Not two hours passed after the end of Consecrating the Seat of Grace - the 3-day event during which Sadhguru consecrated the brand-new Mahima dome at the Isha Institute for Inner Sciences, Tennessee - before a historic Bhava Spandana program began, the very first program inside the newly energized Mahima. 280 participants began the 4-day program under the vast cream "sky" of the enormous concrete dome. There were no side walls or flooring to the hall, but no one seemed to notice - carpets covered the ground, heavy plastic sheeting hung from exterior columns, and heaters run on generators kept participants warm and dry throughout the cold November weekend.
Participants who arrived eager and expectant surely still had no idea of the intensity of what lay before them. Over the next three and a half days, Sadhguru, simultaneously gentle and fierce, led them through a non-stop process of unfolding, disassembling, and finally, merging. One participant, who came all the way from Peru to attend, spoke of the initial difficulty and frustration, especially because "Some things were not happening as I imagined. And nothing was happening in the beginning to me." But she had a turning point where she permitted herself to "experience and not to think, and to let myself feel all these emotions coming up…and from then on it just got more and more intense. I got glimpses of the divine in another person's eyes, and that was beautiful."
Another participant explained that she had been on the spiritual path for many years. She had read many books and got the idea of oneness conceptually, but "knowing it with the entire being was missing. I didn't experience what they meant by saying the same divinity within you is within everyone. But here, I wasn't afraid to break down the barriers I had built for myself in order to truly experience what love is and what compassion is for the first time. He just broke me down and by the end I was like 'Oh my god, this is what they've been talking about.' One minute I was laughing, one minute I was sobbing. I always held back before, but here I was 100% giving."
Another participant related how he'd missed the opportunity to take the previous BSP, and on the second day of the program he was struck with the thought that by waiting half a year to take the program, he had missed six months of his life. "I shed tears for 15 minutes and I didn't even notice it was that long. I have not cried that long ever in my life. I don't even know if it was joy or what; I just wanted to cry." Another meditator shared that over the three and a half days of the program she just "lived, lived, and lived. There was no moment that I missed actually. It was a breathtaking experience. I felt so fortunate to be with Sadhguru. He answered all my questions and showed me what I was looking for."
Participants bundled up to head to the dining hall, still held in a large tent down the hill from Mahima. Volunteers had the camping-style cooking down pretty well, and although everything is made using only propane stoves, the food was lavish and lovingly prepared. A light rain fell on the last day as participants lunched outside, and a group of musicians serenaded them, singing out various rain-related lyrics (that happened to be in at least three of the songs) with special gusto.
The 190 volunteers experienced an equally intense BSP. One noted that it was an "awesome BSP. The hall seemed to come alive with the participants for the first time. The energy was more intense than in a tent or rented hall." A first-time volunteer said that "it was at least ten times more intense as far as the effect the program had on me is concerned. My mind was a lot less of an inhibition than it was the first time as a participant and my emotions got pushed to the limits. I didn't have as much resistance. One amazing thing was how I didn't need sleep or food - I just needed a little bit but just for my body, not for my own sake. There was so much happening, so many things to be responsible for, it just brought about such an intensity where I didn't need these pettier things in life because I was so engrossed in making this program all it could be for the participants."
One of the IIIS residents exclaimed that it was "flippin' fantastic not to do the program in a rainy tent, to not have to deal with soggy carpet and puddles and breaking tent poles blowing down - not that we didn't have our struggles." He went on to note the satisfaction of seeing some of the finer details come together at the center, like the painting of the lodges, the lights on the pathway, the grass on the activity field. "It's been really nice to see some of these things come to fruition, especially the dome. It feels like Sadhguru has really been stepping things up for many months now and Mahima will be a catalyst for continued growth."
On the last day, volunteers rushed to transform the dining tent into an appropriate place for a special volunteer Sathsang with Sadhguru. Sadhguru gave an intense address, urging everyone in attendance to evaluate their commitment, their dedication, and their intensity.
BSP ended with both a bang and a whimper, as it usually does, and participants circulated, sharing stories, hugs, and smiles as they spent their last moments in Mahima before packing up to go home. Photos of the group were passed out, which Sadhguru had mentioned should be put up in Mahima to commemorate the hall's first program. At the merchandise table, the new Isha cookbook flew off the shelves so fast that pre-orders had to be taken, and resonant paintings called thangkas, specially chosen by Sadhguru in Nepal, leapt into new hands as well. Gradually, participants filed out of the hall even as the dome's reverberations continued to pulse. Summing up the long weekend, one west coast meditator, in true Los Angeles style, said he would write a screenplay about his BSP experience that "would make everyone forget about A Beautiful Mind. It would be called A Beautiful Exhalation."