Forgive me, Yogiji, but I have sinned. Although I’ll keep the vampires away.

If there’s anything yogis know, it’s that the cardinal yogic sin is to eat meat. Occasionally they’ll admit their transgression in hushed apologetic tones to others who may understand. Well, frankly, I’m not there yet, and I’ve never had much desire to be. Anybody who’s seen the enormous plants grown at Findhorn with the help of loving conversation with them knows that vegetables are living things too. So perhaps vegetarians might want to reconsider harming their vegetables and just fasting on water. Just make sure to put little labels on the bottles that say “love” and “peace” so the molecules won’t be too ugly under the microscope. I do think a lot of these dietary practices are quite charming, but I haven’t really felt a huge change in my life when I followed a vegetarian diet, and I’ve never been drawn to the dietary cleansing obsession that’s so prevalent in yogic circles, and I really think Mr. Emoto is quite nuts, though not as much as the people who buy wholeheartedly into his “science.”

I decided to cook up a little storm tonight, some of which is quite 3HO inspired, some not. When people go to summer solstice in Espanola, a lot of people make a big deal about putting black pepper on their watermelon, but I don’t really think anybody really is bothered too much by that. I think they’re really trying to distract people’s attention from the onion soup that is nearly universally disliked. I, however, was not terribly bothered by it. I was almost always so hungry by meal time that I’d have eaten anything. Well, almost. I met someone who bought a ticket to summer solstice, arrived and decided he didn’t like “the scene” and hiked into the Jemez mountains with two gallons of water and went on a “piss fast.” “Any time you feel a cold coming on, just drink a cup of piss, and, BOOM – it’s gone.” Uh, OK, if you say so! Anyway, people say the onion soup is really good at cleaning out your system and toning your nerves, and is really restorative throughout and after three days of White Tantric Yoga. (When are dingbats going to quit saying that White Tantric is a sexual practice? None of the journalists seem to have a clue what they’re writing about! Even the NY Times said White Tantric is a sexual practice in their obituary for Yogi Bhajan!)

Tonight I made a big pot of onion soup; onions, potatoes, celery, carrots, and the other two trident roots; garlic and ginger. The third trident root is the onion; together, all three are supposed to help your immune system, but they also boost your libido.

I also made a pot of mung beans and rice, which is also supposed to fortify your nervous system. Then I made some steamed greens; lettuce, herb salad mix, and broccoli, and a sauce of yogurt, turmeric, and the trident roots. I usually buy a sweet organic yogurt at Trader Joes with vanilla and banana in it. I usually add Trader Joe’s Southern Greens Blend too, but the package in the fridge had gone bad.

I made a pot of homemade yogi tea; I almost always have a pot on the stove and drink it constantly. The recipe is 1/3 cup of cloves, 1/3 cup of black pepper – which helps with allergies, 1/3 cup of cardamon, 12 crushed cinnamon sticks, and 1/2 lb. of chopped fresh ginger. Sometimes I add almond milk and a bit of turmeric to make golden milk, which helps heal your joints, and usually gets a bit of honey added to it for a yummy healthy drink. The real yogi tea recipe from Yogi Bhajan says to add 4 black tea bags and only to use real milk with it, not almond milk. Golden milk is usually made with milk and almond OIL added to it, but I don’t drink much milk, so it usually goes bad before I use it up, and I’ve never been inclined to buy almond oil. Some 3HO friends add Yerba maté to the yogi tea for a little caffeinated kick.

Then the sin; I made a pot of chicken curry with tuna, broccoli, potatoes, onion, carrot, green pepper, coconut milk, green Thai curry paste, and added a lot of the mung beans and rice to it. My last batch of seafood curry was almost identical except for the Trader Joe’s seafood mix and some corn, which added a really nice texture to the curry. I’m almost always disappointed by the curry in Thai restaurants now because it never has enough vegetables in it for me and often gives me a sugar crash shortly after eating it.

When people make prasad for Gurdwara, they usually play Japji while cooking it. I played Japji and Jap Sahib while cooking all this. I didn’t make prasad today, but when I first learned to make it, I looked it up online, and the recipe called for ghee (clarified butter), flour, honey, water, and sugar, sometimes with a bit of cinnamon. After struggling to make the ghee for the first time, I finally succeeded. I tasted my freshly cooked prasad, and it was yummy. Then I brought it to morning sadhana, and afterwards my friend Jeremy eagerly was about to bite into it, but the sugar had solidified and it was so rock solid that it couldn’t be eaten. I later learned that honey is usually used in 3HO circles instead, although sugar is often used in India. I guess it has to be kept warm until eaten though. Prasad is usually an equal mix of all the ingredients, although the amount of water and honey varies depending upon how well the mix is cooking. Technically, I think any blessed food served after morning Gurdwara is called prasad, but this sweet floury dessert is what we usually call prasad.

