The second phase of the Midnights with the Mystic US book tour started off with a bang in the center of the Big Apple(NewYork) when Manhattan’s Hunter College welcomed over 700 people to what was actually an afternoon with The Mystic on Saturday, August 2nd. Reporters, guests, seekers, volunteers, brand-new meditators, friends and family, VIPs, and many curious new faces braved a torrential downpour to imbibe a dose of wisdom, meditation, and bliss.
New York is still a relatively new Isha city center, and Sadhguru has not paid too many visits to the city, so New York, New Jersey, and New England meditators were in a frenzy of excitement and preparation in the weeks leading up to the event. Volunteers created task forces to get the word out through every means possible – handing out postcards, putting up fliers and posters, posting the event online, seeking radio and print publicity, finding economical ways to advertise, talking to friends and colleagues, networking online, contacting like-minded groups and mailing lists, and attending festivals. With Isha still a relatively unknown entity here in New York, volunteers got creative in their endeavors to share this possibility that means so much to them.
And then, the day of the talk was at hand. “It was such an exciting event, I truly could not sleep for two days beforehand,” one meditator shared. “Just being there and working as a team to set up the stage and the tables was such a touching experience.” Another noted, “It amazes me every time how even an hour before the start of any Isha program, everything is still chaotic, and then suddenly, as if by magic, it all falls into place. This time was no different. Despite limited lobby space and sudden torrential rain, everything was perfect when Sadhguru and the guests arrived.”
A trio of musicians played gentle yet stirring sounds to welcome participants into the hall. Sahara TV, as well as numerous reporters, covered the event. One volunteer shared, “As Sadhguru led the group in meditation, I stood with my eyes open in the back of the auditorium, tears rolling down my face, with a sense that all the effort that was put in was completely worth it just to experience those few moments with him.”
A new meditator who had only recently completed the Inner Engineering program shared his experience meeting Sadhguru for the first time. “I did not know if I was going to see him at all, with so many participants attending. But when I actually did get to see Sadhguru up close, all the crankiness and exhaustion vanished. Meeting Sadhguru was more than an event, it was an experience. To hear him speak about life so casually yet laden with such significant meaning was the highlight of the event; something that I will treasure for the rest of my life.”
Guests were struck by the experience as well. One shared that he felt electricity go up his spine during the meditation. He added, “This is something big.” Another shared that she found Sadhguru “incredible” and has made a promise to herself to visit the Isha Yoga Center in India next year. Someone else said it was “exactly what I needed,” and that Sadhguru reminded her that she is not the bundle of distractions she tends to get lost in, and not her tangle of thoughts, but something entirely different. Many seemed to be still taking it all in at the end of the program, digesting the challenges that Sadhguru had laid before them.
Over a hundred copies of Midnights with the Mystic were sold at the Barnes & Noble table and a long line formed to meet the authors. One of the first people to have his book signed was an usher who was part of the Hunter College staff. The young man became so interested after standing by the door and hearing Sadhguru speak while on-the-job that he asked his mother, the college’s coordinator of the event, to buy him a book. One meditator relayed, “I stood in the long queue of people waiting to get Sadhguru’s signature on the books. When finally there were only a handful of people left, we were asked to return to the hall for the Sathsang. I did not think twice and rushed into the auditorium. The books remained unsigned as I had found his signature everywhere…”
Over 100 meditators attended the private Sathsang with Sadhguru. The always direct Guru cautioned the participants not to turn Isha into a cult – emphasizing that it should remain an opportunity for everyone. He also said that he had not spent much time in this part of the world up until now, but that he would be spending more time in the US from here on out. He took a few questions, answering one about how to make life decisions by pointing out that we try to choose the “best” option – when there is no option that is the “best.” Another questioner asked how to introduce someone to Isha. Sadhguru responded that we should not recruit. Instead, he said, we should become so blissful that others cannot ignore it. Our acceptance should become so all-encompassing that they cannot ignore it…and then, he said, we’ll see how they refuse it.
Sadhguru adjourned the Sathsang quickly to catch a plane for Tampa, and the remaining volunteers cleaned up the traces of the event, marked by what had transpired. “Once the event was over, there was only calmness and peace remaining, nothing to gain, and at the same time nothing to lose!” remarked one volunteer. Another shared that she had thought she would miss out by volunteering and not having enough time for sadhana. “But on the contrary, my sadhana became more intense, even though I missed my practices a day or two.” Another volunteer, deeply touched by the experience, said “I have no idea what this is…why this is…but it feels beautiful. His Grace was raining, and there was no umbrella.”