The meaning of life

I used to say that the meaning of life is to be happy! Yogi Bhajan agrees, in fact he goes on to say that Happiness is a birthright! However he also adds that this is an easy question, a more challenging one would be: “How to be happy?” I interpreted what he said as a reference to the practical steps necessary in order to achieve it. However somehow I felt there was a deeper quest: “What is the actual reason of us being here, the purpose of our presence.  I have just realised why happiness is also the answer to that. A proper light bulb moment! I will try to explain.

Over the years there have been teachings that have resonated with me and have explained some aspects of our existence

  • Jesus showed me compassion and to recognize that the other is my brother;
  • Buddha has taught me that everything is impermanent and therefore attachment to people or things is the cause of all pain and sorrow;
  • Sikhism and the Yogi philosophy kundalini yoga is based on, have opened the door that leads to the realisation that God and me, me and God are one; that is THE ONE having an experience through the confines of my finite self. Rather than feeling detached from creation and the limiting view of being purely its product, the journey is in recognising that THAT ONE is within me and all around me seeing and enjoying its creation all through my own eyes.

As a part of my phycology degree I was taught Piaget theories on child’s development. Describing the first few months of the baby’s development, Piaget affirmed that during that stage the infant has no boundaries. It perceives all as an extension of the self, therefore when he brings something in his mouth, the object is not seen as a separate entity but as part of his body. Equally when he is hungry and food magically appears, the connection that is made is that it happened as a direct consequence of his desire to eat. This stage is defined as egocentric, as everything seems to be a product of the self (paradoxically at this point there is not even awareness of having an Ego). This approach sees the infant as a deluded self, a magician fallen victim of his own tricks. We learned to pity the poor infant, who is on a road of painful discovery. Discovery that will teach him about separation, dependency (as he awaits for an external source to satisfy its needs) and frustration (as he loses control over the terms within which they can be satisfied). The carer, therefore, becomes the bridge and mitigator between the baby’s egocentric world and external “reality”

This to me seem the perfect description of the journey of the soul in this finite realm, a soul that progressively learns to forget that he is divine and because of that start seeking love, nourishment and approval from the external word. This is the moment we witness the migration of God from within to outside of us.

I have always known that there was more to life than just a process to satisfy needs, and although I never doubted the existence of a Divine force, I never digest the idea of a humanised God. One that is watching, one to whom you have to prove that your are worthy of his love, one that will decide over your faith after you leave behind your physical body. Yes, I was told that he does love me, of course! However seen the premises, a sentiment not so easy to believe.

I think I have now come full circle, and can say that the meaning of life for me is realising God within me, recognising my divine nature, experiencing it through me. The WAHE GURU, WAHE JIO! The teacher that moves us from darkness to light, a realisation which brings ecstasy! That is the happiness the true contentment.

The famous Nirvana is a lot more concrete that what I have always thought. Clearly thinking it and saying it alone is not enough but at least I now know where to look!

Now I understand why Jesus said: “forgive them father because they don’t know what they are doing…” It was not because by not believing that he was the son of God, they were denying themselves a place in heaven by his side. It was because by denying Jesus and condemning him to death, they were denying their own divine nature.

Wahe Guru Ji ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji ki Fateh

 

“when you know where you belong,
it does not matter where you are in the world,
when you know where you are from, where your roots are,
when you know what you stand for, know your culture is,
you are enough!” Adeyemi Michael
Advertisements

Meditation to Break the mask

The homework given after the Level 2 Teacher Training in Conscious communication was a 90 day meditation to break the Mask. The Mask, as I have understood, is the manifestation of the imaginary personality – created as a result of the Ego aligning itself with the agenda of our hidden self (a counterfeit self whose existence is based on subconsious dramas and traumas not processed in childhood). This creates a gap between us and the world as it is, a personality split off from our real identity and circumstances. Instead of serving our soul and embracing all part of ourselves we practically live a lie.

