Can you please tell me what method should I adopt to further my spiritual practice? Please refer to our last conversation through mail.
In Love and Light
How are you sure that you are progressing or not?
The journey of spirituality begins with your own introduction with self. Experiencing and understanding ‘self’ is the first step on the road to “self Realization”. In Ashtaang Yog, Patanjali Yog Sutras find mention of various steps which have been prescribed for spiritual seekers. Yama and Niyama being the first two. Yama has Satya, Ahimsa, Asteya, Achaurya & Aparigraha in it. Niyama has – Tapa, Shaucha, Santosha, Swadhyaya and Ishwara-praninidhana.
Yamas are primarily the rules to follow for a spiritual seeker while interacting with others. Although that does not mean he can lie to himself and engage in self-violence and so on. Niyamas are the second set of rules concerning self.
While Shaucha (internal and external cleaniliness/piousness), Santosha (state of being contented with what one has without desiring for more), Ishwara-Praninidhana (seeing the presence of that One divine force [God] in every life-form around) need little explanations but Tapa and Swadhyaya are the two which are not understood well mostly. I will talk about Tapa sometimes. I choose to currently speak a bit about swadhayaya, which is most important for developping right understanding of self.
Swadhayaya is commonly mistaken as the act of ‘reading religious, inspiring literature’ however that is NOT the true meaning of it. When Patanjali refers to Swa-Adhyaya he means much more. He is referring to the process of ‘self-study’ or ‘contemplation on self” and that is definitely needed.
Anyone who is wanting to further one’s spiritual growth, it is not the degree of difficulty of Sadhana which makes the difference rather one’s ability to know how a particular process of Sadhana is impacting. And unless you become aware of your being and its functioning, its subtle functions be it in your physical body, mind or energies it is difficult to fine-tune or modify the sadhana. The process given by Guru at the time of your Deeksha is like handing you over a pen. The more you use it, review your writings you will not be able to perfect the art of pouring your heart on piece of paper. When you continuously and patiently work with the processes/techniques taught to you during deeksha irrespective of what they are; whether they are chanting of mantra, assuming certain postures, modulating or controlling your breathing or anything else that starts working on YOU. It is certain that all such techniques work on your being – physiological, mental and energy processes start changing for better BUT you MUST be able to sense those changes. Otherwise what is the use? It is only when you experience the changes you know you are progressing.
Most of people fail to appreciate such subtle changes only because they do not engage in self-study or swadhyaya on regular basis. Swadhyaya is just like listening to an orchestra. Initially, the first timer hears the drums predominantly. It is only with extended exposure that one starts capturing even subtle sound of musical instrument in the symphony.
Swadhayaya is about self-awareness. And typically it begins with body awareness. When you start your practices the first thing people are able to notice only gross changes that are bodily e.g. their face is glowing, muscle tone has improved, blood-pressure is regulated and so on… Then they get aware of changes in their thoughts. Most of people do not cross over to third level of introspection. It is not that they do not wish to.. but only because they do not devote sufficient time with right knowledge of self-observation processes while engaging in swadhyaya.
Komal, Whatever be your path… Self-study is must. For those who are with Tattva Shakti Vigyaan I always recommend them to write their daily experiences. Advise them to just sit and watch themselves closely after they day’s schedule.. drifting their awareness slowly from body to thoughts and then also their energies. I know it helps and those who have been regular with it come back with multitudes of spiritual experiences. Surely the same will work for you.
I advice you to keep a diary with you.. if possible.. always.. all the time. Keep noting whatever significant you notice in your body, any bright of disturbing thought.. any peculiar feeling or behaviour and so on. This will make you assess your current state. In few weeks time you will be able to correctly, elaborately describe your state of being and then in all probabilities your Guru will be able to help you with changes in the Sadhana or associated processes.
My suggestion is – by being aware of your body and mind you will progress in leaps and bounds and get closer to Kundalini awakening.
Blessings from Masters.
– Ach. Agyaatdarshan Anand Nath