Kundalini Yogi with Sadhguru — Roar Together

Kundalini Yogi with Sadhguru — Roar Together

This essay humbly pays homage to yoga teachers, Sadhguru and Yogi Bhajan, as well as writing mentors D.H. Lawrence and Thomas Larson.   

My daily yoga practice is based on the teachings of Yogi Bhajan.  Each day I wake early and practice Aquarian Sadhana.  When I teach yoga, I teach what Yogi Bhajan taught.  I adore this path.  It is straightforward and effective — no smoke and mirrors, no new age hocus pocus, no bull shit.  Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan gives a person grit and grace, a crystal clear consciousness, and infinite spiritual muscle.  Even just one kriya or meditation taken up and practiced regularly with a sincere heart is enough to manifest practical, elevating life results. I am speaking from my own experience. But I have also observed many friends and students reap tons of benefits from this practice. Still, surprising to me and other practitioners, this practice is a hard sell to a vaster majority. Are people hung up on the white clothes, the head wraps, suspicions of the sound current (chanting mantras), or the strangeness of the exercises? Whatever it is, it’s still considered “weird yoga” to some. This is unfortunate. How can it be so much weirder than other programs?

This essay expresses how someone coming from a kundalini background gets cozy in a community practicing a hatha yoga practice. Today, to practice Yogi Bhajan’s form of kundalini yoga in a climate where many other forms of yoga are much more popular often feels the way D.H. Lawrence describes his feelings in his spiritual essay “The Spinner and the Monks.” In this essay, he describes a journey up a mountain to the Church of San Tommaso in Gargano, Italy but “a thick, fierce darkness of the senses” drives him out of the chapel. What unknown force creates this sense of the outsider? What mystical energy seems to be provoking his consciousness into otherworldly neutrality that erases his very existence? Outside the church, he observes the way a woman who is spinning wool makes him feel he “was not in existence.” For D.H. Lawrence’s observations, longings, and alienations lead him to ask, “Where in mankind is the ecstasy of light and dark together, the supreme transcendence of the afterglow, day hovering in the embrace of coming night like two angels embracing in the heavens..?” He wonders if there is a form of ecstasy that can unite sense perception with spirituality, rather than make them divided. Thomas Larson praises Lawrence’s essay for its ability to be both “lyrically intimate and numinously alert.” So I write here to play, to unite, to honor this wonder. I humbly practice that my writing may be “lyrically intimate and numinously alert” while contemplating being with kundalini and hatha yoga together.

So here’s my humble story: One day in November 2017, I was practicing tratakum meditation of Yogi Bhajan’s photo.  It’s one of the tools we have in this practice, gazing at a photo of the realized kundalini master.  The teachings say that during the meditation, the practitioner can ask a question internally and an answer will arise.  I meditated on the photo of Yogi Bhajan and asked, “what do I need to know now to be more effective in service as a teacher, writer, and mother?” 

Yogi Bhajan Tratakum Photo

No sooner had I asked the question than this one-word answer roared into my awareness: “Sadhguru.” 

At that moment, I absorbed the answer; and in the next moments wondered over it. When I read from the Guru or chant Gurmukhi mantras, I encounter the words “sat guru” or “sach guru,” which means true guru.  So, at the moment the word Sadhguru arose in my meditation, I wondered why it was a skewed form of the words Sat Guru that I had read from the Siri Guru Granth SahibSadhguru:  The word stuck with me, spelled that way, and uttered with such ferocity, a severe and determined roar within, accompanied by a word spelled out and blazing with orange light. These last couple of years, every internal message comes in the form of a fierce internal roar and flames. So much for yoga bringing inner peace. In this moment, I puzzled over why Sadhguru was spelled in that unusual way when I had always seen it as Sat Guru or Sach Guru.

That evening, many hours after my tratakum meditation, I was engaged in some online research for a writing project, when I came across a book called Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy by Sadhguru

Stop! Whoa! Eukera! There is that word as it was revealed to me in meditation! Wow! Wonder! Awe! Joy in my heart! 

I ordered the book and read it right away. 

I LOVE the Inner Engineering book.  Sadhguru is a hatha yoga teacher, AND he is a great writer! And this combination — a mystic who can write well –makes my own heart sing. His writing is articulate, funny, and overflowing with life-affirming intelligence. Sadhguru teaches practices that are different from those taught by Yogi Bhajan, so at first I approach seeking ways the two teachers’ messages harmonize within me. While Yogi Bhajan wanted to create teachers and sages for the Aquarian Age, Sadhguru wants to create a world full of blissful beings. He envisions a world where 7.2 billion people practice some form of yoga that makes them internally flowing with “seamless loves and untold ecstasies.”

