Thursday, April 29, 2010

What It Means to "Be the Change"

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

Mohandes Karamchand Gandhi's quote is pretty ubiquitous, right?

The meaning of this is usually interpreted as "we must lead by example." For instance, if I wish people used less water, I should use less water.

It recently occurred to me that this interpretation only addresses the surface of Gandhi's statement.

Allow me to propose a deeper understanding of what is being said: We must be the change we want to see, because the problems we see in our external world are the things we need to fix inside ourselves. We must be the change, not because we will fix others or the world, but because we are being shown the way to heal our own self.

Let me explain...

Because we see through the lens of our own perspective, our perspective is a reflection of our thoughts, and our true nature is clouded by these thoughts...

Then what we see as a "problem" with the world or another person, is actually shining a light on the garbage of our thoughts.

I can give a personal example of this: Every time I pass a smoker on the street I become immediately resentful.
1) They are polluting the air I breathe without my consent.
2) They obviously have no self-worth. They must be weak.
3) They should be roped up and tied to a burning tree for subjecting me to their slow suicide.

Woh! (# 3 was a joke)

So, obviously, these thoughts reveal a pretty serious imbalance in my worldview.

Looking in the proverbial mirror, I could say that I have some tolerance issues. And the most important way it probably plays out is in the way I treat myself.

So, being the change I want to see in the world does not just involve not smoking. It means not harboring animosity towards people who smoke. And, on a broader scale, not hating people for making choices I don't agree with.

Being the change doesn't mean just living the life you believe in. It also means accepting those who make different choices.

There's no need to worry, because, in the end, that which serves the unfolding of human consciousness (a force greater than the little "me" and the little "you") will win over anyway.

The best we can do is tap into that inner-knowing, and make decisions from that sacred place.

We live the change we want to see not because of how it changes others, but because of how it changes us.

Being the change by not smoking, means being given the opportunity to practice tolerance.

So, salute to Gandhi! He lived his dharma and, most likely, worked through his karma, by being the change he wanted to see.

The change you want to see most is the change you want to affect within yourself.

Blessings on your path,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

You Embody Love

Sat Nam,

I was playing around with my borrowed harmonium yesterday before I went to the Mirabai Ceiba concert at The Golden Bridge (ethereal! beautiful!). I decided to see what one of my old songs would sound like on the new instrument. The video below is the result.

When I first moved to Santa Monica last February (month of love!), I became a hardcore fan of Saul David Raye's yoga classes. On Easter of last year, he told the following story--which, incidentally has now been told to me 3 times, twice by the chant master himself, Krishna Das.

A group of disciples, including Ram Dass and Krishna Das, were with Mahara-ji (Neem Karoli Baba) in India. One day the Saint told them to "meditate like Christ." They looked at one another a little puzzled: "Uh, how does Christ meditate?" The Saint closed his eyes and was perfectly still for about 5 minutes. Finally, a tear fell down his face and he replied: "He lost himself in love."

It's taken me a very long time to come into a state that matches the vibration of that statement. I come to deeper and deeper understanding of that statement. The deepest is the felt understanding.

"Losing ourselves" doesn't sound like such an enlightened thing to do. We wouldn't want to lose ourselves to worry, or doubt, or fear, or drugs. We wouldn't want to lose ourselves in someone else's ideas, or a life we didn't chose. In fact, losing doesn't sound that great.

Remember that the number "0" (zero) came from an Indian idea. Before that, Europeans had no way of demarcating "nothing" as the sum of something. Emptiness, or the total loss of something, is a notion Westerners still have trouble grappling.

Why lose ourselves in love?

Because love is the true state. It is the true identity. The Sat Nam. And it only comes into our awareness when we make space for it.

Love is what is underneath all the layers. Love is what is outside all the layers.

If we can have a practice of connecting with that Source of inner truth, we will make very good decisions in our daily life. We will see through the eyes of Christ that everyone is a diamond underneath. Everyone, at root, is an embodiment of love.

When we "meditate like Christ" we clean the dirt off the diamond. And we feel our true power--which is not dependent on anyone else's actions or behavior.

When we "meditate like Christ" we walk through our life with compassion. Compassion is an understanding that everyone has some clean-up to do. We all do, or we wouldn't be here, right?

Krishna is the personification of this kind of love. Divine, unshakable, invincible, unequivocal love.

Nothing you do will change the diamond you are, though a lot can stop you from noticing.

So, we can choose to start scrubbing, or roll around in the dirt some more.* Spring is a good time to set some "clean" intentions.