Well, all the garlic in these dishes will certainly chase any vampires away! Hopefully not any friends, though.

I’m sore as hell! Thank you Ji, can I have another? + 9/11Yogis

Mild bruises on my inner thighs from so much half lotus. Shoulders, neck, and arms are sore. Missed most of the daylight hours today, except early morning. Missed my favorite online class because my body needed the sleep. It feels like I’m getting “nothing” done, but as I look around my apartment, huge chunks of my disorganization and clutter are now accessibly filed, and I can find things again, things are getting fixed – the tub is now unclogged, and my apartment is gradually transitioning from “a bit more inhabitable” to some place I want to spend time in, rather than “escape from through the portal of my computer monitor.” As the feng shui energy starts to flow in it again, I’m frequently feeling the desire to dive back in to some creative projects, but have to continue reworking my creative work spaces. Equipment that I’d been thinking I’ll fix someday seems like it might be better donated to Goodwill. There’s still a long way to go with all of this; the clutter didn’t accumulate overnight, so it will take some time to unravel and discard it. Unearthed boxes don’t look so much like segments of my life that didn’t work out but rather reminders of some of the amazing things I’ve done throughout my life. I find myself frequently wondering if the highly technical pursuits I’d been focused on and frustrated by might be less rewarding and beneficial to the world than the more creative and personal ones emerging from the boxes.

On Sept. 9, 2011, I bid on a Mac G4 on E-Bay. I lost the bid, and decided to spend the money on teacher’s training instead, thinking it wouldn’t depreciate in 2 years like a computer would. Instead, it has appreciated in value, and I have a dead G4 sitting on the floor that somebody gave me. Two days later the World Trade Center towers fell, and our whole world changed. My father was coincidentally re-hospitalized, struggling through a spinal infection, a consequence of a vertebral implant, while victims of 9/11 streamed into hospitals around him, and he couldn’t even talk about it.

While Bin Laden was busy trying to give the western world a slap in the face for the oppression the Islamic world felt, he seemed oblivious to the fact that his actions couldn’t possibly result in any sympathetic ears and would lead to unimagined losses on every front. The US reacted like a huge vicious dog that had been kicked too much. At Golden Bridge, seventy of us weathered the changes as we worked our way through yoga sets. Quite a lot of those people started new yoga studios from LA to Turkey; many have closed now, but many lives have been touched by the work of that group of people. Some yogis spouted unimaginable rhetoric: “If you have a strong navel center, you can’t be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Those people who died in the towers didn’t have strong navel centers or they wouldn’t have been there.” (Gurushabd) The trainees jaws all dropped when they heard that comment. Perhaps there was some seed of truth in it, but it certainly seemed unfathomably insensitive. I spent most of that year watching my father die of cancer but the yoga helped me show up for him and walk through that. The stone adjacent to his grave has the twin towers engraved in it to remind people of how its resident came to rest there.

I realized today that if I continue through 40 days of persistent yoga practice, that date will fall during Summer Solstice. I can’t quite wrap my head around pursuing a work exchange at it, or arranging a trip to New Mexico. The “late” registration fees seem unfathomable. But I’d like to go. It’s been nine years since I last participated; then 3HO started requiring EVERYONE to pay something even if they were doing a work exchange. People who’d been responsible for building the buildings on the grounds and contributed 90 hour weeks each year for 20 years were supposed to pay $150+ and finally turned their backs on 3HO and took off their turbans.

I think it’ll be a long night again, and I have things scheduled in the morning tomorrow. Yes, it’d be nice if somebody gave me a massage.

Sahabad Hazaray and Returning to Golden Bridge for Sadhana

Well, I have to admit that when I first listened to “Healing the Wounds of Love” a few years ago, I found it really depressing, as I was wading through a romantic disappointment, and the minor key seemed just too sad to stomach. When I first started doing it again a couple days ago, I thought it rather long and tedious too; but it’s really growing on me. Today I woke up with it still running through my head, and I was reading through the Sikhi Wiki story on the shabd at dinner tonight, and I was swept away in a wave of emotion as I simultaneously listened to it; frankly, I thought I was about to cry because it seemed so beautiful. I think diving back into the yoga has cracked open a lot of stuffed emotions too, so I get some emotional reverberations from other things showing up unexpectedly. I think I’m finding diet affects my emotions a lot too; I think my rage yesterday was partly due to having not eaten a stable meal beforehand; french toast with honey (mostly sugar without any greens or protein) and coffee has proven to leave me pretty jumpy in the past. As the yoga continues, my tamasic diet – and lifestyle, really – seems more and more out of alignment with what I think I value, and so many of the people I spend time with seem shut down and stuck in ways that I both completely understand and feel less inclined to want to indulge. But being aware of my own lack of inner integrity is a long leap from changing the behavior.

