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Location: New Mexico

Publications: Japji Sahib: The Song of the Soul by Guru Nanak translated by Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa. Anand Sahib: The Song of Bliss by Guru Amar Das translated by Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa. Available through www.sikhdharma.org.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pratyahar: Seeing the Giver

Originally published on the Spirit Voyage Blog. May 6, 2010.

“Many, many, many thousands of years ago the sages sat down and divided the science of yoga into eight different aspects, eight parts. I would like to talk to you about one part called pratyahar. Pratyahar is a secret science to reach God. You won’t find it discussed fully in any books. They don’t explain it. In some places they say, “Pratyahar is pratyahar and whosoever does pratyahar reaches God.” How are you going to make any sense out of that?

“The most beautiful art of yoga and the most pure science of yoga is pratyahar. Pratyahar means, correctly, in English, to contract or synchronize. Pratyahar is a habit to synchronize. A gift is a source of happiness. But who provides the gift? And who is the ultimate provider? If the consciousness does not synchronize immediately and focus on that point, you are not a yogi. That is called pratyahar: under any time, space and circumstance, under any pressure, depression or oppression, you do not forget the Infinite One.

“Pratyahar is also called the science of dedicated devotion. It is not simple devotion. Simple devotion is, “Thank you, God.” That’s simple devotion. But pratyahar is also dedication: when anything comes, you say, “Thank You, God, for making me thank You.”

– Yogi Bhajan, July 25, 1978. Excerpt from: I Am A Woman

For many of us who have decided to explore spirituality, we feel an inner longing to know God. There are different practices to do, various workshops we can attend, even special “spiritual vacations” to go on. Any moment we spend in prayer or meditation helps expand our awareness to know the Divine. But often, those moments are very private, very internal. Even if we chant in a room full of people, or do yoga with hundreds of others, the experience is within. The yogic science of pratyahar, however, challenges us to maintain our awareness of the One, even, and especially, when we interact with others.

It is funny how the human personality sometimes likes to play games. In many relationships, it’s about leverage. Who has what. Who wants what. And how do we maneuver to our best advantage. This is true in the board rooms of the largest corporations. It is equally true of a five year old trying to figure out how to get his parents to give him a cookie. We want. We desire. We chase. And in the commotion of those feelings, we forget. We forget the One who Does everything and who Gives everything.

The way Yogi Bhajan described pratyahar, it is a state of consciousness where whatever comes into one’s life, the mind recognizes the Infinite as the source. If someone gives me a gift, Thou art the real Giver. If someone insults me, this, too, comes from You. Pratyahar makes every day life the most powerful laboratory for expanding one’s awareness and seeing God in everything. Because we train our minds to see that what comes to us – good, bad or indifferent – comes from the Infinite One.

Pratyahar can be cultivated anywhere, anytime. It doesn’t need a cushion and a quiet room. It doesn’t require a weekend away. It can begin right here, right now, with whatever is in front of you. The computer screen you are using to read this, the cup of coffee on your desk, the meeting you are about to attend. Take a moment. Breathe. And ask your mind to see the Source that brought all of this into your life. Be grateful for it – whatever “it” is. If you can practice this way in each moment, every day, you will be amazed at how powerfully the presence of the Divine will reveal itself in your life.

With Divine Light and Divine Love.

Yours humbly,

Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Simple Healing Meditation for the Gulf, Thailand and the World

Sat Nam and many blessings to you. In 2001, after the September 11th attacks on New York City, Yogi Bhajan taught a very simple, but powerful meditation to send healing to those in need. Lately, I have been doing this meditation on my own - to send healing to the Gulf of Mexico, the people in Thailand, and others in my own life who need prayers.

Grateful to share this meditation and invite you to do it with me in the days and weeks ahead. You can do this meditation anywhere from 3 minutes to 11 minutes a day. Even if you spend just five minutes doing this meditation, you will feel the changes in yourself. And you shall tap your power to positively influence events through your prayers and intentions.

Sit with a straight spine, and have your neck aligned with the spine. If you like doing yoga, you can sit on the floor, in a relaxed, cross-legged posture. If you are not used to doing yoga, you can sit in a chair, with both feet firmly flat on the ground and sitting very straight. (No slouching.)