My humble prayer is that I may effortlessly absorb and embody both Yogi Bhajan and Sadhguru’s teachings to support me to radiate infinite grace to uplift myself and those I love and serve. So, I visualize my expanded heart’s vast embrace, including both the practical mysticism of Sadhguru with the kundalini mastery of Yogi Bhajan. Like this, I am free to engage this Inner Engineering hatha program with all chakras fully charged with aliveness and receptivity.

After binging on Sadhguru youtube clips and reading more of his books, I vowed to be willing to create a unifying force for these various teachers and teachings within my being. Yogi Bhajan’s “Kriya for an Open Heart” is a good practice to support this.

Because I also embrace the discipline of writing spirituality as it is described in Thomas Larson’s Spirituality and the Writer, creating this unifying force most likely involves psychological or spiritual wrestling and word play. Larson describes how the successful spiritual writer reveals more about how she wrestles with growing and shifting. Readers of spiritual writing prefer more story and entanglement and fewer platitudes. Can I write about my experience of Inner Engineering as a kundalini yogi in such a way that I hold the attention of a reader in the ways Thomas Larson’s book describes? Can this practice build my confidence so I can overcome a sense of failure that I am a bad writer. Years of rejection is taking its toll. Still, I keep writing. But I have to admit that I do most of my wrestling in Sadhana, not necessarily through writing. If I wrestle out in Sadhana and clear the subconscious mind, writing becomes sacred and celebrative. Well, sacred and celebrative in the literary scene — like kundalini yoga — is weird or doesn’t sell.

Months after reading the book, I showed up to the Inner Engineering completion course. Sadhguru came to teach 2,000 people at a convention center in Long Beach. Among the crowd, I was the only other person, besides Sadhguru, wearing a head wrap.  Someone among the attendees asked me why I cover my head. I explained the benefits of keeping the cranial bones cozily hugged together as a way to organize the energies generated during meditation. He seemed pleased and interested in my explanation.

Though I felt a little out of place and out of my usual element, when Sadhguru came out onto the stage, he came out dancing joyfully. He was motioning to the crowd to join him in the dance and to meet him at his level of joy. So all 2,000 of us danced with him. He faced one side of the room then another and gestured with his hands to express whether he felt satisfied with the levels of joy coming from that part of the room. So far, he was shaking his head, “no” and throwing his hands out to communicate that the left side of the room was not dancing joyfully enough. I was way in the back of the room to his right side. When he faced our group, right away he showed a thumbs up sign and nodded his head. He expressed satisfaction with the level of joy coming from our side of the room. And internally, secretly, I took his satisfaction to heart in a big way. In fact, his thumbs up, yes nod, and beaming grin brought me a lot of inner healing.

While dancing, I had projected — no, I exuded — all my joy. I had longed for my smile, anonymous amidst the sea of faces, to reach him. I let myself imagine that from this distance, Sadhguru received my unique expression of joy through my dance. Sure he was nodding to everyone, but I personally felt connected to him from that distance and in that vast crowd.

What I personally felt as Sadhguru’s receptivity to my joy was so healing for me. Without getting too bogged down in details, just know that at that time in my life, I had been feeling that people I was working with and people whom I was living with were not receiving my energy and messages; it felt to me as though people in my day to day life seemed numb to my presence, numb to any ability to share in what gives me joy. In Sadhguru, I had found someone who assured me that my presence works. He can feel and respond to my joy, even in this crowd, even at this distance. Wow!

Thus, to this day, that brief instant of true connection keeps me listening and observing and remaining receptive to all that Sadhguru has to teach. After all, it was meditation on Yogi Bhajan’s photo that guided me to Sadhguru.

But Sadhguru’s method, approach, vibe, and frequency feels different. There is a different fragrance. This atmosphere feels different from a kundalini gathering. It is less of a pressure cooker and more of a slow climb up a mountain. Within me this feels as refreshing as it feels disruptive. But there is an ease in connecting to the quality of stillness (shuniya) that is absolutely the same in both methods. And even if it seems that the thousands of people who have showed up to this two-day program are not the white-clad yoga family that I usually practice with, they sit in Gyan Mudra and we chant as One Voice. Should there be a struggle to internally continue to recalibrate to remind myself that it is okay to bow to Adiyogi and to bow to the Siri Guru Granth Sahib? It is my own personal choice to feel at ease to marry these two ways inside myself. Why should I feel conflicted at all? And will not feeling conflicted about this make me less than qualified to write about my experience in a literary way? Will not feeling conflicted about this somehow reduce me in the eyes of those with more one-pointed devotion to one or the other? Should merging the two within me offend anyone?