Well, after a nice Indian dinner at the Sikh family owned India Sweet & Spice on Fairfax, I continued listening to the Shabd as I drove across town at rush hour, and some jerk started trying to ride my bumper and started trying to pass me at a stop sign, and I gave him the finger, and found myself thinking, “my behavior doesn’t seem very yogic, does it?” A bit of disconnect there, chanting the Shabd and cursing at crazy impatient drivers. Ah well. So I headed over to Golden Bridge and got the update about Sadhana there, since I haven’t been for a while, and have been exceptionally nocturnal lately anyway. I was actually looking for the book the 7 part set for treating addictions pdf that I made came from, but I couldn’t find it on their shelves, so finally deduced the original title from Amazon: “Kundalini Yoga Meditation: Techniques Specific for Psychiatric Disorders, Couples Therapy, and Personal Growth” (Hardcover) by David Shannahoff-Khalsa.

Then it got to be sadhana time, and I was trying to find excuses for why I should just do my practice at home, but an inner voice was insisting I should go. So I did. I was surprised that somebody I knew from other circles was leading sadhana, and rather than sitting motionless through the chanting, there was physical yoga throughout the whole morning – some rather simple but challenging in it’s own way. I thought beautiful Alice, the teacher/leader, had put the whole sadhana together herself, but apparently Gurushabd has. He’s mixed bits of filmed Yogi Bhajan instructions in with the chants, and a few different chants that weren’t in the Aquarian sadhana. It was a bit hard to see the mudras in the dark and with Yogi Bhajan’s poorly recorded instructions and thick accent, it was a tough to follow sometimes, but actually really fun once I got into it. She preceded Gurushabd’s sets with a kriya from Krishna Kaur’s manual, (“I Am A Woman”) kind of a navel kriya.

There were quite a number of interesting new manuals for sale at Golden Bridge; I’m especially interested in Guru Meher’s new book on the emotions. It’s hard not to like Guru Meher!

The “Transformation: Seeds of Change for the Aquarian Age” manual looked interesting too. I’ve already got so many manuals that I’ll never get through them all though. So I chanted the shabd again once I got home, and did my 11 min. “Har.” I’m not sure if it’s bed time, nap time, or breakfast time. And the maintenance guy promised to unplug my tub in an hour and a half. He routinely knocks on my door just as I’ve undressed to take a shower, despite my usual request to be told when he’ll show up for repairs, but I am quite grateful that repairs get taken care of quite diligently in my building.

Wattles Mansion, Fern Dell, Synchronous Events and Master Teachers

Ain’t no ducks Waddling at Wattles Mansion!

Yesterday: Went to Wattles Mansion again, laid my mat under a pine tree at the lower right corner of the image above, and sort of rushed through “Foundation for Infinity” from Summer 2004 Aquarian Times; then “Ashtang Agni Kriya: Eightfold Fire Kriya of Kundalini” (from Masters Touch p. 66). The meditation is short, 6 minutes long, flapping your arms against your sides almost like a flying bird. My energy was amped up significantly in 20 minutes, and my head felt a lot clearer. I’d been feeling sluggish and run-down that afternoon, and had drank a couple cups of weak coffee to try to “fix” that, but it hadn’t worked. Prior to my yoga, I’d also noticed a disturbing smell, and finally figured out it was MY bad breath, not the woman sitting next to me, despite the fact that I’d just brushed my teeth and showered. So I did lion breath during some of the exercises, and the smell went away. I think that breath (breath of fire through the mouth with your tongue extended to nearly touch your chin) helps clean out your lungs and detoxify you. I listened to Laya Yoga during and after the yoga, as I walked to meet friends.

Unfortunately, I hung out with a friend at Starbucks later, which was great, but drinking more caffeine after my energy was pumped up wasn’t a wise choice. I also ended up feeling like the coffee combined with the energetic yoga acted like a lack-of-good-judgement truth serum, and wondered if I might’ve been better not blurting out some things I’d shared with the friend.

