Tabather Harpreet Kaur shares her experience at a Kundalini Workshop in Greece
I felt blessed to attend a 2-day workshop in the presence of a very radiant teacher named Hari Simran Singh Khalsa, an Italian yogi who studied under Yogi Bhajan in the early years and who had many a story to share. The workshop was poignantly entitled ‘Turning Crisis into Opportunity,’ a reflection and sentiment that could be meditated upon as a sutra and taken into the core of all our hearts. I would like to share some of the teachings of Yogi Bhajan that Hari Simran Singh shared with us during this meditation workshop.
Hari Simran Singh talked fluidly about Kundalini Yoga and the application of these sacred teachings in a time where there is a great collective unrest. We are at the end of the transit into the Aquarian Age and for most people without a solid sadhana in place this transition from the Piscean Age to the Aquarian has proved very difficult. Especially here in Greece, I hear many people talk about the difficult times they are experiencing. I see many people losing their connection to their creative selves, closing downing their heart centers and embracing a type of forgetfulness of who they really are and the blessing of life itself.
Hari Simran Singh talked a lot about theses complications. He encouraged us to understand that these difficult times are actually a joyful period for yogis because this is the time that, as yogis, we can put into practice the teachings we have been given. It is a time of growth. “Beautiful things are always very simple and never complicated. If you try to work in a complicated way, complications come to you,” he said.
Kundalini Yoga is based on the fact that we all have a creative potential—Shakti—and nobody can change that creative potential, not even the Creator, for even Creation has to follow the laws of Creation.
Hari Simran Singh mentioned the vanity that some students and teachers embrace and again related to our spiritual development in Shakti Pad. Shakti Pad is the third stage on The Five Stages on the Path of Wisdom.
Saram Pad is the first stage, a type of honeymoon period where we consciously embrace the choice to walk a spiritual path. Karam Pad is the second stage where the work to embrace our spiritual path begins. We start working upon ourselves and understanding some of the root causes of our issues.
Then we come to Shakti Pad, the most crucial stage which will either make or break the practitioner. The choices that originate here will determine whether you continue on the path to mastery or whether you stay at the level of the apprentice or give up altogether. Hari Simran Singh said, “Here you confuse the Shakti from you with the source of Shakti that you identify with yourself, so you misunderstand the blessing, and Shakti becomes your curse.”
The fourth stage is Sahej Pad, which after conquering ourselves and our ego at Shakti Pad, becomes a stage of relative ease. This is where everything just fits together in a natural synthesis. Synchronicity is a regular occurrence as we manifest effortlessly. The final stage is Sat Pad, a place of grace and complete harmony. Yogi Bhajan says, “There is no separation between the duty of the world and the choice of our own will. There is a sense of equality and transcendence.”
Even amongst the discord of everyday living, when there seems to be no exit door, you can cultivate yourself. Hari Simran ji talked about a type of duality between Shakti and Bhakti (devotion)—how we can become caught in this reality as human beings. The human quality is to replay a mental tape that says “I can’t.” He says, “Say ‘No’ to the no!”
Yogiji said that Shakti Pad is so funny—you feel God in yourself. It’s okay to love yourself but not your ego, and in order to not love your ego, you need to recognize that ego. But how do you recognize ego if you are full of ego?
He said if you see a weakness in yourself and you don’t accept it, this is the crisis, this is tragedy. The Universe is not selective, it has to serve everyone. Know that the Universe will support you and don’t worry, go humbly, smiling.
Hari Simran Singh told us that Kundalini Yoga is not just exercise, it is awareness. All exercises, meditations, kriyas are helping you to get into this awareness state of mind. These are techniques to facilitate the process of awareness, but you have to be aware that you need to use your potential, your Shakti, to be aware.
When you talk, there is no projection. You need your mind projection. You have to see that you project the power of the naam, the power of mantra. This is why words are so important. The Word is like a law, a vibration that creates things. Talking doesn’t work the same—with one exception: using your words to touch the other person’s heart and not just to stimulate their emotions.
He told us, “The mind is like a telephone. The way you think is the way you call in life.” So stop chasing around, stop the gossip. Whoever controls the mind, controls the Universe. And what do we do with that control? We learn not just the Shakti but the Bhakti.
There are many humble people who have never practiced yoga but they are in a state of ‘Chardi Kala,’ this positive attitude that faces the face of adversity with courage and strength. Chardi Kala is complete faith. It is also a vibration, the rising of the kundalini.
He said, “Do your best and you will be the best. No competition. Compete with yourself, impress yourself.”
He talked about finding ourselves. He spoke about finding the anger and that the moment we go under pressure; the story of our childhood comes out and all that childhood anger. He said we need to learn how to release that childhood anger and that we need to recognize that sometimes when we are talked to, we think that our adult selves are responding but actually it is the child.
Turning crisis into opportunity is like a type of sublimation, but it is also the essence of Chardi Kala. It is our choice how we choose to create our own realities and with the practice of Kundalini Yoga and the support of the Golden Chain of all those teachers and masters who have walked before us and who are with us now, we can stay steadfast in our faith in Creation, humble in our dealings, neutral in our minds and abundant in our hearts.
There will always be a crisis to overcome, but in the difficult times we find ourselves in, there is a blessing in disguise. There is an opportunity to build together a strong community where the virtues of patience, compassion, fellowship and love are being re-awokened and the limitations of old belief systems are being stripped away to allow for the truth in personal experience to unfold. Yogi ji said, “If you just remember that you are a student of Sat Nam, that your first word is Sat Nam and your last word is Sat Nam, that you belong to Sat Nam, then you won’t need anything else to measure yourself by.” When we chant Sat Nam, we call upon that eternal truth that resides in all of us. We awaken our soul and this is the opportunity we all have when we confront the crises ahead. We choose to face them directly and take a step further than we previously thought was possible and elevate that crisis into an opportunity.
Tabather Harpreet Kaur is Kundalini Yoga teacher from the UK who now lives and teaches in Greece.