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During your lifetime you will have the opportunity to grow through several stages of spiritual development. Initially, your world is one of materialism created by the ego. For many, this becomes their whole life, but a fortunate few recognize they have a choice—whether to stay immersed in the material world or embark on the joyful magnificence of a spiritual journey. These opportunities may come early or late in life but, once you make that choice, your life can never be the same.
You begin life in the three lower chakras. Your concerns revolve around survival, possessions, physical pleasures, and personal power.
You may choose to continue to be consumed with self-serving desires, worries, and limiting beliefs, or you begin to realize that there’s something more to life. You may learn meditation, take yoga classes, or do volunteer work. You start to awaken spiritually. However, the motivation still centers around “What’s in it for me?” You create boundaries for your Sadhana.
You can continue to act and give from the level of ego, always expecting something in return. Or, you may ask, “How can I use what I know to help others; how can I serve?” Now your motivation stems from love and compassion, your true spiritual journey begins. The longing for enlightenment grows within you. The heart chakra begins to open. Your Sadhana becomes your way of life.
Sadhana is your daily spiritual practice. You may start by just setting aside some time each day to practice techniques and activities such as meditation, yoga, chanting, and reading sacred literature. However, if you are sincere in your spiritual journey, your whole life will eventually reflect your Sadhana.
There is a misconception that to be spiritual you need to run away from or give up the world. You can certainly do this but for most people that’s not practical. Remember, we are spiritual beings who are having a human experience so the key is to make this human, material experience an integral part of your spiritual growth.
At first the material world may still seem very attractive while the spiritual might seem lonely and difficult. This is the great illusion of the ego. If you look beneath its superficial surface values, the material world is like a dry garden and Sadhana is the nourishment that brings it back to life. Your Sadhana re-ignites your inner world, transforming your outer world into a bliss-filled land of infinite possibilities.
The basic difference between an enlightened saint and the average person is the level of awareness each enjoys. Everything you do becomes a spiritual act if you do it with awareness. Awareness transforms even the most mundane act into Sadhana.
Everything can be part of your spiritual practice but here are a few recommendations to help guide you in your daily Sadhana.
- Be aware of everything you are experiencing through your senses
- Be aware of the needs and feelings of others and your environment
- Be aware of your emotions
- Eat, walk, and act with awareness
- Make conscious choices
Be in the Now
- Be present in your thoughts, words, and actions
- Accept the moment with no regrets of the past
- Create the future you want by being fully present in the now
- Let go of expectations, embrace the wisdom of uncertainty
- Be open to infinite possibilities
Enjoy the Great Silence
- Spend time each day in silent meditation
- Spend time in nature
- Learn to listen
- Silence is God’s language
- Recognize the opportunity and blessing in everything
- Begin every day with gratitude
- Practice forgiveness
- Accept the gratitude of others
- “Thank you” is the only mantra you need
- Send the gift of love to everyone you meet
- Be in love with yourself
- Allow yourself to be loved
- Make love the basis for all your actions
- Be compassionate. Be charitable
- Practice unconditional love no matter what
Work: Offer Seva
- Perform selfless service without expectation of acknowledgment or reward
- Serve with humility and devotion
- The more you open and give, the more you will receive
- Do work that makes you happy and supports your goals in life
Be Humble, Pure, and Authentic
- Be pure in your thoughts, words, and actions
- Be pure of heart
- Be truthful
- Be aware of your pride
- Be respectful
- Be immune to criticism and flattery
- Be patient
- Always be yourself
- Listen to your body, be aware of its needs
- Eat and exercise for your body type, age, and physical ability
- Avoid tobacco and recreational drugs; minimize alcohol
- Be aware of environmental influences
- Rest when necessary and make sure you get enough good quality sleep
- Breathe fresh air
- Be graceful in everything you do
Transmute Negative Emotions
- Take responsibility for your emotions
- Replace fear with love. Fear contracts, love expands
- Don’t play the victim; no one is to blame
- Witness your emotions as sensations in your body; breathe into that area, project love and light there
- Recognize and learn to love your shadow side
- Journal and share
- Love with your mind, think with your heart
And Most Importantly …
- Laugh out loud
- Do something every day just for fun
- Don’t take anything too seriously; seriousness is just the ego feeling sorry for itself