Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Sadhana and the art of self development

Another guest post! This time I am delighted to welcome Anita who has the blog Anita Lim and who is part of the All Stars Team with Philofaxy. Anita is a complementary therapy practitioner based in Andover, Hampshire who offers shiatsu, face-lift massage, seated massage and sotai.

I first came across the term sadhana whilst reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, where he discusses the idea of relationships as a form of spiritual practice. The word sadhana is a Sanskrit or Hindi word (depending on different sources) that translates as 'a means of accomplishing some thing'. It includes a variety of disciplines in Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Muslim traditions that are followed in order to achieve various spiritual or ritual objectives.

There are different levels of sadhana which can range from higher causes like achieving enlightenment down to more worldly aims like getting a new job. At these lowest levels, it is said that no spiritual progress takes place. However, it is my humble opinion that we can bring about great personal change and development by focussing on the little details first.
I love the idea that any area or situation in my life can become an opportunity to develop myself, and practise patience and mindfulness. For example, my marriage becomes a chance to work on becoming a better listener, friend and lover, and I can rehearse my people skills on some one I trust that supports and loves me.

My main methods for sadhana are practising a martial art called aikido and regular meditation. Aikido incorporates positivity, relaxation, commitment and cooperation, and by repeating these behaviours and actions week after week, the language and movements seep into my consciousness and become habit. I used to get frustrated with my inability to do a technique to the standard I would like, but kept coming and finally made a breakthrough after nearly giving up. I knew I was learning some thing important about myself in the process. Maybe some times things can be hard because they're worth it, and the difficulties make the end result more appreciated. I recently passed my 1st dan black belt grading and it was definitely more of an achievement due to the less easy times. The grading itself was an amazing experience, and the longest time I have ever been that present and mindful.

I have meditated on and off for many years, and made a decision at the beginning of the year to meditate for at least 5 minutes a day. I used to set myself goals and never complete them as often they were unclear, too difficult or I was trying to do too much at once. Just 5 minutes daily meditation felt easy enough to achieve, no matter what kind of day I have. I now meditate most days for 30 minutes and it helps me feel more grounded and relaxed.

From a Getting Things Done perspective, the advice is you don't have problems, only projects. A problem becomes an opportunity to create a successful outcome and learn some thing along the way. If I choose to pour my love, attention and time into a situation or task, it can become a mindfulness practise to focus on and every thing else falls away in the present moment.

It can be easy to spend my time being dragged along by events and day to day life, feeling overwhelmed and not thinking about where I'm being guided by the current. I love the idea that I can actively choose my sadhana to ensure I'm behaving and acting in accordance with my beliefs and principles. It's all a work in progress, but I'd like my behaviour and results to accurately reflect what I'm really like or how I'd like to be. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Anita & Amanda,

    That's something I'll definitely look into. I've already set up some monthly log sheets to track new beginnings this autumn, including daily meditation. The sheets are pristine white and full of promise for now, as I stumble on towards my holidays at the end of the month, but I'll bust all kinds of moves once I get back :)