My ideas include:
-Taking 5 minutes each morning to center and do a breathing exercise.
-Making a list of things you are grateful for and re-reading it daily
-Simplifying your diet and drinking more water
-Turning on your TV less often
-Singing along to uplifting music
-Smiling for no intelligent reason
-Service without expectation of reward
-Forgiving yourself each time you forget to choose love over the maya (illusion) of daily "stuff"

In praise of all that is shiny and bright...

Blessings on your path,

*This is a metaphor by the way... I think pigs have a good thing going, personally!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo

I have a harmonium on loan right now. Here's something I wrote on it.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

It Feels the Worst Before it Bursts

Namaste Divine Being,

Doing kundalini yoga has taught me something very important about myself.

Doing breath of fire for 3 minutes in the morning is much like every other challenge that comes into my awareness: I want to give up just as I am about to reach the finish line.

It was the same for my 40-day "kriya of liberation" -- I wanted to quit in the last few days! After I had done it for 38 days straight... that was when I started to want to slack off.

Isn't that amazing?

I see this happen to a lot of people though. We are about to push through something important, that will make us more open, receptive people, and we give up just right before it happens.

It is indeed scary to transform.

Consider this though: in kundalini we do crazy things for a reason.

Once I held my arms outstretched to the sky chanting "Humee Hum Brahm Hum" for 11 minutes. I thought my arms would fall out. But I was doing it. And I knew when the time was up my teacher would let us know, and I would feel the better for it. What would be the point of giving up in the last few seconds?

I see this written on the fence at the school I teach, and it reminds me that there is nothing to fear but a better life:

"Just as the caterpillar thought the world was over, it turned into a butterfly." - Anonymous.

Enough caterpillaring around.

It's time to show your wing span! Fly on!

Blessings on your journey,

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Danielle Lovelight

Sat Nam,

This morning I was on Danielle Lovelight's show! How fun!

Thanks Danielle for having me on your show.

Hello! This morning we are going to spiritually dialogue and commune with a lovely sister on the spiritual journey, SIRGUN KAUR. You can hear more about her at She is a beautiful example to the Indigo/Crystal generation of the power of opening oneself up completely to change, transformation, growth and love. Not having come from any particular religious background, Sirgun was able to allow the nature awakening of her soul to guide her into the realms of spiritual mysticism, without filter or dogmatic prejudice. This allowed her and continues to allow her to open in new ways to new experiences via meditation and the down-to-earth practice of opening to self-love. Sirgun is an avid musician, singer, pianist, guitarista and creator. She also teaches children's yoga regularly in Los Angeles area. Join us for a fun and naturally free-flowing dialogue in the light, and in the love. Stay in-tuned!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Hedonistic Sevite

I went to audition for the Agape Choir today with my friend. When we got there we found out we had misunderstood to basic requirement of "6 months of service." We had interpreted it as 6 months of attending service. They meant service at Agape.

So, we just hung out with the singers while they rehearsed. And we watched the auditions.

At one point a 3 year old wearing a spiderman costume started getting REALLY bored and REALLY loud. I recognized his mother, so I asked if she'd like me to take him outside and play until it was over.

So we built a rock house and pretended we were airplanes. No big deal. I felt super charged afterwards. Who wouldn't want to remember what it's like to be 3?

Anyway, it got me thinking about service and how great I feel after I've done something that is helpful to someone else. It's nice to be thanked, but not necessary. It's the feeling I get from performing seva that is absolutely elating.

When I was in high school I remember my English teacher asked us why we did community service. I responded: "Because it feels good to help out!"

This was not the right answer according to her.

The "right" answer was that we do community service because we are more fortunate than others and we have a duty to help those who are less fortunate.

I wasn't as eloquent or worldly in high school (surprise surprise), so I just kind of cowered and listened to her tirade.

It occurred to me today that there were two modalities of service as play here:


I think of the lines from a Mary Chapin Carpenter song:

We learned about the world around us at our desks and at dinnertime,
Reminded of the starving children, we cleaned our plates with guilty minds.

In the song, the child is taught that she should be feel guilty for the life she leads. If we are coming from a place of guilt what gift are we bringing to our service? Guilt is a low vibrating frequency, and low means slow. Not much gets done when you are acting from guilt.


This is giving because you recognize it as a beneficial exchange between two people. When we serve someone else, they are actually giving us the opportunity to work on something that we need to work on. Both parties benefit.

We are also coming from a space of gratitude about our own life -- feeling the call to use that as currency in the stock exchange of service.

As the Dalai Lama says: "the other person is you." When you are serving someone else, in actuality you are serving your higher self.

Looking back, I suppose it was a puny dispute. Really, we were saying the same thing. We give because we must.

We give because we must.

Or, as Govindas would say: "Service is the rent we pay for living on Planet Earth."

