By Guruatma Kaur
SADHANA—it's definitely one of the fattest files in my 35-year-old 3HO archive collection, and it's full of Yogi Bhajan's words reminding us how important sadhana is and heralding its promises.
One quote in that vast and mighty pool of incentive stood up, got in my face and to this day talks to me big time!
I made it into a poster and hung copies of it in my house. It was my intention to memorize it and let it saturate my psyche, but my real goal was to feel it!
For many years, I've been contemplating my Self in relation to this proposition and because I noticed that I have the tendency to ignore it, I still refer to it.
Many people have spotted it and asked for a copy, so I realize it hits a mutual nerve, resonating with the Aquarian Sutra, "Recognize the other person is you." It's always comforting to know I'm not alone.
In order to really 'get it', though, I had to trip all over my ego's natural tendency to be highly-judgmental and on my case—comparing, competing and confusing me.
“Those who practice discipline have to be very generous to themselves. Discipline should never be rigid. Discipline should be self-acknowledging, so that you can go along with it.”
-Yogi Bhajan 3-27-97
I remember at some point in my 5-year tour on the chemotherapy front, I came to a point where I felt totally worthless and depressed because my whole life was wrapped around doctor appointments, running after medical paperwork and keeping track of so many prescription drugs that we filled a 12-muffin cupcake tin to organize my daily pills. When I was home, I drifted between the couch, the bathroom and my bed.
The whole drama kept escalating and after I lost my hearing in chemo, I experienced a profound sense of separation from people, nature and the normal flow of life. I complained a lot because I really missed the noise of the birds and my husband even had to tell me when it was thundering.
The 'Quality of Life' issue was coming up on the table for discussion because I was in an unforgiveable amount of pain, and at that place where those of us challenged by chronic and critical illness feel like we're losing ground and can't handle it anymore.
On top of all of that heaviness and because I had lived in a 3HO ashram for over 20 years doing group sadhana and serving in our community, I was hyper-aware that I wasn't doing my sadhana or anything for anybody else! My life sucked and I just wanted to die.
Whenever Gurudev Singh, Master of Sat Nam Rasayan, came to Houston, I got to have a healing appointment with him and I'll never forget his words to me at this particular point in my healing journey. Because I was deaf, his assistant wrote down his comments for me and so I was blessed to have his wisdom and recommendations in writing to refer to over the years and all the way up until today when I am sitting here with those notes in my lap:
"Do your discipline. Your pills, etc. etc. - all that is your discipline."
BINGO! He gave me the key - THAT was my sadhana!
Because it was so true, it was easy for me to make the simple adjustment in my psyche and give myself permission to let go of my judgments and relax in the truth. In one fell swoop, I did an about-face that released me from all of that extra upset.
I had created an earthquake around already-stormy waters, and all because I was hung up on an expectation of myself that just wasn't realistic or self-acknowledging, so that I could go along with it.
As long as I had to do it anyway, why not relax my resistance, allow it and bless it—for my own sake and the good of all concerned.
That one little hukam (spiritual directive) grounded me, gave me back my innocence and 'opened up the space' by offering me a realistic and reasonable option that worked for me.
I can do this! I already had a natural gift for organization and time proved that no one was better at managing all those pills, papers and appointments than me. Taking on this discipline as a spiritual endeavor was a simple act of self-acknowledgement.
With the fresh attitude of "this is my spiritual discipline," I could think straight and things smoothed out a bit as I found a new balance. Stepping up and devoting myself to this new sadhana ignited my creative spirit and gave me a strong sense of my Self. I could definitely feel it, the healing power of my inner strength tearing down the shackles of my despair and insecurity.
…and that's the promise of sadhana - purposeful fulfillment.
And so I learned that our personal sadhana comes through us designed in many different fashions and by way of each of our life's unique paths and patterns.
…like a mother whose normal life routine gets thrown to the winds when her new baby is born
…like the devotee who pushes past the temptation to stay in bed and gets up in the ambrosial hours before the sun rises to recite Japji and do their yoga and meditations
…like the animal lover who takes under their wing yet another homeless, sick puppy
…like God-only-knows how many unique expressions of personal commitment happening on a daily basis, sustained by the invincible spirit of how many conscious beings carrying out their intention to rise up, rise up to the call of higher consciousness, living their devotion to that ideal.
Gurudev's advice deeply impressed me. I was parched and he led me to a spring of cool, clear waters. When I was suffocating and thrashing about in the throws of a contraction, he reminded me to breathe. He shined a light on the truth in my space at that moment, revealing a platform of peace and grace for me to perch upon, a place where self-acceptance and self-love exist without conditions.
Start there and be oh, so very generous to yourself.
"You love your children? You do. They are beautiful. Isn't that innocent soul in you also your life child? Have you kissed your soul? Have you hugged your soul?"
-Yogi Bhajan 7-26-90
Satnaam and sweet blessing to all.
[Title quote: “The price of ecstasy is Sadhana” –Yogi Bhajan, 5-23-84]
Guruatma serves as a mentor for those who suffer from chronic or critical illness, as well as their family members. To inquire about or schedule a one-on-one session, click here: http://yogic-tools.com/services/contact-us/.
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