Thursday, January 31, 2013

Praise the Bridges



I found this quote this morning. 

Ever since I visited Japan in 2006 I have loved the image (and function) of bridges. 

Bridges are like magical portals that take us from one reality to another. They can help us cross the seemingly impossible rift between where we are and where we would like to be.

In Sikhism, we talk about the "Guru." The Guru is like a bridge. 

In times when we feel a sense of disconnect, challenge or confusion, we can call upon "the Guru" to bridge the gap and bring us closer to balance... closer to God. 

How do you call upon the Guru? We have so many tools for linking ourselves to this subtle energy field. Mantra, yoga, meditation, and prayer are all good ways to find the bridge. 

In times of strife, we often forget that some of these more esoteric solutions might work better than the biggest effort to manually "fix" our problem. When we are receptive to the sacred energy that holds this world together, it builds a bridge for us. 

In Sikh poetry, the Guru is often described as a boat that "carries us" across the world ocean. I suppose it would have to be a monumental bridge that would take us across an ocean, so I can see why a boat might be more appropriate symbolism.

However, some obstacles are not quite as wide as an ocean. Some things are handled in increments. Some things reoccur in our lives and we need that bridge to help walk us over.

Sometimes we need a few bridges to even get us to that boat.

Praise the bridge!


Love,
Sirgun








Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sweet Progress

My New Album Campaign rose by over a % today! 

This might not seem that big, but when you're talking about 1% of $15,000, it's a beautiful leap!


Today, I said "no" to something that would have made this campaign a lot easier... I won't get into specifics. Suffice it to say that it was an easy out. I didn't take it. I'm going to do this completely independently. Yep. The hard way.

The funny thing about the hard way is that the "hard" part turns out just to be the temptation. Once I made the decision to decline, a whole wave of pre-purchases and donations came in that I wasn't expecting. And it actually turns out to feel more like the easy way. The right way. 

Anyway, read the THANK YOU note. It's for you.

Blessings,
Sirgun Kaur Khalsa



Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Ocean Inside


The ocean inside is mighty fierce
but not for the force of waves

It is not the crashing into shoreline
or the ever subtle incline 
that touches the beach's enclaves

The ocean inside is mighty fierce
but not for the waves it makes

It is not the rapid changes
in elemental stages
that reverses the damage it creates

The ocean inside is mighty fierce
when it surrenders into the sea

And settles into a stillness
that we did not foresee 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Infinite Hope

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” 
~Martin Luther King Jr.

In honor of Martin Luther King Day yesterday, I wanted to write something on one of the Doctor's amazing quotes. I chose this one out of many because it was short enough to expand on, and pithy enough to really get into.

Here goes...




:: WHAT ARE DISAPPOINTMENTS? ::

I'm certain you have felt the answer to this question.

I see a disappointment as an inner-conflict between what is and what we would prefer to be.

For example, two children playing at the park might have very different experiences based on their preferences. If child 1 really wants to be at the park and child 2 would have preferred to be watching television, child 2 is probably going to be disappointed, whereas child 1 will probably be content to play in the sand.

As our expectations and our vision expand, our disappointments will likely grow along with them.


:: DISAPPOINTMENT IS ESSENTIAL ::

Some might say disappointment is a good thing to avoid. When we can see the world how it is, not the way we would like it be, we can insure our own happiness and contentment. And for mundane things like playing in sand vs. watching television, I'd say that is a good practice. Why waste energy on what could be? Just enjoy the sand!

However, there are good reasons to be disappointed.

Dr. King's legacy would be very different if he didn't simultaneously see things as they were, and devote his life to changing them.

Finite disappointment was a necessary component to Dr. King's infinite hope. Without the nightmare of race relations in the United States that he faced, there could have been NO DREAM. Without this disappointing situation, there could have been no Martin Luther King. There could have been no inspiring leadership. There could have been no example of saintly behavior. There could have been no role model for future generations.

From a finite disappointment came a greater finite reality: equal rights for black people in the United States.

(I am not deluded enough to think that there is complete equality even today, but compared to MLK's time, I dare say we have come a long way.)


:: TRANSMUTING EMOTIONS ::

I suppose my point is, it isn't our emotions that necessarily get in the way. It's the way we use them.

Ultimately, it's how we answer this question:

Do I sit and wallow in my disappointment, or do I use it as fuel? 

Emotions like anger, fear, resentment, jealousy, and disappointment are only "bad" when we let them eat us up. If we can transmute them into something useful, they did their job: they got us started.

Martin Luther King Jr., it seems to me, was not afraid of his emotions. He knew the pain of racism. He used it. Moreover, he transmuted it. He did not throw his pain right back onto his oppressors. He transmuted his pain into the energy of his peaceful campaign to do what he knew was right.

To come back to the initial quote, he transmuted his finite disappointment into infinite hope. And when we are able to transmute something petty and finite into something universal and infinite, we can only expect to succeed... for the expansion we must experience within our own self to make that happen is a win in itself.


