I was reading the other day and came across the term “Inner Engineering” and I became attracted to what it could mean. Inner Engineering sounds like it could summarize a lot of what we’re trying to do on this website so I started researching what others were saying about this term.
It turns out that these two words have been commandeered online by an Indian guru named Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, a yogi and supposed visionary, and founder of The Isha Foundation. He has created books and online courses and all manner of other tools and solutions to empower you to create the life you want.
Inner Engineering can help you create profound joy in your life if you just pay $150 and complete his 7 day training course. This simple course is designed to help us transcend suffering, train our mind, and become effective “creators of our lives”. It will help us navigate our lives with ease. It is a “method for life, a technology, a science—an inner science, based on ancient yogic sciences—for personal empowerment, inner peace and joy.”
Holy shit! Right? This guy is selling the secret to life!
So I kept on researching and reading. I wanted to learn the secret to life in 7 short days. Ten and a half hours if I’m doing my math correctly. (1.5 hours per day x 7 for the online course)
According to the book summary I have, there are 9 key takeaways.
This is when he began to lose me.
1. People can understand their own limitless nature by experiencing it first-hand.
2. Yoga helps people achieve self-mastery of their mind, their body, and their energy.
3. People seek to experience their own infinite nature.
4. Thoughts take information from outside stimuli and can therefore be an obstacle to inner joy.
5. The practice of inner engineering can generate profound joy.
6. Rational knowledge is overvalued in today’s society.
7. Responsibility means responding to the universe.
8. When people achieve enlightenment, they are coming home to their essential nature.
9. The spiritual path is about finding truth, not drawing conclusions.
These 9 takeaways, in 10 hours, according to Sadhguru also provides a platform for:
- Improving our physical health
- Reaching our highest potential
- Eliminating stress from our lives
- Maintaining high energy
- Eliminating fear, worry and anxiety
- Improving personal relationships
- Increasing productivity
So, after reading and research I decided not to spend $150 to learn the secret to life according to Sadhguru. Basically he’s saying that meditation and yoga and his 10 hours of wisdom will provide you with a roadmap to the secret to life. If only it were that easy.
So what does the term “Inner Engineering” mean to me?
Inner Engineering is another way to address what I call The Three Disciplines. It’s the 3 parts of life that, if pursued, can lead to happiness and a fulfilling life. It’s a focus on the mind, the body and the spirit as a whole. It’s the inner workings of the human body and mind. The foundation of the three disciplines is the mind. But there is so much more.
The secret to life cannot be summed up and learned in 10 hours.
The secret to life is not going to be found on a Yoga mat or in meditation.
The secret to life is not just about finding happiness. Because happiness is fleeting. Happiness comes and goes. The actual pursuit of happiness through one method or another can actually lead to stress, anxiety and depression because when you arrive at happiness, you usually won’t even notice it.
Happiness in life is about the journey, not the destination.
Happiness is about EXPERIENCING LIFE and learning to live an amazing life full of experiences – good and bad. That takes a lifetime of practice and encompasses many, many different aspects and practices in life.
The Foundation – Controlling your mind
I must say that I do believe that success in life does begin in your mind. But there’s more to it than just sitting and getting things right in your head and doing yoga. Once you get your mind right, everything else is just that much easier to accomplish. Without a centered mind, you’ll be lost. So Sadhguru does have the foundation set correctly. If you need a good foundation, maybe he can help you get the ball rolling. But the same thing can happen if you just begin a simple meditation practice. You don’t need a spiritual guru to get you there. I’m living proof.
Yoga is awesome too. Seriously. We’ll talk about Yoga on this site a lot because it’s an amazing workout for your body and your mind. Yoga is a great way to stay fit and build muscle. It’s the ultimate in multitasking because you attack the mind and the spirit all at once while engaging in a low impact, highly beneficial exercise practice.
But I think meditation and yoga are only the beginning. This is the foundation of something more. I don’t think you can expect meditation and yoga to solve all your problems. There’s a lot more to living life than sitting on a mat, listening to the silence by yourself. That is the foundation and it’s only going to get you so far.
Eat well, enjoy your food and occasionally cheat
Food plays a central role in our lives. Depriving ourselves of good food removes one of our primary pleasurable experiences in life.
Learning what to eat and also eating food that you enjoy is also foundational to living a happy and healthy life. It can’t all be pleasure. I’m sure we’d all love to eat our favorite foods like pizza, cheeseburgers, doughnuts, cakes and pies every day. Eating our favorite foods are a critical aspect of happiness and experiencing life. But this too will lead to unhappiness if it’s not done in moderation.
Finding a balance in the food we eat and learning specifically what foods are really healthy, which foods will energize us without making us fat and which foods we enjoy is also a foundational aspect of our happiness. If you feel fat, you’re not going to be happy. If you don’t eat well and you begin to have health problems you will not be happy. If you don’t have the energy you need, many of the other important disciplines in life that lead to happiness will never be possible.
Incorporate fitness that you enjoy
It goes without saying that physical fitness is a critical part of living a good life and becoming a healthy person. As mentioned, Yoga is a great way to get fit but it might not be for everyone. Especially if you’re just starting out on the road to a healthy life.
