Sadhana – Teaching Ourselves How To Learn

Sadhana – Teaching Ourselves How To Learn

If you feel scattered, out of time, and overwhelmed by all the interesting activities you want to get involved in, it may be time to do something that has no end goal so that you can reconnect with why you want to do all those interesting activities.  This may sound counterintuitive. But the reason we don’t get to things we are interested in is not because we are lazy or avoidant. It is because we have lost connection with the Eternal Dimension, where all meaning and clarity come from. Getting organized and prioritizing all our interests is not something we “do.” It is something we let happen by taking a brief moment every day to connect to a spiritual dimension beyond the practical day-to-day activities. That larger Field knows what is needed and in what order it is all needed. When we let a larger power organize our priorities we have boundless energy to get lots done. Connecting to a larger spirit dimension is oddly very practical.

Without a spiritual connection, all our daily tasks lose meaning and start to feel empty and pointless. The non-physical, eternal energy dimension is where all the motivation for all our activities comes from and without it, we have a hard time deciding what to do first. We want to get to ALL our interests but when we get to just one at a time we ironically feel connected to all of them! This is because there is a universal energy connecting all things. Start anywhere and you access everywhere.  

Another reason for getting overwhelmed by all the interesting things to do and learn in life is because we can not sustain a feeling of being driven. We can not live in a goal-oriented life style all the time. It is important to set a goalless goal, or what is called a Sadhana, when we take a small amount of time every day to learn how to learn, to learn how to be at peace not achieving or completing a task and deepen our ability to have the process be the goal.  

Reconnecting to the timeless dimension within has the strange miraculous effect of clarifying our priorities. Take 10 minutes in the morning every day to do something that does not build to a skill or have anything to do with advancement of any kind, politically, or professionally, or even spiritually and just do an activity to be with that activity. Then watch how all those goals and interests that overwhelm you start to fall into place by order of priority. 

Sadhana is a study of how to grow motivation and endurance within our character. It teaches us how to learn anything at all because it spends time with where we are and listens to what we need each morning. Learning can only happen with a relaxed mind and a personal practice studies the art of relaxing.  When we are relaxed we are powerful and when we have power we can apply ourselves to achieve something of interest. 

We are the only ones who can secure for ourselves what it is we are wanting to achieve. Universities do not exist in nature. Training is never something that happens outside of actual life. A bear cub doesn’t go to school first and then enter the “real world.” It’s all real and live and dangerous from the get-go. We are always learning on the job of navigating life.

We make our own training grounds.  We sharpen our skills through our own self-made universities. Maybe we will use a traditional school setting to do this or maybe we will craft our learning process in a different, untraditional way. Regardless, all our diplomas are energetic in nature, whether we hang an official certificate on the wall or not.

When I discovered the elegant resource known as Animal Medicine Cards back in the early 90s, I wanted to study Spirit Animal teachings non-stop every day. I wanted to go to a university to study them but of course, I quickly found that no such institutions existed. All I had to go on was that little purple book which evoked in me a deep sense of excitement and memory of a time when we were closer to animals. With the guidance of that simple, clear, well-written little book I proceeded over the next two decades to construct my own way of learning about Spirit Animal Guides. I set up a structure where I dedicated one month to a specific animal and decided that everything that happened in that month would be a message and a teaching from the Spirit Animal I assigned. The results were astounding and often hilarious. At the end of each month, I wrote a summary of what I’d learned and I posted it online. This little monthly blog project became my way of building a university where none existed and a profound way for me to connect and commune with nature.

It is not for us to decide for ourselves what we are good at. That is an observation made by others about us. Our only job in life is to follow where our passions lead us and to legalize our right to obsess about that interest. It is irrelevant whether or not we will become “good” at what we enjoy. But if we protect the actual enjoyment of the activity we have a passion for, getting good at it will be inevitable. 

By shaping our own curriculum for what we want to learn, we teach ourselves how to learn anything. In that process, we cultivate a deep, reliable companion within ourselves. The practice becomes an inner companion who is there when storms blow through our lives. A personal practice (or Sadhana) is the only way to engage what we love in the most lasting and reliable way. Building a personal practice is a declaration and determination to stay sane as this world speeds up. A personal practice becomes a stable structure and place of calm, like the eye of the storm within our minds where all is still, clear, and well. 

What skill do you want to deepen? How might you go about constructing your own creative university to study what you want to learn about?