Once, I was told my writing would be banned in India. Very well, I live in the States, and so far no one has banned my writing. Hell, my writing is not even officially published and read by few! I am whispering underground, not causing a ripple. Nothing is going viral on this blog. It would be exciting to know this writing had any impact at all.

Two aspects of embracing the Inner Engineering program provoke me into inner wrestling: 1. the actual physical yoga practice is very beautiful, very elegant, yet it feels too “easy,” or too gentle, as though my physical body has already been stretched, squeezed, and kicked beyond the lessons of this Inner Engineering completion practice — The Shambhavi Mahamudra. Be this as it may, I still engage Shambhavi Mahamudra practice with sincerity and alertness to my koshas. The day we learn the preparatory exercises, my partner that I am working with — a stranger named Asmita whom I have just met here — corrects the way I am doing Cat / Cow. What? Such a basic practice I’ve done for years; she corrects me? Here is an inward pang of wounded pride… Ok. Ok. So, I listen. Bummed. I adjust according to her remarks. I force myself to be grateful to be here, but now I have to admit that a big part of me privately grumbles and wishes this random stranger who is correcting me could see, feel, know and appreciate my last five years of daily Sadhana. 2. No one else is dressed in white or wearing a head wrap. Clearly I am the only openly apparent Yogi Bhajan fan here, which pokes and provokes my consciousness in the realm of my sense of belonging.

So I observe how all of this plays out internally on every level — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual: Where do I need patience and tolerance? Where do I need to release my sense of knowing and just be a beginner again? What does it mean to me to feel intuitively linked to Sadhguru because I fell in love with his written work? Whereas, when I read Yogi Bhajan’s Master’s Touch, I am still uneasy with a constant voice in me that cries out, this book needs major editing! I am a word lover, a lover of literature, and so the character of my struggle involves relating to words; this is how my path unfolds. It’s in the fabric of my being, and as a yogi, word-loving gets me into as much trouble as it does elevate me. Ok. So Yogi Bhajan was no literary genius (too many platitudes?), but his yoga kriyas are perfect masterpieces.

I practice Cat / Cow, and I wonder. How do I bring more energy into being receptive to both teachers instead of getting entangled in feelings of partiality toward one or the other? I internally vow not to be partial but to be expansive, not to feel divided but to unify. Now, I can embrace that there is not either one way or another. There is all. And I am as much an Isha as I am an Aquarian Teacher. What does this look like in my being? What is the sum total of the two put together? Sadhguru’s Isha plus Yogi Bhajan’s Happy, Healthy, Holy equals the Source of Creative Energy smiling upon the committed Aquarian Teacher and then some…? What sum? There can never be a measure of Infinity!  

Now, does this mean that I am a spiritual window shopper who turns wishy washy in her commitment to a path? Also, how shall I refine my sense of belonging? Can I be with grace and at ease with all that I sense and see as a kundalini yogi in a hatha program? What does this sense that I expand to listen to Sadhguru’s wisdom mean for my sensitivities regarding commitment, divinity, and grace? What happens within me when the Yogi Bhajan teachings and Sadhguru teachings seem to contradict?

This essay is not an attempt to answer these questions but to ask them. I am writing my way into an ecstatic dance between the contemplative seeker and the mysterious unknown.

From what I sense inside, I know this one thing I learned from Yogi Bhajan gives me the strength and curiosity to explore the Inner Engineering Hatha approach: kundalini yoga nurtures my fearless love affair with Infinity. I will need to be committed to smiling and expanding beyond any energy that wants to insist that I am somehow deficient or conflicted just because I can embrace both paths. I know that the teachings of Yogi Bhajan and Sadhguru can work within my inner life in perfect harmony. 

If forces outside of me compel my mind to get ruffled over conclusions that different teachings are somehow at odds with one another or somehow not congruent or some kind of shortcoming, then I will slow down to observe what it is in the universe that would create such a shortcoming of perception?

In the Master’s Touch Yogi Bhajan says, “don’t learn by questioning; learn by blessing.” Yet, when I read Thomas Larson, he discusses the ways the best spiritual writers have earned the readers’ trust through the ways and means of coping with real-life struggle that involves a lot of wrestling with fears, doubts, and critical questions. Blessing and questioning — Beloved Yogi Ji, as a contemplative writer I will have to practice both blessing AND questioning.