I decided to start the meditation in earnest whilst I was still feeling the strong support of the group consciousness. Sadly as the daily routine sets back in, it becomes harder to keep up, hence the importance of having a Sanghat and checking in regularly to peers to support our practice and theirs.

  • Day 1-5 After spending sometime trying to adapt an app designed for interval training, to help me keep count of the segmented breath, I decide to give Jai Sukbhir Singh bespoke audio file a go. He created the track so that one can follow all parts of the meditation without having to count or checking the clock. Once times and counting were sorted I could finally just sink in the meditation. The first thing I noticed were my fingers getting really numb and shaky especially towards the end of the meditation. I also struggled to keep the fingers well spread. I Immediately noticed how the pranayama becomes much easier to perform in the 3rd part of the meditation. I guess the purposeful chanting does open up the lungs!
  • Day 6- 10 My fingers no longer get numb and it has become more comfortable to hold the mudra. However this was short lived as it did not last long. The numbness reappeared in the following days. Upon review of the instructions given in the Kriya I realized that I was probably holding the mudra to stiffly, forcing the fingers to stay open. It says to keep the fingers open in a lotus shape but not to allow them to strain! That was such a relief as too much of my attention had been occupied with my hands.
  • End of 2nd week – The pranayam remains rather challenging, it is really uncomfortable to hold the breath at the maximum lung capacity. I am still experimenting with the optimal inhale ratio, time will tell.
  • 3rd week – Time is flying by! During the week I tried to improve my lung capacity by performing a preparatory exercise to bring flexibility to the lower part of the back where the coccyx, sacrum and 1st vertebra are located. I found this exercise and other invaluable information on the breath in Praana, Praanee, Praanayam by Harijot-Kaur-Khalsa, a book that was suggested by a member of my sanghat. I think it is helping as I have become aware of how this area expands on the inhale providing much valuable room to store the breath. My fingers have started to freeze during the pranayam section and  really get uncomfortable as I get closer to the end of the meditation.
  • 4th week: Not much change during this week. My fingers are still freezing and I have started considering the fact that this meditation is affecting my digestive system. I did not take much notice of it at the beginning since I had just came out of highly detoxifying training week, which meant that I was feeling much lighter and well within myself. However whether this is still a consequence of it or not, I find myself more tuned into when i should be eating and being more choosy about what I ingest. I am geared more towards fresh vegetable and wholesome foods and surprisingly not attracted by sugary foods.
  • 8th week: This week I have noticed getting rather warm at the beginning for the meditation. Other members of my sanghat had pointed out this phenomena in the early days of the meditation but I could not relate to it, until now. The fingers are still getting numb and cold during the second part of the meditation. Yesterday for the first time, I did not struggle so much with the pranayama which was a very nice development. I also caught myself making a decision and immediately disregarding a background doubting thought that I recognised as disrupting. I refused to worry about what is not mine to control e.i others happiness. I am also noticing my growing discomfort around gossip and the will of not part-taking even as a passive spectator.  I feel the need to actively distance myself from such situations.

To be continued….

Spiritual journey 3.0 – Rebellion

Sat Nam,

it interesting to see how as the time that has elapses between posts increases, so does the amount of garbage that I find myself processing. There is less to say, not because there is not enough happening but because of the subtlety of what is being processed. I like to think of it has moving from a basic block colour to its different shades. Therefore it often feels like swimming under the same murky water and to come out every so often to see that there is a blue sky after all.

For those of you that I have been following my posts you will know that following the rules and being able to do things “properly” in everything I do, has always been very important to me, even more so since I became a kundalini Yoga teacher. However following the yogi life style has proven to be rather hard to pursue and therefore has became challenging. Challenges can trigger in us unresolved conflicts. So what has started with a simple struggle to get out of bed and practice yoga in the “twilight zone” (between 4-7 o’clock in the morning), has turned into a major existential crisis.

