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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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)
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.
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.”
MeditationTwo (Practice for days 7 to 12)
Meditation for a Calm Heart
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
Vow (Contemplate this Vow after the meditation for days 10, 11, & 12)
The air within my body shall serve me to create in graceful
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)
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.
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
Resources for Further Reading
Meditation as Medicine by Dharma Singh Khalsa and Cameron Stauth
the longtime sun shine upon you. May all
love surround you. May the pure light
within you guide your way on.
May the energy in my spine support my most creative connection to myself, my beloved readers, each precious word, and the universe.
The energy in my spine shall support my most creative connection to myself, my beloved readers, each precious word, and the universe.
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.
A poet whom I had not heard of before a month ago has entered into my awareness, and I write this post to honor the significance of my encounter with his work.
The poet’s name is Pádraig Ó Tuama.
In the beginning of March, I received an e mail from “Poem-a-Day,” an e mail list I subscribe to. I subscribe to so many lists that I quickly glance at message subject lines and am very selective about taking time to open a message. But on this day, the subject line “Makebelieve” intrigued me enough to click open the e mail message that contained Pádraig Ó Tuama’s poem, “Makebelieve.” One click is all…
One never knows where as small a gesture as clicking open an e mail message may lead, especially when that message contains a poem with these opening lines: “And on the first day / god made / something up.”
Now, receiving these words delighted me. Fun! To perceive the entire creation can be, quite possibly, one exuberant jazz improvisation! It is great fun to make something up. You go, god! It’s playful! In my own experience, playfulness is the closest I come to divinity. So, yes, I’m in, here we go, let’s play!
In the spirit of improvisation, I encounter this poem, wondering what I can make up here. Suppose this is a first day because, really, it must be a first day of something somewhere for someone. Today is Day One of “Makebelieve.”
Yogi Bhajan taught a meditation that repeats the mantra, “God and Me. Me and God are One.” Repetition of such words primes consciousness to realize Self, God and Creation are one great, shimmering, spinning thrum of spontaneity. With such awareness, the Self may encounter “Makebelieve” as inspiring a creation.
Hello to the flow of possibility!
“Makebelieve” enters my consciousness and begins its elfin dance in my world.
I inhale the entire poem deeply. Let open my cells, nerves, muscles, organs, glands. May I embrace the poem’s vibration within my body. Even the space between each word in the poem enters into my tissues, cells, and nerves. Let words of “Makebelieve” resonate throughout my 72,000 nadis and add to the gospel according to Ida, Pingala, and Sushmana!
And on the first day
Then everything came along:
seconds, sex and
beasts and breaths and rabies;
hunger and healings,
lust and lust’s rejections;
swarming things that swarm
inside the dirt;
girth and grind
and grit and shit and all shit’s
rings inside the treetrunk
and branches broken by the snow;
pig’s hearts and stars,
mystery, suspense and stingrays;
and interests and death;
with all our viruses, laments and
all our songs and made-up stories;
and our songs about the stories
and all that we’ve forgotten we’ve
and to hold it all together god made
and those rhyming seasons
that display decay.
Pádraig Ó Tuama
Read it again over long moments and visualize welcoming this poem into my pineal gland, and inviting the pineal gland to secrete its Nectar of Mystic Pleasure.
I read the poem over and over aloud and then in a whisper and then silently. I inhale and suspend the breath inside while I silently repeat the poem.
Then I exhale and suspend the breath out while I silently repeat the poem.
Filling and emptying myself with poem and with breath in this way I can amuse / observe myself for hours. I combine a simple, ancient yogic breathing pattern with deeply experiencing this one good contemporary poem. And guess what, Mister Pádraig Ó Tuama? I am meditating with your poem, and breathing consciously all while sitting in my yogi cave! And after regarding your work, sir, I do know how you feel about caves. Hello to the Cave between my eyebrows! Welcome in! You, sir, have nothing to fear in this yogi cave as you are welcomed here with great reverence. Friend, you are known in here as
The Lord of the Rings Inside Tree Trunks!
Not that you created the rings inside tree trunks, but you created my fresh-colored awareness of them. Before I read your poem, the rings inside tree trunks were brown. After reading your poem, for me, the rings inside tree trunks are brown tinged with gold.
