Sādhana

Sādhana in Sanskrit literally translates to, “A means of accomplishing something.” It is the term given to basically any spiritual exercise, physical or otherwise. Sādhana can be your asana practice, your meditation practice, your dialogues with colleagues, your spiritual writings, prayers, trance work, dancing, whatever you want it to be.

I haven’t thought much about Sādhana in a long time and since migrating my yoga blog post to my new website, I am getting a chance to read over my older posts. I wrote this one about Sādhana journaling over a year ago and I would like to expand upon it now that I have had some shifts take place in my own life. To be honest, I haven’t spent a lot of time in understanding the deeper meaning of Sādhana or my yoga practice in the last few months. I have been too focused on getting my feet back under me and figuring where to go next. Logically, I know that my Sādhana would have helped me but I was too much in my lower brain to even get that far.

I am not teaching yoga at the moment, at least not to anyone but myself. I am my own teacher right now and believe me, I am enough of a student for myself. I have been reviewing my text books, drawing on new inspirations, and making new connections that I didn’t get the first time around.

When I was in my yoga teacher training, my teachers had us do a journaling exercise at the end of each of our own Sādhana practices. It was a way for us to keep track of any changes or shifts in our practice.

As a yoga practitioner, it’s easy to forgot any progress you may have made in your previous practice. Here are a few journaling props that my teachers gave us to help keep track of own Sādhana:

How long did you practice for? Was that enough time or did you feel like you needed more?
Did you have an intention set before your practice and what did you want to focus on? (Intentions can be anything from focusing on your breath, achieving a peek pose, finding your edge, mindfulness of details, etc.)
Did you have any areas of tightness in your body? Did you feel any energy blocks?
Did you feel areas of your body open up more? Where did you feel energy moving?
Did you come across any challenges in your practice?
Were there any experiences that you would like to take with you and apply it to your time off the mat?

You can use these questions to help improve your yoga Sādhana time both in your home or if you are taking regular classes. I recommend that you keep a journal with you for when you finish your practice and write down what you experience before you lose it. I would also recommend that you journal how you are feeling before you start your Sādhana.

While my first experience with Sādhana was in regards to my daily yoga practice, I have tried to bring Sādhana into my great spiritual practice which includes journal writing, meditation, and asana. I would say that those three practices are the pillars of my spiritual practice and that they are my Sādhana.

I am an avid journaler and I love the process of putting ink onto paper and getting my thoughts, feelings, and emotions out where I can see them. Over the summer, I did a lot of journaling in a special journal that I made myself to help be process the grief, anger, and hurt I was feeling. Once those feelings had passed and I let them go, I went over those pages again but this time I pasted over them with messages of love and release. In a sense, I was doing my Sādhana through my journaling.

I am not great at doing a daily journal and I have a hard time keeping up with things like: Write ten things you are grateful for today. As promising as a gratitude list is, I find it doesn’t work for me. I end up repeating the same things everyday and it looks more like a shopping list to me. I can certainly pick one thing a day and for someone like me who has trouble finding things to be grateful for, it might be that I should stick to one until I feel like I have more than one.

My journal practice is more of a weekly practice or when I need it. Sometimes I journal daily and other times it’s once a week or every two weeks. I am not exactly regimented with anything that I do. I also keep a bullet journal to help keep me focused on the tasks, events, and activities I would like to complete. I use the bullet journal to help me set intentions for the week, month, and year. I try to keep one journal a year and I am currently working on my fifth one. However, I only started using the bullet journal method just over a year and a half ago.

My meditation practice is spotty at best. While I have been a bit more regular with it as of lately, I have not been traditionally good at keeping it regular. I had opted for distractions such as internet time, watching movies, or reading books to keep me occupied. As of late, I have been trying a timer of five minutes a day to sit and meditate at my altar. I have been using some of the elements that I am learning about in the book “The Untethered Soul” by Mickey Singer, a book that was referenced a great deal during my yoga teacher training. It’s been challenging but I have already felt a bit of a shift.

As for my yoga practice… Well, that’s been basically not happening for months now. Not since I got back from vacation. I can make all the excuses I want in the world but I know the truth of the matter. I haven’t felt like getting down onto my mat. I want to but that’s not enough. Wanting to do something is never enough, I need to actually do it. As of late, I have been able to get to the gym on a regular basis and that’s been helping my body but it’s not my body that needs help now, it’s my body and spirit.

I don’t mind being open about the state of my Sādhana and where I am today. It’s my hope that by sharing my experience, that I might inspire someone else in their own Sādhana and help them move forward. Sādhana is a practice and by definition is not perfect.

Failure to Disengage

I failed.

A week or so ago, I posted that I’d had enough of Facebook and its bullshit and disabled my account. I still have had enough but it took about a week of being disconnected from Facebook before I found myself needing to log into it for one reason or another. I have managed to keep the application off of all of my devices and I don’t log into the page from home.

What I have been doing, is removing all of my information from the site, piece by piece. I have taken off nearly all of my photographs and picture posts since 2007. I have been slowly removing all of my posts, one day at a time. Everytime, I remove a post I get this freeing feeling, like I am somehow liberating myself from the Facebook Matrix.

