Kundalini Yoga Training
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© 2003 - Guru Rattana, Ph.D.
of the goals of silent meditation is to discover and connect with
our inner state of being. Our inner state is complex, has many
levels and is ever changing. When we first begin our inner journey,
our first encounter is with our mundane thoughts-about what we
have to do, our plans for the day, our opinions about what we
are doing at the moment.
remember my first attempt at "meditation" which must
have been about 1973-4. I had been practicing hatha yoga daily
for 3-4 years. I decided I would sit still for a few minutes after
my asanas. Wow. What an effort that was to actually sit "still"
for the eternity of three minutes! I certainly wasn't still and
my mind certainly wasn't silent. But I did sit there for three
minutes and that was a great accomplishment for me at that time.
was very pleased with myself for actually attempting this heretofore
impossible feat. The point is we have to start sometime and somewhere.
Sometime could be now. And somewhere is where we are at at this
moment. Needless to say I have made a lot of progress since that
first day, but it has taken a long time and I am still at it.
is the tool for getting in touch with what is really happening
inside our psyche, beyond the flow of thoughts that initially
clutter our inner terrain. One of the things I have discovered
is that there are many things going on and they are often contradictory.
I can feel happy and sad at the same time. I can access feelings
of anger and detachment simultaneously. I notice that I am both
afraid and excited. There is an inner anxiety that seems to be
a curtain that covers a dynamic peace.
have drawn two simple conclusions from all of this:
(1) This is the way things are, within me and in the universe.
Realities that appear to be opposites or even conflictual exist
(2) At every moment I am at choice. I can choose which reality
I wish to give my attention to. It is as simple as making a choice.
making specific choices is difficult. In making choices I have
the following touchstone facilitates my decision-making process
--What will make me happy, more peaceful and feel good?
have found out that making one decision and letting it guide my
life is a good strategy. Here is my most dramatic example. I remember
when I first started getting up for Sadhana (morning meditation
and yoga). In the ashram I had to get up at 2:50am (!!) to get
to the Sadhana room at 3:45am. Those were cold, dark winter days
in Boston. I was living in a cabin that was much colder than my
warm bed. In fact, sometimes there was ice on my shower floor!
Talking about a cold shower.
realized that if I were to make the decision "to get up or
not to get up" each morning, I would subject myself to unbearable
torture on a daily basis. So when I was feeling good, I made the
decision ONCE to get up at this "divine" hour. For years,
I never had to make that decision again. And that is my secret.
That is how I did it. I turned off my mind and my feelings as
much as I could when the alarm went off and got out of bed. After
the cold shower, it was all downhill for the rest of the day.
there will always be pressing reasons and valid excuses to distract
us from our spiritual practice, we may need to make an all-encompassing
choice that will serve as a foundation for our daily choices.
is a myth that when we meditate, we can stop our minds and tune
into this place of inner bliss. Yogi Bhajan tells us that the
mind processes 1000 thoughts at the wink of an eye. So don't even
consider stopping your mind. We can however change channels. I
find that one of the tricks to meditation is accessing the neutral
channel and being able to stay there long enough to experience
that there is some place else to hang out besides in the chatter
of the rational mind. Knowing that we do in fact have a choice
of where we operate from is a critical first step toward inner
can know all of the above intellectually. And the concepts are
probably familiar to many of us. The real challenge is to experience
in your own meditation the existence of the different feelings
and realities in your psyche and body. This is the goal of silent
meditation at this point in your process. Get in touch with the
agitation, the fear, the impatience and the anger. Also get in
touch with the peace, the contentment, the ability to be detached
and not react and the desire to simply be.
is the actual experience of the different energies within you
that will allow you to make a choice between the two. Sensory
experience is a necessary for training yourself to use the energies
that initially appear as "bad" for action, energy and
motivation. It is the acceptance and honoring of all our energies
that is the energetic foundation of self-love.
to Switch Channels and for Emotional Balance
Bhajan says that it is good to do this meditation when one is
worried or upset and doesn't know what to do, or when one feels
like screaming, yelling or misbehaving.