Let’s just sit here the day long and breathe this poem. Let every word and thought be intimately entwined with breath awareness. Any poem worth reading demands The Slowed-Breath Reading. Elongate the moments of the poem; take it word by word with lots of pause and be aware of the eye’s movements: ask, over which words or spaces do my lids close then open, close then open? What unseen dust do my lashes flit off? What of the play of light the words toss inside these eyes? When I happen upon a word or groups of words I adore, am I open to regarding their effect inside my body as miraculous as, say, news of the birth of our world’s beloved Savior?
Can breathing and being with this one poem align me up for longed-for, deep-connection encounters with my fellow word-lovers who delight in the wordly realm of divine play?
I seek and find a travel companion in this complete stranger, this Gay Irish Catholic poet named Pádraig, who knows nothing whatsoever of my own queer existence. Now, a shadow of me may lurk in his subconscious mind somewhere as “the reader,” but the way his writing resonates with me, I would have to insist I know him too well. I want to proclaim I am his Brother.
Now, I know I can be perceived to be wearing a woman’s body. But the hug I imagine giving my Brother to thank him for his writings, the heart hug I imagine giving him, is a hug that I give him with a man’s arms, with a man’s heart, with a generous amount of gratitude and admiration transferred through all my man-muscles squeezing. And when we regularly squeeze tension into our muscles and then release, we learn how to let go of tension. Hug often. Squeeze often. Let go often.
But now back to “Poem-a-Day.” This daily e mail offers so much more in one e mail message than one poem per day.
Now I choose to create infinite amounts of time, leisure, open hours, quiet light that urges me to listen to the voice of my soul that says, yes, explore here! Though I have a list of “things to do,” I am choosing to listen to my soul and take a heartfelt dive into this here rich library of resources before me offered by Poetry.org. What truth does this tell about my relationship to my “to do” list?
This e mail message relays all sorts of things that relate to the poem, “Makebelieve.” Welcome all this now to relate to all of me. Let me dwell and draw out this moment when my first encounter with this poem, this poet, this stranger exudes its power. The power of this Stranger is that he piques my curiosity, invites me into a fresh realm of the contemplative journey, a new mystery, and fabulous play. Over the month of March, I have been submersing myself in his writing, and my encounter with this writer is guiding me on a lyrical pilgrimage.
He is returning me, after a long time exploring a variety of sacred texts and bowing to the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, his work is returning me to explore love for the The Holy Bible.
The “Makebelieve” poem comes with a list of titles by the author, plus any links to further resources. In the first encounter, I learned a bit of biographical information about Pádraig Ó Tuama. Here is his insight that instantly invited my joyful participation.
“When it comes to ‘Freedom of Religion’, much attention is given to the words freedom and religion. However, the of is also worthy of mention. Religion is free; it is free to query, to make meaning, to break things, to make things up. Religion is—or should be—free to change too, or to wrap itself around the delight and devastation of the human condition. Religion does not only provide a storypoem about the earth’s creation, it also provides a form by which we can create, and recreate, break and makebelieve. We are made of humus, the old texts tell us—we are also made of rot and time; danger and demand. In the beginning was a…what? You tell me.”
Pádraig Ó Tuama
In this beginning right now is longing for friendship. So, I continue to be here. I learn he wrote a book of poems called Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community. Reading a bit further, I learn that The Corrymeela Community is Ireland’s oldest reconciliation community. An easy click on the content below that leads me to the Corrymeela Community homepage.
In the “About Us” page, I read that the Corrymeela Community is a people of “prayers, conversation, curiosity, and questioning.” Instantly, I think, Yes, I adore these people! This is my kind of community. How I long to retreat to such a place where people are devoted to sitting fireside together, drinking cups of tea and engaging in deep, honest conversations about difficult subjects.
How I long to spend every Spring season reading poetry, meditating, practicing yoga kriya, and praying my radiant heart out. Then wouldn’t it be nice to sit down with any person, idea, or state of being that has hurt or helped me and engage in a good, long, difficult talk?
Hello to the distance between us.
Hello to closing that distance with sharing contemplative writing.
Instantly, I ordered my own copy of Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community. When it arrived to my home in California several days later, I read it over and over. And to dive into the details of how my physical, mental, emotional, energetic, and etheric bodies encounter these quiet poems will take so much longer than this blog post. So now all that and all I wish to contemplate and write while slowly reading through his book In the Shelter is filling page after page of my quiet notebooks.
Hello to pure contentment.
Hello to my solitary cloister.