I have found myself reflecting and analysing why I had become so hanged up on this aspect of my discipline and came to the realisation that I was using my practice as a validation, judging myself on how well or bad I was doing. Instead of allowing the tools offered by the kundalini yoga tradition to fulfil my destiny, I was using them to remain stuck into the wheel of my personal karma.

I then decided that I needed a reset, put aside the rules for a while and concentrate more instead on choosing to do what is serving my soul rather than going through the motion. I am trying to practice a mantra that I have been hearing a lot in the past few months: “self love,” which also involves self forgiveness and self acceptance. Spending the effort in learning to like me rather then be liked. It is an approach that has its merits but also requires extreme awareness, as it could be a sliding slope back into the Karmic habit cycle (I have experienced how quickly self love turns into self indulgence).

So, after allowing myself to catch up on some sleep and missing a day of practice here and there for several weeks, I am now ready to refine the terms of my practice. I have experienced that despite the fact that obeying is triggering  it is important to have guidelines to implement new habits that serve our soul. I know this might sounds like a contraction, but it is complicated: it seems easier to obey the rules dictated by the hidden self, rather than those which serve our soul.  It is a bit like giving up an addiction without a plan or overcoming an illness without adequate treatment. Of course it is doable but you will agree that it would be much harder and requires tremendous willpower!

The level 2 Kundalini Yoga Teaching training in Conscious communication has giving me an excellent opportunity to reset and set my renewed intentions towards my core. At the same time the 90 days meditation homework is providing the perfect opportunity to turn up for Sadhana and keep up!

 

 

Level 2 Kundalini Yoga TT module in Conscious Communication and the Power of Prayer

img_8608.jpg

Sat Nam,

I have returned few days ago from a residential Kundalini Yoga Level 2 Teacher training in Conscious Communication with ik Saran Dhian. The level 2 modules are a wonderful way to deepen our understanding of Yogi Philosophy as taught by Yogi Bhajan. They are called transformational courses as they will “take all that you have learned before and polish it, and let you apply it. it is a a time to clear inner conflicts, along with any mental emotional blocks that might inhibit your full linkage to the Golden Chain and to the radiance and responsibility that comes with being an adept teacher” (from the L2 manual.)

The focus is no longer on becoming a teacher and simply acquire knowledge, but working on allowing the change within us to take place through humility, vitality and courage. In the words of Yogi Bhajan: “learning is painful, as difficult and as tragic as tragedy can be. Learning is training the subjective to read the objective.”

My yearn to find my true self allows me to cope with the emotions that this kind of courses tend to stir. It was a great week, I met 12 wonderful souls and shared with them 6 intense days. I left deeply shaken by our last morning session. We talked about the power of prayer, we recited our own prayers, we expressed our gratitude to the divine as we recognised gazing in each others eyes. As I said my goodbyes and caught my train home I knew something big had shifted and I am still getting rather emotional everytime I think about it. In those moment I had the realisation that for all my life as I was blaming people and circumstances for my suffering, I was also denying myself the experience of God and with it my own essence. It might not make much rational sense but I know it as a truth.

This is also the reason why this lecture of Yogi Bhajan resonate so much with me, and explain the longing I carried with me for all this years, a longing I could never satisfy as i kept looking in the wrong place. The answer was right here within me, the self that I kept sabotaging, the self I was ashamed of and was never enough. The self I could really only appreciated with a renewed relationship with the Divine.

