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What inner engineering means, or: second chance for Sadhguru
[Advertisement] In autumn 2017 I was on a yoga retreat in the middle of a Bavarian dead zone. One lunchtime, sitting on the balcony, I see in the Insta story of Fuck Lucky Go Happy Rebecca how she talks about leaving the Sadhguru event, which she attended as part of a cooperation, prematurely.
Oops, what's going on? Unfortunately, I can't find out because the connection breaks. I am as excited as a speed bow. Rebecca then explained to me on the phone and later in an article why she did not do the planned interview and thus the payment.
It is not uncommon for people to get so excited at such events and in connection with famous gurus.
But why actually? Is it just outdated to have a “master” whom one follows unconditionally? Are we our own guru? Are All Gurus Abusing Their Power? Does this just turn spirituality into commerce and does it lose its depth through such mass events?
Since Rebecca's critical article there has been a lot of discussion, also with us - some expressed themselves who thought Sadhguru was great, others who criticized big stages, again some who found it generally bad to celebrate gurus globally. Personally, I have not yet found a final answer to all of these questions. But:
The whole discussion is a good reason for me to find out more about Sadhguru and his method.
The Indian yoga master had practiced a simple set of hatha yoga asanas every day since childhood, but apparently did not pay much attention to the subject. Until, at the age of 25, while sitting on an excursion on his favorite rock, he suddenly felt at one with the world around him, “rose up and never fell down”.
This moment of enlightenment in September 1982 was the initial spark for him to pass on his yoga experience. He became more and more popular and founded the ISHA Foundation in 1992 - an organization that now has millions of members worldwide.
He skilfully uses the Internet as a distribution channel and he also fills arenas all over the world when he travels to talk about his program and practice method, which evidently inspires a great many people.
The choice of name of the method, Inner engineering, immediately strikes me.
Interesting. Sounds like you could be really technical here. Well, I'm curious. Inner engineeringis the name of a practical program that is offered by the ISHA Foundation centers around the world and is now also offered as an online course.
Participants learn a simple practical routine in a course lasting several days. This takes around 20 minutes and consists of asana practice, breathing exercises and meditation. After being initiated by Sadhguru himself in the context of a large event with thousands of practitioners present, you can practice it daily.
I do my research and ask around. What exactly is going on in this course? I hear from a friend who took part that the participants often had no previous contact with spiritual practice and that thousands of people gain their first access to it through this course. She liked the program herself, but found the mass event rather strange in the end. The story reminds me of my Vipassana course.
Sadhguru wrote a book on the method: Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy.*
It was published in German under the title The Wisdom of a Yogi: How Inner Change is Really Possible and, interestingly, does not contain any instructions for asana practice. It almost seems to me as if it is more important to Sadhguru to focus on what so often goes unnoticed in the yoga studio: The work on one's own inner alignment.
“On this journey, the guru is not the goal, but the road map. Our inner dimension is unknown territory. If we are exploring an area we are not familiar with, isn't it better to have signposts available? ” - Sadhguru
The book is divided into a partly autobiographical, theoretical first and a practical second part. "The first marks out the terrain, the second presents a method to orientate yourself on it."
Contrary to my assumption, Sadhguru claims in his introduction that he did not accumulate his yoga knowledge through diligent reading of books, but simply through experience. He only recently started reading a little Patanjali *. At the same time, I recognize his terminology and the yoga-philosophical models to which he refers, and therefore I know that his statements are not out of thin air.
His premise: The practice can be totally simple and still lead to enlightenment.
He talks about his own key moment at 25, which came unexpectedly. Only afterwards did Sadhguru realize that the hatha yoga practice had prepared his body like an antenna for it. On an intellectual level, he could not classify his experience.
His way of understanding yoga is rather that of experiencing what it is like to be in ultimate harmony with oneself and the world. And in order to acquire constant light-footedness in dealing with the world outside, you have to get involved in trying out and practicing.
“These insights are neither dogmas nor doctrines. Most importantly, they are definitely not inferences. It is best viewed as a guide on a journey that no one but you can make. " - Sadhguru
Starting from the fact that we humans have forgotten how to tap into our own full potential in order to be happy and content, Sadhguru takes his readers by the hand in the first part of the book and first explains why and to what extent we use our perception have to change completely:
The way out of suffering leads inside.
“If someone touches your hand now, you may think you are feeling that hand, but in fact you are only perceiving the sensations in your own hand. The whole experience stays inside. Every human experience is one hundred percent self-created.”
