Sadhana shares many aspects of its vision with other institutions. The distinctiveness of its mission does not derive from its difference from others but from what it emphasizes. Some of these features make up the contours of what is referred to as the Sadhana experience.
Since formators and counsellors have to form themselves through the experience of an adequate level of personal growth and freedom before setting out to help others, opportunities are provided to participants for individual and group therapy and for personal guidance throughout their time at Sadhana.
Sadhana courses are primarily experiential and the teaching of theory and skills is generally limited to our training courses. We adopt a multi-faceted pedagogy involving didactic inputs, sharing, process integration, experiential exercises, and personal interviews with the instructors. This is because of our conviction that the outcome of genuine understanding is transformation, and that this sharp difference between information and understanding is crucial for the authenticity of human life in general and the spiritual life in particular.
Demanding inner work
Because of this emphasis our courses are intensive and demand a lot from our participants. The most challenging part of these courses is the invitation to an honest examination of one’s life, to acknowledge the truth of oneself with its pleasant and unpleasant aspects and to open oneself to healing. This is serious inner work and may not be suitable for persons who are in need of rest and a relaxed schedule as part of a renewal program.
Group living: Much importance is given to the living together of participants as a group, emphasizing during this phase not only their religious life, but their experience of community as the matrix of interpersonal interactions as well as the personal growth opportunities provided by the challenges and support of a therapeutic community. Mutual feedback from group members cultivates transparency, promotes emotional growth and monitors individual freedom.
The inner quest: Convinced that faith is deepened and made more authentic as it is internalized through ongoing encounters with life and the questions that come with life, the spirituality of Sadhana makes space for participants to foster a spirit of enquiry, and the quest for the ‘Truth that sets us free’, trusting the Spirit that leads us into all manner of truth.
This has been aptly described as the courage to ask questions and the wisdom to doubt one’s answers. Opportunities are provided to participants not only for regular religious practices but also for facilitated meditations and retreats during major Sadhana courses.
Atmosphere of freedom: Implicit in Sadhana formation is the recognition that freedom is not only a formative experience but an essential prerequisite for personal and spiritual development. We also realize that it is only in an atmosphere of freedom that deep inner work can take place where persons discover the truth of themselves and learn to make personal choices and decisions with responsibility and accountable freedom. It is in such an atmosphere that persons can interiorize and integrate their spirituality and make their Sadhana formation a liberating experience.
A spiritual atmosphere: Sadhana aims at the integration of spirituality and psychology not only by conducting courses in both areas but also by its very approach to its work. Besides making provision for the spiritual practices of participants such as regular liturgies, retreats, and weekly recollections, the Institute also upholds a spiritual approach to counselling and seeks to articulate it.
It also promotes an atmosphere of silence and peace conducive to deep inner work and personal freedom.