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What is Sadhana For?

Sadhana in nature
Episode No. 54

What is the purpose spiritual practice and what are we even asking about when we ask that question? Is there any difference between spiritual and nonspiritual? A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi.


FIRST WORDS FROM THE PODCAST

The topic of tonight’s satsang is what is the purpose of spiritual practice. And so, we need to understand what we’re even asking about when we ask that question. The word spiritual — I always feel a little inner wince when I use that word. I have a little inner wince because people have mostly what we call dualistic understandings of that word. Most people feel that there is something spiritual and then there is something that’s not spiritual, or they think they have a body and then something called a soul, which is very radically different from the body. And neither of those concepts of spirituality are relevant in the Trika tradition.

In this tradition, you could say everything is spiritual or nothing is spiritual. But what you really would have to say is that everything is made of consciousness and energy. Everything is made of God. So, in this tradition, Kashmir Shaivism, there’s not any radical difference between matter and more subtle things, like mind or even enlightened mind. There is only a gradation of expressions from something that’s more gross, something like this. Gross not like, “Eww,” but gross, just like very palpable, touchable, obvious. Gross meaning very obvious. So, there’s a continuum from this level of existence through to our energy body and our minds and eventually, to the mind of God, unconditioned consciousness and energy.

So, when we say “spiritual,” we either mean the whole thing or we throw everything out. When we say, “spiritual practice,” or sadhana (a bad translation of sadhana is spiritual practice), we mean that which helps us to discover what we are, that which helps us to walk from our more gross, contracted, tense state to a more expansive, relaxed state where we can experience our continuity with life.