Each Sat Nam Fest has its own special flavor for me, an atmosphere or aura that makes it uniquely itself. For me, Sat Nam Fest East is cozy and immensely deep, like a warm embrace from the soul. This year, we created an altar at the front of the room that brought in photos of Yogi Bhajan, Guru Nanak, the Golden Temple, and petals from fragrant roses. In the light of pink salt lamps, the names and photos of the loved ones that participants were praying for were lovingly placed on the altar at the feet of the saints and sages of this path. It was from this place of sacredness that the festival came.
The festival began with my offering, a ceremony and class that I lead with my beloved Harnam, inviting participants to focus deeply on their breath to create a powerful vortex of peace around them and set the space. I had participants focus on the words “Every heartbeat is God’s name to me” on their in-breath, and focus on the words “Every breath of life is ecstasy” on their out-breath. This simple practice is something that you can do, too, anytime and anywhere, to take a bit of the festival home with you and create a place of sacredness in the heart.
From the opening ceremony to the closing ceremony, led by Mirabai Ceiba, Mahan Rishi and the Children’s Camp, joy was the predominant vibration. During the closing ceremony, each child presented, and reminded us of our own heart’s innocence and fun. When asked what they felt while they meditated, their simple and profound words were able to recap the entire experience for me. Five year old Emma Grace reminded us that when she meditates, her heart opens. This is true for all of us, and never more true than when we come together and meditate as a sangat, or community of the holy, and have our practices amplified.
Throughout the festival, we were blessed by dynamic teachers, Krishna Kaur, Gurmukh, Sunder Singh, Mahan Rishi, Snatam Kaur, Karena Virginia, Akasha, Kartar Singh, Hargobind, myself, Mirabai Ceiba and Harijiwan. And the stunning artists who accompanied them and played their own concerts gave everything from the heart: Snatam Kaur, Mirabai Ceiba, Nirinjan Kaur, Jai-Jagdeesh, Harnam, Ajeet Kaur, and Simrit Kaur. The back-up musicians were hardly “backup”, many having illustrious careers of their own and too many to name, but too talented not to honor.
There were my “moments” of bliss there, as everyone has, those little moments that touch their heart, including but not limited to Snatam’s touching memorial “Akal” for Holy Kaur, Jai-Jagdeesh’s stirring rendition of Imagine, and for me, holding a five year old girl who needed love during Nirinjan Kaur’s angelic concert. There was seeing Ajeet Kaur’s quiet, glowing confidence, Mirabai Ceiba’s daily leading of our powerful Global Sadhana for gratitude, sweet Simrit’s bright smile. Over and over again, there were the hugs, the laughter and the opportunity to hold space for each other, to bear witness to the transformations from this practice, and to honor each other’s light. Everyone will have their own moments of power, for it was one chance after another to touch the heart-space within.
Sat Nam Fest is a chance to meditate and allow your heart to open. It is a chance to remember the sacredness of life. I bow a thousand times over to all those who were there, who pitched in, who did the work. My heart looks forward to New Year’s in Mexico. Come join us!
More information on upcoming Sat Nam Fests at www.satnamfest.com.