How can we guarantee steady progress in our spiritual growth? What should we do to make sure we are continuously advancing? What are the key practices and what is sadhana? The secret lies in what I call the 3T Method.
Watch my video on this topic here.
For transformation to take place, there must be steady endeavor. In the yoga tradition there is the concept of sadhana: a daily practice for spiritual upliftment. Good intentions are not enough; there must be effort. And behind a general effort to advance and better yourself on many fronts, there must be a specific daily discipline driving your transformation onwards, day after day. The 3T Method is just that – a daily regime of transcendence and strengthening of your mind and intelligence to help you take on the challenge of advancing in the five avenues of perfection on the 3T Path. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this daily practice if you hope to fuel your transformation.
The three daily transcendental practices are:
- A minimum of twenty minutes of meditation, using the traditional mantra-meditation technique, called japa, with the maha-mantra,
- Eating prasada, sacred karma-free food, and
- A minimum of ten minutes cultivating transcendental knowledge by reading books from the suggested list.
Mantra Meditation – Japa
Meditation is the central practice of the yoga tradition. The whole process of self-improvement and self-realization is based on your ability to pacify and direct your mind. Your control and awareness of your mind is the key to your success in any spiritual path. And meditation is the supreme technique for achieving that control and awareness. Learn more about this here.
Prasada means “mercy.” It’s also the Sanskrit word used for sacred food. As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” In many ways, eating defines you. It certainly defines the shape of your body and your overall health. But it also defines your state of mind. Because eating is so fundamental, the yoga tradition gives it special attention.
As explained in the Karma-yoga Key Concept section of the 3T Path, every action should be carried out as an offering to God, as an act of love and recognition of the origin of everything. Food yoga, the practice of eating prasada, is the act of connecting your food to the divine, spiritualizing it. A yogi spiritualizes everything in his or her life, but a special conscious effort should be made to spiritualize your food, due to the importance of eating. The effort and practice of being aware – in the here and now, several times per day – of such a fundamental act as eating, and of making a spiritual connection in that act, helps keep your consciousness elevated throughout the day.
In karmic terms, not offering your food means that you take on the burden of the karma of your meal and the whole chain of production behind it. This is why there is a special note of caution by Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita on the importance of eating only prasada. Eating prasada brings you so much benefit; not eating prasada brings so many future troubles.
Only foods that will not negatively affect your consciousness can be offered. Foods that involve suffering, like meat or fish or eggs, or foods containing alcohol or other drugs, cannot be offered. If you’re not yet in the standard of eating only such foods, you should still offer the part of your meal that is offerable.
Cultivating Transcendental Knowledge
Information leads to transformation. Our most dangerous enemy is ignorance, because lack of knowledge leads to confusion and foolish, useless, painful activities. To become enlightened, you need the light of knowledge to dispel the darkness of ignorance. If I had to pick one of these three daily practices as the most important for beginners, I would choose this one, because if you pursue it properly, in due time you’ll adopt the other two daily practices and adjust all your habits and mental processes for the better. This is the one practice that I’ve seen give the highest probability of success and stamina on this path. Those who cultivate transcendental knowledge are sure to achieve high levels of transformation.
The practice is very simple. Just dedicate at least ten minutes every day to reading or hearing the books listed below, going through them in the order listed. This is therapy – bibliotherapy. The knowledge will transform you as it opens new horizons, removes your doubts, brings you clarity, and bestows on you increasing wisdom. This practice will help you advance in the fourth avenue of perfection of the 3T Path: jnana, as well as the fifth, bhakti.
This is just a summary of the 3T Method. You can learn more about it, and all the other important details and techniques needed to progress in yoga in the book, The 3T Path (http://3tpath.com/books/).
Look what they’re saying about my book, The 3T Path: “I have read the 3T Path book and I really recommend it to everyone, for me it is a must, I keep reading it continuously” – Wendal