Atma Vidya means knowledge of the Soul.
The Vedas say there are technologies to achieve whatever you want to. Nothing is impossible to experience. The life you want is not beyond you.
They say that time and matter are limitations that can be transcended.
You are not someone who can not get better from your unwellness or someone destined to be alone, or someone without the money you need to make ends meet, or someone who will never be a successful artist, or someone who can not conceive (more?) children.
You are not a secretary, you are god!
You are the infinite potential of consciousness made manifest, and if you master the wisdom, that experience and that reality, you can experience and realize everything that you have ever wanted.
But you don’t do it on your own.
You need a guru – a teacher. Guru literally means dispeller of darkness. One who extinguishes dark simply because they are light. Darkness simply dissolves in a room if you turn on a light. Poof! It’s gone.
In this way, the guru dissolves our ignorant perception of our limited self by bringing us the Awareness we need to realize our true Self. The thing is, gurus ask for us to listen. Like any trainer they want our discipline. Like any trainer they set exercises and a routine and they expect for us to follow it. There are practices we must perform and repeat every day, and sometimes with additional intensity.
And like all trainers, they ask us to push ourselves outside our comfort zones. They teach things that kind of seem a bit out there to me and you in the modern world. Just like all trainers they want our commitment and surrender. Because, they will tell you, and as you can see, they have a method that most evidently works.
Sometimes on the spiritual path you find yourself awake at 3am BST chanting mantras and setting intentions, and you may realize that you’re living with a different set of practices and priorities from most of the rest of the world.
The guru brought you here. What are you doing?
Sadhana. That’s what you’re doing. Sadhana is a discipline set with the intent of realizing a spiritual goal. Remember what you’re here for: this quest for a thing called ‘Atma -Vidya’ – the knowledge of the Soul.
And it tells you that what you are doing is both necessary and perfect for what you intend to experience. There’s an intelligence at a cosmic level that bypasses your intellectual understanding and it makes you believe there’s an overriding magic in the universe that you can hitch your dreams to.
But the magic doesn’t happen out there. It happens inside You. It happens essentially in you coming to experience your self as a Soul and then living and taking action as a conscious Soul. There is an art, they say, to creating the life that you want to live: a life that is more colorful and vivid and satisfying and rich; a life less ordinary – and just like you don’t doubt that working out is one way of realizing a physical goal, accept that the way toward revealing your Soul – is through Sadhana.
So carry on with your Sadhana. Practice. Absorb everything you can learn from the guru.
Meditate from 3am in the morning till 6. Say your mantra 1008 times a morning. Do 108 or 54 or 27 sun salutations a day for 108 days if that’s what your teacher says might help. Ask for your name to be placed in the fire lab/homa when the moon is full in Uttarashada. Spend 10 days in vipassana. Become celibate for a while. Or for a lifetime. Offer sweets to a cow in a field, or feed rice to fish in the ocean.
And when you find yourself laughing at how crazy it all seems, remember that no matter how you look at it, the every day world is a pretty upside down place too.
Remember that you want to make quantum leaps into a different space. And remember that logic and rationale are definitely not going to take you there. And remember that for 5000 years or more, there are teachers who have been telling us that we are able to create a different quality of experience by living with a conscious Soul.
Remember that what you are doing is being open to being taught something you did not know before.
And then when you’ve done your Sadhana, keep calm, keep quiet and carry on with life in the modern world. It’s not something you have to announce to anyone. It’s between you and your guru – and your quest for Atma Vidya.
And, if sometimes, in the middle of all of this you think really, why am I doing all this stuff – then let this be a mantra too: if you want to have something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.
Originally published on my website, The Modern Girl’s Guide to Spirituality