How does one transform negativity into love? A Sādhanā practice is a fine way to start. The Sanskrit word denotes, "a practice toward a spiritual goal." A 40-day Sādhanā can steer anyone to a new course of happiness and well-being.
Sādanā can help you find a new relationship or improve an existing one, heal an illness, find inner peace, manage debt or create a a new path of wealth and prosperity, to name a few.
So if there is something in your life that is missing, incomplete, not fully satisfying, frustrating, facing "failure" or just requiring some new impetus, then a 40-day Sādhanā practice might be for you.
Sādhanā prevents excessive worldliness and moulds the mind in a way that develops the knowledge of dispassion and non-attachment.
"Sādhanā is a means whereby bondage becomes liberation." -Bhattacharyya, History of the Tantric Religion
In 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 to calm the mind and invite in less attachment, to change the outer circumstances of life. When we go within, we can become more powerful in terms of creating the life we want for ourselves. 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.
It's easy to become lost in the "happenings" of the external world around us — the drama, noise and media rumblings. Instead, a spiritual practice feeds our soul and allows us to remain grounded and stable, despite the storms churning relentlessly 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 stronger foundation. Like a skeleton that keeps our bodies upright and prevents us from falling apart, when we retain a strong internal structure we are more equipped to deal with whatever life throws at us.
A Sādhanā practice could be as simple as going for a walk, chanting a mantra, practicing inner silence, a 5-to-10 minute morning and/or evening meditation, or even just focusing on the breath to calm the mind. But when practiced regularly, we become more attuned to the natural ebbs and flows of life and those cycles become integrated within us, thus shifting our awareness to the divine nature of life.
The physical world limits our perspective when we are attached to it. Great spiritual leaders like the Dalai Lama 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 higher consciousness and awareness. When we merely react and feel victimized due to circumstances, we lose our power.
So how do we monitor our own progress and self-correct ourselves along the way?
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. Unless we can learn to respond to these triggers with awareness, they will continue to recur.
A Sādhanā practice feeds our souls and over time, will cultivate a new perspective of empowerment and separation from that which we were previously allowing ourselves to be victim of. Our very definition of who and what we are, will shift boundlessly.
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 the ability to access higher consciousness and connect to universal wisdom. A regular Sādhanā practice accesses an inner sanctuary of wisdom and kindness.
Here are four simple steps to start a Sādhanā practice:
- 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 your Sādhanā. Make it easy for yourself by sticking to something easy and achievable. Otherwise, it's too easy to skip a day or two. It's natural to have bad days when you don't feel like doing anything (I have that challenge with flossing!), but that's why the key is commitment!
- Journal the process. Feel free to share your experience with others. Compare your feelings on the first day versus how you feel after the 40th day.
- Prepare for an adventure and enjoy the process!
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