A Life Changing Mistake
By Lulu Sturdy
Lulu Sturdy fled from the Inner Engineering course only to discover later it was the best thing she’d ever done
Ok, I have to be brutal: I hated the Inner Engineering course run by Isha Foundation. Not my cuppa tea at all, uh huh. I more or less ran from the room on the closing 7th day. I remember the teacher offering for us to meet once a month, and my internal response was, basically, ‘not on your nelly mate’. Five years on and I’m now the one holding those not-on-your-nelly-mate meetings: so what went wrong?
While I squirmed my way through the course, with a combination of ‘oh my god I don’t actually have to interact with other people do I?’ And a general, now embarrassingly misguided conceit that I knew it all already, I did know one thing: that I’d come to learn a simple 21 minute practice based on the breath (or pranayama), and this practice I really wanted because I was fed up with Lulu Sturdy Repetitive Cycles. You know, your own life-drama flotsam. My life wasn’t particularly dramatic – I would say I was pretty sanguine, even-headed – but I was awake enough to know I wanted ‘More’ from myself, It, Life, Him, Her…
So I somehow stuck with the practice through thick and thin and it has become the most worthwhile thing I have ever done in my life. The happy mistake I made that saw me registering for this course was to read a prolonged interview with the architect of Inner Engineering, Sadhguru, and to be utterly blown away by the man’s incision and clarity, his ability to articulate utterly esoteric matters with apparent logic and his scientific approach:
‘Your whole personality, everything you are, is a complex accumulation of your impressions of life. This is like your software. It’s the volume of your impressions. Everything you have perceived has imprinted itself on your mind and on your energy. The very way your body behaves, the way your life energies behave is a result of past impressions. The very way you move your body is programmed.
What someone might call karma is the sum of the vast store of impressions you’ve taken on as your software. Because of these impressions you develop certain tendencies. These are unconscious. Your body, your mind, your emotions, your energies, everything works according to these tendencies that evolve because of the vast store of impressions. Unless one rises to a certain pitch of awareness and has a certain mastery over oneself, one is always being pushed and pulled by these unconscious tendencies. Even though you are pulled in a certain direction, all this was created by you, no one else but you.’
So what has the practice done for me? I used to spend hours and days thinking through big decisions; whether business decisions or personal I would often make lists weighing up the pros and cons, tortuously coming to a conclusion. The practice has turned that on end: I now think much more fluidly; important decisions and changes of business direction come to me intuitively without laboured thinking. I no longer waste time going down dead ends and wrong turns, I feel like I am doing the right thing at the right time.
At the time of doing the course I was in a long-term relationship that had been on-and-off for seven years, a disaster of a relationship that was never resolved one way or the other; a few months into doing the practice all this rubbish fell away, all the stupid things I was doing to keep this cycle going started to evaporate because of the greatly increased clarity in my mind. I’d also say my ability to concentrate deeply on a matter has improved 100%; and through quietly listening to myself – going deeper inwards while doing the practice – I discovered deep-held tension in my throat and stomach. Through regular practice this has completely disappeared. On top of this, I have a precious taste of what it means to meditate; something I was always curious about but had given up thinking was achievable…