83-year-old Terry Gray from England, shares her journey of coming across Isha Foundation and Sadhguru, and how whole new possibilities have opened up in her life.
The long and winding road
That leads to your door,
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before…
That’s a song, isn’t it? A Lennon/McCartney song from way back in the era of the Beatles. Before your time, perhaps. Not before mine.
At the time, most people thought it was a love song, addressed to a lost human lover. It never seemed that way to me. To me it said Guru, it said Shiva, it said the longing for the One Thing to which I could never put a name.
After 83 years, you’d think it would have disappeared, wouldn’t you? Disappeared with age, with the passions of youth. Just faded away. Or even been fulfilled, and disappeared that way. But the song was right. It will never disappear. The passion, the longing, simply grow more. And the more they seem to be fulfilled, the more they go on growing.
The first Guru in India (on whom be peace), was beautiful, old-fashioned, paternal, wonderful, the foundation stone of all that came after. Sadhguru appeared in a very modern way, popping up on my computer screen. I kept clicking him off – how stupid of me! – but he kept re-appearing, uninvited, unsought. Eventually I noticed the words, telling of his upcoming visit to London – which I had already missed. Still, he kept appearing. My Guru’s words arose in my memory – “Do not refuse what comes to you unsought, and do not pursue what is taken away.” There was a telephone number, so I called it, and there on the other end was the angel, an Isha volunteer who helped me to navigate the technology – for I hardly knew what online meant.
Inner Engineering and Isha Kriya became part of my life – so much so that Sadhguru’s words were echoing in me all day, underneath the sounds of living. Although the language of his chanting was unfamiliar to me, I found I had learned the chant by heart. I sang it to myself while the dentist drilled – and I was in Heaven! My mind still does not know what the words mean, but somewhere deep inside, where the superficial differences of language dissolve, something in me knows, and loves, and rejoices.
It always leads me here – leads me to your door…
With a lot of help from friends, I managed to travel to London to see Sadhguru at the Lancaster Gate Hotel. It felt like coming home. I was not able to get near to him. I was not able to sit on the floor, and a young woman found me a chair at the back. At the end, when he was leaving, everyone rushed to the front. I could not do that. The same young woman rescued me from the crush, guided me to the door, found me a taxi, and in a beautiful gesture of kindness, pressed into my hands a bag of sandwiches which she had brought for herself. When I protested, she said simply, “You have a long journey.” I have not forgotten her.
Afterwards, my new-found friends in the Isha Foundation urged me to attend a Shambhavi Mahamudra weekend. But I confess that my only motivation for doing it was the fact that for Sadhguru’s next visit in London, Shambhavi Mahamudra was a requirement. I wasn’t going to do that. I wasn’t going to make that difficult journey again, I wasn’t going to bother…
But still they lead me back to the long winding road…
My friends met me at the station, took me to the venue, and let me stay the night at their flat. Their kindness was what made it possible for me to attend the Shambhavi Mudra weekend. It was magic. At the end, I stood back to watch the dancing, and shook my head when a young woman came and held out her hands to me. She insisted, and to my immense surprise I found myself dancing. Such joy.
Right from the start, when I began to practise the Isha Kriya, I have been aware of the space which Sadhguru speaks of, the distance between me and my body and mind. Yes, there was a space, just as he showed, holding his hands apart. It was small, but it was there… and for a long time, more than two years, I thought that was it. I thought that was as good as it gets. Then, after about three months of practising the Shambhavi Mahamudra – visualising the preparatory parts which I couldn’t do – one morning the space suddenly swung wide. I was over here, and they were over there.
I had imagined that if this separation ever occurred, my body and mind would cease to have any significance. To all intents and purposes, they would disappear. I wonder now what I thought I would do without them! But that is not what happened. I am fonder now of my body and mind than I was before. My body seems like a good friend, a partner. It tells me what it needs, and I am moved to look after it better than I did. We travel together, and we do what we can for each other. My mind seems to have become an extremely small entity. It trails around with my body and me, doing what is required of it – it likes to have a job to do – and hardly ever trying to get out of hand and take control as it used to.
All this wonder and beauty and benediction. And still the longing grows.
And still they lead me back to the long winding road…
I wonder, did I have a past life where it all began? I don’t know. Sometimes I feel that it must be so.
You left me standing here, a long long time ago…
Did he? But I hear Sadhguru warning against imagination. The truth is I don’t know. Maybe he knows. I am content not to know.
It is very strange and incongruous to feel such joy, such contentment, such love and incredible tenderness – and yet still to be filled and shaken by this overwhelming longing.
Dear Sadhguruji , you have said that when we reach the age of 84, we have repaid our debt to the Earth, the Mother, and that then “it takes only one small push”. Well, I am nearly there. Next year, if we are still living, will you push me?
Don’t leave me waiting here. Lead me to your door…
Editor’s Note: Fragments of Terry’s long and winding road on her way to encountering Sadhguru and Isha are recorded in a book, “Flowers on the Grass”, to be published in June, 2015.