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.
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 “” 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.

Starting new 40 day practice

So I’ve been feeling a bit “stuck” lately, and while there’s a part of my resistant brain that keeps telling me, “yoga never helped you succeed in blasting through blocks,” there’s another voice that tells me, “well, I DID feel better and seem to handle life’s difficulties better when I practiced regularly, didn’t I?”

So Wednesday I checked in with my “action partner” and shared my thoughts, suggesting that I might start trying a 40 day “sadhana” – although not the 4am sadhana as commonly understood in Kundalini circles. A sadhana is really just a committed personal practice.

So I could honestly manage that day was 11 minutes of Sat Kriya and 11 minutes of the opening part of “Subagh Kriya” – the “Har” meditation (which is a meditation by itself when practiced for this length.)

Day 2 fared a bit better; I was really feeling “stuck” throughout my whole body and being, so I did “Removing Body Blocks” from Harijot Kaur’s “Self-Knowledge” manual, then the “Rejuvenating Meditation to Make You Sattvic (Pure)” from Class 1 of the Master’s Touch manual. I’ve wanted to make my way through ALL the meditations in Master’s Touch since I did the teacher’s training, but have never gotten through all of them yet. Then I repeated the 11 minute “har” meditation.

The funny thing about the prosperity meditations is that you start seeing all the examples of prosperity in your life, no matter how insignificant. So the day before, I’d bought some lightbulbs at Target, and was appalled at how expensive they turned out to be. I got home, and one of the four bulbs didn’t even work. So I brought it back to Target, and they gave me a whole new set of 4 bulbs in exchange for the one dead bulb! “We have to write it off as damaged anyway,” I was told. I left a happy customer.

On Friday, I was starting to feel a bit run down. I’d helped my friend Stephen down in San Pedro, but was a bit burnt out from the drive there and back. When I got home, I looked through “Yoga for Prosperity” by Siri Kirpal Kaur, and decided to do “Brain Doctor Kriya” – “Kundalini Yoga & Meditation for Intuition and Answered Prayers.” It’s a pretty vigorous set, which I found a bit challenging after such a long period of intermittent practice, but I was feeling better by the end of it. Then I did “Meditation to Clear Your Communication” from Master’s Touch, and another 11 minute “Har” kriya. A little while later, I realized the tingle in my sinuses wasn’t from allergies, and by the time I went to sleep, I realized I was fighting off a cold.

The next day was “a wash” – I felt crummy and made some healthy soup for myself, but decided to skip the yoga, even if it meant my day count had to start with “one” again.

So today, Sunday, I did the “cold buster” (as Sada Sat Singh called it) – you fill the bathtub with water as hot as you can stand, and do Sat Kriya in the tub, ideally with the water level above your navel. Afterwards you’ll be sweating and tired, so you rest and let the toxins get sweated out of your body. It’s best to do this late at night before you go to bed, but I did it mid-afternoon, after cleaning the tub and bathroom thoroughly, and before heading off to a 12 step meditation meeting. I rested a bit, but then took a cold shower to cool my body down and get my energy going. A bit stressful, but what I needed to show up for the meeting. The meeting allows 20 minutes for meditation; most people sit in silence and do more of a Buddhist-style sitting practice, but I like to sit in the back of the room, where most people won’t see my freaky mudras or be distracted by them. I discovered that the next meditation in the “Yoga for Prosperity” book fit perfectly into that 20 minute niche, and so I did “Meditation to Become Intuitive.” Actually, since it was a new meditation, I was rather distracted by trying to track the time for each segment; just as my mind was quieting down, I’d need to change to a new section. Afterwards, my intuition told me quite clearly; “you need to leave immediately and go home and make some dinner for yourself.” Ah well, we’ll see what tomorrow brings!

Lost Links

I just realized all the yogic links I had on the old site have been lost. I’m guessing I might’ve added 100+, so that’s a nuisance. We’ll see if I can rebuild them.

Yoga for Headaches

I’ve been running across a number of friends who’re complaining of problems with headaches lately. Sometimes here in Southern California, the Santa Ana winds bring them on. I pulled together a few suggestions from various yoga manuals and put them into a single pdf. Feel free to contact me if you need more help with them.

Yoga for Headache Relief

Continuing the Meditation to Tap Opportunities toward 40 days

Well, it has been an interesting process, continuing this personal sadhana with this meditation. At the start, the self-loathing and resistance that was coming up was overwhelming. I’ve found that happens anytime I quit my meditation practice for a length of time – Yogi Bhajan described this as the “meditation being hell on earth” instead of bliss experience.

Invariably, I’ve been resisting doing this meditation until just before I go to sleep. Procrastination, if you will. Somewhere along the line, I decided to commit to writing 3 journal pages a day – “morning pages” as they’re known, but I haven’t been doing them in the morning (or when I first get up). I’ve moved from a small journal to an 8-1/2″ x 11″ journal, and this made that process seem exponentially harder – and it took longer. These two things have been something of a move on my part to “giving myself the time of day,” being present with myself, instead of frittering away the hours with the wide variety of activities that seem to take me out of myself and my circumstances; movies, TV, FaceBook, emails, phone calls, etc.