Blessings,
Sirgun


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Welcome: Well, Come!

Since May, my husband and I have known that a baby would be coming just about this time of year. As the weeks go by and the (mystery) birth day approaches, I think about the incredible ride I've been on for the past 9 months.

Pregnancy for me has meant nausea, uncontrollable fits of laughter, joy, music, insecurity, sadness, acid reflux, anticipation, anxiety, and so many other not as easily expressible phenomena.

Beyond the "symptoms" of housing life in my womb, pregnancy has also brought me tremendous growth, a sense of peace with who I am, and a unique connection to the Great Spirit that brought me safely into this world.

While certainly not an easy task, I feel truly blessed to be a vehicle for new life.


:: THE REAL DOER ::

Beyond the 9+ months of growing another being inside my womb, pregnancy feels like my lesson in what it truly means to surrender to the potent unfolding of creation. 

In Sikhism, we have the phrase Karta Purkh. 

Karta Purkh is God as the doer of all things. It's an energetic awareness of the intelligence behind the things we think we are causing to happen. In other words, while we can throw a ball really far, there are natural laws that make our actions fruitful, i.e. gravity.

KAR refers to creating, TA is the sound of life giving birth, and PURKH is the primal being-ness of the Universe. 

It's all fine and good to think you understand what it means to accept that things are being done through you. And perhaps you have had an experience that made this concept hit home. For me, I never got it until I became pregnant. 


:: TOTAL ALLOWING ::

The first few weeks of my pregnancy were pretty textbook. I fell into a comatose state of extended evening slumbers, plus a few naps.

At first, I mistook this to be post-festival-work fatigue. I had just pulled several all-nighters at the festival I work for, and I usually had catching up to do when I returned home.   

When the fatigue didn't go away after a couple of weeks though, I became worried I had some sort of virus. It was such a relief to find out that I was pregnant, and not seriously ill. 

Despite the fact that I have a very holistic relationship with my body (through yoga, meditation, careful nutrition, etc.), saying that I had little sense of its ability in the baby-making department would be an understatement. 

I kept feeling like the successful growth of this child had to depend on me doing something. Every other capacity that I had cultivated had, after all, been the direct result of physical or mental action (or so I reasoned). It hadn't been my experience thus far that I could just sit back and watch as my body prepared to run a marathon, for example.


Was I really capable of growing a child? 
Did my body really know something I didn't? 
How is that possible?


I was unable to tap into a secure sense of "knowing" that I could do this.

I was willing to play along though.

I sat back and enjoyed the ride. It quickly became easy to see that something was happening beyond me.


:: THE MIRACLE ::

The miracle is that my body did know what to do.

I watched in awe as things slowly started to grow. When I felt the first miniature kicks, I couldn't believe it. There was really something growing in there! And I did nothing to make that happen.

Sure, you might say, I did do some things to improve my chances of conceiving and growing a child. I did have sex. I did eat. I did breathe. I did keep positive thoughts and sing to my womb.

But when I say "I did nothing", I mean I didn't instruct my uterus, or mentally form the umbilical cord, or go through a long process of filling the bag of waters with fluid. No, all that was completely beyond my control. Pre-programmed by a perfect sense of Divine Order that didn't need my help, only my participation...

Karta Purkh.


:: HERE WE GO ::

So, as we approach our son's upcoming birth day, I have faith that this same Karta Purkh will take the reigns. Just like all the things my body intuitively knew to do to foster this life inside me, I have no doubt that it will continue to amaze me with its mysterious intelligence.

I will try to allow the process to just unfold... not just the birth, but the parenting part too.

In fact, I've mostly been thinking about the actual parenting these past few weeks. It's no small thing to take responsibility for a human soul.

I do take some comfort in knowing that this soul chose his incarnation for the lessons he needed to learn in this lifetime. While I will strive to do my best, we will all inevitably be learning and growing... and that's OK.

I also know that this child isn't really "mine", or my husband's. He belongs to the same fabric of existence that all of us belong to. Our success as parents, I think, will be in how successfully we are able to support his relationship with his own soul and help him complete his mission on this planet.

Ah, here we go...


Love,
Sirgun

Friday, January 11, 2013

Building the Bridge

Creating music is an amazing process.

Take this song, for example.

Rakhe Rakhanhaar...

I began singing this shabad as part of the Aquarian Sadhana with two friends a few years ago. We called ourselves "Treysha."

We decided to put this version on my new album (coming summer 2013), but my producer and I felt it needed something... a bridge.

Mantra music can get a little repetitive, and that's OK. Most of the time, that's the point. But sometimes it's nice to break things up with some English lyrics... something to give a song a little more musical appeal.

Anyway, here's what I came up with:


Ram Dass (my producer) doesn't like the word "orchestra." I'm trying to think of something a little less cerebral to substitute it with... or leave it be.

