Gurpreet Sandhu greets visitors to her Vernon home with a cup of Indian tea and the warmth that her students have come to know and love.
With her new book, Heartfelt Permission: Nurturing Guidance for Returning Home, Sandhu offers a collection of her open talks from her 2014 satsangs, which are regular gatherings.
“You arrive in the satsang — that is the beginning. This is where you purify yourself,” she writes. “This is where you lose all your practices, your wants, your wishes. This is where you don’t need to get anywhere, you don’t need to be someone, somewhere. This is where you unfold yourself. And this is where you learn how to surrender.”
Originally from Punjab, India, Sandhu came to Canada in 1984. She was a wife and mother of two sons when she lost her husband to a heart attack. While still raising her sons and running a hair salon in a nursing home, she began her search for truth.
She had no desire to be a teacher, however her love and warmth affected people and they wanted to know more about her transformation. A small group of seekers formed in 2007, and Sandhu became an awakened teacher.
“In the beginning I never was speaking like this,” she said. “I never could have imagined, I was never the kind of person to go in public and meet people, I was shy and a household lady, so all of a sudden I am saying yes, yes, yes and it kept expanding and kept opening up, like me sitting with a group of people and more and more people and travelling.”
Sandhu moved to Vernon two years ago, but continues to teach in Germany, Vancouver and Toronto.
“In the very beginning it wasn’t like I was choosing people, it’s like the people were choosing me. So it’s not like I decided anything, I was only saying yes to what was opening up in front of me,” she said.
After settling in Vernon, Sandhu began to hold weekly satsangs, where people could ask questions, share and receive guidance as a group and individually.
“Sometimes when I’m speaking, the word comes and then it just expands in such a beautiful way,” she said.
Jackie Parkinson attends satsangs regularly and said meeting Sandhu has changed the course of her life.
“Gurpreet is teaching truth,” said Parkinson, who volunteers her time with Sandhu, at both satsangs and with the publication of the book. “I had been on a spiritual journey for many years and not gone through live teachers but just through my own process of self-healing, and with Gurpreet I just knew she was the right teacher for me and just continues to be that way.
“The whole thing is like we’re opening our hearts and that’s where the love is, that’s where the stillness is, that’s where everything’s OK, and then the other parts of the world don’t matter that much and anything that does come it moves through easily too and doesn’t become such a big thing, there is space for everything.”
Sandhu’s first book is Wake Up! Awakening to Your True Self. Her recently published second book, Heartfelt Permission: Nurturing Guidance for Returning Home was produced with the help of volunteers.
People attending her satsangs had encouraged Sandhu to put her open talks into book form.
“At first it was difficult for me to speak because English is not my first language, but now there is a flow coming from a very raw, organic place, it’s not something diluted or dressed up with something, the words are very naked. It’s very different for the people to read.”
Heartfelt Permission: Nurturing Guidance for Returning Home is available at Bookland in Vernon, at any of Sandhu’s regular retreats at the Fairfield Inn & Suites or through her web site at www.awakeningwithgurpreet.com
All are welcome to Sandhu’s satsangs, and the schedule is listed on her web site.