October Greetings

So much going on this month!

Sushma Harimandir Kaur and Haridass Kaur are offering a new class through Juneau Community Schools: Kundalini Yoga in the Aquarian Age, October 2 – December 11.

In Anchorage, Checka Antifonario will be coming up to offer a Radiant Child Yoga teacher training October 11-13.

If you are looking for more yoga dharma in your life, consider joining several other Alaskan regulars on a free weekly “tele-talk” with Baba Siri Chand hosted by Siri Gian, Wednesdays at 8am AKST. These are wonderful guided meditations and a great way to connect with other yogis. For the phone number or to listen to recorded talks, please visit http://www.soulanswer.com/talk.html  If calling in, it’s best to listen by speaker phone – invite a friend or two to listen with you!

And the Recovery 2.0 Online Conference has been extended – all the talks are available for free viewing through Sunday October 6. I’ve watched a few of the interviews, and so far they have been a fascinating inquiry into the human experience. Some great dialogues with Guru Singh, Mukhta Kaur, Guru Prem, Gurmukh, Anand Mehrotra, Gabor Mate and others.

Connect with the community on Facebook.

Sat nam.

Anger and the listening universe

Not too long ago, I had a difficult night of feeling worried and angry, not sleeping much, and dreams full of such rage that I have never felt in waking life. I felt ill from all the emotion and not sleeping. (Psychology says that dreams are a safe place to feel emotions fully, that dreaming our pent up frustrations can help us let go of them.)

The next day I was shopping at Fred Meyer, where they have been renovating and nothing is anywhere you’d expect. So I was wandering around with my frustration in a basket on top of being angry and worried. The running commentary in my head was like a creative writing exercise in which the assignment is to use every dirty word you know, swear like a sailor and put truck drivers to shame.

Then I heard a voice drifting down from on high, “Can you see me through those angry eyes?

It was brilliant. I had to laugh.

That song completely took the aggression out of my anger. It pulled the plug on my storyline, leaving me with only the energy. I didn’t want to hurt anyone with it; it was more like I was simply the place where that energy happened to be in that moment.

In my head, I said back to the man singing down from the loudspeakers (as if he were the disembodied voice of all that was causing me to feel so angry and worried), “Sorry, I do see you and I love you. I don’t want to hurt you, but I am angry and I want to feel this anger. It feels really good right now to feel that energy singing in me.”

That intention seemed to contain it. I felt safe feeling those things without being hurtful to myself or anyone else. And wow, did it feel good!

I shared this story with one of my teachers, who shared this insight with me in return:  Anger arises from squelched personal power. When we allow this strong emotion, without the baggage or blame, our personal power returns to us.

To that, I say, “Welcome back, old friend. I’ve missed you.”

Sat nam,

Narayanjot Kaur

Meditation for Releasing Anger (3 min)

Meditation for Releasing Anger (18 min)

Kill your ego but love yourself?

Kill your ego?

The Buddhists have a saying, “If you meet the Buddha in the road, kill him.” This is a metaphor and a riddle, not a call to violence. It is supposed to mean, “Don’t take anybody’s word for it. Don’t let anyone stuff dogma down your throat. Go seek and experience the great truths of life for yourself.”

Similarly, many of us have been told that we should kill the ego. We think, “Oh. My ego is bad. It causes so much trouble and gets in the way of my spiritual growth, so just get rid of it. Right?”

Wrong. Taking that instruction too literally would be tossing the proverbial baby with the bathwater and an extreme act of violence toward ourselves. How far is it from “my ego is bad” to “I am bad”? How many of us have this nagging feeling throughout our lives that we are somehow bad? Or at least not good enough? And what do we do with that feeling? Maybe we accept it as our truth and act out every stereotype of being a self-destructive loser we can find. Or we stuff it down. We try to be really, really good and spend our lives trying to please other people, squashing our personal truths, delaying the gratification of our desires, giving our power away to those we love and to those from whom we seek the love and validation that would heal that hole in our hearts. Or maybe we self medicate with drugs, alcohol, workaholism, sex, shopping, extreme sports, or any other experience that will take us far away from ourselves.

I am guilty of believing myself to be bad, or at least inadequate. I am guilty of stuffing myself in a box to make other people feel better about themselves. I am guilty of running away from myself. These experiences were sometimes fun, sometimes hell on earth; they are part of my truth, either way. I have known them and I have learned from them.

Love yourself

The original definition of ego is simply the individual, personal identity. According to the yogic teachings, we are born into this body, into this life, with this personality and identity, but that is not all of who we are. We also have a Self, a Soul, a divine aspect that is one with every other living being throughout space and time. Suffering comes when we lose this connection. Bliss comes when we regain it.

Ego is often thought of as narcissism or the dark side of pride, when we are so puffed up on our superstar selves or so tightly cocooned in our very special personal pain that we fail to perceive the world around us with any clarity. We get caught up in power struggles and lose our sense of the profound existential love that is always with us, inside and all around. But this lonely, self-absorbed experience of ego is simply a state of being in which we are cut off from our Self, our Soul, our connection with the divine and with the divine in each other.

This separation is the exact state that we transcend through the practice of meditation and yoga. Literally translated, yoga means “to yoke,” and it describes the many ways in which we join that individual identity (ego) with the divine aspect our being, the Soul. When this happens, we feel whole. Loneliness no longer afflicts us. We stop trying to fill that hole through outside objects, addictions, or manipulating situations or people, and find that our life choices take on a new meaning, our life path a new trajectory, and our identity, our sense of who we are is not the same as it used to be.

If I attain this blissful union, have I killed my ego? Or simply expanded my identity? Both, in a way. The old me dies so that the new me can emerge. Yet I am still myself, even more myself. Perhaps the greatest challenge of personal growth is relaxing out of my fear of the little death of who I was, and into the something greater that is emerging.

Wahe guru, with the warmth of my love,

Narayanjot Kaur

Meditation for Creating Self Love