From my heart to yours,

Monday, April 5, 2010

Majorly Fertile

Happy Easter!

Today is the day we get to celebrate "resurrection." I just love the symbolism of this day. Note: I am vegan, so notice I chose a photo of those cool "fill 'em up" plastic eggs.

In each of us is an "egg", an idea, a seed... waiting to be fertilized, waiting to be realized, waiting to be watered. This time of year is about letting go of all that does not serve us so we have room enough in "our basket" for for the new "eggs" to hatch.

I just love the subtext of it all.

The time of year where new growth "hatches", you go on a search to fill up with all new life.

If you are looking for eggs, you're going to find eggs. If you don't know about the hunt, you probably won't find anything.

It's like how we evolve, right?

If we have the space inside our mind & body (i.e. the empty basket), and are receptive (i.e. we choose to go on the "hunt"), we will find a whole new world of colorful possibilities (i.e. eggs).

The other beautiful part is that ALL the eggs are right there waiting to be taken by us, and someone lovingly placed them there just so we could find them.

Don't you just love symbolism?


Friday, April 2, 2010

Not Done Until We've All Won

One of my favorite stories is in the pages of In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson. I read it before I went to Australia in 2006.

Bryson recounts the "troubles" the Brits had when they tried to teach the Aboriginal children how to play competitive sport. The Brits got very confused at how the children would play the game until the score was even on both sides.

It illustrated to me how the native Australians viewed human interaction: "we are not done until everyone has won." This is the same way the Japanese handle their educational system. The class does not move on with their lesson plan until everyone is ready.

On a deeper scale, this is how I view our ascension as a human race. There are many many inter-dimensional beings that are just waiting around for us to "lighten up" and join them. Paramahansa Yogananda, Jesus, Guru Ram Das, Mother Theresa...

They are totally ready to move on, but they must wait until everyone is ready to move with them.

The family does not go on vacation until everyone is in the car.

It just goes to show that on a cosmic level we have total recognition of our oneness. We are waiting for everyone to climb on board. And it could not be any other way. There is no half, there is no quarter, there is no eighth. We go together, or we don't go at all.

The Aboriginal children understood something that many of us would be the happier for: there is supreme joy in universal victory!

I see victory in our future...


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Knowing as a Personal Experience

Good evening,

I am so grateful to have the opportunity to experience some of the thinking that takes place around the topic of "religion."

Since I have changed my name many people have asked me: "are you now Sikh?"

A long answer to that...

I have heard it said from two highly regarded spiritual teachers (Rev. Michael Beckwith and Guru Singh) that religion comes from 2 words that mean "remembering origin."

Religion is a practice through which we remember the expansive consciousness from
which we emanate.

In their purest forms, the major religions of the world are ways in which people from different social and ethnic backgrounds have found to QUANTIFY and QUALIFY "God." Through their particular lens, a series of customs, rituals, and "beliefs" develop.

God is not a belief. God is a truth. It is an inner-experience.

I caught a glimpse of a rather comical posting on a yahoo forum entitled: "I would like to find a new religion to start my life in 2010, what should I pick."

Naturally, the onslaught of religious preferences ensued... Lutheran, Scientologist, Pastafarian (that one was a joke).

I couldn't comment because I am not a member, but here is what I would have said:

"A spiritual practice is a noble thing to pursue. However, you may run into trouble if you are in search of someone to tell you how you should live your life. You do not need to find a temple, church, or monastery to find the indwelling BEAUTY that lies within your own being in every moment.

"Your new religion happens when you remember your origin. The answer to every question you have about life comes from growing the practice of listening to your intuition. The best 'religion' for you is the spiritual practice that you can make a genuine commitment to. That could range from a 15 minute meditation in the morning, daily readings of A Course in Miracles, or Sundays at Mass."

The religious people that I admire most live their faith in their every action. They do not evangelize or judge others for choosing a different religious 'lens.'

Rev. Beckwith once illustrated to us the difference between "believers" and "practitioners."

Believers want to tell you all about their religion and why it's the best. Practitioners have a direct connection with Source. They KNOW God. They don't have to BELIEVE in God.

So am I Sikh? I suppose. Am I Christian? That too I guess. Am I Buddhist? Probably as well.

Does it matter? No. God doesn't label us.

God is love. Love is God.

It is the Cosmos, the Universe, Allah, Jehovah, Jah, Wahe Guru, Ram, Krishna, Buddha, and the Higher Self.

It's all good, because it's all God.

As the Beatles say: "I am me as you are he as you are we and we are all together."

The moral of this story: trust your own intuition, and see people for who they are.



I met Genevieve first as a client, then as a teacher, and now as a guest...  Cute example of the malleable roles we take on for one another,...

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