http://www.spiritvoyage.com/blog/index. ... a-sadhana/
From: ROSELOTUS1 Jan-17-2002
Sat Nam ji, time for sadhana!
I hated sadhana for the whole time I was in Sikh Dharma/3HO. I simply could not stand the people that early in the morning. The single men were into "Yoga Wars" and I could feel negativity beaming from this person or that. Half the time the sadhana leader couldn't carry a tune so even Sa Ta Na Ma meditation was done off key and it drove me wacko bananas. I was too tired with over-work and babies to be there in the first place and so forth.
Soon as I got out of Bhajanist Ashrams and into nuclear family, "O boy, I'm awake and it is quiet, no kids, and I am by myself!". I started loving sadhana. This kept me in Sikh Dharma/3HO longer as well, because in my second decade in the cult I was extremely independant and it finally felt like I was getting somewhere! Soon as I left the Ashram scene I started blossoming!
I thought that it was because Bhajanism was finally working.....actually it was because I was finally free of much of it! What a dupe.
Well maybe you're not such a dupe. Being free from relentless group power games and unreasonable amounts of forced intimacy with people who don't really like each other sometimes...Being free to live your Sikhism and do your spiritual practices like yoga and meditation....Maybe you were just finally experiencing what all this can be when a person is free to find their own relationship to it.
The "leader" of our sadahana used walk in, put on the music so loud that my little son would wake up and scream, then walk out to presumably go back to bed. No one was to dare touch the controls and make it lower or they would be reported.
When I applied for permission to make it lower, I was told to get a device to measure the sound with. Of course I did, and it was in the dangerous zone. She turned it down just below that, and my son still screamed.
After that I started to stay home and do it in my living room. It was alot more peaceful, though officially that was considered the same as not going.
There was one guy in my ashram who had the same routine every morning. He would swagger into the Sadhana room after things had gotten started. Then, like a dog going around marking his territory, he would adjust every little part of the environment to his liking. He would raise or lower the lights, open or close some windows, turn the music up or turn it down, go in and fuss with stuff in the Gurdwara... Then he would make a big ruckus getting settled onto his sheepskin, adjusting his kurta around him, making his shawl just so, taking a big swig of water out of his thermos.
You can see from this that meditative concentration was not my strongest talent. I never had the temperament to tolerate other people's personalities (let alone my own) at that hour of the morning. Too intense. Maybe that's why the a lot of spiritual teachers say that the Amrit Vela is the most powerful time to do inner work. Either that or it's the most powerful time to go slowly insane.
I have to confess, I loved sadhana! While basically a night owl, I still sometimes enjoy getting up that early and having some spiritual practice and clearing my mind.I also much more enjoy sadhana on my own, as the group never really felt like more than 10% actually enjoyed. One of my favorite 3HO-isms was once YB gave a lecture about the importance of sadhana, and that just getting up and getting there was 70% of the battle. The people in the community then re-interpreted what he said to be that just getting up and getting there gives you 70% of the benefits, so they would show up, do some spinal flex, then crash out in their sleeping bags until it was over! A couple of years ago I went to Solstice for old times sake, and sure enough, people were still saying/doing this!
One generally wonderful Bhajanist Mom had this one big pet-peeve. She was pissed off that most of us were sadhana slackers. She had been raised Catholic and she loved saying the morning Ardas. One morning she outdid herself:
"Bless those sad Sikhs who are still in bed sleeping away the ambroisal hours of this morning. They are like little insects, bugs on the screen of life, cursed and caught, failing to find any freedom...."
A long time ago I was friends with a woman who had a lot of guilt about her terrible sadhana. She lived in a small ashram and had become the ashram scapegoat because she liked to sleep late. Everyone was involved in trying to 'save' her by changing her bad sadhana habits. She had internalized the whole thing to the point that she would rhapsodize about the wonders of Sadhana even though she never went.
One time she and I were walking in downtown Chicago in an Italian neighborhood. Two burly guys approached us respectfully, "Excuse me ladies. We just want to know--what are youse anyway? Sisters from the convent?" (That day we were in shining white, complete with chunis.)
"No", said my friend, "We are Sikhs."
"Sikhs?" said one guy, "What do Sikhs do?"
My friend got a rapturous look on her face and trilled dramatically, "We RISE..." (with this she gestured expansively upward) "in the Amrit Vela." Then she swept off down the street.
Those were two very puzzled Italian guys.
Theoretically the sadhana was going to charge you full of prana and energy like a powerful booster engine that was going to power you through the day. Only, it left people exhausted. This exhaustion, combined with the complete, amateurish lack of organization, is why the businesses failed, why people couldn't earn a living. I used to work on construction crews where we'd make stupid mistakes, slack off, leave big messes behind etc., all because we were so damn tired.
I had an epiphany fairly early on, which unfortunately I ignored. I had driven overnight and arrived about 5 AM at the ashram and walked into sadhana. The room was packed, maybe 40, 50 people. And it struck me that no one, not one single person wanted to be there. Everyone was just miserable.
What you are saying is a really important point. It reminds me of this comedy routine that Japji Singh of the Bay Area used to do. He infused the word POWERFUL with mucho testosterone, playing the perfect yogic jock!
"This morning at 3:30am I woke up and I took a POWERFUL cold shower!"
"Then I came downstairs and I did a POWERFUL sadhana!"
"After my POWERFUL sadhana, I ate a POWERFUL breakfast!"
"And then I went back upstairs and I took a POWERFUL nap!"