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

An intuitive approach to life

According to the yoga teachings, we are now in the Aquarian Age, a time when there is tremendous change in the way we live and how we define and achieve success in our lives. Summarizing what I’ve learned from the kundalini community, here’s a three-step approach to living – the Aquarian way. I have been experimenting with this approach recently, and it’s going incredibly well! So I thought I’d share:

1. Take out your mental trash. 

Have you ever noticed how often you create your own problems? Get in your own way? Worried about what others think of you, when the reality is that everyone else is just worrying about what the rest of the world thinks about them?

When this happens, it’s because we’re operating from old fears, old habits, old programming that may or may not have anything to do with our present reality. (Wow, has this bitten me in the backside!)  But there is hope – I find that Kundalini yoga meditations are great for clearing the junk out of our mind, making peace with the past, and moving on!

Here is a great mantra for clearing the subconcious.

2. Use your intuition. 

It’s smarter than your rational mind. Why? It takes into account so much more information than your rational brain can process.

According to yoga teachings, intuition comes from your soul, a nonphysical, energetic aspect of you that is completely connected and communicating with the soul aspect of every other living being in the universe, and can see beyond the limitations of time and space that define our physical lives. Imagine having access to all that information without even needing the internet!

If that’s too far out for you, think about it on the physical level: you don’t just have a brain – you have a whole body constantly processing information through five physical senses – not all of which are experienced through your head. Brain science also tells us that the rational mind is great at analyzing but a lousy decision-maker (check it out on Radiolab), and for that we need our intuition.

Guess what? Kundalini yoga meditations are great for helping you connect with your intuition! Here is a great meditation to build your intuition.

3. Use your energy wisely. 

Think of it like this: someone throws a ball, and you want to catch it. Is it more likely you’ll catch the ball by chasing after it? Or by positioning yourself in just the right spot so that the ball comes directly to you?

Think about what you want and where you’re headed. Tap into your intuition for this: what really feels right to you and for you? It might not be what you’ve been telling everyone your whole life. It might not be what your family, friends, colleagues, etc. want to hear. It might make no rational sense at all. But if it’s yours, it’s yours. Keep a compassionate, open heart, and trust it.

Continue to use your intuition to guide you to do the right activities, land in the right place and time, and connect with the right people and resources to realize those big dreams and little desires.

When in doubt, do Heart Breath. When in confusion, do Heart Breath. When in pain, do Heart Breath. When you experience anyone around you in these states – do Heart Breath

Cheers!

Narayanjot

Kundalini Quickies

At least in Anchorage, summer has definitely arrived, and so many of us are out enjoying sunshine as much as we can – hopefully you are, too!

These past few weeks, I have been keeping an eye on just how much the weather affects my mood and energy levels – quite a lot it turns out! I have lived in Alaska long enough now to know that this sensitivity can cause a sort of subclinical manic-depression if I’m not careful. I am making a greater effort to pace myself, not overcommit, soak up the sun whenever I have the opportunity. I am taking Vitamin D, even if it doesn’t feel like I need it. And I am reminded every day of the value of my morning meditation – even three (yes, three!) minutes of Kundalini Yoga before I head out the door makes such a huge difference.

Here are a few low-commitment on-the-spot helpers:

  • Breath of Fire is great for evening out your energy level. If you’re feeling amped, it can get you back to steady, and if you’re feeling sluggish, it can perk you up.
  • Finding Happiness & Peace Within Kundalini Meditation is super-short (1-2 minutes), doesn’t require a timer, and might just tickle your insides. It’s also featured in this wonderful webinar with Dev Suroop Kaur on the power of mantra.
  • Even if you are not the morning-yoga type, the midnight sun is prompting us to sleep a little lighter so why not go with it? Get up a few minutes early and do something fun. Before anyone has a chance to distract you with their idea of how you should be spending your precious life energy, do something that is enjoyable and meaningful to you. Whatever happens the rest of the day, no one can take those moments away from you. (This really works! I did it this morning – got out my banjo and worked on a new song I’m writing. Got me through a very long day.)

Blessings,

Narayanjot Kaur