Lesson 2 - Silence and Intuition
An Introductory Course, Designed and Written by Guru Rattana, Ph.D.
Yogi Bhajan is an endless source of inspiration. Here are a few paraphrased quotes from one of his classes I attended:
- "We need mental security. Our intuition is our security. If we seek the satisfaction of our ego, our third eye (seat of our intuition) will not open up. If we give up our ego, the vacuum is filled with our intuition and we are uplifted . . . It is easy to access our intuition when our chakras are open."
- "Doubt and duality are the main causes of disaster. . . We forget that God is with us."
- "Let God work. Watch God work. Understand the play of God. Give God a chance. This life was given to you as a gift. Let God take you on this journey."
- "We are in the cusp (transition) to the Aquarian Age, which will begin in 2012. Until then, do your best, enjoy your life, have faith and let God take care of your life."
(1) Good ideas! How do I do that?! Kundalini Yoga is one of the spiritual disciplines developed by saints and sages to accomplish these goals.
(2) Ego is one of those misunderstood words with many meanings. Defined as our conscious awareness, an ego is necessary to think, operate, make decisions and take action in this world. The problem is that we usually operate from a "limited ego" and narrow view of ourselves and the world. It is this "false ego" that we are trying to give up or transcend.
An important task of our "aware ego" is to train ourselves to listen to our intuition, instead of reacting to random thoughts that are set off by our wounded emotions and inappropriate training. We need our "aware ego" to tune into God (universal energy) and join forces. As we do so, we experience "My will is God's will." And "God in me, me in God are One."
(3) "God" also has so many meanings and is a very misunderstood concept. A spiritual path is about experiencing the reality of this concept. Yogi Bhajan always told us that our biggest problem is that we think God is outside ourselves. The purpose of a spiritual practice is to experience the Infinite within our own being and to connect our individual psyche with the universal psyche. (one definition of God) (Lesson 21 "Surrender to the Zone" discusses in detail this concept and how we can cultivate a direct experience of the Infinite.)
Deep Listening, Silence and Intuition
Listening to the sound of silence is core to all spiritual practices. The Buddhists are masters of silence. Or at least they recognize its value and practice the discipline. The mind must be silent to "hear" the Divine. With deep listening, we cultivate our ability to hear the sound of Silence. Your experiences will be more profound and your Kundalini Yoga practice more effective if you incorporate deep listening into your spiritual practice and into your daily life.
The purpose of deep listening is to turn our attention inward. As we tune into our inner space we are able to identify and stop relating to what is called "excess personality" or "externalized ego". We begin relating to our Essential Self or Soul. It is our Essential Self that accesses our intuition and finds the Infinite within.
One of the goals of the meditative techniques in the Kundalini Yoga tradition is to tune into the neutral mind, where we can access higher states of consciousness. If we try to be silent without accessing our neutral channel, silent meditation often gets stuck in watching our thoughts and replaying our neuroses. After preparing the body and mind and balancing the emotions with Kundalini Yoga, we are able to sit quietly and enjoy the silence in our inner space.
Meditation for 40 Days
In the yogic tradition, meditations practiced for a certain number of days have a certain effect. Forty days is the minimum to break a habit and set the stage for an internal shift. One student asked me once-"Forty days in a row?!" The whole class laughed. Yes, forty days in a row! And if that seems like a long time, in the past many spiritual masters have taken 40 years to achieve enlightenment. I imagine that all of us have done that path in other lifetimes. This lifetime, we are attempting to get quicker results, so that we can enjoy peace and happiness while still in our bodies.
Types of Meditation
There are many types of meditation. The most common used in Kundalini Yoga practice are:
- Chanting mantras out loud
- Reciting mantras silently
- Pranayama with and without silent mantra and
- Silent meditation.
Silent meditation usually comes at the end, after we have practiced a technique to open our minds to experience higher levels of awareness. Yogi Bhajan recognized that it is impossible for most of us to tune into the "silent" neutral channel without clearing the way first with Kundalini Yoga, pranayama and mantra meditation.