Ok, I have questions about that. What if I am the victim of a violent act and someone grossly oversteps my limits? What do I do with such trauma? Is it my own fault? Sadhguru explains: Of course one cannot control everything that happens - one has to become a tyrant to do that. I think that not even a tyrant can control everything and I am not entirely convinced of the answer. But where I find myself:
It's about moving out of the victim role and taking your own life into your own hands.
We cannot change the past, but we can learn to live with it and change our attitudes by practicing always looking inside ourselves when pain, anger or other uncomfortable feelings arise.
"To achieve well-being, you don't have to fix anything but yourself." - Sadhguru
And in order to fix ourselves, we first have to find out who we are. What we are not are the energetic, mental, emotional and physical traces that we have accumulated over our entire life.
“You try to live your life based on what you've accumulated, not who you are are. And that's not all, you are not even fully aware of what you have accumulated! " His countless comparisons and stories make sense to me.
I want to know how to learn to catalog my collections.
Sadhguru structures the second part of his book into three sub-chapters: body, mind and energy. The aim of this section is to show readers ways in which they can get to know the self that they really are.
The author has chosen the chapters analogous to the three “physical” of the five koshas, layers of the incarnated soul, which are concretely accessible to us as practitioners: namely Annamaya Kosha (food body), Manomaya Kosha (spiritual-emotional body) and Pranamaya Kosha ( Energy body).
In the description of individual practices, physical yoga exercises or classic pranayama are completely dispensed with. Sadhguru actually encourages his readers to do mainly thought experiments and to refine the perception of feeling, seeing and experiencing the little things.
For example, such an exercise consists of sitting next to an object or animal that means nothing to you for long periods of time. In time, according to Sadhguru, one will be able to look at this object with as much love as one's loved ones. Thus one learns to see beauty in everything.
“Maybe the worm doesn't know, but it doesn't matter. If you can look at everything lovingly, the whole world in your experience becomes something that is full of beauty. " - Sadhguru
I find it quite refreshing that Sadhguru suggests such “quieter”, less regulated exercises, because there are enough explanatory videos, online courses and illustrated books that offer multimedia instructions for classical yoga practice.
So Sadhguru is something like the spiritual, Indian variant of Yoga with Adriene.
Although he has a long beard, he is not an old man who does not understand the Internet - on the contrary. He tweets, grams and posts what's up and is even funny! What has always struck me positively about him is the clarity and closeness with which he can convey his content, in his book as well as in his YouTube videos.
I have a few aha moments while reading. Less because I have never acquired this knowledge before, but more because Sadhguru actually manages to explain the facts to me with fairly well-functioning analogies and examples that I have been studying for a long time.
I find it quite refreshing what humorous tone he takes and how he lovingly targets his readers and takes responsibility.
“You are a technical marvel, but you have no idea where the control panel is for it. It's like handling a supercomputer with a pickaxe and wrench! " - Sadhguru
He finds examples with which I can really understand his statements and it not seldom makes a “click” in my head when I listen to his lectures. I realize why it is so popular in the Internet community: it simply translates the content again into a language that I and probably many people can understand.
Sadhguru is an inspiring, clever person who also has thousands of trees planted every year and is also quite charitable in other ways.
Sadhguru still does not become “my guru”.
This is mainly because I am not particularly prone to the charms of guru celebrities, as much as I value their merits and insights that they share with us. And because I like to get an idea of the people I call MY teachers, especially when I know that they are also being criticized a lot.
At S.N. Goenka cannot do that because he has already passed away. Not with Sadhguru, because you can only meet him at events with thousands and thousands of people. If I ever hear the inner call, one Inner engineering To take a course with Sadhguru, then I do that too.
But until then, I prefer to try to make the best possible use of the knowledge I have gained from his work and to pass them on if I think that's right and sensible.
In the end, the most important thing is not to turn off your own brain.
Do we not project a little bit of the need onto our gurus that they will take care of everything for us, that they take responsibility for our decisions from us? It's just not like that, and that's why we can be divided when it comes to our attitude towards gurus.
With some it makes a “click” with Sadhguru, with others with Osho, Mooji or S.N. Goenka. And if not: then just don't go there anymore.
Once in my yoga class I quoted from Sadhguru's book.
I do not want to say that the end always justifies the means and I agree with Rebecca in much of what she criticized about the event with Sadhguru. But his book is pretty good after all! And I warmly recommend it to everyone who has a weakness for storytelling rich in images and honest, humorous words.
What do you think of the big guru question? Are gurus abusing their power or should we all find a guru to follow for our spiritual advancement? Should Sadhguru read more books before writing them? What experiences do you have with Inner engineering? I look forward to your comments!
In the case of this article, we have been paid for our work. The links marked with * are affiliate links. We receive a small commission when you buy a product.
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