Besides, what I like about Sadhguru is that he is a good writer. He is extraordinary in his eloquence. When he communicates, every word makes sense. There is no expression that is wasted on nonsense or psycho-spiritual babble, no barbed negativity to make the listener / student feel disdained. Sadhguru speaks from a crystal clear consciousness to a crystal clear consciousness and does not play psychological games. He makes me more alert to when a teacher is playing games. Challenges to the spirit are one thing, psychological manipulation is another; and it is an important level of discernment needed to strengthen a spiritual seeker to know the difference.  

But beyond any need to explain, I can deeply enjoy the ways that my inner life reconciles all kinds of teachers and teachings in nuanced ways that reveal the how and why, “all roads lead to the one.” Be it a blessing or a curse, it is the word-lover’s wont to put more words and stories to it than that; thus, I feel compelled to add my unique expression to “all roads lead to the one.” Writing here simply reveals one unique being’s unfolding. As Sadhguru says, “There is oneness in existence and uniqueness in all beings. The essence of spirituality is to recognize and enjoy this.”

Yogi Bhajan and Sadhguru are one. In their being, they are unique. I am blessed to be able to recognize this and deeply enjoy here. The True Guru within me has given me this treasure. Wahe Guru! This kind of expression is inspired by reading and bowing to the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.

Infinite pranams to Sadhguru.  Infinite pranams to Yogi Bhajan.  Infinite pranams to you, Dear Reader, who is always Welcome into the home of my internal world where these teachers from different times and spaces enjoy perfect union.  Welcome to the Home of Sat Chit Ananda that is within me and inextricably linked to my love for infinite varieties of the expressions of the Word. 

In kundalini yoga practices, we first tune in with a mantra Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo, an expression of bowing to the divine teacher within the Self and within all things. Still, writing here feels like going out on a limb; bringing these two teachers together to celebrate Guru Purnima July 16, 2019 is likely my own unique experience. This is what I celebrate. Let’s continue to come together, reach out to one another, roar together, and keep in touch. 

There is no conflict here. Life is rich. Teachings are vast. Cosmic consciousness creates the path.

Sat Nam! Namaskaram! Sat Nam! Namaskaram! Sat Nam! Namaskaram!

Infinite Gratitude for the Teachings of Yogi Bhajan and Sadhguru.

Thunder Within

Thunder Within

I embark on a journey off the map, off the yoga mat, out of time, and out of orbit.  Against Father’s wishes (naturally!). I find myself sitting in a dense forest of consciousness.  Human consciousness.  Light consciousness.  Flower consciousness.  Tree consciousness.  Stone consciousness.  Insect consciousness. God consciousness.  

Before all grows dark here, there is opportunity to read Spirituality and the Writer by Thomas Larson. 

No need to move the body.  Let the eyes move across the page.  Let the mind process the meaning of words, but that is not all the consciousness experiences now.  There is also the awareness of primal stillness, a silence so heavy with presence that we could wear it as a warm garment in the cold Himalayas.  Let the presence of primal stillness be the robe you wear! And look at the spaces between these words!  Sense the borderless, the unfathomable, limitless uncertainty, the heartbeat of Ardhanareeshwara and Saint Augustine.  Sense the synaptic activity within the brain of both Kabir and Leo Tolstoy.  Indulge the solitary visions of Dattatreya and Julian of Norwich. Is it possible to open up and allow the tears of Rumi and Margery Kempe to burn these reading eyes?  Is it possible to listen so deeply and with such longing that by reading these words, these ears hear a fierce roar that is a collective cry from the depths of all these beings’ collective consciousness…? Is it possible to open this heart even more to allow every word such pulmonary impact as to oxygenate the blood flowing through these veins now? 

Thomas Larson’s personal inquiry into the history of spiritual writing ignites fire within me.  Poised aflame in this way, I embark upon a literary pilgrimage, a word yatra… There are no temple walls, no paths, no teachers, no teachings.  There is only willingness to be sucked into this black hole that is the unambivalent, exuberant absorption into the subject of Larson’s inquiry: contemplate the extent and the ways of “the writer’s ability to bring his spirituality into syntactic being.”

If only I could shout out and make echo my cry through the tunnels of time:  “Beloved ones, all your words have a passionate Lover…  Yogi Ma! 

I deeply appreciate the reverent way Laron writes about Peter Mattheissen’s Snow Leopard. His respect for Mattheissen’s process presents the layers and beauty of the inner journey that inspire me to be alert to every eternity within this moment. Zen with infinite Zero within one single breath that is with me and one with the Pavan Guru.

