Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev regularly travels around the world to offer talks and classes on how to understand our mind and grasp the science of life and our existence from a spiritual perspective. On Saturday, May 28, 2011, he visited Toronto and I had the chance to experience one such event with him live. The talk was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Center, lasted over 3 hours, and hosted an audience of over 1,500 people from many parts of Canada and the US. It was a great experience for many reasons, and I am so happy that I had the chance to experience Sadhguru’s presence and energy in person. In the video above, I created a compilation of clips to provide you with an overview of the event.
Sadhguru shared his wisdom, humor, and highly thought-provoking ideas throughout the whole evening. He even led the entire crowd into a special form of meditation, which was a powerful experience. In this essay, I will share highlights from this event and how the work of Sadhguru can help us cultivate stillness, meaning, and purpose in our life.
How It All Began
It never ceases to amaze me, how the right things always come at the right time in our lives. So often we resist what is and either want something else, don’t want what we are given, or overlook what the Universe is providing for us at every step of the way. In this way, we miss out on the gifts that are bestowed upon us every step of the way, for our personal and spiritual evolution.
Just a few months ago, I had not heard of Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, nor was I familiar with his work. Then I was introduced to the book Midnights with the Mystic and also learned about the film Mystic Wisdom. These resources resulted in me having the chance to interview Cheryl Simone, who worked with Sadhguru on both of those resources. As I continued to recognize the positive value that Sadhguru’s work had on my life and my spiritual evolution at this time, I registered for and completed the online Inner Engineering program, which added so much value to my life. Finally, and all within about a three month period, I learned that Sadhguru was going to be doing a talk close enough for me to easily travel to experience it in Toronto on May 28th. I did not have to travel to India or even to the Isha Center in the United States; Sadhguru was going to be within a few hours’ drive for me and so I took the opportunity to experience his work in person.
Looking back at these events, it feels very much like wonderful synchronicity and I know that there are no coincidences. Everything that happens to us in our lives is attracted to us or invited by us at just the right times. The cascading domino effects which bring more of any one thing, are simply our “yes” responses to the Universe.
The Evening With the Mystic
The evening with Sadhguru began at about 4 pm on May 28th, 2011, with a musical reception. Sounds of Isha provided the music, which set the atmosphere for the event beautifully. The event began with a short video introducing the role of the Isha Foundation and the Isha Institute of Inner Sciences in Tennessee. Sadhguru’s efforts for these places and their role in the creation of a better world for all in the areas of education and environmental efforts were briefly explained.
The time had now come for Sadhguru to enter. I was excited to see Sadhguru but I know enough not to worship or place anyone on a pedestal. However, when Sadhguru entered, for some brief moment it felt like time stood still and I felt a deep wave of emotions wash over me. There was something about his presence that felt “different”, “whole” and “divinely balanced”. It was a really neat thing to experience.
As soon as Sadhguru began to speak, his wisdom and humor were evident immediately. Between the stories and jokes, Sadhguru bestowed so much wisdom upon us all. The highlights of his talk revolved around the distortion of our perception and the misunderstandings about life or what we call reality because of these. Sadhguru kept emphasizing that we must enhance our perception to begin to see things as they are. The best way to achieve this is to create distance between ourselves and everything around us, including our bodies, our thoughts, our environment, etc.
Sadhguru also talked about the ever-famous topic of liberation from suffering and why we suffer in the first place. Here again, the topic of how we perceive things was emphasized, as this leads to the greatest generation of suffering. What is going on in our minds and what is actually happening are two different things. Sadhguru shared with the audience how the perception and identification with the human body is one of our greatest sources of suffering. From this point, we have identified or attached ourselves to various other people, places, or things, which all create suffering based on our perceptions of what we think is or should be happening. Sadhguru shared many enlightening ideas, stated in many different ways so that all present may find the best way to understand for them what he was talking about. In the process of detaching ourselves from identification with the physical, Sadhguru also clearly explained that there is nothing wrong with the physical, it can be just as important as the spiritual. Our problem however is that we have solely identified ourselves with the physical and have neglected the spiritual part of ourselves, the core of who we are.
About 2/3rds of the way through, Sadhguru led the entire audience into an Isha Kriya meditation. This is a form of meditation that helps create distance between you and your body, between you and your mind. Sadhguru explained that only because we are identified with our mind and body, we are struggling so much in life. We are always focused on what will happen to me, what will happen to my body, and this greatly dictates what we do in our lives, how we act, talk, work, etc. Once we are no longer identified with the limited identifications of body and mind, we can be in touch with the source of creation that is within us. The meditation included a type of chanting, which reverberated throughout the huge hall, sending an unmistakable vibration of love and peace through us all.
Following this Sadhguru took questions from the audience. The questions included how to deal with the Ego, how to deal with toxic family members, has he experienced God, and what this is like, among various others.
I found the entire evening to be very valuable and enjoyable. Sadhguru speaks frankly and takes a no-nonsense approach. He may be a mystic and enlightened in various spiritual ways, but he is not afraid to say things as they are and is clear to the point of the matter. He does not go around in circles complicating things, or making things seem beyond our ability to grasp. On the contrary, he teaches and helps people see things as they are, expand their awareness and perception to empower themselves to have the “right” thoughts, words, and actions. “Right” here, meaning what is most appropriate for each individual to achieve what they want while being in harmony and alignment with the greater good of all.
At the end of the event, there was a book signing that Sadhguru did and the crowds followed him. It was clear everyone wanted just that one extra photo, or to shake his hand, or to say hello, or to be first in line to greet him. While all of this can be a beautiful way to appreciate Sadhguru and his work, I feel the need to stress that it is extra important to stay conscious when we find someone whose work we resonate with, that we do not glorify or worship them, thereby using a distorted perception in how we view them.
Everything Sadhguru shared is to empower us to think for ourselves. We have as humanity fallen into the trap of worshipping others throughout the centuries and seeking all the answers from them, rather than turning inward as Sadhguru teaches and accessing the divine within each one of us. The goal, therefore, is not to follow blindly but to show our appreciation for such teachers by putting into action what they teach. It serves no one if we just attach ourselves to their words or worship their identity.
Having heard Sadhguru speak in person and having done the online Inner Engineering course, I am grateful for the personal and spiritual growth that has resulted from these experiences. The follow-up to the Inner Engineering course is a 2-day in-person event with Sadhguru himself called the Shambhavi Mahamudra. During this event, Sadhguru teaches the participants an ancient form of meditation, which uses breathing exercises to elevate individual consciousness, and it may be something I participate in in the future.
If Sadhguru’s work resonates with you and if you are looking for something deeper on your spiritual path to liberate yourself further, or if you want to experience different parts of ancient yogic practices, I recommend exploring Sadhguru’s articles, videos, books, and events through the Isha Foundation.