This post is the most popular post on my site. Every day I get a handful of hits from people linking from other sites, but mostly from search engine queries. The topic is my anticipated trip to Inner Engineering put on by Sadhguru and Isha Yoga. For some reason, the mantra of the meditation “I am not the body, I am not even the mind” shows up at the top of Google search results. I guess it is the right combination of words or tags or links or comments or something.
Sadhguru’s teachings are interesting. He is a very humorous, but not really humble man. He has great insight into the nature of the universe, but at the same time seemed to show disdain for other spiritual paths. Maybe that was just my perception of his teaching style. Maybe I was looking for a reason to find a way out of the seminar. It bears further thought into exactly what is meant by “I am not the body, I am not the mind”.
“When we say physicality, it means a separation. The reason why you and the person sitting next to you are two separate pieces of life is because of your physicality. Though that person may be inhaling what you exhale, you are still separate because of your physical boundary. What you call as consciousness is a non-physical entity. If it is non-physical, it is naturally a union. There are no “two”. There is only “one” – one consciousness.
This is certainly not new teaching. Although Sadhguru does not claim (or at least tout) any lineage, the teaching of mind, body, consciousness separation is nothing new. Maybe a different perspective on that aspect of things will give more insight into the teaching.
“The person is merely the result of a misunderstanding. In reality, there is no such thing. Feelings, thoughts and actions race before the watcher in endless succession, leaving traces in the brain and creating an illusion of continuity. A reflection of the watcher in the mind creates the sense of ‘I’ and the person acquires an apparently independent existence.”
I am the watcher of everything that is happening around and to me. It is my identification with the events that pushes me into an individual existence or experience. It cannot be denied that everything that I experience is an individual perspective. The way that I see the world is a product of my mind. This is based on my feelings and past experiences reflecting on the current moment and projecting a future. This ultimately puts me outside of the now, but let’s ride this for a bit. Everything is a projection of the mind. So all perceived input, event my body is a projection of the mind. So I am not the body. Still a little sketchy, but that sort of makes sense.
“The ‘I’ (awareness) casts off the illusions of ‘I’ (ego) and yet remains as the ‘I’ (awareness) – such is the paradox of Self-realization.”
So if everything, including my body, is a product of my mind, why can’t I control it? That seems to be where another fallacy comes into play, “I am in control”. Free will is overplayed and misunderstood. I make choices, that is obvious. I chose different paths in my life and those choices have impacts. BUT, do those choices ultimately matter?
My feelings** about the choice pushes me around, but I seem to be playing out a hand that I have been dealt. The body and everything around it is a projection of the mind, but I am not in control of the mind, so I am not the mind.
“Your thought structure and your actual physiological framework are limited, but life itself is not. Your belief in a unitary movement of life is just a groundless belief, lacking any certainty. You have rationalized what the gurus and holy books have taught you. Your beliefs are the result of blind acceptance of authority, all secondhand stuff. You are not separate from your beliefs. When your precious beliefs and illusions come to an end, you come to an end. My talking is nothing more than a response to your pain, which you are expressing through questions, and arguments.”
Our physical and mental selves are also things we experience, but only intermittently. How often do you think about your elbows or the tops of your feet? How often do you recall those algebra equations from ninth grade or the address of your first house? There is one thing, however, that is never turned off. It is consciousness hosting a temporal body and mind. It is you, your true self.
Conceptually it makes sense. In practice, I have a ways to go towards fully realizing the implications of this. There is always now. It is hard not to slide into solipsism, which is the epitome of egotistical thinking. Everything is a construct of the mind, everything is an illusion. I think therefore I am and I cannot prove that anyone else’s thoughts are anything but my own thoughts about what they are thinking. Feels wrong.
What appears to us as space in our universe perceived through the mind and the senses is the Unmanifested itself, externalized. It is the “body” of God. And the greatest miracle is this: That stillness and vastness that enables the universe to be, is not just out there in space – it is also within you. When you are utterly and totally present, you encounter it as the still inner space of no-mind. Within you, it is vast in depth, not in extension. Spatial extension is ultimately a misperception of infinite depth – an attribute of the one transcendental reality.
– Eckhart Tolle***
I guess I need to revisit my question above. Did I look for fault in Sadhguru’s teachings so that I could find a way to avoid them? Quite possibly. The experience and the resulting memory which I am pulling from is a perception of my mind. The true events hidden in a fog of who knows what. I did find a few posts about Sadhguru, including one indicating that he was at one time a suspect in the death of his wife. He doesn’t quite pass the guru test. So I don’t think that he is the teacher for me, but that does not mean that what he says is incorrect. I would actually be interested in attending the seminar again, but maybe with this mindset instead of falsely trying to be fully open.
I don’t know. The truth is out there in many forms. I have seen and read enough to pull that internally. Teachers are guide markers and can help direct us, but they are not the truth itself. I see Sadhguru being marketed as the truth itself. Just like we can only know the truth about our self, teachers can only know the truth about their self.
“Those who gather all their answers from an external source— however sound, virtuous, or holy that may be— should be wary. When everything is handed over as a fait accompli, little is truly realized. If the answers, laws, and cosmologies have not been passed through the unique filters of one’s own deep philosophical and spiritual inquiry, then they are ontologically precarious at best. They are borrowed investments— stakes in the marketplace. This is not a righteous path and does not constitute personal attainment”
— Neil Kramer, The Unfoldment
I may be playing a dealt hand, but what I do with that hand is up to me. I can make choices to positively influence my life and my feelings about myself which will carry forward into the next moment. The next moment is not death, but it could very well be death. However, the next moment is not important. This one is. Non-attachment allows freedom to truly become one with that which is not manifested. The Now. The gyrations. The dance. We may lead or we may follow, but in either case we are still moving to the music.
I will leave you with this, if for no other reason than it is one of my favorite songs right now.
My Other Posts on Sadhguru, Inner Engineering and Isha Yoga
- I am not the body, I am not even the mind
- Inner Engineering Day 1
- Inner Engineering Day 2
- Inner Engineering Day 3
Additional Links on Sadhguru
- My Experiences With Sadhguru, Isha Engineering, and BSP
- Is Sadhguru a Fraud?
- Sadhguru and the Isha Foundation
- Life After Joining Isha Yoga
- Isha Kriya Meditation (Video)
- Isha Foundation
** I post about feelings and observation of feelings a lot. Check this out.
- Sudden Liberation – The End of Personal Suffering (suddenliberation.wordpress.com)
- Shanti Meditation -1 Know more about it (satyamayi.wordpress.com)
- ” If you do not… (rumjhoom.wordpress.com)
- Ramana Advaita : A Clear Brief (vamadevananda.wordpress.com)
- Soul consciousness verses body consciousness (awakenedmindblog.wordpress.com)
- Poetry Post: Illusions and Reflections (aspectjournal.wordpress.com)
- How Can I Evolve? – Sadhguru (kundaliniawakenings.org)
- Truth beyond the mind (oluwaseunmayor.wordpress.com)
- Mindfulness (gigiwanders.wordpress.com)
- The Mountain of Enlightenment – Transcending Duality and the Ego Self (Part 2) (mattmicheletti.wordpress.com)