atlanticgirl

My Review of Inner Engineering: Pros and Cons

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This is my first review on the Actualized.org forum. I really feel compelled to share my honest opinion about this course, and Sadhguru, for those considering this course.


A bit of background; I am a long-time spiritual seeker, who began with Vipassana meditation ( Goenka), in 2001. I did many ten-day silent retreats, initially did extremely well, but got burned out and quit vipassana after 14 years. In 2008, I took up Bikram yoga, and today I practice the Ashtanga Primary series. In 2016, I began working with an outstanding nonduality teacher (recently retired) who introduced me to the teachings of Ramana Maharshi and recommended a multi-faceted approach. In less than 16 months, I experienced Nirvakalpi Samadhi. I see myself as having undergone great positive changes, and mental purifications. I experience an inner peace and joy that I would not have thought possible.   At this point, it feels like I am sweeping out the corners, so to speak, in dealing with the residual vasanas. I feel it is important to share all this, to give context to my review of the Inner Engineering Course.


I took the Inner Engineering Course in April 2018, on the advice of a friend. I had been curious about Kriya yoga. I immediately felt it was increasing my energy. About eight weeks after the course, I went through an incredibly challenging period with an adult child, who was in critical condition in hospital. I was surprised at the degree of mental clarity I had during this crisis. This is the thing I can honestly say has been the most noticeable benefit; increased mental clarity. Also, sleep quality has improved and sleeping on average about an hour less per night. I've been impressed enough with the results of this course, that I am now planning to take another traditional Kriya course, but not with Sadhguru's Isha foundation, for reasons I'll explain later.


Sadhguru makes a lot of big claims about the power of this course to change people's lives. From what I have seen, having taken the course and volunteered at two other courses, Sadhguru seems to be attracting a lot of new people to the spiritual path, and I think this is great. I appreciate the fact that Sadhguru understands that a lot of people need to focus on improving their physical and mental health, and this is foundational to spiritual growth. I think this aspect is sorely missing in the Western Buddhist community ( Zen and Vipassana), where the emphasis is all on sitting for long periods.


I've recommended the course to eight other people. Half have not kept up their practice, and only one seems to have gotten similar benefits to me.
An observation I'd like to share; There is a big difference between Sadhguru, and the Isha Foundation which is run by volunteers. There is definitely an element of fundamentalism/ cultishness among many of the Isha volunteers. I would say the Isha Foundation is at Stage Blue in Spiral Dynamics, whereas I agree with Leo, that Sadhguru is Stage Turquoise. This has been challenging for me to reconcile. However, I am now thinking that Sadhguru is attracting Stage Blue / Orange people into the yogic path, and perhaps the way things are set up, is what these people need. 


One other issue I'd like to mention. Sadhguru has trained a number of teachers to conduct the Inner Engineering Courses. He is teaching some large numbers of people in big venues, and his trained teachers are teaching perhaps- 40-80 people in various places around the world. If you go to a course offered by one of his trained teachers, all of the Shambhavi Kriya instructions will be presented by videos of Sadhguru. One thing I had a big problem was the fact that the teachers are required to memorize word for word, a one-hour introductory talk at the beginning of the course. It comes across very weird. They are also tightly scripted every time they address the class throughout the course.  A number of students I've spoken with find this aspect highly disconcerting. It's as if Sadhguru doesn't trust his own, hand-picked, devoted teachers to speak with their own words - every single word needs to be memorized. Ironically, Sadhguru says he has been invited by the Prime Minister of India to give input on reforming India's education and says a big problem with India's education policies are the emphasis on memorization, rather than real learning! In spite of this 'negative criticism', I really think Sadhguru is doing great things and is a positive force in this world.
A few months ago, I found a series of Kriya books on Amazon, by SantataGamana, which I would HIGHLY recommend.


I've decided not to keep going with ISHA courses at this point because  I would rather pursue a traditional route. I will be getting initiation this coming weekend with Himalayan Yogi Nath Guru. Still, I am grateful for the benefits I have gotten from Shambhavi Kriya.

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Thanks for the testimony !