Expert from a Yogi Bhajan lecture – 15/1/1989 (full lecture Soul mate)
“Maya lives as God lives, but the intention and the intuition given to a man is to see through that shadow the reality. It is very amazing how the darkness is dark and you are asked to see through darkness the light and that is the final test of the soul.  Now I realised today that people are lonely, they are lonely because they don’t have a relationship, there is a yearning for a relationship… this longing comes in us naturally, i was looking deeper into myself for where this longing comes from, why do people want to mate? If is a natural performance, a natural guidance and natural thing, then why is it that everywhere is said: this is right and this is wrong, why can’t we be free, mate whenever we want just like animals do? Actually is very funny, this mating call comes from the soul, soul feels lonely about God, Soul has a friend called mind, Soul asks the mind: ‘bring my lover to me, bring my mate to me.’ The mind who has not got Guru Shabd , offers alternating ways, it could be your woman or a man or could be something to do. Some people are compulsive buyers.. there is a compulsive factor in you. So the mind sets a pattern and it initiate that same pattern again and again, some people who cannot handle themselves take drugs, some people get into sexual trips, some people go into perverted trips, a lot of people do a lot of things. The source of all trouble is the same: The call of the soul for mating.
That’s why when soul wanted to depart from God, soul asked God, I shall be going from you, I do not know when I shall come back and merge in thee. That’s not fair, I am a part of you. I am a part of your infinite reality. You are putting me in the ribcage, in the bonds of the five tattvas. You are giving me seven chakras, not the ultimate chakra, aura will be around me, it will not be me. At that moment God gave soul, the mind, and gave mind the intellect. Intellect is not with animals…the intellect plans its hunting. It never plans its serving.
“I was wondering why Guru Gobind Singh made Siri Guru Granth as Guru. It gave shabad, if the mind will catch up shabad, and at that moment when you feel lonely in the very base bone of you the yearning, the urge, the longing comes from your soul, do you want to satisfy it with a maya, or do you want to satisfy with the Guru shabad, that is the decisive factor in life, that you have to decide, nobody else can decide it for you.”

 

I had scraped the surface of this issue at the end of the level one teachers training, when I found myself sobbing at the dinner table, listening to the story of Guru Angad Dev ji, a story of longing. Bhai Lehna found it hard to live without the sight of his Guru, his absolute devotion and total surrender touched Guru Nanak so deeply that he choose him as his successor him over his own children. He called him Angad which means limb, Bhai Lehna had interwoven his life to that of his Guru, embodying his teaching, to the point that in Guru’s Nanak’s eyes he had become an extension of himself.

That is what it means to merge with the Divine. To stop seeking what we miss outside of ourselves and learn to bow to the divine within through the power of prayer, that core that plug us directly to the infinite. Then we can be ready to receive whatever comes without judgment, as we see it as all expression of the one.

So that is the theory, the test is in the practice. Have I opened my heart enough to accept and  bow to the divine in me? Time will tell, but I have all the tools to make it happen. Sometimes it is just enough to turn up for a daily sadhana.

My deepest gratitude goes to my teachers who are helping me in this journey and keep stimulating in me the courage to be 🙂

 

 

synchronicities

Sunday I held my second Aquarian Sadhana, and I am very proud of myself for doing so. It took a lot of courage to make the first step a month ago, and knowing my tendency to stay in my comfort zone, I promise myself to not let my fears and insecurities take over and just keep the momentum going. We had a wonderful time and despite the lack of sleep the energy we harnest from the session kept me going for the whole day. I spend the day in pure contentment.

The next morning it dawned on me that I had forgotten to do my Meditation to command the 5 Tattvas.  I cannot quite describe how I felt: perhaps stunned and powerless. I could not believe how could I have just forgotten something I had been doing for the past 82 days. I am not going to lie, it was not the best feeling  and there were few questions that kept buzzing in my mind: Was it a waste of time? Would I have still benefited from the the effect of the meditation? Should I start it all over again? However there was a good news: I did not feel a failure, and trust me from a perfectionist like me it was a big deal. I did not beat myself up, I really accepted the fact that: “It is what it is”, that I will carry on until day 90 and will not start from the top, that this is a journey whose reward is undefined and its end cannot be declared after the collection of a number of coupons or the completion of specific tasks.