I like to contemplate the different ways we sit with the body when we are in prayer; more specifically, I wonder at the various ways we place the hands to pray. Friend, when you pray, do you fold your hands in what yogis refer to as a Venus lock, with the fingers interlaced and finger tips resting on the back of the hands; or do you press your palms together with the fingers aligned upright pointing each skyward, palm flat against palm, and pressing with a bit of pressure between the palms? Do you pray with the forehead kissing the Earth? What gesture do you use to express that your head serves your heart? What ways do you proclaim to the cosmos your sense of humility and awe in the presence of the divine? Perhaps you find comfort in returning to the curled position humans assume in the womb, all curled up, you pray? In what position do you pray? I wonder: How did Jesus hold his hands and his body, privately, while he was making his most private, inward, anguished prayer? What did Jesus feel within his spine? What word did he use to describe the sensations within his Brahmarandhra?
I love to imagine myself present while the Corrymeela Community prays. I image myself engaging in conversations, arguments, question and answer sessions with everyday people who have endured great suffering and conflict. Let me pour you a cup of tea. Let us bow our heads. Let us pray. Let us breathe. Though I am far away and a complete stranger, please feel me close to you. Feel a friend near, a yogi with a big, generous heart. Please welcome me as one who longs to hear your stories of all that troubles you and all that comforts you.
Here is what I admire about the Corrymeela Community: they sincerely work “to be engaged with the world at its points of fracture, faith and potential.” This resonates with me as a kundalini yogi because Kundalini is defined as “the creative potential within a being.” Potential is always beloved of yogis and this potential blooms from within.
Sadhguru says it like this:
If you know how to be equanimous and exuberant at the same time, there will be no fear. Whatever situation you may face, life will always be beautiful. Once there is exuberance and equanimity in you, your destiny will not be ruled by what happens around you, but only by what happens within you.
I am full of exuberance about this poet I have met through the written word. In my mind and heart I behold his writing…slowly. Perhaps it seems that circumstances prohibit me from physically visiting the Corrymeela Community at this time, other than through my online journey. But as a yogi, I intend to project my subtle body, my intention, and my prayers, which know no bounds. I practice yogic art of subtle transmission to pay my visit to Corrymeela Community. Dear Friends, I am listening.
Here is how I intend to be present and celebrate and be with this community:
I dedicate my own 40 days of kundalini yoga practice of Creative Energy Kriya and the Meditation for Word Power to the Corrymeela Community in “[The] North[ern] [of] Ireland.” Throughout these 40 days, may whatever shifts I observe in my body, my thoughts, my energy, and my consciousness be a dedication to all beings who encounter fracture, faith, and potential. May we engage in these encounters with sensitivity, awareness, listening, and longing for peace. May this practice resonate loving solidarity with those who pray from a place of witness, from a place of humility, from a place of feeling the touch of God’s grace within the depths of human longing.
I repeat: one never knows where as small a gesture as clicking open an e mail may lead. Embracing this mystery compels me to wonder at and imagine the ripples, ramifications and consequences of my larger gestures, the great actions I embark upon throughout the day. What will my hands touch? Where will these feet take me? What words will this tongue speak and what impact will all of that movement have, if any? Would it be better or worse if I keep quiet and be still?
So, to close, I shall bow–forehead smooching dirt–to that singular moment when I clicked open that “Poem-a-Day” message. I bow again to the flow that carried me with my own curiosity through the caves within the land of “Makebelieve.” And I bow to every small gesture that guided the poet, Pádraig Ó Tuama, to complete and share his poem “Makebelieve.” I bow to everyone who reads the poem and encounters it with their full consciousness. As this will keep me bowing for quite some time, I surrender some part of my Self to dwell in an inward repetition of Infinite Pranams.
Here is a prayer: May this forty-day Sadhana be a journey into deeper awareness of how creative energy works and what we do now, and can do, with creative energy. May there be realization of heart-to-heart connection. And though each personal “here and now” may seem distant, different, dissonant, or distinct from one another, may we perceive at the heart a brotherhood of glory and a brotherhood of grace. May we come to appreciate the ways in which we are co-creators of peace, conscious repeaters of hurts and reconciliations, and quiet strugglers with internal conflict in a universe of ever-shifting bounds and seasons. May I feel the courage to ask: Is there room enough at your table, you who explore the “Spirituality of Conflict,” to be open to a dialogue with one who wants to learn more about you as she also studies the very-softly-whispering gospels according to Ida, Pingala and Shushmana (the three subtle energy channels that run on the left, right and middle of the human spine that are most important to ancient yogis)?
May every inhale gift a poem; may every exhale give a prayer.