We find love in different theaters of life; sometimes in groups that rise early in the morning to be together, to breathe deeply of the oneness surrounding us, to close eyes and be at home, to raise voices in song that lifts us up. There are rituals associated with Sadhana like Prasad, receiving with open hands the sweetness of love. They say that when Kabir was a boy, his mother used to give him a cookie when he finished his meditation. We must still be that little boy or girl who wants their cookie after meditating for we hold out our cupped hands in anticipation. It feels good.
Where there is love there is life.
I am trying to be just who I am. Against all the probabilities and obstacles lined up in front of me, I choose to be happy. There are things I want to believe in; consciousness, which I have found here and there and everywhere, sometimes high up in the clouds or down low as I measure each of my steps in life, has softly whispered to me that they are worth it. These things that are so important center around one basic idea: we are all created equal and, therefore, should have the same basic opportunities to become learned, caring and loving individuals. And I would like to think that all of our children would have teachers that open their minds to life and what is hidden there behind the doors of knowledge. That these same teachers would be free of bias and bigotry and any other form of narrow thinking. That my child or grandchild would be given, anywhere in the world, the opportunity to nurture an inquisitive and creative mind. And if I controlled the world and made all or most of the decisions that affected our lives, I’d place my faith in the children. And then I’d dedicate my resources – all or most of them – to achieve that purpose.
What happened to us as we grew into adulthood, settled into the routines of life, trying to meet our responsibilities? Countless were life’s lessons along the way and all the time we were just searching for something that was invisible to the eye. We followed one road after another and it was natural as there was, unknowingly, so much to learn. It may even have been hard to not fall into despair when love and happiness seemed the furthest thing from what we were living at the time. Given our choices at the time it was perhaps impossible to take another road, to choose differently. We were subject to our past, our education and even our cultural exposure. There was much waiting for us, waiting to discover at some later time in life.
The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.
I was fortunate, and even though my own education was faulty or lacking in many aspects and the fact that like so many, I came from a broken home, which in a way means broken hope, I found someone who could lead me down a different road. His name was Harbhajan Singh Puri, commonly called and known today as Yogi Bhajan. He wasn’t the saint that many went to India to find but rather a deeply religious, intuitive and caring human being. Yes, that is what I think of him. There was only one message uttered from his lips, you have to find your soul, that which lies deep within you. Some call it the heart, others the intuitive self, and others like Gandhi that which connects us to everyone on this earth. To find the soul or Atman was to know how to act backed by a sense of peace and a sense of well-being. Everyone could do it – that is find their soul – but only you alone could do it. You had to do the work yourself just as Kabir said.
When the guest is being searched for, it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that does all the work. Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity
How were you supposed to find your Atman? You had to learn to breathe deeply and you had to feel what happened to you when you brought more Prana into your being. Prana was that mystical force that the Yogis talked about, something that was the building block of life and behind the creation of living cells in the body. Prana that mysterious ingredient created by someone who knew, that came floating in on the wind of the breath, carried by oxygen and forming what life needed to sustain itself. The teacher said you could notice the difference inside of you if you practiced, and the idea was so intoxicating to many of us that we started practicing yoga all those years ago.
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
I know of no other richness than his teachings, those that are found within this practice of Kundalini Yoga. It has sustained me and many of you who are here today. And the beautiful thing about it is what we learn from the simple act of closing our eyes and breathing deeply – we want to keep going on this path of self-discovery. Our learning is never complete and that, in itself, is so rewarding. We continue to search for meaning in our lives eventually understanding that it is us who give meaning to our lives. We become determined to extract the last vestiges of old thinking and narrow perspectives. We want to learn to listen more closely, to be more attentive to the needs of others and to offer hope and consideration as a reply. We are ever so observant that when anger or hatred raises its ugly head inside of us we can say, “…not here, please not here. I don’t want you here anymore.” And in the end, our only reason for being is to love, to develop a loving attitude towards the world. It may not solve all the problems, but it is a step in the right direction.