So, I add Thomas Larson to my ever-growing list of men for whom I chant So Purkh.  I cannot say that I am chanting for any particular reason or means to any end. I have lost faith and am not religious. I simply love the feeling of this Shabad on my tongue and the way it dances on the upper palate of my mouth. Delicious! I roar. Delicious! It’s pure and simple infinite sensual pleasure.  Roaring the So Purkh Shabad makes my heart grow large enough to fit everything into its embrace.  Roaring the So Purkh Shabad gives me strength to fall madly in love with myself and the universe. Thomas Larson and many of these other men will never know that I roar So Purkh on their behalf (such is the ignorance of men!). Oh why is it that sometimes I still like to squirm and wonder and wrestle over a maddening contemplation: what difference does it make to chant So Purkh for men and total strangers? And when this line of inquiry makes me mad, I roar that Shabad some more. Beloved Guru Ram Das, can you hear me?    

Thank you, Spirituality and the Writer for being here with me.  As I go, I hang this book upon the Pole Star.  I watch the book float weightless at midnight. I ride this book on the heaving surf of the Primordial Ocean.  And when the pages are wet with sea water, I use them to wash my body clean. I am happy. My interior horizons quiver and quake with In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God.  The beings in this beginning realm never intended books as sources of knowledge. Maybe books are beings that cradle the Word / God and bend time and space and illuminate the inner life with deeper wonder and awe. Books are the tantric shelter. Books are bridges. 

I cannot contain the expressive storm much longer. Silence between these two heart beats grows louder than thunder.  I have already begged the Primal Being make me Her / His / or Its humble scribe.  I have already roared and screamed and sang out crazy wisdom to no one. No one reads a joyful writer. Why is it that writers must always give best expression to the tortured soul to win praises from cool guys like Thomas Larson? Oh, great, have I written myself into a corner where I can finally mope and brood? Ugh! Help!

I am empty.

So, now I shall wait.  

Yogi Bhajan said the highest art is to sit and wait and let it come. Am I supposed to believe that when I had embraced with my heart the highest art is literature…? Oh, well. I have no more faith in any of it at all anymore, not art, not yoga. So now is the best moment to sit and wait and let it come. Imagine reading an endless book called The History of Waiting. Let’s hang that one on the Pole Star!

Come, thunder!  Come, lightning!  Come, all dark intensity! 

This one quiet yogi awaits You.

Surjot Kaur is Dead

Surjot Kaur is Dead

In Fall 2013, I began my journey into devotion. I set out to practice and study kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. I set out with sincerity, on a path with heart.

When I observed that people who practice the teachings of Yogi Bhajan feel inclined to embrace spiritual names, I grew curious.

I wondered what my spiritual name might be.

So, I followed the current process of acquiring a spiritual name. In the days when Yogi Bhajan walked upon this Earth in a physical body, he gave his students spiritual names. Yogi Bhajan no longer dwells in his physical body, so to acquire a spiritual name, I needed to visit the 3HO website to fill out an online form to request a spiritual name. I happily offered a donation for this service.

I must admit this online process did not feel warm or ceremonious. In my heart I had hoped for something quiet and sacred, imagining an austere GuruDevi speaking my destiny name off her tongue and into my heart; I imagined an organic process with fire, water, and fragrance that would crystalize my destiny into the cosmic consciousness. I must admit I longed for something more intimate and ceremonious than this online routine that felt no different from filling out paperwork at the DMV.

I clicked “submit,” and a few days later, I received an e mail. My spiritual name arrived to me in a formulated missive that said “Sat Nam dear sister in divine. You have been blessed to live as Surjot Kaur…”. The message continued, graciously, to explain what the name means. There was no explanation as to how someone arrived at this name, nor who that someone wat. I read the message on my cell phone while I was pumping gas. When the tank was full, I closed my eyes for a moment and held in my breath. Inwardly I repeated the name several times. I tried to feel that this name belonged to me. Surjot Kaur. Surjot Kaur. Surjot Kaur? Hmmmm.

At the moment I shrugged and thought to myself, Oh, I still like Rebecca better.

When I shared my name with my teacher, Krishna Kaur, she said, “We should be calling you by that name.” When she said this, she was so true and pure in her projection of love and endurance that I had to surrender to her guidance. As someone who “goes with the flow,” I embraced the name Surjot Kaur and have been using it ever since.