When I got home I did my 11 min “Har” and then the “Healing the Wounds of Love” meditation again for the second time. You’re supposed to do it 11 days in a row; it’s 43 minutes long. The first night I did it, it helped me get to sleep, so I don’t think I did the whole thing. So I consider last night “day one” and boy did it get boring. My mind bounced around, and I only felt like I was really “present” for 2 of the recitations of the shabd.

Today I went to Fern Dell in Griffith Park and did “Creative Energy Kriya” (p. 71 in “The Heart Rules – Yoga from the Heart” by Guru Prem Singh Khalsa. His website is http://www.divinealignment.com/) My plan was to allow enough time to do the physical yoga set and the next 23 minute meditation from Masters Touch. I was about a third of the way through the set, checked the clock, and was surprised, no, shocked, to see I only had about 20 minutes until my 7:45pm engagement, which is in a difficult parking location, like much of LA. I looked through the rest of the exercises, and started to panic a bit. There were 19 exercises!

I usually assess how long things will take before I start, but I guess I didn’t tonight. So the 2-3 minute exercises got whittled down to 1 minute each, and I pretty much rushed through the rest of it, which left me pretty frustrated. (Curiously, one of the exercises was almost exactly like the meditation I’d done at Wattles Mansion yesterday.) How had it gotten so late? I was sure I’d left the house at 6:15, and the park is only 10-15 minutes from my apartment. Well, the smartphone clued me in; I’d made a call at 6:33 right before leaving, so at best I’d only been in the park half an hour. I didn’t get to do the meditation at that point, and got pretty frustrated by the traffic I pulled into; a fire truck was blocking the lane, parked, and I took a side street to avoid it, then a mini-van moseyed along in front of me and took about five minutes to make a left turn into moderate traffic… finally found parking, and got to my location to discover a locked door. My frustration had amped up and up and up. Inappropriate rage would be a better description. So much for Creative Energy!  Once I got inside, I did some pranayama single nostril breathing to cool myself down. Later, I was surprised I hadn’t even noticed the “under construction” sign by the locked door. I was feeling ashamed that I’d gotten so mad, and couldn’t even pin it on anything.

Ironically, the next set in the book is “Professional Anger Kriya,” and Guru Prem describes his process of becoming aware of his anger and how Yogi Bhajan had instructed him to “bless everyone, including himself.” Interestingly, the first time I saw Yogi Bhajan speak live, at Yoga West, I sat against the back wall of the room, and he was answering questions. I was sitting there feeling furious, wondering why I was so mad all the time and what to do about it. I didn’t like the vibe of the room, I didn’t like everyone standing up and bowing to him when he walked in the room; who the hell WAS this guy? So he looks at me across the sea of seated people, and says, “when we are angry, it’s because we forget to be grateful.” I hadn’t even asked my question out loud.

This happened again a few years later; I was about to go visit my dad, who was dying from cancer, and was scared and frustrated, and couldn’t even think what question to ask. He looks over at me across the filled room at Golden Bridge and says, “when someone is sick, you can just sit with them, breathe with them. That is enough.”

The last time I saw Yogi Bhajan, it was a couple years after my father had died, at the Japji course in Espanola before Summer Solstice. He’d been quite sick with kidney problems, and hadn’t made any public appearances for a while. He walked into the room, and although I’ve never been one who could “see auras” I could sense he was going to die soon, and it shook me up. There was something about his presence that reminded me of my dad right before he died. They were both born the same year too.

At that course, I was dreading running into a couple of people. I’d had an ungraceful exit from Golden Bridge’s community; I’d been doing the morning cleaning, as paid seva, but the pay was minimal, and although I didn’t care for the work too much, I loved the place and people, and saw it like cleaning my own apartment, and a spiritual discipline. But the hours were difficult; it had to be done at 6AM, so i usually did sadhana and then cleaned afterwards. But my non-yogic friends started giving me shit about it; “you have an MFA, you shouldn’t be doing CUSTODIAL work!” I was also feeling like I should be doing something more closely related to my talents and skills, something that paid decently, but was also still sort of reeling in the grief following my dad’s death, so it gave a bit of structure to my day. Gurmukh would tell me how important the job was, although I kept wondering if that was true, why didn’t it pay better – but I liked seeing her come in while I cleaned to water the plants by the fountain. It was in those mornings that I saw her “walk the walk” and saw the side of her that the fawning students and people who liked to put her down didn’t know.

She gave me this elephant – or Ganesha? – mobile after returning from India while I did that job.

