How to transform negativity into love? A 40-day Sādhanā is sure to set anyone on a new course.
Sādhanā is a Sanskrit word denoting “a practice toward a spiritual goal.” According to Bhattacharyya, Sādhanā prevents excessive worldliness and moulds the mind into a form and disposition (bhāva) which “develops the knowledge of dispassion and non-attachment.”
“Sādhanā is a means whereby bondage becomes liberation.” ~ Bhattacharyya, History of the Tantric Religion
In the Glossary for Mahayana and Tibetan Buddhism, Sādhanā is defined as:
“A Meditational practice, normally involving visualization, recitation of verses and mantras, physical gestures, and real or visualized offerings to a particular yidam, in order to attain enlightenment.”
The goal of Sādhanā is calming the mind and bringing less attachment to change and the outer circumstances of life. When we go within, we can become more powerful co-creators. We can begin to define the quality of our lives, and what we choose to focus on and manifest. By moulding the external world to match our internal world, we consciously bring responsibility and empowerment into our lives.
“According to A Course in Miracles, there are only two basic emotions: one is fear, the other is love. You may fear the disapproval of others. Take that risk and you’ll discover that you receive more approval when you don’t seek it than when you do. You may fear the unknown. Take that risk as well. Wander in there, asking yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen if this doesn’t work out?” The truth is that you will just move beyond it. You’re not going to starve to death or be tortured if it doesn’t work out… Fear knocked at the door. Love answered and no one was there.” ~ Wayne Dyer, 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace
It’s so easy to become lost in the “happenings” of the external: drama, noise and media rumblings. Instead, a spiritual practice feeds our soul and allows us to remain grounded and stable despite any storms happening outside of us. Detachment mitigates suffering. It does not mean that we need become apathetic, it just guides our direction and provides spiritual sustenance. Thus, when things do go a bit crazy (and that’s likely to happen at some time), we have a strong foundation to cling on to. Like a skeleton that keeps our bodies upright and prevents us from falling apart, we retain an internal structure whatever happens on the outside. On the external, there could be a tsunami, yet we can stay strong in our core truth, purity and love. A Sādhanā practice could be going for a walk, chanting a mantra, practicing inner silence, a five or 10-minute morning and evening meditation, or just focusing on the breath to calm the mind. When practiced regularly, we become attuned to the natural ebbs and flows of life, cycles become integrated within us, and our awareness shifts to the divine nature of life. The physical world limits our perspective when we are attached to it. Great spiritual leaders have been able to transcend their personal circumstances and act from a space of possibility.
When we first turn to acceptance, we empower ourselves to act with consciousness and awareness. When we merely react and feel victimized due to circumstances, we lose our power.
How does one monitor one’s progress and self-correct? An emotional reaction is a sign of judgment kicking in. Some emotional responses are entirely appropriate and protective, yet it is the unwanted responses that can lead us into a place of suffering as we resist what has appeared in front of us. Such reactions are actually signals or signposts that point to a perturbation occurring. Unless one responds to that with awareness, it will continue to recur. For me, an emotional disruption is something happening within me. It is within that I may find the seeds for an understanding, resolution and cure. If I have internal peace, then I effortlessly move on to the next thing. If not, then there is something for me to look at. A Sādhanā practice feeds our souls and over time will cultivate a new perspective of empowerment and separation from that which previously we were allowing ourselves to be a victim of. Over time, our very definition of who and what we are, will shift boundlessly.
“The Sphinx has one great message to those who make pilgrimage to its feet—‘Cease searching in the outer world to solve the mystery of life. Within yourself there is a chamber. It lies hidden at the end of a long, winding corridor. This chamber is your secret sanctuary. There you will find all that is needed by your soul. Stay with me awhile in silence, and I will lead you to the door. The door is locked, but the key is in your hand. It has always been there, invisible. While you have ranged the wide world searching for it. ‘Use your own key. Retire within. I will not come beyond the threshold. In showing you the way, my task is done.’” ~ Major Wellesley Tudor Pole
What’s your spiritual practice or Sādhanā? How has this practice changed your life?
Four steps to start a Sādhanā practice:
A committed practice does not require any previous experience or particular aptitude. All human beings have a divine birthright to love, peace and happiness, and to access higher consciousness and connect to universal wisdom.
- Find a simple practice and then commit to it for 40 days. It could be anything from silence, stillness, mantra, yoga, qi gong, to Sufi dancing.
- Make sure to have a “why”—an understanding of the benefits and reasons for Sādhanā. Make it easy for yourself by sticking to something simple and achievable. It’s too easy to leave out a day or two. It’s natural to have bad days when you don’t feel like doing anything. I have the same challenge with flossing! That’s why the key is commitment!
- Journal the process. Feel free to share your experience. Compare your feelings on the first day versus how you felt after the 40th day.
- Prepare for an adventure! And enjoy the process!
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Editor: Emma Ruffin