These are the practices that worked for me as a coadjuvant system that helped me discover different experiences of my own consciousness. It changed my life Completely when suddenly I had a WHOLE new sense of the scope of possibility of my reality, and this exponentially expanded my understanding of the wide range of depths of consciousness that can be reached within the human experience without the aid of drugs.
Spiritual practice is called Sadhana in Sanskrit, and daily Sadhana keeps my focus and intention on spiritual advancement. The idea of advancing spiritually is not driven by ego, but rather as a natural progression that we move steadily toward, and then slightly away from, spiraling back, learning lessons and gaining deeper understanding as to how this whole life game works!
*Breath control: Pranayama. Every breath we take is life itself. Every emotional state we experience has a corresponding breathing pattern. If we learn to use pranayama and consciously and mindfully adjust our breathing pattern, we can in turn change our state of mind at will. Pranayama is insanely powerful and in India, it is commonly understood that there is a different pranayama breathing technique for almost every ailment.
A Dutch man named Wim Hof learned about some of these techniques and has been able to scientifically prove and document that he can fight off viruses by releasing adrenaline at will and boosting his immune system consciously, all through breathing techniques. Click the link for a super fascinating documentary to learn more about that guy!
Pranayama used to only be taught to those initiated, and was not taught to women. You could only learn Pranayama if your Guru deemed your practice sincere enough and that you were mentally and physically worthy of knowledge of Pranayama, and you were only given one at a time, working with one until you earned the right to advance. I can’t stress enough how magical and powerful Pranayama is, and how working with your breath requires respect and understanding of it’s power.
*Twice daily meditation practice . For myself, if I only meditate for 10 minutes, that is barely enough time for my mind to settle. When first beginning a practice, ten minutes can seem like a treacherous goal. Like anything, with practice, your brain will be able to dive into meditation mode easier and easier, which will make the whole process more enjoyable and in turn, you’ll be able to reach deeper states of meditation. Even 5 minutes of mindful breathing each day to start is a successful practice if done consistently. The more you practice, the more adept you become, like everything!
Although the learning curve can seem daunting, once you get past the first few weeks, I promise it’s an infinitely rewarding practice. The way that it changes how you FEEL and handle stress, and the way stressful feelings happen less often because calmness becomes your default mode, makes life SO much more enjoyable! I can’t type complex enough explanations to give it justice how much this practice is imperative and completely life changing. Baby steps, and just try to stay consistent! Visit my “Beginner’s Guide to Meditation” post here!
*Complete sobriety from alcohol, cannabis, and caffeine.
Alcohol lowers our consciousness to the point that we are saying and doing things we aren’t even aware we did the next day. Not only is it drowning our prefrontal cortex so that we aren’t making rational decisions, drinking alcohol poisons our body, which causes our liver to have to work hard to process it.
When doing yoga, we are purifying the mind AND body to prepare our bodily vessel for higher levels of spiritual experience. Alcohol will not help you advance your spiritual progress. Everything in moderation of course, but remembering that everything is either helping or hurting your goals, it becomes easier to abstain completely. Not to mention how good and right it feels NOT to be hungover! 🙂
Cannabis is used in sacred spiritual ceremonies and can absolutely lead people to spiritual experiences. I have loved cannabis for years and have found it to be infinitely beneficial. HOWEVER….the more I study spiritual advancement, and look at my own personal experience, I’ve come to realize that the only way to really dive deeply into spiritual experiences is with complete sobriety.
When trying to explore expanded states of consciousness, such as dreams, or deep meditation, it’s best to have a clear mind to be able to stay conscious within your dream and have much better recall. It is a known fact that cannabis affects lucid dreaming ability and dream recall, which is unfortunate because there are many spiritual messages sent to us in dreams.
When we are foggy of mind it becomes even more challenging than it already is to expand beyond normal awareness and maintain memory and full waking consciousness in different states of consciousness.
When you are meditating, you are riding the line between sleeping and waking, your brain goes right in between alpha and theta brainwaves, like between being sleepy in the morning and riiiiight before you fall asleep. Obviously it’s challenging to stay conscious during this sleepy state, so cannabis does not help, in my humble personal experience. I’ve spent weeks falling asleep during meditation instead of staying conscious and possibly receiving insight, it was very frustrating!
As for coffee, it speeds up our heart rate and makes us jittery and unable to sit still! The body and mind work together, if the body is moving, the mind cannot be still. Coffee creates the opposite of what we are trying to achieve with meditation, basically.
*Conservation of sexual energy with periods of abstinence. I know you’re like “hey whoa” right? Don’t stop reading now, haha. Definitely not suggesting you give up all of these
things, sex CAN be an insanely spiritual experience. When we have sex with someone we are merging energies, body fluids, thoughts, pain, everything. So we should be aware if sexual intimacy is meaningful and helps us feel more connected with our partner, or if it makes us feel empty. If we experience the latter we can be sure this sexual union is sucking energy away and lowering our vibration. Sexual Energy is an energy that can be used for spiritual advancement, according to The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. There are 8 limbs of Yoga, and the first one is called Yamas. The Yamas are moral imperatives on the yogic path, having to do with self-restraint. The Niyamas
*Dedication to daily yoga practice. This doesn’t have to mean going to a yoga class every day! Just a handful of easy poses done daily for just a few minutes even, can make a big difference in your body over time. The thing about our bodies is, it is constantly evolving according to what our lifestyle is like. If we spend 8 hours on a chair in the office five days a week, and do yoga once a week for one hour, the chair sitting is going to have the most impact on our body. The more often we can consistently train our muscles and ligaments to become more pliable, the more you will start to see the benefits of the practice.
*Abstaining from consuming dairy, eggs, and meat. More about this later, but when you are consuming the corpse of an abused and mutilated innocent sentient being, it grounds you firmly in this Earthly reality. Everything in this entire universe is comprised of vibration obviously, and there is a kind of photography called Kirlian Photography that can document energy. Here is a visual representation of the energy you’re consuming when making the choice between plant foods and animal foods.
*Plenty of Sleep, not too much or little
*So Much Fruit and vegetables! The more plant based foods you consume, the more smoothly your digestive system will function. Plant foods contain information in their DNA that becomes our body. The more we consume plant foods, the more we tune ourselves into alignment with nature.
*Avoidance of negative people like the plague
*Exercise is key! Moving our energy is a guaranteed mood booster and will have us feeling good and moving into alignment with our highest self.
*Doing selfless and kind things for others
*Speaking your personal truth honestly, but of course mindfully, tactfully, without shame or guilt (yeah, I’m working on this one.) The more you come to know yourself in meditation, the more your faith and confidence grows, and it becomes more difficult to stay silent in the face of injustice. This is a great sign of growth because it shows that you are in alignment with your highest self by acting from the heart.
*Consistent practice of all of the above. One thing that has helped me tremendously is recognizing that every decision we make is either helping or hurting our goals, there are no neutral decisions!
*Not trying too hard. We strive so much in life and we tend to use that same trying energy with our spiritual journey out of habit. Recognize that our higher self is available to us at any moment when we learn to just be, without striving and effort. In moments of effortlessness and deep, conscious relaxation, we can receive insight. These experiences are not impossible to achieve, they are available to every single human being who is willing to do the work, it is our birthright!