Midnights with the Mystic

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Midnights with the Mystic, by Cheryl Simone and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. Hampton Roads; hrpub.com

This collection of teachings from the mystic Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is filtered through the eyes and ears of one of his students, Cheryl Simone, a businesswoman from Atlanta. In this, her first book, Simone does a terrific job of outlining the American spiritual condition. She frames herself as a typically unfulfilled baby boomer: She experimented with drugs during the '60s, got married and divorced in the '70s, found terrific material prosperity in the real estate market in the '80s and '90s. But, as her worldly success grew, her health and vitality dwindled, leading her to ask the eternal question that drives spiritual seekers: Is this all there is?

Her life changed, she says, when she "gave up" and asked the universe for help. It answered in the form of Sadhguru, the charismatic founder of Isha Yoga, whom Simone first met at one of his lectures.The balance of the book contains Sadhguru's teachings as rendered by Simone. Together, they constitute a simple, direct, and accessible crash course in Vedanta, the yogic philosophy of nondifferentiation. "The more you get enslaved by the logical process of the mind, the more and more you aspire to be exclusive," Sadhguru tells Simone. "Yoga means knowing and experiencing everything as a part of yourself."

While Simone makes a great case for yoga as a path to expansion, it leaves practical instruction for another book and is instead heavy on the whys and wherefores of Isha's philosophical underpinnings. It's obvious that this master moved Simone. Read this book, and you will be moved, too.