Then somebody said I hadn’t shown up one day, even though I had, and that particular day had been quite difficult for me anyway because I hadn’t slept well. Another day I showed up and the burglar alarm went off, and I couldn’t remember the code to turn it off, so I finally just left and called about it from a pay phone. That was the day of White Tantric, which constitutes a pretty full day in the first place. Then I actually didn’t show up a couple of times. So the gal in charge, who looked an awful lot like Alicia Witt, had to fire me. I should’ve taken pro-active action to follow-through and move on properly, but I hadn’t. It was my fault, but I still had a lot of resentment about it. One funny thing about the whole experience was that I’ve never been much of a “neatnick” anyway, so cleaning was about the furthest thing from my realm of expertise.

Well, back at the Japji course, the near-death Yogi Bhajan walks in the room, and immediately, out of nowhere, the gal who’d had to fire me plops down right in front of me! I knew there was some sort of amend that had to be made, but couldn’t figure out what. The friends I was sitting with asked if I was alright, because I think I’d turned white. The combo of seeing Yogi Bhajan near death and instantaneously needing to confront my karma left me a bit dazed. I couldn’t quite figure out what to say to her, then she left, and for a good portion of that Summer Solstice, I kept wondering what to do. Actually, I don’t even remember if we DID have a discussion about it, but by the end of the week, I felt like it was ironed over.  There were also weird encounters with Gurmukh and Gurushabd that week; I glared at her as we waited in line for the outhouse, and she looked uncomfortable in response. Then at sadhana, somebody taught the 7th Gate Set that Gurushabd had taught during teacher training, but added another exercise at the beginning of it. I mentioned that to Gurushabd, and I think he thought it was a put-down, although I was pointing out that I still treasured a set I’d learned from him. He brushed me off, and turned a cold shoulder and walked away. Gurmukh then mentioned that the set was now actually in the Teacher’s Training manual that came out the year after we did teacher’s training. She gave me her prasad, because apparently she didn’t want it. But the gesture was quite kind, and somehow almost seemed like an apology for Gurushabd’s behavior, although I’m not really sure it was.

Despite that, I’m not sure things were really “healed” with her; when we later started the LA Kundalini Yoga Teacher’s Network, we met with her at the then new barn of a studio behind the Arclight, and Kirtan Singh and I walked in to discuss the planning of what ended up being our last and biggest event, to be held after pre-natal teacher training at Golden Bridge. She looked over at me and said, “what’s HE doing here?” I was a bit surprised, because she’d come to our first planning meeting at Yoga West a couple years earlier, and when Kirtan said that I’d helped initiate the group, I heard an audible gasp from her, which felt like approval.

Despite the friction, the event planning went fairly well. After going on at length about her upcoming trip to India, to be photographed for Vanity Fair’s special on famous yogis, she expressed her desire to include Guru Singh at our event, and Kirtan said he’d like to call him to invite him, but I stepped in and said I’d like to make the call since I’d been playing music with him. Guru Singh agreed to come, but showed up late, and later admitted he’d forgotten about it. I wondered if an invitation from Kirtan might’ve carried more “authority.” We had over 70 people at the event, which was great.

Later encounters with Gurushabd weren’t bad, either; we’ve had friendly encounters at events at Golden Bridge, and one morning a few years later, I’d done sadhana in the morning, and although he wasn’t there, I was remembered him saying he often liked to take a morning walk after sadhana, and as I thought about it, decided to take one myself. I’d also dug back into “The Artist’s Way” and was thinking about Julia Cameron’s admonition to take “an artist’s walk” during the week, and decided I’d hike up to the Hollywood Sign. So I drove up the hill to the ranch below the sign, hiked up and back, and as I’m returning to my car, here comes Gurushabd with his dogs, hiking up the hill I’d just come down from! I was too shocked to verbalize how funny the synchronicity had been, but I later told him about it at Golden Bridge.

Back to Guru Prem. I think his books are wonderful. He came to teacher’s training for a special session on proper alignment, which is when I discovered some of his talents. I didn’t take well to him at first; I’d gone to Yoga West early on, expecting to end up at Guru Singh’s class for the second time, paid for my class, and walked in to find this other guy teaching. I went to the front desk and asked about it; “no, this is Guru PREM Singh, not Guru Singh!” I was puzzled but beginning to discover the oddities of Sikh names. Because I’d walked in with a different expectation, I didn’t like what I ended up with. But we worked together at Summer Solstice, and that’s when I began to get to know him a bit more. Then I discovered that he’d made many, many of the recordings we’d been doing yoga to. Now when I run into him at Gurdwara, where he’s often playing, it’s really great.