"stage blue " > really !? ... Do you have details? Indian/western people ? I thought Isha audience was rather greenish (hippie/alternative volunteer )

Level discrepancy between a master and his community/fanbase seems quite frequent in the spiritual world ...

Do you have any informations concerning the relations between  Sadhguru and Modi ?

What kind of benefits did you got ? What are the practice you are still doing on a regular basis ?

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Most of India is Blue so of course Isha is gonna be infected with that. So will basically all Indian spiritual schools.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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@Sirius Orion I live in Canada, and have attended courses in two major cities. Having attended in the past many vipassana courses, which are primarily populated by stage green folks, I found the IE courses made from a completely different demographic. About half are from India, the remainder Westerners. Maybe 10-15% of IE participants here are stage green. People at IE courses (compared to Vipassana or Western Zen centres) tend to be much more conservative and religious. I think they are drawn to the courses because of Sadhguru’s immense charisma. 

As I said, I noticed increased energy, heightening of mental clarity, improved sleep and reduction of sleep needed by about an hour. I’ve been very consistent with my practice, never missing a day. I’ve wondered if my 11 years of intensive yoga practice has made me more receptive to the Shambhavi kriya? It surprises me when people say they have been doing it consistently but NOT seeing changes. Perhaps they should do asanas first for some time? I also think it is critical to do the practice with a positive attitude - not approaching it as a chore to get over with. If you are going to do any spiritual practice a key is to examine motivation. 

I don’t know anything about the relationship between Sadhguru and Modi.

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4 hours ago, atlanticgirl said:

One thing I had a big problem was the fact that the teachers are required to memorize word for word, a one-hour introductory talk at the beginning of the course. It comes across very weird. They are also tightly scripted every time they address the class throughout the course.

@atlanticgirl This is just how WE Indians do things. We like to memorize everything and have our presentations highly scripted. I think this is a cultural difference you experienced. Like you mentioned, you are Canadian. Canadians are famous for being nice. However other cultures don't share this trait. In India we are not polite and don't smile that much. Also we have terrible customer care compared to Canada. But that doesn't mean we are mean or rude; we just have different definitions of these words. 

I know these things to be true since I have lived in both countries for a very long time. When I came to a Canadian high school I noticed everyone was so relaxed and had a 'whatever' attitude, which I thought was weird until I realized that's just how people roll here. In India everyone is uptight and likes to memorize. So, IDK if you can say for sure that sadhguru made them memorize everything. Maybe they did it on their own, it seems like an Indian thing to do? Maybe there English isn't that great so they memorize everything? idk. I would probably do they same if I never came to Canada b/c that's what I was taught there (u know the thing sadhguru is trying to change about india's edu. system).

But I don't get how you claim they are stage Blue? Just b/c they like memorizing doesn't make them stage blue. You should provide more info. 


“Many talk like philosophers yet live like fools.” — Proverb

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It’s not because of the memorization alone that I’m saying this is a stage blue organization. Keep in mind what stage blue values are about - high priority is given to rules and regulations, authority, conservatism, religion, etc.  I got acquainted with many participants and volunteers and so this is why I maintain this is quite predominantly stage blue organization. 

I’ve been to three IE courses. The first, I was a participant. The second and third I volunteered throughout. The teachers are repeating exactly word for word from a script.  And no, some of them grew up in the West and speak perfect English. It was quite disappointing for me to see this, because I realized that Sadhguru is requiring this of his teachers. It seemed to be at odds with the impression I had of him listening to his talks at the UN, etc. I also don’t see how this can be good for the teachers personally. 

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@atlanticgirl Hmm that's weird... I guess that's somewhat expected. Just take advantage of the practices and screw the volunteers then.

Oh and by the way, did you visit any of their consecrated places? What were they like?


“Many talk like philosophers yet live like fools.” — Proverb

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14 minutes ago, Salvijus said:

You have to understand sadhguru sees 1000more steps ahead of you. When he does something that you can't understand why, then probably because you don't have the big picture understanding like he has. 

@Salvijus You can say that for anyone doing anything stupid. This is authoritative thinking. Careful. 

