A Yogi’s Guide to Joy
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Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is a famous Indian mystic and yogi. He travels the world, giving talks about inner development and transformation. Sadhguru has also spoken at the United Nations.
He was named one of India’s 50 most influential people. In 2017, the Government of India awarded him with one of the highest annual civilian awards for exceptional and distinguished service.
Sadhguru has a unique ability to make the ancient yogic sciences relevant to contemporary minds. His approach does not ascribe to any belief system but offers powerful and proven methods for self-transformation.
A wholesome and joyful life is more important to him than asceticism and philosophy. He is also the founder of a charitable organization in India that works to combat poverty.
“When pain, misery, or anger happen, it is time to look within you, not around you.” – Sadhguru
Introduction to Inner Engineering
Inner Engineering by Sadhguru is a New York Times bestselling book that focuses on the body, mind, and energy. He discusses how we can improve ourselves by tapping into our inner energy. We may not be able to go deep within ourselves, but the methods outlined here help us control our mind and body.
Sadhguru also discusses self-awareness, contentment, compassion, tolerance, and yoga. He urges us to seek answers within, not outside. He also advises us to regulate our emotions and dig deep to find our true life purpose.
Western society regards yoga as a series of postures and breathing. The postures/asanas are only one of eight branches in the ancient yogic system. In this book, you’ll learn about the rest and how each branch works in the body. This will prepare you to evolve as a spiritual being and see the path ahead. Beginners must focus on the inside experience, not the outside world.
A guru may light up the underlying nature of what it means to be a human being. They don’t have the responsibility to push their own opinions on you. They can simply be a guide to help you explore your own self and take action. On the other hand, you should rely on your personal experiences instead of other people’s opinions.
You can use the book to align your ideas and feelings with the universe. It explains that happiness is an internal experience. These storyshots will introduce you to spiritual wisdom that will help you live a happier and more fulfilled life.
Who Should Read Inner Engineering?
- People who want to live a more meaningful life
- Entrepreneurs with high ambitions who are dissatisfied despite their successes
- Atheists who intend to explore spirituality
StoryShot #1: You Can Achieve Enlightenment Only When Your Body, Mind, And Energy Work In Harmony
The underlying cause of despair, anxiety, and mental illness is an imbalance of the mind, body, and energy. They become your masters when you let them.
In times of grief, anguish, or suffering, the only thing you have to repair is yourself.
You should listen to your body. This is easier to do because the body is the only part you can see and touch. You must take good care of your body and five senses if you want them to function correctly. That will influence your cognition. As a result, our bodies can tell us exactly what they need in terms of diet, sleep, and exercise.
To maximize productivity, you need to channel your energy appropriately. If you properly direct your energy, you’ll reap the rewards. This energy is called “Karma.” You receive what you give. Good deeds are reciprocated, and bad deeds are repaid. But misusing it can be devastating and lead to exhaustion over time. Karma is like a wheel. When it’s properly aligned, you can move forward smoothly and effortlessly. But if it’s misaligned, the wheel will shake, and you’ll feel the effects.
StoryShot #2: Don’t Talk About Things You Haven’t Seen Or Done Yourself
Professors are feeding you theories about something you haven’t experienced. People speak confidently about gods, heavens, spirits, and souls. But is this a reference to anything they’ve seen?
Even though Sadhguru occasionally discusses metaphysical and spiritual topics like reincarnation, he discourages people from talking about things they haven’t experienced. This includes things that have not been part of their existence yet (e.g., God and the afterlife). He thinks discussing them leads to delusions rather than knowledge and experience.
Keep an open mind and don’t believe or disbelieve until you’ve experienced it. In other words, don’t put your faith in someone. Say “I don’t know” and move on.
Doing the same thing repeatedly can’t produce any different results. In the same way, blaming bad luck when things don’t go according to plan is vain. Self-awareness should start at this stage instead.
