Sadhana ! For those who want to seriously practice kriyas, it is time to formulate a specific sadhana. Sadhana means "endeavoring to obtain a particular result." The result kriyabans seek is accelerated spiritual evolution. Sadhana becomes a powerful method to achieve this result. There are three important aspects of sadhana: choice, commitment and aspiration. The first stage of sadhana is to choose a practice. Even the most simple sadhana will be challenging to the newcomer. Consider the sadhana of lighting a candle every night, then immediately blowing it out. Nothing more or nothing less. Do this for ninety days. You will observe the mind coming up with every reason why you shouldn't do it and every excuse why you missed a few (or many) nights. Yet by accepting it as a sadhana, you make a choice to do it and it becomes a spiritual practice. The second aspect of sadhana relates to regularity -- doing something at periodic intervals. This typically would be at the same time in the same place everyday. Yet it doesn't have to be everyday; it could be every other day or every Tuesday and Thursday, as long as it is regular. Doing practice irregularly is not sadhana. Once the schedule is selected, the challenge of sadhana is to stick with it -- not to miss the appointed time. This is the first measure of commitment. The second measure is to make a commitment for a specific period of time; that is, choose do the practice for thirty days, sixty days, ninety days, or even 108 days. Notice the level of your success, then take a break. Decide upon another practice (or the same one) and make another commitment. Yet choice and regularity are not the only aspects of sadhana. If they were, simply dressing every day would be a sadhana. We choose what clothes to wear and we do it. Dressing could be a sadhana, yet it is just a mechanical action done every day. Thus, the final key to a successful sadhana is conscious intention. This is where the power is generated, and more still, when the intention becomes an aspiration. When I first started my sadhana, I chose a simple action, that of the yogic practice of "neti", the washing of the nostrils with water. I had been doing yoga for many years but never as a sadhana. I had even been doing kriya practice for about a year, but never as a sadhana. I chose "neti" because every morning I took a shower in a typically mechanical way. Since I was immersed in streams of water, it became a convenient place and time to remember to do "neti". Besides, snorting water is one good way to shock the mechanism awake. For this to be a sadhana, however -- rather than just another cleansing action like washing behind the ears -- intention was necessary. The one I chose, the one I still employ in all the practices of my sadhana today, is represented by the simple statement: "This is all I have to do to evolve spiritually." Other variations included: "This is the only practice I must do to spiritually grow." "This is the only act that I need to do to develop as a spiritual being." With those words not only was an intention created around the practice, but an aspiration. For one moment each day, I became consciously aware of having a spiritual goal, of being a spiritual being. Consider once again the candle exercise cited above. Initially, it will challenge the mind and the ego. The spiritual "you" may even win the battle, but to keep it from becoming mechanical, an intention is required. Try this variation. Light the candle. Say, "This is all I have to do for the benefit of self, other, and the world." Then blow out the candle. Doing no other practice than this will begin a transformation process that will alter your life. To add even more power behind it, consider this statement, "This is all I have to do to remember who I am; I remember this for the benefit of Self, Other, and the World." One immediate result of sadhana is the remembrance of "who we are" rather than "what we are" during the brief moments the sadhana takes. Repetitively remembering our inner essence nature is at the heart of all spiritual growth. One day we will remember our spiritual essence in every moment. That is the realized state. So start with a simple sadhana to build your confidence. Add another sadhana in addition to this one. Expand a sadhana to include many practices including yoga or other bodily movement, chanting or inner mantra, and kriya practice. Copyright 1994, Alan Verdegraal, "Tantra: The Magazine", P.O.Box 108, Torreon, NM 87061, Issue #8, p22-23. Transcribed with permission of the author.