I have received many gifts in my lifetime. Sweaters, coats, jewelry, even a car! Yes, I actually got a car for my 30th birthday. These gifts were all great to receive. But the pleasure didn’t truly last. I wore the clothes and the watches; I drove the car, but those gifts just didn’t bring lasting joy. Recently, I received a gift that resonates through every cell and fiber of my being. It is with me every second of the day, every day.
The gift is not a material thing. I can’t look at it. I can’t wear it, and I can’t drive it. Instead, I live it. It is who I am now.
I undertook a journey three years ago that led me to an “aha" moment. Three years ago, I started my Kundalini Yoga practice. This tradition has changed me in so many ways. I have gotten so much inspiration from the many teachers I have been fortunate to meet and study with.
When I decided to become a teacher, I knew in my gut that it was the right thing to do at that moment of my journey. Little did I know how much it would change me.
For my entire life leading up to my first exposure to Kundalini Yoga, I was someone very different from who I am now. I was a husband, a father, a business person and most important, a people pleaser. There is nothing wrong with filling any of those roles. But over the years, I lost my true self. I lost my Sat Nam.
Many people who come to Montclair Kundalini Yoga know about my passion for the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. For those of you who haven’t read the book, the principles it's based on are:
Much like Kundalini Yoga, the Four Agreements teaches that we can lose our true selves. We are "domesticated" by our parents, our teachers, our coaches and our business associates. We live a life by doing what we think is expected of us. We don’t trust our own intuition. The book and Kundalini yoga both teach us how to get back to who we really are. The book saved my life and started me on this path of trying to become my real self again.
So here is the real gift: “ I am what I am, and that’s alright.”
To explain, Kundalini yoga has taught me to live from my heart. To be my true self. It took my almost three years of practice and teaching, but this week I finally understood it and, more importantly, I started to live it. I feel so good about who I am now! I am still a husband, a father, a business person, but I am no longer a people pleaser. I live now in integrity with my truth not trying to meet external expectations. I am finally living my true self, my Sat Nam, and it feels better than any material thing.
I listened to this recording of the song, "I Am What I Am" by Aykanna and all of it came together.
Yogi Bhajan says "You owe it to yourself to be yourself." He also says, "Make yourself so happy so that when others look at you they become happy too." Pretty good stuff.
The practice of Kundalini Yoga is so powerful that it can change the world one person at a time.
Some people in my life don’t get it and think what I do is a little crazy. You know what? I don’t care! (Second agreement. Don’t take anything personally.)
So I live my life now knowing I am the essence of truth. I am who I am, and that’s alright.
It is an understatement to say that Andy is very excited to begin his Kundalini Yoga teaching career at Montclair Kundalini Yoga. His journey toward becoming a spiritual teacher began with the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz which offers a philosophical framework for living. The book literally saved his life and brought him joy and happiness. Soon after finding this book, he discovered Kundalini Yoga. He was instantly hooked and began studying and deepening his practice with the guidance of Cate and Savitri at Montclair Kundalini Yoga. Andy likes to say, "When I finished The Four Agreements, the light came back into my life. When I found Kundalini, that light went to technicolor." Andy recently graduated from 200 hour teacher training with Hari Kaur and Dharma Devi. His love of this practice and life is very deep and evident in his presence at the studio. Always learning from the master, Andy posts daily quotes from Yogi Bhajan on the Facebook group he manages, Friends Who Like Montclair Kundalini Yoga. Join him on Monday nights for a FREE Meditation Class, Meditation Mondays and on Thursday nights for Kundalini Yoga & Meditation.
Our minds may reflect the chaos of our world. We may fall under the spell of chaos, seduced by endless threads of thought, endless dramas, endless worries. We must break this spell. This state of distraction can prevent us from seeing the right way forward, from living our Truth.