If sadhguru chops off your leg tomorrow would you say he did because he sees 1000 steps ahead of you and you just don't understand him? Lol 


“Many talk like philosophers yet live like fools.” — Proverb

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7 hours ago, atlanticgirl said:

One other issue I'd like to mention. Sadhguru has trained a number of teachers to conduct the Inner Engineering Courses. He is teaching some large numbers of people in big venues, and his trained teachers are teaching perhaps- 40-80 people in various places around the world. If you go to a course offered by one of his trained teachers, all of the Shambhavi Kriya instructions will be presented by videos of Sadhguru. One thing I had a big problem was the fact that the teachers are required to memorize word for word, a one-hour introductory talk at the beginning of the course. It comes across very weird. They are also tightly scripted every time they address the class throughout the course.  A number of students I've spoken with find this aspect highly disconcerting. It's as if Sadhguru doesn't trust his own, hand-picked, devoted teachers to speak with their own words - every single word needs to be memorized. Ironically, Sadhguru says he has been invited by the Prime Minister of India to give input on reforming India's education and says a big problem with India's education policies are the emphasis on memorization, rather than real learning! In spite of this 'negative criticism', I really think Sadhguru is doing great things and is a positive force in this world.

It's the same for the Goenka vipassana retreat (although there it's by audio tape, not memorizing)

I think it's fine and a good idea, as soon as your organisation/teaching spread massively the only way to keep the teachings intact is to keep it 100% unchanged, if you allow any change in a huge structure like that there will be minor change there + minor change there + minor change there which will make big changes in time, some who would be good, other that will just lose the value of the teaching in the first place, and in the end it's just gonna be a big chaos/random kind of

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@Salvijus The problem is that spirituality cannot be a static thing. If Sadhguru's words are taught precisely 1000 years from now, it will be as bad as religion because the society will have changed so much that adaptation will be necessary.

But I understand his concern. We wants to minimize devilry. Unfortunately he can't stop a stage Blue organization from avoiding devilry because such people are dogmatic by definition and he feeds into their dogma a bit.

After he's dead the whole thing will become another religion.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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4 minutes ago, Salvijus said:

this teaching will last minimum 800 years after he passes away.

That's precisely what I said, another religion.

We are in agreement. He just doesn't see it as a problem.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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@Salvijus It will be a problem because in 500 years humans will not even be humans any more. His teachings will be so outdated and antiquated as to be counter-productive.

If history has taught us anything, spirituality must be reinvented for each new generation.

Even the language and metaphors Sadhguru uses today in his videos will be hard to understand in 500 years. In the same way that it's almost impossible for ordinary people to read Shakespeare.

Even today Sadhguru's integration of cutting edge spiritual tools like psychedelics is outdated and crude. Just imagine how outdated it will be in 500 years when we use genetic engineering to transform the structure of the human brain. The spirituality of the future will be much more radical than anything that has occurred in human history in the last 10,000 years. The next 1000 years will be nuts! It will be completely unpredictable and it will require extreme mental flexibility and innovative new spiritual teachings which bridge the divide between science, technology, society, and spirituality.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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@Leo Gura  I understand your point here. I can see how potentially his teachings might be difficult to understand hundreds of years from now but in the same time I don't think it will turn into a religion as there won't be many stage blue people hundreds of years from now. It'll mostly be green / yellow probably. 

 

The teachings of all the great mystics of the ancient times (Buddha, jesus and Mohamed) turned into a religion because the people were highly stuck in stage purple / blue back then. So it'll be interesting to see what happens to his teachings in the future. The only problem I see is the change in the languages like you mentioned. 

 

Also not to mention, he has consecrated an energy form in his Ashram known as the Dhyanalinga which is beyond any languages and could be benefited by anyone by just being in its visinity. Also apparently its indestructible according to him. But again, I don't see how this could have as big of an impact as the other aspects of Isha (his teachings for example). 

 

Edited by Chi_

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10 hours ago, atlanticgirl said:

. One thing I had a big problem was the fact that the teachers are required to memorize word for word, a one-hour introductory talk at the beginning of the course. It comes across very weird. They are also tightly scripted every time they address the class throughout the course.  