Self-awareness is a sadhana. It’s a daily spiritual practice that we must incorporate into our lives. We may learn to manage our ideas, behaviors, and emotions in doing so.
Self-awareness ensures that whatever happens outside does not cause internal instability and anguish. As your self-awareness grows, so does your ability to respond. Because there are always options available, you may select the best one for yourself.
Consider the term responsibility. It is derived from response-ability. Therefore, responsibility means the ability to respond consciously. It opposes reactions based on unconscious impulses.
For example, suppose a family member causes you to become angry. There are several ways to respond. A natural impulse is to shout. Yet, as your response-ability increases, you see other options. You can ignore them, speak nicely to them, or change the topic of discussion.
Responsibility is liberation, whereas reactivity is slavery. Anger often leads to irrational behavior and is ultimately self-destructive.
StoryShot #4: Happiness Is A State Of Mind, Not A State Of Being
Many people strive to change their surroundings to improve life satisfaction or happiness. Yet, many fail to identify the real problem because they think it is so ordinary that it is difficult to notice at first glance.
If you’re unhappy with your current position, look for a new job. Are you tired of loneliness? Use dating apps. Buy a new outfit or go to a gym if you’re unhappy with your appearance.
Most of us receive this type of advice all our lives. Thus, we have assumed that certain elements are required for happiness. That may include success at work, finding a decent mate, or looking like a magazine cover model.
This is a form of mental illness. Our constant focus on the external thwarts our pursuit of happiness. All our views of the world around us are happening inside us. When it comes to finding happiness, we need to start within ourselves.
Insights from yoga philosophy may help you create your desired internal state. This state is independent of what is going on externally. Sadhguru goes through each of the traditional yoga’s eight branches or categories. For example, one area that deals with self-exploration is called Raja Yoga. This branch helps you discover your inherent strengths and abilities so that you can use them to your advantage in life.
StoryShot #5: Being Overly Rational May Prevent You From Truly Experiencing Life
Humans are usually proud of their intelligence. After all, our ability to think and synthesize has led to the current state of civilization.
But our brains have intrinsic limits that prevent us from experiencing life. There is no need for an individual to be rational at all times. Logic isn’t always right, and we shouldn’t always believe it.
Simply put, our intellect may impede us from enjoying life. If you want to enjoy life, you should not always be rational.
We should be humble. Since we are so small compared to the universe, we cannot possibly know everything about it. But, we shouldn’t let this deter us from fully immersing ourselves at the moment.
That doesn’t require much brainpower. Instead, you may concentrate on tuning in to your own experience. Recognize that you are connected to the rest of the universe to some degree.
StoryShot #6: The Spiritual Path Is Like Playing A Game
The spiritual path is like a game of snakes and ladders. There is a risk that we may miss the potential to progress if we are too self-satisfied. It might mean returning for hundreds of more incarnations! If we miss this opportunity, we may have to return and start over. Hoping and wishing will not work.
We need to understand first that the whole matter is a game. We need to approach the task with the right attitude. The rules are simple, but you must play the game well to win. If you are ready to commit, it will give you the results you want. So, don’t just wishfully think about it. Get into action. Go on the path of yoga and live your life to its fullest potential.
You must pursue spiritual growth in both good and bad times. When something challenging happens, it can be a call for you to grow even more. It’s the only way to make your life worthwhile.
StoryShot #7: Let Go Of Your Assumptions
Stop making excuses for yourself. When in doubt, saying “I don’t know” holds many potentials. When you remove “I don’t know,” you end any hope of ever finding out. It’s better to come to foolish conclusions than remain confused. If you realize you don’t know, there’s room for inquiry.
In reality, far too many individuals are convinced of things that aren’t true. Taking sides and believing or disbelieving leads you to trouble.
You keep your mind open to the truth by refusing to reach a conclusion. As soon as you conclude, you cut yourself off to all other alternatives. There’s no use in asking questions if you already know the answers. After all, what’s the use of searching for the truth if you believe you already have it?