WE CAN BREAK THE SPELL. There is a simple, beautiful, and easy meditation that is the antidote to a mind going every which way but Truth. It's called Seven Wave Sat Nam Meditation. In this meditation, you pulse a mantra through the chakras and in so doing weave it through your consciousness. The mantra is Sat Nam, the seed (or bij) mantra of Kundalini Yoga, which means Truth is my identity. According to the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, each of us innately has the divine spark of Truth and within that spark is the potential for a fully authentic and magnificent life.
As I see it, the meditation both reinforces that you are truth as it also cleanses you of all that is not Truth. How does it do that? Your focus is Sat Nam. And it's more than just focusing on the sound. You're vibrating it in a very specific way that requires all your concentration (as you'll see below). So the other stuff -- dramas, worries, falsehoods -- recede to the background. At the same time, the vibration of the ancient sound moves through your consciousness, cleansing all the background noise that doesn't match the resonance of Sat Nam. According to 3ho.org, if you can practice the meditation for 31 minutes, "...the mind will be cleansed just as the ocean waves wash the sandy beach."
To do Seven Wave Sat Nam Meditation, follow the instructions below. It is very helpful to use this recording by Madhuir Nain-Webster on her album Meditation Collection.
Here's what Yogi Bhajan said about the cycle of the mantra -- six beats for Sat and one beat for Nam.
"You have seen the law of tides. The tide takes six coils, on the seventh coil it goes up and then it strikes and cleanses the shore, and goes back. This is the law of tides. If the vibrations can be created by the bij mantra, it will cleanse the body of negativity and the remainder will be positivity and that is a divine light."
A divine light. A divine light within.
This morning the quote attached to my tea bag was from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." Such a beautiful awareness! The seed for infinite growth is in a tiny, humble container. So too, the divine spark of Truth within each of us is the seed for a life of purpose with infinite possibilities.
May the Truth in you Guide You. Sat Nam.
If you try out this meditation or have a question or comment about this post, I'd LOVE to hear from you! Let's get the conversation going.
Cate discovered Kundalini Yoga by accident over 20 years ago and was surprised and thrilled by how engaged, energized, and inspired it made her feel. She's been practicing ever since. In 2008, Cate completed her Level 1 (200 hr) teacher training with Hari Kaur Khalsa of Hari NYC. In 2012, she broadened her knowledge with a very special Holistic Hatha Yoga training (300 hr) with Amy Witmyer of Sacred Space. Kundalini Yoga is her home, her go-to sanctuary, her point of peace and insight. She believes that it is a wonderful tool for busy times and busy minds. Join Cate on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and Friday mornings for Kundalini Yoga & Meditation.
I was 10 or so and thrilled to be with my cousins for the day. With them, there was no self-consciousness, no hesitation. I could be myself, and I even had a bit of bravado as the oldest cousin. The day’s plan: Have a touristy time at the Statue of Liberty with my larger-than-life, super-fun uncle leading the way. I don’t remember if I cared about the ferry ride or Lady Liberty — probably not. I was with people who loved me and there was an exuberant safety in that.
I felt on top of the world, and it had nothing to do with climbing the 354 steps to the crown because I don’t even remember if we did. It had to do with my heart. An open and free heart is the top of the world.
At some point, we went for lunch at the crowded cafe. With no tables available, we found a ledge above the fray where we kids could perch while my uncle waited on line for our food. Just below us, stressed, exhausted adults with furrowed brows wove around each other with their brown plastic trays. We watched the scene below us, contentedly. Then, I got a “brilliant” idea.
A pinched-faced woman with a severe bun (or maybe she’s become that caricature in my memory over the years) walked by trying to balance an overflowing tray. I thought, “I’m going to make my people laugh. I can always make them laugh.”
“Watch this,” I said to my cousins. “I’m going to do something.” I reached out as if to steal a soda from the woman’s tray. My cousins’ eyes widened. It was a scandalous and thrilling action. I enjoyed showing off. But then…
…the woman stopped in her tracks and looked right at me: “What are you doing?” I don’t know what I’d expected her reaction to be or if I even thought that part through, but she was NOT amused.