When I bought the manual for the Creative Energy Kriya, it was at Baisakhi’s Bazaar, and I’d just had a nice Sat Nam Rasayan treatment from Jeanne DeSilets, and felt like my explosive erratic energy had been re-aligned and focused. I started talking to Guru Prem, and we must’ve chatted an hour or two! He told me about running into Robert Plant in India, and how great the album Plant had done with Alison Krauss was. The CD Guru Prem includes with “The Heart Rules” manual was the first he’d done in a while, I believe. I wasn’t excited by it at first, but it really grew on me a lot. Guru Prem later sent me this pic with Robert Plant:

Robert Plant and Guru Prem Singh

Do Prosperity Meditations Change You?

During tonight’s radiance meditation I found myself wondering about doing prosperity meditations when your life targets are questionable. If a murderer was doing prosperity meditations, would he get away with more? Would a thief succeed in a hit on a bigger bank? Well, I can’t speak from experience on that level, but I am beginning to think that your life goals begin to coalesce into something beyond your best plans once you move into such a practice.

I remember a student in one of my classes who was doing a job she hated – my impression and vague memory was that it required her to dress like a hooker carrying big beer bottles in a dangerous neighborhood as advertising for the beer company. After the yoga set, her throat turned bright red as she discussed her frustrations and feelings of being demeaned – and left unsafe – by the job. What was fascinating to those of us talking with her was her throat chakra opening up, literally glowing vibrant red, as she “recovered her voice” and spoke her truth. She later told me she’d moved on from the job, and I think that class had been a turning point for her. I wish I remembered the details more clearly now, or her name, but perhaps anonymity will serve the point better anyway.

I listened to a good bit of Byron Katie tonight (“You Need My Love, is that true?”), and Teal Swan on YouTube talking about feelings. I was left with a message about self-acceptance, and wondering what I feel I have to change to “get” the perfect job or relationship. That thread of perfectionism that holds me in the deadlock of self-intolerance, trying to find approval from others instead. The irony is when you don’t accept yourself, approval from others can only be seen as “a lie,” I think Byron Katie called it, or at least a serious misunderstanding on their part, which inevitably leads things to go awry. I’ve seen myself mistreat others from that foundation before, and I’ve been on the receiving end of it from other romantic interests as well. So the question left is, how do you accept yourself and still change the things about yourself that seem to stand in the way of the way you’d like to show up in the world – and your relationships?

Today I’ll be venturing down this route:

Instructions: pdf

 

Sunday Meditation @ Vedanta

Well, I drank coffee too late last night, and paid for it today. For a while, I used to stay up through the night so I could make it to morning Sadhana, and then sleep through the morning. Not the most effective plan, but I made Sadhana the priority in a warped sort of way. So today I missed the Orange Grove Quaker Meeting in Pasadena that seems to make my week go better. But sometimes rest is as important as silence. Especially in the wake of the cold I’ve been recovering from. But I also missed playing bass at Elderberries this afternoon with Kevin, so that was a disappointment.

Tonight, Sunday eve, is the 12 step meditation meeting at the Vedanta Center in Hollywood, and that’s one of the cornerstones of my week. I pulled out my copy of the next Master’s Touch meditation, p. 65’s “Meditation to Brighten Your Radiance,” and it was silent and 21 minutes long; the meditation meeting has 20 minutes for silent meditation; perfect. OK, one minute shy, but perfect enough.

I did a bit of bound lotus to try to re-align my energy and started to feel a bit better; this meditation seemed to build on the previous Masters Touch meditation, in which you pressed your shoulder blades back as you held your raised arms at your sides,  this time with the hands in gyan mudra, facing forward, breathing long and slowly, in and out, through round lips.  Curiously, I mentioned Yogi Bhajan having us breathe intensely through rounded lips as a kriya by itself in my last post, and here’s that breath.

Frequently I do the “one minute breath” when long deep breathing is prescribed, as it’s done in the last segment of Subagh Kriya; in for 20 seconds, held for 20 seconds, and then out for 20 seconds. Supposedly one of the gurus spent his whole life breathing in one-minute breath, but I forget which one, and that seems a bit difficult if he ever had to chant or talk to anybody. Regardless, it does seem to bring balance to the mind and body.

The meditation was pretty powerful, and helped to focus me a lot. Having a clearer head helped my meditation go deeper too. There was a wonderful hug from a charming lady afterwards too, that I didn’t want to end. There are so many great people at that meeting that I usually feel like I can’t connect with all of them afterwards, and had to cut things a bit shorter with some than I would’ve liked tonight.