You are probably wondering by now, what has all this got to do with synchronicities? I have become a strong believer in the fact that things don’t come to us by accident. I have noticed that when the time is right a specific message start to be relayed to us by different media and and various ways, almost as a form of reinforcement. It is the divine finding a way to be heard and guide us on our journey. For instance:

  • I have been discussing the need to drop “my story” in the contest of a spiritual development with a dear yogini, just few days ago. This is particularly relevant to me because one of “my stories” is that I am simply not good enough, which this particular incident easily trigged. It almost felt as a test to nudge me, as if to say: what are you going to do now ah? Feel sorry for yourself? It forced me to look beyond the meditation and made me reassess my priorities.
  • Couple of days ago I also came across this short video about how much practice should be done in order to achieve a spiritual enlightenment. Although it is very specific of the Sikh path, its main message can be applied to any field. Shanti Kaur Khalsa stressed the fact that during our daily practice the emphasis should not be placed so much in whether we are doing all we are “supposed” to do,  but on whether we are doing it consciously and bringing to it the right energy, devotion and presence to sustained it. Therefore be it 10 minutes or various hours, do it with complete focus. This does not mean that we should stop practicing if we don’t feel inspired , a dharmic habit is always better that a karmic one but we have to learn to bring ourselves in the practice wholeheartedly.
  • Today I saw the latest video published by Everyday masters a youtube channel I follow and the message therein presented was very similar to the one above: be present. You can be as prepared as you can for whatever task you are about to embark on,  but if you do not shut your mind and have full trust in yourself at that particular point in time, you will not be able to allow the endless possibilities ahead to be available to you and allow the magic to happen in your life. In other word just “Be in the zone” and let the power of your higher self flow.

Reflecting on this aspects have made me realised the real impact that the various rule and regulations – that I have subconsciously set up for myself – are having on my everyday life. I have started to notice just how much monitored and measured each action is. How much I am not allowing myself just to be, allowing what needs to flow to come through. There is so much self judgment in every little action, even in making a cup of tea. I said to myself: “where is the freedom in this?” What I really found amazing and that made the penny drop is that I have always thought that this is just the way it had to be, as if it was outside of my control. Of course it is true that we are the results of our experiences, education and social conditioning that makes us who we are, however nothing is set in stone, ultimately it all comes down to choices. I guess that the choices which are going to ultimately serve our soul are those we are able to make when we bringing ourselves to the neutral mind and the state of shunya (deep listening).

 

In every moment, the Universe is whispering to you. You’re constantly surrounded by signs, coincidences, and synchronicities , all aimed at propelling you in the direction of your destiny. (Denise Linn)

Aap sahaaee hoaa – Meditation to command the 5 Tattvas

red-onion-1322593-1280x960

“This mantra meditation from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib is a gift to you that will let you penetrate into the unknown without fear. It will give you protection and mental balance.

Aap sahaaee hoaa
Sachay daa sachaa doaa
Har, har, har

The Lord Himself has become our protector, the Truest of the True has taken care of us. God, God, God.”

Excerpt From: Yogi Bhajan, PhD; Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, PhD. “The Mind: Its Projections and Multiple Facets.”

I naturally fell into this meditation after completing the Meditation for the Master projection of the mind, contained in the same book. I can honestly say that this meditation called my soul. Yogi Bhajan’s instructions call for a 62 min, I choose a more achievable goal of 31min.

I am now on day 44. I have noticed how far in between this posts have become since a very prolific start of recording my spiritual journey. I guess the more I delve into my subconscious the more subtle the changes. It is almost as if nothing is happening and sometimes I get the feeling that in some ways I am actually going backwards on my ‘progress’ towards full acceptance of my finite self and acknowledgment of being an integral part of the infinite consciousness.

The more obvious experience of this meditation has been the incredible amount of ‘energy” generated around my hand as I am holding them in Gyan mudra. The tingling, heating sensation carries on creeping up my arms and even my face and head, as time elapses. I often end the meditation completely enveloped in this etheric shield. It is rather weird to describe but I have to say that this has been a consistent feature of each meditation session, even thought with variable intensity, from the very beginning.

