Got home tonight, and was feeling a bit depressed, I guess; news of a friend’s father’s unsuccessful lung cancer surgery tapped into some grief of my own. I find myself sharing about my father’s death with friends who’re dealing with cancer that appears life threatening, then realizing they’re struggling for life with cancer and I’m responding with stories of death from it, which might not be the most helpful response. Also found myself irritated by another person’s report of his serious yoga practice, and his disinterest in my sharing of my own. I’m still trying to decipher why I find him so irritating, but I suspect there are facets of my own behavior that bother me in him.
I’m also seeing how often people simply have no interest in Kundalini Yoga, and I try to bring it to the table in other religious or spiritual contexts where it isn’t welcome. Most of my non-yoga friends on Facebook probably have no interest in it; same with most Quakers, who are simply disinterested in my yogi chai tea, etc. – I’m planning to go to Pacific Yearly Meeting with them, instead of Summer Solstice with the Kundalini Yogis, where my interest would be shared and celebrated. I go to Quaker meeting because I treasure the silence and values, but I could be going to Gurdwara at the same time with the other Yogis. Some friends who’ve had deep interest in yoga think Yogi Bhajan was a shuckster; it seems there’s a lot of snobbery between the various Hatha forms. When I practice Kundalini exclusively, I sometimes feel like I’m not really learning YOGA – especially after taking Dharma Mitra’s class at Bhaktifest and realizing how little the Kundalini training had given me in terms of hatha practice. That’s all the chatter of my ego, and then I’ll do a KY set and feel my state of consciousness transformed by it, and it quiets down.
Well, I started the practice tonight with the Har meditation. I got the rather strange gift in the mail of a check from NYS Tax board – an unexpected refund check following the payments I’d been making on a long forgotten tax debt from 24 years ago. It seems they over-deducted the payments. That was truly unexpected.
Trying to choose a set from Harijot’s Self Knowledge manual, I considered the Power to Win Number 2 set, or a variety of others, but it was late, and a lot of them involved pounding on the floor, or flailing about like a frying fish, and I know from experience this has bothered previous neighbors downstairs. I considered the Conquering Depression set, but ruled it out for the reasons just mentioned as well.
I settled on “Challenge the Ego in You” which I’m not sure I’ve done before. I was feeling much better just a little ways into it. I often get leg cramps while sitting on my heels, and celebate pose is often pretty hard on my legs & knees as well. Then there are 108 frogs, which I might be feeling tomorrow. I listened to a portion of a recording of “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: The Book of the Spiritual Man” (Charles Johnston version/Libravox/Maggie Russell) from YouTube. That was on the reading list for teacher training, although Golden Bridge sold the Isherwood version, and it was never even mentioned during the training, which seemed quite odd. I actually learned a bit about them from one of Wayne Dyer’s books & lectures, which got me interested in reading them again.
I followed the 19 minute relaxation with “Meditation to Experience the Essence of a Teacher” (Master’s Touch p. 241) and used a Guru Prem “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” from the White Tantric Yoga Vol. 2 collection – a wonderful assortment of 3HO recordings I bought at Summer Solstice in 2004. I don’t have Gurdev Mata, so I just read the words in Master’s Touch. Combined with the Patanjali, these meditations got me thinking about self-purification and some of the objectives of yogic practice in the first place, which I often arrogantly disregard out of plain obstinance. Then I’ve been considering the aspects of my own life which I’d consider deal-breakers from potential relationship partners, and how I might change them in myself.
Next I did the next “Blessing” meditation, in 3 parts, from Master’s Touch, p. 247. It calls for “Reality, Prosperity, and Ecstasy” by Nirinjan Kaur, which I sounded familiar, but I didn’t think I had it. Then I Googled it and found out it’s really called “Prosperity Hymn” and Guru Prem is credited on it in the same White Tantric Yoga CD I just mentioned. The Nirinjan Kaur Humee Hum Brahm Hum was used several years in different White Tantric Yoga sessions; I have this memory of the eerie funky arrangement going on and on for hours. I didn’t have a recording of it though; however Sikhnet did.
I found it surprisingly challenging to maintain the first mudra for it.
Then I decided to try the “Meditation for Upliftment” again (p. 236) and found Matamandir Singh’s wonderful recording of the 20th Pauri, Bharia Hath, also on Sikhnet.
Last time I’d just listened to all of Japji since I didn’t have my separate MP3 files of the various pauris when I did the meditation. It was helpful to have the words of Japji too, since I didn’t recall them hearing them in Matamandir’s context, although I’d chanted them many times in Japji at Sadhana. My experience of the meditation was much better this time, and found it more… uplifting? And a couple of hours later, once again I find myself crashing from it – last time I suspected it might be blood sugar, but this time it might be simple tiredness.
Last night I had quasi hallucinogenic dreams in some weird place that had shades of adolescent rebellion, modernist condominium lofts, swabs under tongues that had us (I don’t quite remember who “us” was) flying around these caves that seemed to be at the Huntington Library Gardens, and there were police chasing somebody else, and lava flowing through the tunnels. Amidst all this I found myself thinking “Oh, this is what Ayahuasca is all about, but I haven’t vomited yet…” It didn’t seem like a nightmare when I woke up, much too early, but I wasn’t well rested either. So I hope that isn’t in store again tonight.
Overall, I find myself wondering if I’ve been devoting too much time to the yoga and meditations when I perhaps should be updating resumes, portfolios, and job hunting since freelance work has been less and less rewarding and profitable. Where do I draw the line between spiritual thirst, practice, and practical procrastination? I recall, years ago, trying to print the whole Siri Guru Granth at a full time job on their laser printer, draining the toner cartridge because I hadn’t noticed that it’s over 2500 pages long. It seemed from the start I was obsessively drawn to this Kundalini Yoga thing, even when it adversely affected relationships or jobs. Ah well.
Out on the street, the police are stopping a car with noisy instructions through their megaphone, and I should be headed to bed. Solstice is coming up next Saturday; since I’m not going to Espanola, the Wright Ranch in Malibu has often been a good backup plan, but I’ve agreed to go see this mime with my neighbor that night, and can’t do both. They do an American Indian Medicine Wheel ritual there; I’ve done my yoga practice at the center of the mandala beforehand in the past, yet another place where my yoga practice isn’t unwelcome, but isn’t welcomed or understood. Ah well. I don’t particularly feel their ritual to be life changing either, but the location is spectacular beyond belief, and that is life changing in itself.