It is useful to begin each daily session with silent mindful meditation so that we can monitor our progress and the effectiveness of our meditative techniques. Actually silent, mindful meditation is our first, last and on-going lesson. We use deep listening and silent meditation as a touchstone over time to review our inner evolution and to assess our goal of achieving inner peace, contentment and a richer, fuller inner life.
Yes, you can continue on to the next lessons. You do not have to wait 40 days. Actually please do not wait 40 days. But make sure that you incorporate silent meditation in your daily practice. Once you have done so for 40 days, you will realize the benefits of being still with yourself and will continue to incorporate this practice in your daily routine.
The Art of Silence and Listening
Below are three exercises to help cultivate the art of silence and listening. To be silent requires being able to listen. There is a silent channel in our mind. First we have to access it. Second we have to listen to the silence and be with it. The silence is always there. Our challenge is to train ourselves to pay attention to it.
Every day be silent and practice listening within. Do this for a few minutes before and after your Kundalini Yoga and meditation practice. We need to spend this silent time with ourselves, every morning before we start our workday. Simply sit quietly be with your breath, feel the sensations in your body and find your neutral channel. Gently and silently be with yourself. Start with 3 to 5 minutes and work up to 11 minutes. If you have time, you may want to work up to 22 or 31 minutes.
During the day, practice listening to yourself before you interact with others. Listen inside to what you want to say before saying it. Do your best to get your own answers before seeking advise. Process your own thoughts and feelings before sharing them with others. Share only those thoughts and feelings that inform and inspire others. Do not dump your emotions on others as a way to avoid processing them yourself. Keep your own personal issues and process to yourself. (Unless you are working with a counselor or therapy group.)
At least once a week, practice silence with a partner or with a group of friends. Observing silence, go for a walk together, be together at home, eat a meal together or partake in another activity. Agree on the process beforehand, so you can relax and enjoy the experience. Have a notepad handy in case the need to communicate arises.
You might also want to check out silent Buddhist evening and day meditations or week retreats.
The above practice makes us aware of how much we turn our attention outward and look for cues outside ourselves. We realize how much we say that is unnecessary and a waste of energy. We start to see how much we try to fill in "empty" spaces to feel comfortable or make the other person feel comfortable so we will feel comfortable.
We find our intuition and "hear God, the Infinite" in the open spaces of our minds. I am always reminded that I have to listen to myself, if I want to hear my intuition. It is not that our intuition is not working. It is dormant through inactivity or is buried by all our mental noise. We are not listening, trusting and following our intuition. When we don't listen to our intuition, our Soul screams at us in other ways-accidents, stress, fear, and anger. (You must have noticed! :+))
Preparing for the Aquarian Age
As Yogi Bhajan has shared with us, our intuition is our security. When we tune into our intuition, we know what to do. When we know what to do, we can trust ourselves and our universe. When we trust ourselves, we are in charge of our own lives. On the other hand, if we don't listen to ourselves, we have nothing to trust. The best we can do it operate from blind faith. But doubt ends up getting the upper hand. We turn to external authorities and become a victim of forces outside ourselves. As we move into the Aquarian Age, our goal is to empower ourselves from within (there is no other way) and to extricate ourselves from all forms of victimization.
Our goal over time is to integrate the above silence practices into our daily lives. To do so, we have to train and monitor ourselves. You may find it useful to keep a journal of your experiences. I find it therapeutic and encouraging to watch my progress. Training ourselves to connect with the divine within and maintain this connection during every hour of the day is the purpose of all spiritual disciplines. And with the energy available, we could witness some quick results.
Baseline and Ongoing Process
Although silent meditation may seem simple, its mastery is not. Students take years and even lifetimes to perfect it. Fortunately, there are Kundalini Yoga techniques that facilitate the process and speed up our progress. The purpose of this Kundalini Yoga Training Course is to share this technology. Our first step is to simply practice mindful silent meditation and watch our results. It is important to monitor your experiences so you have a baseline of comparison as we add the Kundalini exercises to the process.
Practice silent meditation at least one day before moving on to tuning in and the other lessons.
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