Love,
Sirgun

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fly AND Sing


One of my new favorite things to do is make images with quotes on them. I have a whole collection of ones that tell the story of why music/singing is important. 

Enjoy!










Love,
Sirgun






Tuesday, January 8, 2013

God Beyond Religion

I started writing this blog a few days ago and it got completely erased. I guess it was time to get a fresh perspective on the subject...

I find myself using the word "Universe" a lot when I'm talking about God. I suppose I am sensitive to the fact that some people feel uncomfortable with the word "God," and others might assume I am talking about "my" God and not theirs.

The God I'd like to talk about is not a personal or religious one, however. The God I speak of cannot exist for some and not others. If this were the case, it would not be God.

And here I go making you uncomfortable...


:: OH MY GOD ::

Can you really talk about God out of the context of religion? I think so.

For so many years, it seems, people have felt that God belonged to those who appeared religious or pious.

In order to speak with authority on your creator, you had to dress a certain way, pray a certain way, eat a certain way...

And even then, you had to go through an intermediary person to communicate with the One Power that so intimately made YOU.

OMG!


:: TAKING THE LORD'S NAME IN VAIN ::

And of course you can't talk about God without discussing the myriad ways you can talk about God in vain.

This is a really interesting concept though, isn't it?

What would be a vain reason to call on God?

It seems to me that humans might be poor judges of what would be a good conversation starter with the fabric of existence. Who can say God is more interested in a prayer for your grandmother than a stubbed toe?

Probably people who want to make you feel guilty for doing spirituality the wrong way.

Truthfully, no one can qualify your relationship with God but you. And if you believed that, God might not be such a sore topic.

And when I say "you", I mean "me" just a few short years ago...


:: BUILDING RELATIONSHIP ::

The thing I had to figure out about the whole God thing was this: it really doesn't matter what God is. It matters what my relationship to God is.

My spiritual path of choice is very careful about not trying to describe God so much as forging a relationship to that entity.

After all, wouldn't we all be better people if we spent less time trying to convince other people of what God is and wants, and more time establishing a relationship to God?

Religions seem to serve a very important purpose in that they can give us a framework for how we might relate to God—through various disciplines like prayer, reading scriptures, meditation, etc...

Other ways to related to God that do not involve an organized discipline exist too though. Gardening, golf, swimming, cartwheels on the beach, and knitting could be some pretty awesome and expansive activities if done with an awareness of what makes them all possible.


:: WHY? ::

The question is, why would you want (or even need) to develop a relationship with God?

Well, have you tried going through life thinking that there is absolutely nothing going beyond what you can see/taste/touch and smell? That's a pretty sure path to depression. Even scientists wonder at the mystery of the space between matter, and so many more of the various unknown components of our Universe.

A teacher once told our yoga class: "If you believe in an unknown, that's your God."

I find it hard to believe when people say "I don't believe in God." Basically, because I used to be one of them. And when I found out that there were other ways to picture God besides man-who-sits-on-throne-in-outer-space-and-grants-wishes-to-lucky-few, I realized I actually did believe in an integral lifeforce that ran through all creation.

It follows that the reason you'd want a relationship with God is actually pretty simple—you're living in it!  If you were living in New York City without knowing it, knowing how to get around, or knowing anyone else who lived there, you'd feel pretty disoriented, right?

And that's why it doesn't matter what you call "God." We need to connect to that which makes us US. If we don't we will inevitably feel alienated and alone.


:: HOW TO DO IT ::

I can in no way claim that I have the answer for you... how will you feel connected to your light inside, to God, to the Universe.

Things that have worked for me include: meditation, kundalini yoga, affirmative prayer, Sikh Gurdwara services, walking along the beach, talking to the growing child in my womb, chanting, singing, writing music, making music...

Things that have not worked for include: complaining, drinking, hanging out with mean people, living for other people's approval, eating cake, moving houses, getting angry with people who push my buttons...

I leave it to you to make your own list.


:: UNIVERSAL ::

I'd like to conclude by coming back to my original point.

God exists beyond religion.

God is Universal.

I think that last statement is redundant. Hopefully the idea that God is bigger than any religion, thought, or dictate, will become glaringly obvious to all who walk this planet very soon.

While God is Universal, your relationship with God is personal.

And I think it goes without saying (but I will anyway), that just because you think you've found God, doesn't mean someone else wants to hear about it.

If you are reading this blog though, I will consider that you asked, and, therefore, I have full license to tell you all my thoughts on the topic.

Ok. That's all for now.


Love,
Sirgun


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Catalysts of Human Life


See the vastness you encompass,
the wideness you will reach

the wholeness that will surface
beyond depth or conscious speech

See the limits you will stretch
riding ocean waves with grace

the stars you will illumine
and the joy you will embrace

A time beyond what's solid
beyond sharp, or wrong or right

expanding into darkness
re-surging into light

Feel the power of surrender
far more fierce than any knife

in generations of fearless women
the catalysts of human life.



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