Let’s dedicate 40 days to focus in deeper on this path! You get to design your own Plan.
Write it down. Then follow it every day. Do it with a spirit of adventure and discovery.
Or rather, let it do you! Ready?
Set Your Intention What psychological, behavioral or spiritual upgrades you want. What habits
to cultivate, what bad ones to drop.
Choose Your Disciplines Silent meditations? Meditations-in-action? Mantra discipline? Yoga
routine? Diet? Religious practices or prayers? Study? Fasting days? Attitudes to cultivate?
Make A Routine When and how much to do your disciplines. Any modifications of your daily
routine. Things to do, things to avoid. Then begin!
Renew Your Resolution At day’s end look back and see how it went, what needs correcting. In
the morning renew your resolution with enthusiasm! If you break your discipline, just pick it up
again. (Don’t get down on yourself.)
Review Your Plan You can modify your plan as you go along. Keep it flexible and fresh. Adapt
to circumstances. “A living branch bends, a rigid one breaks.”
Life-Style Changes After the 40 days is over, why not make any good changes a part of your life?
Remember this: “Even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come along,
yet again and again. Ours is not a caravan of despair.” [Rumi, Iranian mystic poet]
Serious aspirants (one who aspires to the higher life) should try to follow their disciplines for their
whole life. Then why 40 days? Well, it makes a defined space to make a shift, to focus more on
certain practices, and thus to affect a deeper transformation. It is known that Moses went up on
the mountain and Jesus into the desert for 40 days. But our 40-Days is like a retreat without
physically retreating. And that is just as much a challenge as solitude. Our TIME will be most
valuable and below are some traditional ideas on how to best use it:
SITTING MEDITATION Many masters say to have two sittings per day. Sitting before dawn in the
brahma muhurta, the Hour of God, is especially good. Having a special place, washing up,
breathing exercises, a short reading or mantra -- all help to set the mood.
MANTRA REPETITION Some longer mantras are good for chanting or doing very softly as a form
of concentration. You can set a specific number of repetitions or time. But then if you feel pulled
into a deeper contemplation do not resist. If at any point mantra feels strained, finish or postpone
it. Get your teacher’s advice on all this.
MEDITATION IN ACTION Cultivate mindfulness, compassion, gratitude, love and respect for
others 24/7. Return from time to time during your day to your heart, your breath, to the “here and
now”. You can do mantra when your activity does not require full engagement. Some masters say
to keep the attention in the trikuti behind the eyebrows or at the top of head as much as possible.
AFFIRMATIONS AND PRAYERS Back up your affirmations with action! Put your problems at the
feet of God. See the good in ALL. Bless your food. Positive thinking is a potent practice!
YOGA EXERCISES Every day do some light exercise, breathing, asanas, chi-gong, walking
meditation or just your work. Maybe avoid intense work-outs for now.
STUDY Read the wisdom of the world or anything worthwhile. Be careful not to read away your
meditation time! Journal your ideas.
MORAL RESTRAINT AND OBSERVANCES Review the 10 Yamas and Niyamas. Follow
them, including on the psychological level. [See handout.]
TRADITIONAL SADHANAS Some of the old rules can be followed even in prison. You can rise
early, use a special mat, eat vegetarian, abstain from sex fantasy, talk less, avoid wasting time.
THE MAIN IDEA Do both your practices and daily work with a spirit of celebration and non-
attachment. Feel you are servicing God and humanity. Do not seek to impress. But you can
certainly share what you are doing with anyone that wants to join in.
CLASS MEMBERS ALSO SUGGEST TO:
Do “sleep sadhana” upon going to bed
Find one thing daily to be grateful for
“I am getting better every day in every way”
Practice with other class-members
Avoid bad company and complaining
Bless ones’ food
Do random acts of kindness
Follow your religious activities
SOME STARTING & CLOSING MANTRAS
Om Asato mā Sad gamaya
Tamaso mā Jyotir gamaya
Mṛtyor mā Amṛtaṁ gamaya
Om Shāntiḥ Shāntiḥ Shāntiḥ
Lead me from Illusion to Reality
Lead me from Dullness to Clarity
Lead me from Decay to Long Life
Om Peace Peace Peace
Sarveshām Swastir Bhavatu
Sarveshām Shāntir Bhavatu
Sarveshām Poornam Bhavatu
Sarveshām Mangalam Bhavatu
May Auspiciousness, Peace,
Fullness and Prosperity be unto all.