said that we are happier than our ancestors. Once money becomes part of your identity, a certain fear and discomfort comes along with it -- no matter how much money you might have. This is not an intelligent way to live. The very thing that was supposed to bring you comfort and the hope of living happily turns against you. We may succeed in creating outwardly perfect lives, but the true quality of our lives is based on our interiority.

People often ask me, "Why are yogis against comfort?" Yogis are definitely not against comfort. They want to be comfortable in every situation and at all times, even lying on a bed of nails! They just don't want to settle for the small comforts that most people are after. Comfort is not dictated by external situations. True comfort arises with a certain level of ease within you.

In today's world, we make economics the most important part of human life. Your love is not important, your joy is not important, your freedom is not important, your sensibilities are not important, your music and dance are not important. The most important thing is economics. Today, in any city, if you say someone is a big man, it does not mean he is the most intelligent man. It does not mean he is the most loving man or the most skillful man. It definitely does not mean he is the most meditative man. It simply means he has the most money in town. So, our whole orientation is around economics. Unless the subtler aspects of life become important, we will not be joyful people. If you stop comparing yourself to other people, you would find that your needs would come down drastically, and you would live much more sensibly -- a sense that is most essential to save and sustain this planet, the very basis of our lives right now.

Money is empowerment, but by identifying yourself with it, you are making it an impediment. There is nothing wrong with money. If you leave it in your pocket and do not identify with it, it is useful. Once it gets into your head, it becomes a perversion. If you would make your inner well-being the top priority of your life, you would find that money is easily handled.

Sadhguru will teach Inner Engineering programs in Los Angeles (October 15-16, 2011), New Jersey (Oct 22-23, 2011) and Toronto (Nov 5-6, 2011).

Isha Yoga programs are based on tested, scientific principles. They offer tools for optimal health, emotional well-being and professional excellence. To participate, visit

This article has been excerpted from the book "Midnights with the Mystic" which is listed below.