How to Establish a Regular Practice
Self growth, spiritual discovery or whatever you wish to call it is everybody’s right and mission in life, whether they know it or not.
The journey to transcend one’s limited view of self and the world is a life-long endeavour, and maybe even one that goes beyond this lifetime. But, how does one travel this path?
You can read books, watch Youtube videos, listen to wise people philosophise or debate with your friends. All that is well and good. Yet many spend years on these activities without seeing significant progress.
One fool-proof way to develop your true potential is having what the tantrics call a SADHANA.
A Sadhana is the regular practice of effective methods that gradually transform you.
What are effective methods? Well, everybody has to find out what works for them. I have chosen the methods of classical tantra and traditional yoga. You must choose your own. Shop around!
Going on a spiritual retreat of any modality, will give you insights into what works for you and what doesn’t. Finding a good weekly class, even practicing techniques learned from a book, may make you aware of methods that you wish to incorporate into your sadhana.
What you do is a very personal decision. But be alert and present: Are these tools really transforming you?
Often you need to practice a technique for a certain period of time before you start noticing results. However, you should notice the results eventually.
Of course, I consider the methods of my own tradition the most effective and life-changing. Classical tantra is a comprehensive system that touches every part of me: Body, energy, mind, and beyond.
But, again, you must make your own experiences.
Whatever you choose to do, the key is *regularity*. It’s not enough to go to a yoga class once in awhile, or to do a meditation retreat at New Year’s. To see clear and lasting results you must practice regularly, you must develop a habit of it.
Fifteen minutes of daily practice is more effective than two hours of practice once a week.
How can you develop this regularity? Probably the best advice in this direction is: Start slowly. One of the biggest hindrances on this path is to be overly ambitious.
I’ve seen it so many times: People get excited about the early results of practice and set incredibly high goals for themselves, making it very easy to slip. Start with a modest commitment, one that is very easy to fulfil. And then keep at it, no matter what.
After you have been rolling for awhile, and the habit of practice becomes part of your daily routine, then you can gradually increase the time of your sadhana.
Here are some other ideas that will make it easier for you to establish a regular practice:
- Have a dedicated, quiet space for practice. Make it pleasant and inviting. You could even have a little altar with symbols that remind you of your intentions.
- Practice always at the same time. It makes it easier to build the habit.
- Pin your practice to an already existing habit (right after waking-up, directly before dinner…).
- If you practice early in the day, you reduce the chances of life getting in the way.
- Keep a journal. Record your experiences, your challenges and motivations.
- Choose methods that you enjoy. Later on, you can challenge yourself with other techniques that you dislike —probably precisely because they are the ones you most need.
- Pay attention to how your sadhana is improving your life. How your mood is better and your sleep more restful when you practice.
- Have a community of practice. At least one other person or a group of people who are on the same path. You will inspire and encourage each other.
- Your attitude is very important: Approach your sadhana as a gift you make yourself, rather than as work or medicine. See it as something you want to do, rather than something you must do. Affirmations can help with this.
- Nobody’s perfect. When you skip a few days of your sadhana don’t feel like everything is lost. Pick yourself up and start again.
Once you are settled on a sadhana, and specially if you have chosen truly effective methods, you will experience more richness and satisfaction in your life. You will wonder what took you so long to get started on this path.
To discover the amazing methods of classical tantra, check-out our next journeys in Berlin, or wait for our upcoming online events.