The hand posture (called a mudra) is to interlace your fingers in front of the heart center with the thumbs crossed. The fingers are interlaced, but the palms don't connect. The elbows are relaxed alongside the ribcage.

Close the eyes and do the following chant:

Raa Maa Daa Saa Saa Say So Hung.

the "aa" is pronounced like "ahhh."

The chant (called a mantra) means:

Oh sun, oh moon, oh earth, oh Infinite Cosmic Reality.

That Infinite Cosmic Reality - I am a part of it.

When Yogi Bhajan taught this meditation, he used the following recording for the students to chant along with:


Continue holding this posture and chanting for 3-11 minutes. From your heart, reach out sincerely to those who are in pain and in need, all the creatures of the earth, and the people.

When you are done chanting, maintain the posture. Inhale deeply, suspend the breath and meditate on the power of the Universe to bring healing and balance to all situations. Project from your heart the healing to energy, and know that this breath is a healing breath. Then exhale. Repeat this breath two more times (for a total of 3 times) - then relax.

Your prayer has more power to heal than you know.

May we meet each other in the subtle space, collectively praying and healing the world.

With Divine Light and Divine Love.

Yours humbly,

Ek Ong Kaar Kaur

As a master of Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Bhajan shared thousands of meditations to help people face the challenges of every day life. His work is under the custodianship of the Kundalini Research Institute, www.kriteachings.org. Please visit the website if you would like to learn more. This Teachings of Yogi Bhajan are copyrighted by KRI.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Listen to It - In the Heart

Originally published on the Spirit Voyage blog: April 18, 2010.

"You have to develop an intuitive sense of communication so that you may not incur karma. Your total universe is based on one word spoken.

"If you can resound this mantra, this sound Har in the heart-center, in the rib-cage, you can control the universe. That power comes to every ordinary person. It is not that you listen to the sound Har in the ears, or speak it on the tongue. You are listening to it here – in the heart. The rib-cage actually represents the Universe. That is intuitive meditation.

"There are six sounds – Har, Haray, Hari, Wahe Guru. One who can hear these six sounds and control them in the rib-cage, there is nothing that person cannot hear. Once you start intuitively knowing and hearing what Mother Nature speaks, then you will know where you stand.” – Siri Singh Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji. March 21, 1995.

As humans, our lives are often filled with doubt. Every decision we make, every action we take, we constantly ask questions. Am I doing the right thing? Is this situation going to turn out the way I hoped? What will I do if things go wrong?

We believe that our minds can give us the answer. Actually, the mind doesn’t know anything. It is an analytical supercomputer. It can take one fact, one situation, and analyze it from so many different perspectives. Yet, it never reaches a final conclusion.

But your heart knows. It has the wisdom of your Infinite self. The spirit in you has come into this body, into this moment, for a purpose. Your job, as a human being, is to connect the mind and the body to that soul-purpose. When you do, your life becomes beautiful, fulfilling and complete.

In Kundalini Yoga, mantra gives us a technology to cut the thoughts of the mind and hear the Infinite voice – not just within ourselves, but within everything. The entire creation is singing. If we can hear that song within our own hearts, and hear the song in all that surrounds us, then we have tapped into the deepest communication known to humans. It is called “intuition.” It means – when I deeply listen to myself and when I deeply listen to all that is, then I know where I stand in relation to the Cosmos. Then I understand what to do so that my spirit can succeed in its journey.

Har is a very special, very powerful sound. It is the sound of the seed of Infinity. When your heart beats, it echoes that sound Har. When you chant Har, Har, Har, Har, and you focus your attention at the heart-center, you can recognize the sound of Infinity as the same sound that keeps you alive, moment to moment, heart-beat to heart-beat, day and night.

Har, Haray, Hari, Wahe Guru is a sound that takes the seed of the Infinite, Har, and expands it into form. Haray is the process by which the seed grows. Hari is the completion, the fruit that the seed bears. And all of this is done through the power of the Guru – the power of our own breath meditating on the Sounds of Truth that awaken us to light.

The rib-cage holds the breath that fuels the unfolding of our own Divine Identity: from seed to process to completion. Which is why Kundalini Yoga master Yogi Bhajan talks about resounding these mantras at the heart center, and in the rib cage. When our consciousness resonates with those Cosmic Sounds inside of ourselves, then we can communicate with and command the whole Universe.

With Divine Light,

Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa