A Series of intimate conversations with a wise and charismatic guru is a compelling idea. How many times have each of us wished for answers to life’s deep questions? In Midnights with the Mystic, Cheryl Simone relates her personal experience of learning at the feet of Sadhguru Vasudev, India’s most sought-after mystic.
Profound mystic and visionary humanitarian, Sadhguru is a spiritual master with a difference. An unusual blend of profundity and pragmatism, his life and work serve as a : 41 '- reminder that yoga is not an esoteric discipline from an outdated past, but a contemporary science, vitally relevant to our times. Passionate, insightful, witty, logical — and always deeply transformation — Sadhguru's at. programmes and talks have earned him e reputation of a guru, speaker and opinion-maker of international renown. His written works include Mystics Musings,Pebbles of Wisdom and Encounter the Enlightened.
Cheryl Simone, an Atlanta real estate developer, was the typical baby boomer in search of an authentic spiritual experience. Professionally successful, yet spiritually arid, she discovered a way into what she was looking for in the teachings of Sadhguru.
Those of you who have read the phenomenal best seller, Eat, Pray, Love, know of the many so-called pearls of wisdom "Richard from Texas" directed at the author, Elizabeth "Groceries" Gilbert. From the pages of her book, I gained, quite unexpectedly, some notoriety. The media dubbed me a "remarkable character that with his colloquial one-liners dispels poignant, irreverent, humorous advice." Others have gone so far as to characterize my persona as "so wise and possessing such an incredibly unique spirit." Even Oprah (that's the Oprah Winfrey) invited this "surprisingly wise cowboy" on her show that featured Liz and her runaway hit book.
Her readers also know of my former proclivities as a junkie and a drunk, along with my prior career as a drug dealer, or as Groceries more delicately labeled my line of work, a "commodities broker" in illegal narcotics. What you don't know is how the transformation occurred from that addict and alcoholic to a "Big Texas Yogi," who can emit what is alleged to be sage advice. Certainly the school of hard knocks taught me many lessons. But more importantly, I have been blessed with two remarkable teachers: first, the one Liz chose to keep anonymous (so I will too); and second, Sadhguru jaggi Vasudev.
Even with my flourish and fanfare for memorable one-liners, I have no words that can even come close to describing this exceptionally incredible great being I am now graced to call my guru. I've never been in the presence of anyone like him before. He truly is one-of-a-kind. One could never label him what we preconceive in the U.S. to be a typical Eastern guru. He's very unorthodox, devoid of conformity, a jokester, frequently dons blue jeans and T-shirts, and loves to toss a Frisbee around. Yet, he epitomizes the very pinnacle of what a fervent seeker searches for in a spiritual guide—one who makes all possibilities available.
I first met Sadhguru in 2005 when a very dear friend, who had transformed herself so much, invited me to attend an introductory Inner Engineering Program. Well, to .be truthful, she just didn't invite me—she bought my airline ticket and paid for the hotel and the class, so I couldn't say "no, I'm too busy, blab, blab, blah," or make some other excuse. So there I was sitting in the hotel meeting room and in walked this presence who actually made my body tingle. Then he turned and faced us.
I looked into his eyes and became dizzy. I was gazing into deep pools of love that just sucked me in and totally enveloped me. I had never had that kind of experience before. All I could think of was, "O000hhhh, I'm in for some wild stuff." And then he opened his mouth and began to speak. When he talked, it resonated so deeply within me that I almost had a physical experience of his words. I felt that I was touched on a cellular level. To be more succinct, I was completely blown away.
At the end of the program, I spoke to him about my heart condition. You remember my prayer to open my heart that Liz wrote about? Resulting in a quadruple bypass? Well it was about five years later and problems had flared up again. I was eating nitroglycerin like it was candy, had suffered a heart attack, and was dodging the grim reaper.
The doctors told me there was nothing more they could do and suggested that I get my affairs in order.
I asked Sadhguru if there was anything he could do to help me. He said, "Yes, but I don't have the time here, so you'll have to attend another specific program." The thought that ran through my mind was that he was a great salesman and had delivered a closing guaranteeing that I would come back.
So off I went to India for the next program, at the Wellness and Rejuvenation Center in his ashram adjacent to the foothills of the Vellingiri Mountains in Southern India. My treatment, individually designed by Sadhguru (as it was for all participants of the program), consisted of a combination of yogic practices, diet modifications, Ayurvedic therapies, and Siddha medicines. Voila! After a month I was living in a different body. My symptoms were no more. And the grim reaper—well, we put him to bed.
I met the mystic and self-realized Yogi Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev after many years of fruitless searching. It was after I had hung up the search and vowed to live my life as best I could without the deep inner realization and serenity I sought that he came into my life and changed it.
In this man many people worldwide have seen someone beyond our imaginations. He is a being who is intensely alive in every possible way—in every human way and in every spiritual way. Whatever I had thought being human meant, he is more than that, and whatever I had imagined being a guru meant, he is also more than that.
Before I met Sadhguru, my quest for understanding took me to many different teachers on many different paths. I attended dozens of spiritual retreats, read many books on spirituality and philosophy, and traveled to spiritual places all over the world, including India, Nepal, Tibet, and Brazil. Still, after many years of trying, I hadn't gotten any closer to the answers I was seeking. I felt I'd actually come up empty-handed despite my considerable persistence and the intensity of my desire.
This is not to say that the paths I tried were not worthwhile; they just did not satisfy me. I did not have the confidence that they were going to take me where I wanted to go. So, after more than thirty years of searching that only resulted in disappointment, I was at a loss for what to do next.
Making this more frustrating and confusing was the fact that by "American dream" standards it looked as if I had really succeeded in life. I'd created a life abundant and rich in experiences and accumulation. I had love in my life, a wonderful family, plenty of friends, my own business, and lots of free time. I have a lake house in the mountains; I can go to the beach whenever I like. I have a loving and respectful partnership of twenty-six years, and even after all this time people say that he and I still light up when we see each other. My son and I are very close. You could say I have the whole package: great guy, wonderful son, cute dogs, and beautiful scenery.
And yet, there was no denying that I longed for something else. I ached for it--a bigger understanding, a bigger experience of life, a bigger indefinable something. People deal with this kind of dissatisfaction in many different ways, running the gamut from distraction to destruction. They drink, take drugs, have affairs, become obsessed with their work, or exercise like crazy. I tried to suffocate my own longing through comfort and keeping busy. Even though I knew in my gut that what I was looking for I would only find within myself, I kept hoping that some kind of fulfillment would come with the next accomplishment. Ultimately, the quest for success began to look like an endless series of goals, and I was getting bored chasing one goal after the other.
I not only got bored, I also felt guilty that even though I had everything I wanted, I was never completely satisfied. Was this really all there was to life?
In addition to having an undercurrent of restlessness and dissatisfaction, my abundant life had come at a cost: chronic stress, fatigue, hyperthyroidism, insomnia, and the accompanying prescription drugs.
I began asking myself, How is it that I could create a beautiful life for myself on the outside, yet inner peace, unconditional love, and self-knowledge remained so elusive? I've always been a positive, make-it-happen kind of person. I've never blamed God or the universe for anything in my life. But I began wondering if it was even possible for me to control my life and destiny in a much bigger way. Is it actually possible for an ordinary humanto become completely free of ignorance and to gain inner realization, love, and self-mastery? Is permanent inner bliss possible for a person?
This book is the story of how I came to spend time with the Indian mystic and yoga master, Sadhguru, and how I discovered, in the course of exploring the subjects of life, death, and destiny with him, that real and lasting inner transformation was not only possible for me but was becoming a living reality. Several years after he initially came into my life, Sadhguru stayed with me for a week at my home in the mountains.
In this book, you'll join me on an extraordinary journey with him. While I have changed many of the names of the participants in this story, the words of Sadhguru and his amazing stories are truth in all meanings of the word. But first, we briefly travel the winding road that led me to him—or perhaps more accurately—that led him to me.
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