I asked two friends to come over and try to help me move my new enormous file cabinet on top of my desk afterwards, and they obliged, but the thing was just too heavy for all three of us, even, and ended up leaving a big dent in the sheet rock. Ugh. So they left, actually I drove one home, and then I rearranged the file cabinets, leaving humungo on the floor, and began to sort my yogic paperwork. Actually I sorted and filed a slew of really technical papers and old business project files, but then realized I was more interested in sorting my yoga stuff.

I’d had some problems finding my favorite hand-written or xeroxed yoga sets lately, as a consequence of clutter and the mischief, undoubtably, of elves. I remember seeing Gurushabd’s file cabinets filled with his years of yoga sets, and thinking how sensible that was. So the piles are sorted into folders and many are filed now. I found the sets I couldn’t find before, and have piles of others I haven’t tried yet.

Many other things turned up too; a nice little post-it from Gurmukh from when I was doing seva at Golden Bridge, my teacher’s training notes, and my notes from years of Guru Singh’s classes. Also many non-Kundalini Yoga materials; Kriya Yoga instructions, Steve Leslie’s Ashtanga book, which he was publishing as he wrote it on Facebook, and many others too. There were some notes from a few years ago that prescribed doing “Aap Sahae Hoa” in early May. So many meditations, not enough time.

It’s late, early actually, and my sleep schedule is still out of whack. But I’m going to do the “har” meditation, and perhaps Mayra Man Loche, which isn’t anything like a cafe con leche, before turning in.

Meditation to Make Monkeys Fly Outta Your Butt

This was an extremely secret meditation, only revealed to the most adept and devoted yogi. Because if you practiced it, you could summon the powers of the wicked Witch of the West, and control men and woman and cause tornadoes. So do you really think I’m gonna tell you how to do it after all that? And you really think that – for the price of a single yoga class – I’m gonna reveal sacred secrets to you when you can’t even quiet your mind for an eleven minute meditation? Go home, watch TV. Go to sadhana (although the chants prescribed were actually only supposed to be practiced through the onset of the age of aquarius, which is already upon us). See if you’re really committed to learning this kriya.

Meditations and not much physical yoga for a few days

Tues: Went to meet my friend Stephen @ USC, did 11 minute “Har” meditation while waiting there for him, then “Guidance of the Soul – Giaan Sudhaa Simran Kriya” Master’s Touch p 38. I wasn’t all the way through the latter when he called, needing to be picked up in San Pedro, his cel phone dead, and thus work commenced – until 3AM. So I hadn’t done all 11 minutes of the last meditation, but felt like I’d gotten a full meditation nonetheless. I also ended up with an enormous file cabinet that I’ve needed quite badly, but don’t have room for in my apartment! (um, prosperity?) Enjoyed helping him prep for his summer class too. There’s such a weirdly distracting energy around college campuses at commencement time, and while it’s invigorating, it still calls to mind my CalArts graduation, which I found enormously depressing, unlike the Hampshire College one, which was sort of a peak experience for me since my first big composition got performed at it.

Wednesday: Did Gurunam’s “Rama” meditation for 11 minutes, then 11 mins. “Har,” then 11 minute “Guidance of the Soul” meditation again. All in my parked car along Venice Blvd before I got dinner. Not a great neighborhood, and got some funny looks from the residents near where I parked & practiced, but what the hey, and I wasn’t bothering anyone.

Thursday: Um, yep, if I don’t write this down every day, I guess this is where I lose track of the practice! I know I did “Har” every day, and sometime this week I did MT p. 25 “Meditation to Open the Lock of the Heart Center, to Increase the Power of the Infinite Within.” I might’ve also done this on Monday… You put your hands together in front of your face, 6 inches apart, and jerk them apart to an abrupt stop. Then in the next one you jerk them up near your ears to an abrupt stop… lots of Herky Jerky. Walla walla bing bang.

Friday: “Har” again, Sat Kriya, and “Meditation to Discover the Beauty and Heavens Within” p 48 MT. You make your hands into fists, hold them facing forward by your shoulders, and fling the fingers open for 17-1/2 mins. Another recording I don’t have is specified; Matamandir Singh’s “Rhythms of Gatka” – not on Sikhnet, either. I think I heard a cassette of it at Yoga West, but it was worn out and unlistenable. I think Seva said it had been difficult to master the recording, but I may be confusing it with another album. I love a lot of Matamandir’s music, especially his James Taylorish Japji versions, but didn’t get an overwhelmingly friendly greeting from him at Summer Solstice when we met. My recollection was that there was a lot of percussion on the recording, so I listened to some African Drumming during the meditation.

