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Stages and difficulties in SADHANA (the spiritual training)

an article by Gregorian Bivolaru

In our SADHANA (the spiritual practice) countless traps can occur, which can divert us from the direct and ascending path leading us to the spiritual realization. Thus it’s necessary to have a larger view regarding the way we still have to follow, in order not to limit ourselves, not to stick permanently at the same stage. These basic aspects will help us much better know ourselves, clearly understand the stages we have already covered and also realize the stages we actually have to follow yet.

1. The initial euphoria which comes together with the first twinkles in the awakening consciousness will sooner or later tend to recede in most of the cases. This aspect is proper to the impact duration of the energy of the beginning, which gives us support when we take the first steps on the path of the spiritual achievement. After this effervescent period there often occurs a feeling of lack, a decreasing state of grace which can even lead to despair. The poem written by Saint Jon of the Cross named “The dark night of the soul” approaches this state of conscience of that one who feels he had lost for the moment the divine grace he was so happy to live before.  

2. In SADHANA (the spiritual training), almost every new peak is followed by a new “valley”. Even the evolution process is generally ascending, the spiritual evolution is not linear but with many ups and downs. To better understand this helps us pass more easily and detached through both stages.

3. The more we purify our being it’s possible that our impurities paradoxically seem more and more serious. At this stage we have to understand that such phenomenon appears not because we are again stuck in the illusory aspects but because we indeed became able to see this ballast of our own being more clearly. The lions watching the spiritual formation temple gates become more and more ferocious as we penetrate in the most intimate and central area of the spiritual edifice. Obviously the light we can see now everything in is much more powerful and because of this everything becomes more intense and true due to the additional energy, which comes together with the next stage in our SADHANA.

4. In the beginning we’ll consider that our SADHANA takes a certain restricted part of our life and assigns to the spiritual practice a certain well determined extent of time. As the time lapses we’ll realize that, in fact, anything we do will became a part of our SADHANA.

5. One of the traps which can occur at some advanced stage of our spiritual evolution is the so-called “Sattva-ic trap” (or “the purity trap”). We’ll do all things (at least from the external point of view) the way we should do them, so, apparently perfect: in this case we’ll be monopolized by the idea we became a very pure being. The wise men metaphorically call this stage as the stage of “The golden chain”. Indeed, this is no more an iron chain, but it still is and remains a chain. We’ll thus have to finally give up even to this idea of our own purity if we really aspire to the total achievement of the divine Self (ATMAN), which has to be reached in this very life.  

6. At the beginning of our spiritual journey we’ll often ask ourselves how long it will take and if we successfully manage it during this life. Latter on we’ll ecstatically live the incidence of the “NOW” moment, every moment, and the opportunities we’ll then have, one after another, will be understood in the terms of “HERE” and “NOW”. So we’ll understand then that any moment, even NOW, and every opportunity, even the one HERE, could be to us the right privileged conjuncture for the divine grace to manifest, the one who brings the ultimate spiritual achievement. At this level we’ll stop ourselves full in deep peace and sovereign serenity and will cease to ask ourselves questions about the moment and conjuncture in which we’ll attain the Supreme Spiritual Achievement.

7. At the beginning, walking on the spiritual path, we do nothing but pursuing to accomplish something we don’t have a perfect imagine about yet. Later on, we pursue to realize our SADHANA as constant as possible. Finally, we’ll simply practice, detached, SADHANA, because in fact “what else could be done?”.

8. At a certain stage of our spiritual evolution we’ll approach SADHANA with very much seriousness and obstinacy. Later on we’ll profoundly understand Jesus Christ saying, namely that in pursuing God man must not maim his face. A serious state of tonus and enthusiasm, a cosmic humor which must be manifested especially in the tough moments we pass through, this is another important aspect of our spiritual journey.

9. In certain stages of our spiritual evolution we’ll undoubtedly face some moments when everything seems to stay stiff. Such “still experiences” are also some difficult points in our spiritual journey. But we have to understand that, once we started this process of evolution, if we indeed do everything correctly our evolution cannot stop. It just seems to us that it stops (stagnate) when seen from our limited point and perspective. And in such situation we have nothing else to do than to keep going in even more tenacity what we have started. 

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