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Midnights with the Mystic: A Little Guide to Freedom and Bliss    by Cheryl Simone & Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev order for
Midnights with the Mystic
by Cheryl Simone
Order:  USA  Can
Hampton Roads, 2008 (2008)
Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In his Foreword to Midnights with the Mystic: A Little Guide to Freedom and Bliss, Richard from Texas of Eat, Pray, Love lauds Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev as one of his 'two remarkable teachers'. He tells us that the book offers 'fresh kernels of wisdom and understanding' that lead towards 'a peaceful, fulfilling, and vibrant life'. In a second Foreword, Pat MacEnulty calls the book 'an in-depth, involved conversation between a seeker and one who has found what the seeker is looking for.'

The seeker is author/narrator Cheryl Simone and the guru with whom she converses on an island in a North Carolina lake in Midnights with the Mystic is Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, 'a being who is intensely alive in every possible way - in every human way and every spiritual way.' Cheryl tells us of her lifelong 'thirst for spirituality' and how she always sought 'freedom and bliss', though not always wisely. After hearing of Sadhguru, she attended one of his talks, felt a strong connection, and began to take his Inner Engineering programs. These led her to better health and 'a deep, consistent sense of joy.'

The book chronicles conversations with Sadhguru during a week in which he and his assistant were Cheryl's guests at her lake house. For example, in a statement that reminds me of Shakespeare's 'To thine own self be true', he tells his hostess that 'The more sincere you are with yourself, the clearer you will see things and the less melodrama you will add to things in order to make your life more intense and interesting.' Here are more - 'What you call sex, love, ambition, or greed is just life's longing for itself'; 'Comfort is not dictated by external situations. True comfort arises with a certain sense of ease within yourself'; and 'Compassion is not an attitude of kindness but an instrument of unprejudiced involvement.'

But read the entire book, because these sayings are elaborated on, and developed in context. At the back are Appendices, covering Sadhguru's Isha Yoga programs and the nonprofit Isha Foundation. And whether or not you believe in the possibility of the extreme transformations with which Cheryl Simone credits the mystic, there's a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from this narrative.

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