Sunday sadhana

Angel photo credit Kirsten Akens 2013

To me, sadhana is a daily spiritual practice allowing time and space for an individual to turn inward.

As Yogi Bhajan (of the Kundalini yoga tradition) says, "Sadhana is self-enrichment. It is not something which is done to please somebody or to gain something. Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your best."

Sadhana could be taking a walk in nature, doing breath work or yoga asanas on a mat, spending time meditating or chanting, reading and reflecting on a poem, or simply watching the sun rise.

Please accept this post as a possible starting point for your own practice today.


Bat Cave

By Eleanor Wilner, from Reversing the Spell: New and Selected Poems, published by Copper Canyon Press


The cave looked much like any other

from a little distance but

as we approached, came almost

to its mouth, we saw its walls within

that slanted up into a dome

were beating like a wild black lung—

it was plastered and hung with

the pulsing bodies of bats, the organ

music of the body’s deep

interior, alive, the sacred cave

with its ten thousand gleaming eyes

near the clustered rocks

where the sea beat with the leather

wings of its own dark waves.


Below the bat-hung, throbbing walls,

an altar stood, glittering with guano,

a stucco sculpture like a Gaudi

church, berserk

Baroque, stone translated into

flux—murk and mud and the floral

extravagance of wet sand dripped

from a giant hand, giving back

blessing, excrement—return

for the first fruits offered to the gods.


We stayed outside, superior

with fear, like tourists

peering through a door, whose hanging

beads rattle in the air from

one who disappeared into the dim

interior; we thought of the caves

of Marabar, of a writer who entered

and never quite emerged—

the caves’ echoing black

emptiness a tunnel in the English

soul where he is wandering still. So

the bat cave on the Bali coast, not far

from Denpasar, holds us off, and beckons ...


Standing there now, at the mouth

of the cave—this time we enter, feel

inside the flutter of those

many hearts, the radiant heat of pumping

veins, the stretch of wing on bone

like a benediction, and the familiar

faces of this many-headed god,

benevolent as night is

to the weary—the way at dark

the cave releases them all,

how they must lift like the foam

on a wave breaking, how many

they are as they enter

the starlit air, and scatter

in wild wide arcs

in search of fruit, the sweet bites

of mosquito ...


while the great domes of our

own kind slide open, the eye

that watches, tracks the skies,

and the huge doors roll slowly back

on the hangars, the planes

push out their noses of steel,

their wings a bright alloy

of aluminum and death, they roar

down the runways, tear into

the night, their heavy bodies fueled

from sucking at the hidden

veins of earth; they leave a trail of fire

behind them as they scar

the air, filling the dreams

of children, sleeping—anywhere,

Chicago, Baghdad—with blood,

as the bombs drop, as the world

splits open, as the mothers

reach for their own

in the night of the falling

sky, madness in

method, nature gone

into reverse ...


here, nearly unperturbed,

the bats from the sacred cave

fill the night with their calls,

high-pitched, tuned to the solid world

as eyes to the spectrum of light, gnats

to the glow of a lamp—the bats

circle, the clouds wheel,

the earth turns

pulling the dome of stars

among the spinning trees, blurring

the sweet globes of fruit, shaped

exactly to desire—dizzy, we swing

back to the cave on our stiff dark

wings, the sweet juice of papaya

drying on our jaws, home

to the cave, to attach ourselves

back to the pulsing dome, until,

hanging there, sated and sleepy,

we can see what was once our world

upside down as it is

and wonder whose altars

those are, white,

encrusted with shit.