Saturday: I headed over to an art opening at the Brand Library and thought I might manage some yoga in the park surrounding it, but it got late, then it got dark, and so I put it off – until way after it was time to go to bed. But I didn’t want to start the count over (not that I’m entirely sure it even really matters after learning the 3HO dirt that’s tarnished my already skeptical faith) so…
MT p 57 “Guided Meditation to Find the Infinite Power Within” & 11 mins “Har” The first meditation you make peace signs and hold them by your head with long deep breathing, listening to Guru Prem & Nirinjan Kaurs “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” – at first, being as cranky as I’ve been today, I was thinking it was a waste of time. But by the end of the meditation, when you sing along with it, I was actually feeling a distinct mental change in attitude. I even felt that without doing any “physical” yoga beforehand.

The Sada Sats said the physical yoga gives us the energy to focus and reap rewards from our meditations; it always seemed a bit strange to me that Yogi Bhajan was only teaching meditations towards his final years, as I was attracted to the physical yoga, but I did have some powerful experiences just from simple meditation exercises he taught us, with no yoga beforehand. Once he just had us breathe deeply and fully through rounded lips for 11 minutes, and I felt exuberantly high for the rest of the night; I could barely contain my energy!

Now that I’m back into the “Har” meditation, there’s that issue, often overlooked (because, frankly, nobody knows the correct answer!) about pronunciation.
“Be sure to hit the roof of your mouth with your tongue.”
“It’s a rolled ‘r'”
“Yes, it’s a rolled ‘r’ – but short, like in ‘raisin'”
Then there are the recordings. For sure, they sound like they’re chanting “HUD.”
And somewhere in the middle of sorting through all that, my mind quieted down, and focused for the final few minutes.

Wattles Mansion

Today I was feeling run-down physically, so I went over to Wattles Mansion and did Sahib Parnaam and the 11 minute “Har” meditation under a big pine tree. Afterwards there was some pine sap on my yoga mat, so keep that hazard in mind if you’re considering doing your practice in a similar location. There was a nice wind during Sahib Parnaam, which made the 16 minutes of pushups in Downward dog a little more bearable. When I got home I did the next meditation from “Masters Touch,” “Meditation to Open the Lock of the Heart Center to Increase the Power of the Infinite Within,” which took about 12 minutes.

Sahib Parnaam got my energy going again, which helped, as I continue to drool snot out my nose intermittently while this cold waxes and wanes. And yes, now my shoulders are sore. But the Master’s Touch meditation actually seemed to help a bit, I think.

Last night I read some disheartening papers online about Yogi Bhajan’s actual teachers and the Sikh disdain for yoga. One was written by one of my teacher’s training classmates at Golden Bridge.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/140983448/Maharaj-to-Mahan-Tantric
Not a totally surprising account, as the details of Yogi Bhajan’s past have always been shrouded in a lot of legend and seemed lacking in factual accounting of his teachers’ lineage. What it did leave me wondering was if what I’ve learned, taught, and am practicing is actually really kundalini yoga or a hodge-podge of hatha techniques, pranayama, and Sikh excerpts turned into mantras.

The second paper was by a Sikh scholar from India, who tore Yogi Bhajan’s teachings to shreds in the context of Indian Sikh belief and practice.

The links showed up on a YouTube page which didn’t have much surprising information in it’s video message: “Academic study shows the Kundalini Yoga of Yogi Bhajan is a fraud.” I downloaded the author’s Kindle report and haven’t read it yet. There have been some nasty reports of the business dealings of some of the 3HO members, but I don’t see them as indicative of flaws in Yogi Bhajan’s teachings, even though the business practices of 3HO are also questionable.

These all fortify my skepticism, but despite that, I ask myself, “what about the time it rained on the tantric shelter during White Tantric Yoga at summer solstice?” ONLY on the shelter. Not around it. In the middle of a NM drought. What about the benefits of how I feel after I do a yoga set? It’s hard to reconcile the inconsistencies. Do I throw the baby out with the dishwater? Apparently not, since I ploughed through another day of practice.

Static “Yoga.destinymanifestation.com” content transfer

So I was looking through my Google Analytics and discovered that many more people have been looking over this blog than the static HTML pages on my associated site. Actually, this blog has been getting a surprising number of hits – more than all my others combined.

Therefore, I’m working on moving the content from those pages into this WordPress site.