In order to cultivate spiritual awareness, one must move from tamas to sattwa. This is the definition given of spiritual awareness, of spiritual realization. Identify not with the changing and craving nature of the mind but with the pure, luminous and peaceful nature of the mind. The journey from tamas to sattwa is the spiritual journey. This is the essence; this is the secret of spiritual life.
The process which takes you from tamas to sattwa has a name, and that is sadhana. Generally, when we use the word 'sadhana', people identify it with a spiritual discipline, a spiritual practice. However, sadhana means attainment of perfection in that which you do.
It is mental training that allows one to discipline the mind and, after that discipline, to embark on the path of sadhana. The management of the mind and entry into sadhana begins with the cultivation of mental awareness and by knowing, 'What is my mood at present? How is that mood or mental condition making me behave, act and respond? Is it an appropriate response or inappropriate? Is it a positive interaction or negative?' This understanding has to come first. When one knows how the mind responds, certain disciplines can begin to be incorporated into the mental behaviour; through discipline, the patterns of thought, the patterns of expression and the patterns of understanding can be changed.