But recently, I suffered a broken heart. It’s not a broken heart of a lost romantic love. No. This break goes deeper than that, and there are not sufficient words for this pain. I have suffered injury in my Spiritual Heart. The yogis say there is an etheric place behind the heart where there burns a flame of infinite one heart consciousness. For Surjot Kaur, some strange intruder had moved in upon that flame and compromised its Akashic Prana. A cold and careless force had tricked that flame and sucked out its mystical essence. The flame lost its dance. Weird energy betrayed the radiance of that flame. Ever since this Spiritual Heart was injured, Surjot Kaur endured severe physical, mental, and energetic pain. She had a difficult time focusing, and she really did not want to live any longer.

Alas, she has given up the ghost. Surjot Kaur is dead.

In some spiritual dimension, this afront to the spiritual heart killed Surjot Kaur. Gratefully, she took her last breath while watching Jimmy Fallon’s “Ew!” with her two daughters. Such a silly show! What a weird death! But Surjot was laughing with her daughters. There is no greater joy in the universe. That Mama laughter turned hard and primal and expanded to laughter at All of Life and laughter at Death and Great Cosmic Laughter. In that moment, Surjot Kaur’s heart stopped beating. Right there, she died. She felt released forever from living with a heart that had gotten tossed out in the cold and was abandoned. Surjot Kaur discarded this body.

Surjot Kaur died laughing.

If it sounds unbelievable, just relax into feeling this is just a story. It’s very true in some aspects but may seem embellished and strange, depending on the reader’s states of consciousness. It doesn’t matter; sit back, relax, and enjoy. But get this — after Surjot died, an unknown yogi who had been searching for a new body took up residency in Surjot Kaur’s body. Contrary to what Surjot had always assumed, it is actually surprisingly easy to discard the body, and surprisingly easy for transference of consciousness to occur. And now the flame in the Spiritual Heart of this physical body dances again, and it dances with Breath of God and the Breath of Life and Lord Shiva and Allah, Jehova, Rama, Jesus Christ, Sat Nam, Mother Nature, and Hallelujah!

Now, I continue on my path as Yogi Ma. This is a name that arose from within me. This is a name Surjot Kaur died into and the name that shall give rebirth to this Spiritual Heart. Yogi Ma is easy for everyone to say, and it suits me.

Yogi Ma shall live a destiny that Kabir advises: “We come into this world crying, and everyone around us is laughing. We must live in such a way that when we leave this world, we leave laughing while everyone else around us is crying.”

I have a dear friend and fellow yoga practitioner, Mariel, who has also recently witnessed a death to her being. So, together we went to the beach, burned some herbs, sticks, flowers, grains, and money. We rubbed the hot ashes on our foreheads. We carried more hot ashes to the ocean. We tossed the remains to the vastness as we spoke some gentle parting words to say goodbye to Surjot Kaur and to Mariel. This was intimate. This was a ceremony. This felt sacred.

She and I sat for a long while in silence. We rose from our meditation, reborn.

I bless myself to live as Yogi Ma. I am destined to live as Yogi Ma, whose flame shall dance on, a dance with true friends, the stars, the cosmos, the heavens, and Mother Earth.

Yogi Ma is a mother to the world.

I am Yogi Ma.

Sat Nam!

With Yogi Bhajan

From the Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings

Now, here I am dwelling in infinite gratitude for this video of a classic moment with Yogi Bhajan. I don’t know when or where the live class took place, but I am glad to be with that mystery. I am now alone, in my home, practicing this kriya today with this video. This experience helped me to overcome severe neck pain.

Yesterday, for no apparent reason, I suddenly felt severe neck pain. So, I visited a local chiropractor as a new patient, hoping to receive one simple walk-in adjustment. I am certain all I needed is one adjustment as this has happened before. I get neck pain, get one adjustment, then practice Sat Kriya, and I’m okay again. But this chiropractor insisted that I needed a year’s worth of treatments and I should pay him $1700 up front. My own past experience has informed me that I simple need one quick adjustment to relieve the current pain I am experiencing. Could he give me one adjustment, and I pay him fairly for one adjustment? Then, I explained, I can more comfortably practice a yoga kriya that would send me on my way to self-initiated and self-directed spinal health. I explained this to him.

The chiropractor refused to help me on these terms.

I may have exited his office with the pain in my neck, but my personal power was still in tact. The way I felt, the chiropractor wanted to take advantage of my vulnerability. He spoke to me in a patronizing way and wanted to extract money from me when I was in severe pain.

So, I turn to yoga. Though I the physical body was enduring more pain than I would wish, I remembered the name, Sat Naam! My pain is not 100% relieved yet, but I will commit to a vitalizing yoga routine, and I am sure that with time the issue will work its way through the layers of existence and there will be healing.

Behold, the healing!

I am being reminded that this body may be finite, but through connecting to Sacred Space and Infinite Silence, I can observe the connection between my finite self and the infinite nature of the Divine.