Mortified. Momentarily mute. Blood rushed to my face. Please walk away. Please walk away. Please walk away. I silently prayed. But she held my deer-in-the-headlights gaze. Finally, I managed to stammer, “Just joking.”
“Joke with yourself!” she spat and huffed away.
Joke with yourself. My spirit plummeted. My heart closed a little. Joke with yourself. Don't try to be funny. Keep it all in.
That moment when my feeling of freedom diminished was just one of many "assaults" throughout my life to my identity, to my belief that I am loved and accepted, to my willingness to take risks and put myself out there. Those moments are commonplace in childhood. Aren't they?
This is why I need Kundalini Yoga. I need it to reclaim my liberty, my free, open, top-of-the-world inner self. I need to sit tall in my truth, roll my shoulders up, back, and down, lift my heart and feel supported in who I am. I need the repetition of Sat Nam Sat Nam Sat Nam. I need to connect to my breath. I need to meditate to restore my Self, return to myself.
This is why I think we all need a practice. No matter how charmed a childhood we had and adulthood we lead, we encounter people who reject what we project; we store little shocks to the system along the way which seem to be a sign that we are not good enough.
If your karma is a hard karma and your story includes truly harsh treatment, injustice, devastating loss or any of the many things that are more painful than a humorless woman making a nasty comment a practice is also a cure. Wherever we fall on the spectrum of harm a practice is a cure.
EVERY meditation speaks to the need to fortify our psyche and rebuild and reconnect to the aspect of the Self which is True. But there’s one Kundalini meditation in particular that speaks to it quite directly: Meditation to Experience & Project the Original Self.
The Original Self is your Sat Nam, True Identity. What is your True Identity? You know it, even if you don’t know you know it. It’s the deepest part of you, the aspect that knows your right from your wrong — even when you can’t find the words. It’s the essence of you that never picked up anyone else’s expectations or disappointments. It’s your untainted, quiet center. It’s your confident, fearless, open heart.
Practice this meditation for 40 days to become one with the original you, the you you came here to be. Reclaim your liberty. Here’s how:
Meditation to Experience & Project the Original Self
Commit to it. Commit to shedding all the cranky lady comments and reconnecting to your open, free heart. It is one of the most important endeavors of all.
AND … Don’t be disapproving with children. Smile and accept them as they are — even if it’s a bad joke in a stressful moment.
What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear from you. What meditation helps you feel that you are coming home to yourself?
Cate discovered Kundalini Yoga by accident over 20 years ago and was surprised and thrilled by how engaged, energized, and inspired it made her feel. She's been practicing ever since. In 2008, Cate completed her Level 1 (200 hr) teacher training with Hari Kaur Khalsa of Hari NYC. In 2012, she broadened her knowledge with a very special Holistic Hatha Yoga training (300 hr) with Amy Witmyer of Sacred Space. Kundalini Yoga is her home, her go-to sanctuary, her point of peace and insight. She believes that it is a wonderful tool for busy times and busy minds. Join Cate on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday mornings for Kundalini Yoga & Meditation.
All Ajna Anahata Astrology Aura Blood Moon Breath Breath Of Fire Chakra Change Chi Gung Children Community Deep Breathing Eclipse Full Moon Geoffrey Orozco Gong Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa Guru Dharam Khalsa Healing Identity Japan Keep Up Kriya KundaliniYoga Kundalini Yoga Legacy Letting Go Long Love Manipura Mantra Meditation Mooji Moon Muladhara Navel Parenting Reiki Reiki Training Resistance Sahasrara Sangat Sat Nam Sat Nam Fest Sat Narayan Seed Mantra Seven Wave Sat Nam Meditation Snatam Kaur Spinal Flexes Survivors Svadhisthana The Four Agreements The Original Self Transition Tribute Vishuddha Yogi Amandeep Yogi Bhajan Yogi Bhajan Birthday Yogi Bhajan Quote