I also have noticed this. However I fail to see how this could be negative though, looking at how huge of an impact this strategy has made already to the world. I'm sure if hasn't done otherwise, his teachings would be quite distorted.

 

In his UN talks he was referring to the fact that memory is mistaken for intelligence nowadays. This doesn't apply to this topic as far as I see because his programmes don't have anything to do with intelligence. 

 

Having said that, it's really great to see that you are experimenting quite objectively with different paths and finding the best one for you. All the best :)

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57 minutes ago, Salvijus said:

as long as those people who run isha don't become religious and dogmatic.

Haha, they already are.

Unfortunately advanced yogic practice is not enough to eliminate dogma. In a sense, the more successful the practice, the bigger the problem. The success of the practice justified the dogma in the person's mind. "After all, if these techniques works so well, then teaching them rigidly can't be wrong."

Dogma is not a function content, it's a function of cognitive structure. And I don't see Sadhguru teaching his students how to avoid dogma by exposing them to diverse sources and teachings. So his students will not have an deep integrated stage Yellow/Turquoise spirituality. They will have a narrow Isha spirituality. Isha will be best in their minds. Sadhguru will be best and worshiped as some ultimate master. This of course will lead to bigotry.

I like Sadhguru, but his programs are not designed to encourage deep, independent contemplation or inquiry. They are designed for sheeple to blindly follow. It's sort of like the Apple eco-system. It's used by the least computer savvy people who just want a simple experience. But it's a closed, proprietary eco-system. And you better expect Apple to milk you for the convenience. It's in Apple self-interest to lock you in to their walled garden. But a wall is still a wall even if it's a spiritual wall.

P.S. Constructing temples only deepens the problem as it reinforces the myth of Sadhguru. The more tangible the benefits of the temple, the worse the problem. If I built an Actualized temple which gave you legit visions of God every time you entered it, Actualized would quickly become a cult.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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25 minutes ago, Leo Gura said:

But it's a closed, proprietary eco-system. And you better expect Apple to milk you for the convenience. It's in Apple self-interest to lock you in to their walled garden. But a wall is still a wall even if it's a spiritual wall.

Are you Linus Torvalds, then?

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14 minutes ago, CreamCat said:

Are you Linus Torvalds, then?

Actually, yes. (But hopefully less of an asshole).

Actualized.org was deliberately designed to be an open-source spiritual platform.

That is one reason I advocate psychedelics. Once you have a supply of 5-MeO-DMT, you no longer need me or Actualized.org

The most important function of 5-MeO-DMT is that it democratizes spirituality in a way that no guru can. With access to 5-MeO-DMT you no longer need to look up to gurus for answers. You become your own guru.

The difference is that on an Actualized.org forum you can freely discuss Sadhguru's programs. But on an Isha forum you would not be discussing other spiritual programs. It would be discouraged. Very few spiritual schools encourage the cross-comparison of all other spiritual schools. Most of them discourage it out of self-bias. Most of them don't even care to understand anything outside the school.

In the end, closed spiritual systems will not be good enough for mankind's evolution. The future will require cross-understanding between all spiritual schools, as the world becomes too global and interconnected for anything less.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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7 minutes ago, Salvijus said:

And their identity is 100% with sadhguru. That's why the process and the practice will remain pure and with itengrity for a long time. 

That's precisely why the process will be corrupted very soon.

That identity will need protection. And the protection of identity breeds selfishness, closedmindedness, dogma, and devilry.

Quote

If exposing to differerent traditions was a better thing to do, then that's what sadhguru would've done it also. Apparently he thought about and still through this is the best thing to do. You're just not smart enough to see why yet.

Be careful assuming that. That's a big assumption.

Sadhguru is not automatically right about everything just because he's awake.

If Jesus was not smart enough to foresee the evils of Christianity, no one is immune.

The truth is, it's really not in Sadhguru's hands. Isha will take on a life of its own and Sadhguru will be rolling in his grave at some of the things they do after he's gone.

Every spiritual teaching degrades over time. It's like making a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy on your copy machine. It's not gonna get better. It's gonna get worse than the original.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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