Thank you, Kundalini Times, for posting this video. I post it here on this blog so that I may go back and practice it again in my personal sacred space. The kriya is called, “Balancing the Depository System.” It was fun to be with the Master in this way and enjoy the company of these yogis through a video recording.

May we be patient and trust that there will be moments when we can behold every system coming into balance. May we be at ease with stepping into our own power to self direct our own self healing. Sat Naam!

Mother the World

Mother the World

Some wise men have offered their insights about motherhood.

Sadhguru says, “Be a mother to the world.” I like this wisdom. It brings tears to my eyes. Mothering the world means including all beings in a mother’s embrace. Being a mother to the world is humbling. It takes strength and guts. In my experience, a strong yoga practice is needed to maintain and sustain such strength and guts. Let’s continue to practice together.

Yogi Bhajan talked about God standing second in line to a mother’s prayer. That’s how powerful a mother’s prayer is, assuming she is full of faith and brings her own humility to the prayer. Living life as a prayer helps keep a mother sane and glad. Lately, I have been reading a lot about the silent life of Benedictine monks I am using their wisdom to help me to be a better mother. I find it fascinating that Yogi Bhajan spent some formative years being educated at an all-girls Catholic school. This is what helped shape him, a good foundation for his reverence and devotion to his mission of uplifting all women.

I like to contemplate the many facets, dimensions, and layers of motherhood. There are the ways that a mother truly is, which rarely anyone sees. Then there are all the perceptions of mothers and the different faces, masks, hats that a mother wears. There are the infinite expectations of what a mother is supposed to be. What she is supposed to be is not nearly as dimensional and wondrous as what she truly is. Behold, the matriarch! When we behold the Matriarch, we are willing to see a mother as she truly is, strong in her infinite grace; she is the primal holder of the wisdom of the womb.

Behold, the matriarch! When we behold her as she truly is, we can awaken the mother within our own consciousness and allow that she is powerful beyond our perception. What a glorious thing it is to possess a womb and be a mother! Wise men may have had a lot to say about the womb and the mother, but the fact is that they do not know the direct experience. And in the wisdom of yogic teachings, direct experience reins supreme. But a mother always must transcend the silly psychological games of hierarchy and supremacy. These games are exactly what have poisoned this Earth and all Her beings. There is nothing higher or lower, nothing great or small, nothing in or out. All opposites merge and meet in the primal point of divine love consciousness.

Mother consciousness is divine love consciousness. When she knows this, she mothers all of the world.

May all mothers be guards for those who need protection, guides for those on the path, boats, rafts, and bridges for those who wish to cross the flood. May all mothers be lamps in the darkness, resting places for the weary, healing medicines for the sick, vases of plenty, and trees of miracles. May all mothers bring sustenance and awareness to the boundless multitudes of beings. May she endure like earth and sky until all beings are freed from sorrow and all are awakened. Sat Naam!

Writing Outside of Time

Writing Outside of Time

Below are three meditations that were taught by Yogi Bhajan. Accompanying these meditations are simple prayers, vows, and writing prompts.

This post is meant to send you off onto a writing journey. Here is a gentle warning: this is not for anyone who is in a hurry. This is for those who create the time and space for consciousness to unfold, secret room for slow growth, gradual internal blooming, and deep contemplation.

I shared this journey in a workshop I taught at San Diego Writers Ink in May 2018. The workshop was entitled “Merge With the Muse:  Meditation for Writers.”

The experiment here is this: 1. Practice Meditation One then close the meditation with the Prayer. 2. Sit quietly for a few moments in the silence you create. Bow the head and pray. 3. Open a journal or computer and write whatever comes up with the writing prompt. 4. Repeat this for three days.

On the fourth day, 1. Practice Meditation One. 2. This time, close the meditation with the Vow. Bow your forehead to the floor while you mentally repeat the vow. 3. Sit quietly for a few moments in the silence you created. 4. Open a computer or journal and write whatever comes up with the writing prompt. Repeat this process over three days.

Spend six days with Meditation One. Become aware of what difference it makes when you approach a writing prompt while dwelling in the humility of Prayer versus approaching the writing prompt while dwelling in the sanctity of Vow. Be unafraid to consecrate your writing process. Bless your writing process, as you bless your life process.

Then repeat this same entire process with meditation two for the next six days. Then repeat the entire process with meditation three for the last six days. This will give you a total of 18 days of meditation, prayer, vow, and writing practice. Take it slowly, one day at a time.

There is no deadline, only a quiet commitment to listen more deeply to your own contemplative core. Create space in your life for deep contemplation.