I am not sure how much of this experience has been influenced by my very recent introduction to Reconnective healing  by youtube videos of Everyday Masters  and reading Dr Pearl book on the subject. Then again, as I keep repeating, there is no such a thing as coincidence. Dr Pearl talks about bringing in this ‘energy’ – a terminology that he does not particularly like to use as too limiting and extensively used to describe a wide range of phenomena – which is connecting us to the universal consciousness and providing us with the inner knowledge that will guide our soul journey.

My intent was to just complete 40 days of the Meditation to command the 5 tattvas, but as surpassed this time, I realized that I am not ready to move on yet, so I am taking it to 90 days if not 120, we shall see.

 

 

 

Amrit Vela

When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off. 

This is what the 4th Sutra of the Aquarian Age says. if you have read my previous post you will know that waking up during the Amrit Vela for my daily practice has been a big challenge of mine.

However Monday I decided to stop stalling and just go for it, so when the alarm went off at 5am, I just got up and headed to the bathroom to have my cold shower. I was sat on my mat by 5:30 ready to start the recitation of Japji Sahib. I then proceed to practice a kriya, followed by my current 40 day meditation: ‘Synchronization of the MASTER PROJECTION’ from “The Mind: Its Projections and Multiple Facets” by Yogi Bhajan, PhD; Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, PhD. Two hours late I was done and feeling so energized! The same sensation I get on a friday morning when I get up at 4:00 to join my sanghat virtually for our weekly Sadhana. The group consciousness carries me for the whole day, regardless of how busy I am. So how many more proofs does one need to see before realising that something truly magical happens during those early hours of the morning?

Tuesday, the alarm went off and I made my way to the toilet, mainly because I needed to. I am sitting on the toilet pretty much with my eyes shut, ready to resume sleep asap. My mind is saying:”go back to bed, this is silly, you are too tired!” Another side of me is trying to bring forth a more rational approach thinking: “you are already up and much closer to the shower than to your bed.” Then I remembered Yogi Bhajan’s lecture on this subject and in particular when he said: “the mind is given to you as a servant not a master”, we need to use it to achieve our destiny not to be slave of our habits and the never ending cycle of Karma. So I headed for the shower 🙂

Well, that was 72 days ago and thing went pear shaped since. This does not mean that I forfeited my Sadhana but simply that it did not happen at the desired time. I did renew my intention to have more courage in the new year, and I have to say the start had been promising, until today.

This morning I got up at 9:00 and the irony of it all is that I did not even enjoy sleeping as I snoozed every 8 min for 3 hours! I tried to curb my disappointment, reminding myself not to be too hard on myself, but deep down I cannot find a good enough reason to show compassion. I hear what you thinking: that I should not need a reason to be compassionate, but I am not at that stage yet.

During one of the many interesting conversation I have with Manav, she asked a very good question. What need has to be met, that is putting so much pressure to practice my sadhana during the Amrit Vela – ambrosial hours, between 4 and 7am? It is not and easy question to answer but instinctively I will say because the Master said to be the most effective time to do it. A bit like a bitter medicine, it is still good for you.

Today whilst I was looking up the meaning of a Spiritual teacher, I came across this quotes from Yogi Bhajan:

“There has to be in one’s life a person or a commitment, or a thought, or a self discipline, where you can stop. You can buy the best car in the world, but if it doesn’t have brakes, you cannot ride in it.”

“The teacher does not control you, or try to please you. He guides you, confronts and elevates you. You have to rebuilt yourself. You must leave your subconscious garbage behind. Consciously work it out, rebuilt it, and transform it, so you can enjoy the higher consciousness which is the Guru’s way.”

“Any meditation done in the state of unisonness at that time (Amrit Vela) gives us a clear tomorrow and erases the cause of sorrow thich we seed through our thoughts. Through meditation we stand redeemed ”

” The Balance we achieve will in the end account for our exit from the planet and for our merger with God or our next incarnation.”

I want to erase the slate clean and If my Teacher, the channel between now and infinity, is showing me that this is the way, so be it.

Wahe Guru Ji ka khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji ki fateh!