by Hari Kirin Kaur Khalsa
Last night my husband and I shared a dinner with a Muslim religion professor from a local college. He was born and raised in Pakistan and I listened intently hoping to gain insight into the difficulties between Pakistan and my country, USA. He explained to me that growing up in Pakistan most people were “Rumi” Muslims, meaning that they identified with a poetic understanding of the Koran and felt those focused on the “rules: right and wrong” of their religion had missed the point. ”Going to the Hajj is one thing, but have you been to the Hajj in here?,” he said touching his heart. Due to political stress, the professor explained to me, the power of those interested in the “rules” has grown, and those with a poetic understanding feel in the minority.
When he said this I realized our suffering is due to the loss of a poetic sensibility. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I have noticed personally that when I’m stressed by a conflict, I begin to see things in black and white, right and wrong. When someone really upsets me, I see all the things “wrong” with that person—I create a list that justifies my innocence and superiority. I can’t imagine things from the other person’s point of view. This loss of imagination is the opposite of peace. Either you are “right” or you are compassionate. Being “right” will not lead to peace in our hearts or in our world. Only by cultivating compassion can we create for peace.
Yogi Bhajan, in his lecture “The Self-Sensory Man and the Transition of the Piscean Age to the Aquarian Age” said that a new sensory system would give rise to the Age of Aquarius- the age of peace.
“Our creativity will be our sensory system.”
I have been thinking about this line of Yogi Bhajan’s for months. Sitting at dinner with my new Muslim friend I began to understand why creativity will be our new sensory system. Only by sensing creatively can we arrive at compassion for ourselves and others. Creativity is a method of relating to the unknown, and the yogis, poets, artists, dancers and musicians are the experts. We need to watch out for rigid “knowing,” for if our world is to survive, we also need unknowing. Creativity brings us beyond what we know to the unknown.
Yogi Bhajan himself drew, painted and wrote poetry to display the teachings. Being creative was a natural part of his practice and his teaching.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoings and rightdoings there is a field, I’ll meet you there”.
As we transition to a community without a living master, it’s tempting to look to the teachings for the “rules,” the rights and wrongs. Guidelines are important and I’m not proposing we do without them. But let’s not forget: Kundalini is the creative energy latent in every person. Kundalini Yoga is the union of the known and unknown.
Each New Year’s I head to Kripalu center for Yoga and Health for a week of Kundalini Yoga and Art. The first days of my year begin with cozy morning Kundalini yoga and meditation followed by silent breakfast, as I watch the snow falling on the Berkshire hills of Massachusetts. Those dark days of painting, drawing, writing poetry and chanting get me on track for the year. I hope you can join us there, or wherever you are, to begin the practice of cultivating your creativity with Kundalini Yoga and your art.
Hari Kirin Kaur Khalsa is an artist, teacher and lead trainer of Kundalini Yoga as taught by yogi Bhajan. She teaches at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, the Antrim Girls Shelter, Omega Institute for Holistic Health and in Peterborough, NH. She is the author of Art & Yoga: Kundalini awakening in Everyday Life which will be released by KRI Summer 2011. To view her workshops, paintings and public art events visit www.artandyoga.com To join in her current painting exhibition visit: whereveryouareisthecenteroftheworld.com