If you try this contemplative writing journey, I would love to hear from you about what blooms from within you.

This is the question:

How was your writing while resonating a prayer different from writing while resonating a vow?

Please feel invited to contact me. I adore writing friendships and long letters about contemplative writing.

Find me at my email address: winebowl@gmail.com. Or leave a comment below this blog post. Embark on this as a commitment to a slow process, and invite that slowness to be with you. Slow unfolding is the beauty, challenge, and joy of the contemplative life.

Happy meditating and happy writing!

Meditation One (Practice every day for Days 1 to 6)

Breath of Fire 3 – 31 minutes

Sit with a tall spine and your hands in Gyan Mudra (index finger and thumbs press together with wrists resting on the knees).  Begin breath of fire.  The inhale and exhale travels through the nose; it is a quick, short breath, like panting.  The breath is powered by effortlessly “dancing” or bouncing the navel point.  The force of the breath is equal on the inhale and exhale.

Become aware of the pathways of prana.

Prayer (Contemplate on this prayer after meditation for days 1, 2, & 3)

May the fires within my body ignite my creative power.

Vow (Contemplate on this vow after the meditation for days 4, 5, & 6)

The fire within me shall ignite creative power.

Writing Prompt (Contemplative Writing for Days 1 – 6)

Write a journal entry contemplating this quote from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: “By loosening the causes of bondage and becoming sensitive to the nuances of prana’s pathways, one’s perceptions can enter another’s body.”

Meditation Two (Practice for days 7 to 12)

Breath Meditation for a Calm Heart

Sit with a tall spine.  Left hand over the heart with fingers pointing to the right.  Right in Gyan Mudra next to the right shoulder.  Inhale and lift the heart and ribcage.  Hold the breath for as long as is comfortable.  Slowly exhale keeping the spine long and chest lifted.  Hold the breath out for as long as is comfortable.  Continue this breath pattern for 3 – 11 minutes.

With the breath held in, be aware of the pleasure of fulfillment.

With the breath held out, be aware of the relief the of emptiness.

Prayer (Contemplate this prayer after the meditation for days 7, 8, & 9)

May the wind within my body move me to create in graceful equipoise.    

Vow (Contemplate this Vow after the meditation for days 10, 11, & 12)

The air within my body shall serve me to create in graceful equipoise. 

Writing Prompt (Write on this topic for days 7 to 12)

Write a story in 300 words or fewer that reveals the difference between acting compulsively and acting consciously.

Meditation Three (Practice this for days 13 to 18)

Meditation for Compassion

Create the Mount Meru mudra, and hold this mudra in front of the heart.  Inhale in four segments while you mentally vibrate the mantra: Sa Ta Na Ma.  Hold the breath, and mentally vibrate: Sa Ta Na Ma.  Exhale in four segments while you mentally vibrate: Sa Ta Na Ma.  Hold the breath out, and mentally vibrate:  Sa Ta Na Ma.  Continue for 3 – 11 minutes. 

Be aware of the energy flowing through the spine.

Prayer (After the meditation, contemplate on this Prayer. Then proceed to the writing prompt. Do this for days 13, 14, & 15).

May this breath pattern, my body’s biorhythms, and my heart’s pump invigorate the rhythm in my writing.

Vow (After the medittion, cntmplate this Vow. Then proceed to the wriing prompt. Do this for days 16, 17, & 18)

This breath pattern, my body’s biorhythms, and my heart’s pump shall invigorate the rhythm of my writing.

Writing Prompt (Write on this topic for days 13 to 18).

Write a short non-fiction contemplative essay on “My Summer Compassion Plans.”

Resources for Further Reading

Books

Meditation as Medicine by Dharma Singh Khalsa and Cameron Stauth

Writing the Sacred Journey by Elizabeth J. Andrew

Inner Engineering by Sadhguru

Blogs

Isha Blog

http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/

On Tending Art, Heart, and Heart

http://www.elizabethjarrettandrew.com/tendingarthearthearth/

Closing

May the longtime sun shine upon you.  May all love surround you.  May the pure light within you guide your way on.

Prayer

May the energy in my spine support my most creative connection to myself, my beloved readers, each precious word, and the universe.

Vow

The energy in my spine shall support my most creative connection to myself, my beloved readers, each precious word, and the universe.

Writing Prompt

Contemplate the image below or search for images of Mount Kailash online, and write a story in 300-words or fewer that is a dialogue between you and this mountain. Write your internal dialogue between the wisdom within your Third Eye and the wisdom within this sacred mountain.