I’ve been resisting the journalling even more than the meditation! A few days I just gave up and skipped them, but I’ve forced myself through the meditation. A few days of the meditation were absolutely awful; I didn’t want to be doing it, and I was completely disinterested and distracted and impatient. On a couple of days, I actually was reading Yogi Bhajan lectures while I chanted, which is probably better than not doing the meditation at all, but sure didn’t seem too rewarding. Then earlier this week, I had a couple of days where I really went deeply into the meditation and was present with it. One day I paused and brought my hands in prayer pose at my third eye, and then went back to the meditation, and it was like all my chakras opened up into alignment and there was this deep state of open-ness and acceptance of some of my circumstances. Last night, I was feeling angry and frustrated at some of my circumstances – and my unproductive reactions to them, and brought that into the meditation, chanting with an intensity I haven’t for quite some time.

Although the meditation has a physical warm-up as it’s first segment, I’ve really been feeling like doing a physical yoga set before it prepares me to reach a deeper level with it, and I feel better the next day as well – or at least I had a better day the last time I tried this.

I don’t remember exactly which day I started, so to reach 40 days I have to continue through this coming weekend. Then I’ll decide whether to switch meditations or continue with it.

Plunging into a new personal sadhana

So, not having posted here in ages, I’m back. Not that I was “away” but the blog was down for a while. Dealing with career impasses, I’ve started doing the “Meditation to Attract Opportunities” as a daily sadhana. This morning, or rather end of yesterday, was day 5. I’ve been doing the warmup for 11 mins., the first 8 hariangs per breath for 22 mins, and the last 16 hariangs per breath for 31 minutes. The first four days were BRUTAL. It’s been interesting watching all the ways I procrastinate before starting, and then am kicking and screaming in my head throughout. Today was quite a bit better, however.  I’ve come to understand that the longer I go without meditating regularly, the harder it is to plunge through the mishigas that’s accumulated once I try to get started again. Mostly it’s been a lot of self-loathing and frustration that hovers around me throughout it. Today was better, not necessarily because that wasn’t there, but perhaps because my mind was bouncing around to lots of other things as I chanted.

Yesterday I also did an intermediate reformer Pilates set and the 55 minute Subugh Kriya. I figured, feeling as stuck as I’ve been, I probably needed to try to make a spiritual and physical connection of that magnitude to try to re-adjust my attitude and psyche. So then I tried to go to a gallery opening in the evening, and it was rather comical. Thinking I knew exactly where the gallery was, I arrived to find it closed. I realized I’d confused ACME and ACE galleries, and went down the street to ACE, which was also closed. Then I realized ACE also had another location further west in Beverly Hills. If only I’d written down the address before I left home. So driving to BH, while stopped at a light, Zee shouts out from the sidewalk, “ARTHUR!” and I picked her up and we drove over to the actual opening. She’s always got such fun energy. But she decided to continue to the Santa Monica Pier to a concert there, and I headed into the opening. Immediately I found myself next to the gallery owner, whom I intended to ask about their web developer opening. It took a few minutes to take in the scene before I decided to talk to him, however. Busy as he was, I didn’t find him terribly receptive, but was glad to make the connection with the énfante terrible of the LA art scene. I liked the show and headed over to my later destination, where I had a great chat with a musician who’s had some rather astounding successes. Then I stumbled upon and poked my head into yet another opening of a rock photographer on Robertson, and finally headed home.

Today I managed to break through and finally finish the Flash video tutorials I’ve been putting off. I’ve got two actionscript tutorials lined up next – hopefully I can complete them. Some serious procrastination going on with these; plugging through the online training can be really tedious, but I need to learn them.

And I made some headway on a song a couple of days ago. The lyric framework is clear; the actual content doesn’t all fit together yet. My studio is rather ridden with little dysfunctionalities, but I’m ironing them out, bit by bit.

So I guess the meditations are breaking through some of the resistance.

I thought I’d mention a couple of sets that I think work really well together. It seems a lot of times a set will just work on the upper body or the lower body, or actually, there seem to be a lot that ignore the legs altogether. But the “Firing Up The Metabolism” set in “Self Experience” on page 11 works on the legs continually for quite a while. So I like to pair it with “Kriya to Open Your Wings” in Guru Prem’s “Divine Alignment” book. It takes quite some time to make it through both sets, but it’s an amazing workout, and really does something fantastic to you.

Not to mention that the first time I did them together, I went to an opening, and made a connection to my first art exhibition for my video work. That was interesting.There’s always a temptation to say, “well, if I do this set, I’ll get what I want,” and sometimes that happens, but sometimes it’s just a great pay-off of being able to show up in life with a good attitude, and be open to the gifts that lay along the path.

Right now I just need a paying gig. So I’m gonna keep plugging away at these and see if they help me follow through on the job hunt and projects I’m trying to get rolling.