Svadhyaya is one of five Niyamas (Observances) described by Patanjali as necessary for the unfolding of one's spiritual life. It can be translated as "one's own reading" or "self-study". It is the practice of contemplation, meditation, and reflection of one's self - often in connection with studying sacred texts, spiritual readings, and recitations.
Verse 22.92 of Vishnu Smriti states that the "human body is cleansed by water, the mind is cleansed by truth, the soul by self-study and meditation, while understanding is cleansed by knowledge."
Every week in my calendar I write down certain sentences that jump out from my daily readings - and then revisit them several times during the week. I trust that theses particular sentences jump out for a reason, and then use them as a source of contemplation and reflection.
Following I share four reflections of the past month:
1. On Sadhana...
"Get up in the morning and clear your subconscious, the unconscious will overload you and that will block your prosperity." ~Yogi Bhajan
Yogi Bhajan taught that the cornerstone of our spiritual life is Sadhana - our daily spiritual practice. There is a beautiful morning Sadhana from the Kundalini Yoga tradition that is approximately two and a half hours in length, done in the Amrit Vela - the pre-dawn hours before sunrise. At this time, the sun is positioned in relation to the earth in such a way that enables us to be closely attuned to the subtle realm, making it easier to perceive and feel a direct connection with our Soul. This is an opportune time for meditation - which clears our subconscious - making a path for our soul to shine through - uninhibited and untainted - every single day.
On occasion my Sadhana shifts to the afternoon or evening, but invariably it always comes back to the morning - this is where the strongest pull is. I find my day to day life is much more effective, more manageable, and more satisfying when I can start my day with Sadhana. However, Sadhana is very personal, and only you can know what type of daily spiritual discipline serves your Soul the best. Your Sadhana will change over time. Stay in tune with the desire of your Soul and shift your Sadhana as needed.
There are no short cuts for the integrated, sustainable, and fully human spiritual life. Be consistent and stay steady on the path!!
Dawn Rabey, PhD
Transpersonal Psychotherapist Registered Clinical Counsellor