Learning to incorporate fitness into your life in ways that bring you joy is extremely important to your overall happiness in life. Many people work to exercise but they hate their time doing it. They’ll go to the gym and run on a treadmill or attend an exercise class but it turns out to be work, not pleasure. They look at it as something that has to be done and they trudge through it.
Forcing yourself to do things in life that you don’t enjoy will obviously not lead to happiness. It will also not lead to success in the end. When you engage in exercise that you don’t enjoy, you won’t keep doing it. You’ll look for excuses whenever possible. You’ll do the bare minimum just to get by. Eventually, you’ll find ways to stop going because who needs more work and pain in their lives? There might be some that do get pleasure from the accomplishment of exercise. But in general, most people will not last in their practice.
Over the years I’ve found that there are just a few things that I truly enjoy doing when it comes to exercise. I do enjoy Yoga. It’s a great way to build muscle, to stay flexible and to center yourself before, or after a hard days work.
I also love riding my bike. Getting home from work and jumping on my bike is one of my greatest joys because I get to head out on the trail by myself, burn calories and listen to my audiobooks and podcasts. It’s a form of meditation and a huge release of stress and pent up energy that makes me feel amazing and accomplished. Plus, I can burn up to 1000 calories which allows me to eat the foods that I want and to keep the weight off. In short, I’ve found exercise that I love to do. I look forward to it and it makes me happy. There is no work in this practice and it it makes it easy for me to stick to it.
Find ways to be fulfilled
Controlling your mind, learning to eat well, finding physical exercise that you enjoy and staying fit is just the start. All of this is just the foundation. It’s critical to master these aspects of life and I’m betting that Sadhguru would agree. But the truth is that you have to get off your Yoga mat and out of your head to actually experience life and to find true happiness.
Most of us need to earn a living. Unfortunately we weren’t born into wealth and fame so we usually need to get up in the morning and head off to a job where we can make a few bucks.
There are 7 days a week, 5 work days and 40 hours that we generally work in the U.S. We sleep around 50-60 hours per week. (If we’re lucky) That means that out of 168 total hours in a week, we’re left with about 70 hours of free time.
The majority of our adult lives are spent working or sleeping. So it makes sense that we’re doing something that makes us feel fulfilled during the work day. Finding out what excites us and also pays the bills is the hard part, but work is essential to our happiness just as much as anything else that we’ve mentioned like exercise, food and our overall health. If we’re working at least 40 hours a week it’s essential that we’re doing something we love.
This is where I want to challenge you. I know you might say that it’s not possible, money comes first man. For many, I know that paying the bills will come first. That’s absolutely true if you’re going to take care of yourself and those that you love.
So here’s your challenge. Stop and think about what you’d love to do if you could do anything. (Work related) Now, work your way back to see if there’s a way that you can get there. It doesn’t mean that you need to quit your job tomorrow. It doesn’t mean that you need to risk getting fired. You don’t have to risk anything. Just stop and think about a plan that might get you there in the future. You’ll be surprised how fast time will go and before you know it, you’ll be on your way.
Do you want to be a writer? Start writing today. Do you want to be an artist? Get on YouTube and start learning how to paint. Do you have a high paying job but you’re stressed out? Work out how you might transition safely to a better job — and you might find that you end up earning more money in the end!
Stop. Plan. Begin.
Having a spiritual practice is not for everybody. But here’s the thing. Nothing bad will come from pursuing a spiritual or faith based practice. You don’t have to believe in God or Jesus or Mohammad. You don’t have to believe in anything really to have a spiritual practice. It could even be made up (lets face it, most if it is). You could study the Jedi faith if that’s what floats your boat.
Here’s the thing. Feeling connected to something bigger than yourself is a good thing. If you feel that there’s nothing out there beyond you and your life, bad things could happen at multiple levels. A spiritual practice is another foundational thing that can help you get things right in your mind and body. Without it, there is no upside.
Here’s the thing. If you spend you life in a spiritual practice and there turns out to be a God, then you win! If you spend your life worshiping God and it all turns out to be fake and there’s nothing but blackness after death, then YOU WIN! You’ve likely lived a life full of comfort, fellowship, reduced stress and improved health. You can absolutely experience these things without faith or some kind of spiritual practice, but it’s got to be harder than going the spiritual route. Without a spiritual practice you can likely experience isolation, loneliness, anxiety about the future, increased immoral acts and reduced self care — just to mention a few. All of these things directly affect your ability to achieve success in your life within the 3 disciplines of mind, body and spirit.
What’s the secret to life? I think everyone will have a different answer. But the one that I keep hearing over and over is to find love. Pursue love in your life where you love and are loved by others and you’ve successfully lived a life that matters.
When you die, everything will fade away. But the love that you created with your spouse, your kids, your friends, your family and your community will carry on. It’s the only thing about you that will live on.
Again, you won’t find love in your head, in a book, on a Yoga mat or in your heart. Love is created by experiencing life and engaging with real people.
The real secret to life?
Sadhguru probably believes that his 10 hour class can help you find love. But actually doing it requires something beyond what another human can teach you. You just need to get out there and live life.
Maybe that’s the actual secret to life. You just need to live. Live your life to the fullest and everything else in life will come to you and be revealed for the taking.
Have you had experiences with Sadhguru that supports his claim to have the secret to life? Do you have thoughts about any of the advice provided here? Please give us your thoughts in the comments below.