There is a paradox at work regarding human beings: the cleverer they grow, the more confused they become. Only a fool can be absolutely sure. Having an inquisitive mind is a sign of wisdom. Idiots are always 100% convinced of everything they do in their lives.
StoryShot #8: Do Not Overestimate The Value Of Your Thoughts
Your thinking is not your decision. It is determined by where you are. It is often a reaction to the environment you are in. Likewise, your experiences may influence it.
People tend to take their own thoughts too seriously. They consider them the sole source of information. But thoughts are not facts. What you imagine may not be true.
Thoughts are nothing more than ideas. Having an idea does not imply it is true. Try to count how many entirely unrelated thoughts you have in your head at any time.
Human beings generate over half a million thoughts every day. Learn to observe your thoughts without taking them too seriously. You don’t have to believe everything you think. Observe your thoughts, but do not believe them. Be like a wave in the ocean, and see them come and go like clouds in the sky.
Also, be aware that you have no influence over your thinking process or what you think. If you did, you would believe only good and cheerful thoughts, instead of bad and depressing ones.
When it comes to your mind and thoughts, you don’t know anything. Do you know what generates them? Where do they come from? What would your next idea be?
StoryShot #9: Always Do The Right Thing
It will still work if you do the right thing, even for the wrong purpose. The opposite is true if you do the wrong things, even with the right motives. This is because the essence of action will eventually become its purpose.
Yes, you have the choice to do things your way. But, most people fail because they repeatedly do things their way. To be successful, you must let go of doing things the way you’ve always done them. If you are doing something that doesn’t work, stop doing it. Learn to follow the rules of the game instead.
You can’t just go out and do whatever you want and expect to succeed. For the right things to happen, you must take the right actions.
StoryShot #10: Drop “But” From Your Vocabulary
If you want something, you have to be willing to pay for it. Most people who fail are unwilling to do the work, re-educate, move, or sacrifice.
If you’re going to succeed, you must remove all the “buts”. Be ready to go the extra mile. Be willing to do whatever it takes, even if it means changing yourself. For example, if you want a better job, confront your fears of rejection, then start going to places where those jobs exist.
Every time you hear yourself saying something like “I would do this, but…” the opportunity becomes impossible.
Today’s issue is that everyone wants others to change, that being said, no one wants to change themselves.
The only person you can change is yourself. Change can only happen through personal initiative. Thus, focus on improving yourself rather than attempting to change others.
Final Summary and Review of Inner Engineering
Finding your actual identity is a recurring theme in the book.
Understanding Sadhguru’s teaching requires mental calmness and self-control. There is nothing wrong with taking time for ourselves and putting other things on hold.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to purify your soul. You must be intentional about taking care of yourself. Be willing to do what it takes.
When reading this book, the first thing you’ll notice is that we’re all in charge of our own lives, conscious or not. So, blaming someone else isn’t a recommended method of dealing with an issue.
It’s in these small acts of strength that you find hope and meaning in your life. It is only when we surrender to life that we start to live.
Pursuing spiritual growth in good and bad times is the only way to make your life worthwhile. Be willing to do whatever it takes, even if you have to change yourself.
Criticism and Rating
One of the major criticisms of the book is that it’s difficult to sum it up. The reason is that it’s both excellent and bad simultaneously.
You can use this guide if you’re a total newbie. It does a good job explaining a few topics.
Even so, the difficulty is that it continues veering off course. Moreover, it gives stories that some may find a little too haphazard. Neither the thoughts nor the conclusions have been completed. Not because it is poorly written—but because it lacks a system. Some think you might need to be of Indian descent to understand the book’s context.
At best, it’s a motivational tool. Yet, a single reading of Inner Engineering will not suffice. One may find it a complete mess with information overload. You have to read it repeatedly to understand its message well.
We rate this book 4.2 / 5.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published on Dec 22, 2021. It was updated on Feb 5, 2022.
Disclaimer: This article is an unofficial summary and analysis.
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