exercise will produce quick release of stress, foster emotional
balance and help create a quiet space within. It will help you
switch channels, or tune into the channel of peace and silencethe
neutral mind. Use it:
(1) to access the cosmic channel,
(2) distinguish between the "peace zone" and the rational
mind or "conflict zone", and
(3) to train yourself to choose the "peace zone."
practicing this meditation, drink a glass of water. Water imbalance
in the system, which creates pressure in the kidneys, can cause
worry and upset. When out of focus or emotional, attention should
be given to the body's water balance and breath rate. Humans are
approximately 70 90 % water. Our behavior depends upon
the relation of water and earth, air and ether.
represents air and ether and is the rhythm of life. Normally we
breathe 15 times a minute, but when we are able to rhythmically
slow down the breath to 4 (or less) breaths per minute, we have
indirect control over our mind. Calm, slow breathing eliminates
unbalanced behavior and promotes a calm mind regardless of the
state of affairs.
in Easy Pose or full lotus if you can comfortably. Place
your arms across the chest and lock hands under the armpits,
palms open and against the body. Raise the shoulders up
tight reaching toward the earlobes Apply Neck Lock by tucking
the neck in toward the chest with the spine straight. Eyes
are closed. This position may be uncomfortable, but it does
not hurt. Concentrate on how the breath changes automatically
in this position.
breath will automatically become slow. Continue for 3-5
minutes. You can gradually increase the time to 11 minutes.
water, pulling the shoulders up toward the ears and tightly locking
the entire area creates a solid break to the four sides of the
brain. After 2 or 3 minutes, thoughts will be there, but one does
not feel them. This is a very effective method of balancing the
end, relax the hands down, sit quietly and enjoy your inner space
of peace. You will notice that you have created a space independent
of your rational mind. Your mind will still have thoughts and
you can observe them, but you can choose to be in your peaceful
space or neutral mind.
Story About: What Will You Choose?
following is one of those Internet stories that is related to
our lesson. It might inspire you to make attitude choices that
help you create a reality of aliveness, joy and peace.
this and let the message sink in. Then choose how you want to
experience the rest of the day and how you want to start your
day out tomorrow. Remember life is a series of choices that we
make ourselves at every moment. Here is the story --
is the kind of guy you wonder "How does he do it?".
He is always in a good mood and always has something positive
to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would
reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" He
was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day,
Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive
side of the situation.
Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up
to Michael and asked him, "I don't get it! You
can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"
Michael replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself,
Mike you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good
mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in
a good mood. Each time Something bad happens, I can choose to
be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to
learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can
choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive
side of life. I choose the positive side of life."
right, it's not that easy," I protested.
it is," Michael said. "Life is all about choices. When
you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose
how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect
your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom
line: It's your choice how you live life."
reflected on what Michael said. Soon thereafter, I left the Tower
Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often
thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting
to it. Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved
in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications
tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care,
Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his
back. I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When
I asked him how he was, he replied. "If I were any better,
I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?"
declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through
his mind as the accident took place. "The first thing that
went through my mind was the well-being of my soon to be born
daughter," Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground,
I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or
I could choose to die. I chose to live."
you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.
continued, "...the paramedics were great. They kept telling
me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER
and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses,
I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man.'
Iknew I needed to take action."
did you do?" I asked. "Well, there was a big burly nurse
shouting questions at me," said Michael. "She asked
if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes, I replied." The doctors
and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took
a deep breath and yelled, "Gravity."
their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on
me as if I am alive, not dead'."
Michael lived, not just due to the skill of his doctors, but also
because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every
day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is
always, the choice is our own.
End of story.
everyone is as outgoing as Michael, but we all are at choice how
we experience life. The inner subtle choices are the ones that
determine our happiness and our destiny. Meditation gives us the
chance to make these choices at deep, impactful levels.
a grateful day, if you choose!!
© 2003 - Guru Rattana, Ph.D.