I honestly didn’t think that unloading myself from Facebook was going to be this challenging. I thought that I could just delete my account and be done with it but they don’t allow you to do that. You have to wait 30 days and even then, any interactions you have one the service in the last eleven years is saved and then it can be sold.

The true value in any social media is not providing connected services to the user but in selling their personal information to businesses and governments. Now, I have known that this was the case for a long time. However, now I am seeing my information being used to manipulate voters during high profile elections and referendums and it makes me sick. I know that propaganda is a tool of any state craft and it is not illegal to participate in it but I hate knowing that the majority of voters don’t even realize when they are being manipulated.

That all being said, the following is from the Terms & Conditions of Facebook regarding content:

Sharing Your Content and Information

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:

  1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
  2. When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).
  3. When you use an application, the application may ask for your permission to access your content and information as well as content and information that others have shared with you.  We require applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information. (To learn more about Platform, including how you can control what information other people may share with applications, read our Data Policy and Platform Page.)
  4. When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).
  5. We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use your feedback or suggestions without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).

By removing my content from Facebook, I am revoking their ability to use any of it. Now, I have set up a Facebook Page for my blog to share my Instagram and blog posts on. I will no longer be sharing any content on my personal Facebook page. I have locked down all of the current posts to private and thus they are removed from public access or Facebook’s ability to use any of the information.

I won’t be using Facebook to look at the Wall anytime soon. These days, I only keep tabs on the people I follow on Instagram because I get far less ads on it and I see the posts that I want to. I don’t see a maddening amount of memes anymore or what every Tom, Dick, and Harry is “Liking”. I will continue to be active in my Facebook groups though, at least the ones that matter to me. If a new group like platform emerges that has similar feature to it, then I might switch over to that.

I can’t be holier-than-thou about the whole leaving Facebook thing, I know that my desire to throw it out of my life comes from a never ending frustration from the hurt it manages to cause people, not to mention how addicting it can be. Even Instagram has a bit of addictiveness to it in its heart feature and comments. It’s that constant need for outside approval that leads to a false sense of gratification. It’s similar to the high you get from getting off to porn by giving you the illusion of personal connection without actually having to socialize. No wonder our social anxiety rates are skyrocketing.

I will report that everyday that I spend away from Facebook I feel better about myself, I am less stressed about what others think of me, and I am more focused on other aspects of my life. Even reducing my time on the product has made me feel better about life. Let’s just say, if Facebook imploded tomorrow, I wouldn’t care.

Social Media Detoxing

About ten days ago, I started removing social media apps from my devices. I have successfully removed Facebook from my phone and tablet. I think of this is some kind of detoxing that’s going on. I would totally delete my Facebook account if it weren’t for the fact that I use both the groups and messenger to organize with people. Facebook has managed to totally integrate itself into our lives.

I know that the groups feature for Google+ is better than Facebook but getting people to move over to it will be like pulling teeth. I don’t think I have ever used the messaging feature for Google before. If I could just import all my Facebook contacts into it and hybrid over Facebook, I would.

I have also removed Instagram from my tablet because I really just need it on one device, not all of them. I have found myself logging into the Facebook website on the tablet but I spend less time on there because it’s so clunky on the mobile web browser. I have found that I spend more time on other apps like Pinterest now. Mostly when I am finding myself needing a distraction from what’s going on.

Tablets, smart phones, computers, and TVs are all built to keep us distracted. I of course own all four of these now. At least with my TV, I just use my Chromecast and I cut the cable cord years ago. I have been re-watching The X-Files from the beginning. Strangely, it’s the X-Files that’s having the impact on my to cut down on my time spent on social media. Watching episodes from the 90s about people who lose their lives to time spent watching too much day time TV or surfing the internet kind of punched me in the gut. We have been worried about too much electric time for over twenty years now. As a teen during the birth of the mass consumer use of the internet, I should know better.

I may take the final leap to rid myself of Facebook this year. I have been dancing with it but I will need something else to use to organize the groups that I have been using Facebook to manage. I think that it’s crazy that I have been using Facebook for over ten years now. Given how fast other social media platforms died off, it’s almost unheard of to have one like Facebook still around.

I will keep you posted on how I progress on this decision.

~Clara D. Munro

The Whole < The Sum of its Parts

An excellent article on the important of the whole picture and what it’s comprised of. Written by a friend.

Rain and Republic

Last week, I had the opportunity to sit in a brainstorming meeting at my workplace about a new business opportunity.  Surrounded by many incredible minds – specialists in their respective fields, well experienced and well educated – we became mutually informed and discussed a lot of options.  I asked what the institution’s overall strategic direction was on the issue, that we might pursue the options that are most in line with it.  It took a while before I could make myself understood, and when I had, the response was forward and simple:  There wasn’t one.

But, the more I paid attention, the more I realized that wasn’t quite the case.  It wasn’t that there wasn’t an institutional directive or strategy on the subject and our options were unattached – it’s that we were the ones creating one.

We, in that room, were the institution.

I’m brushing up on my financial…

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