Monday, December 19, 2011
Sat Nam everyone. When I was 3 we lived in a big ashram across the street from the ocean in Long Beach, California, right outside of Los Angeles. Every morning everyone got up to do an early morning sadhana. The children were carried down in bundles of blankets. My mother said that I would be asleep for the whole thing, but often would get up to sing along when the chanting part came. If you haven’t done the Kundalini Yoga sadhana before it consists of a 20 minute recitation of Jap ji, followed by about 40 minutes of yoga, about an hour of chanting, concluded with a prayer and sacred reading from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib (the sacred text of the Sikhs).
As my life unfolded, sadhana always seemed to be at the center of things. In college, I opted to live at the ashram with my parents because they practiced sadhana every day and also had really healthy food. This was a major decision for me, because I so much wanted my independence from them. But, for me, sadhana gave me so much in my heart on a personal level that I made this kind of an unusual choice.
We had live music every morning. Looking back on it, I admire how my parents got this going. They were the ashram directors at the time. Or should I say, my mother was the ashram director! Just kidding…. kind of. My mother managed to get me to do all sorts of things I would logically say no to if anyone else asked me. She still has this gift. She had me playing drums with her while she sang the chants, or I sang the chants while she played the drum every day. I enjoyed it…. don’t get me wrong. But, every day! In the first few months I remember playing the drum for her and looking over at her in slight annoyance that my mother yet again got me to do something I didn’t want to. But then something started happening. An energy began to churn within me and in the whole experience. Slowly I forgot that my mother had asked me to do anything. A few people besides my parents and I began to attend regularly. We kept it up, day after day…. and then….something happened. I can’t tell you the day that it happened. All I can say is that a very deep shift happened inside me. Sadhana became this experience of letting go. The music got deeper, the chanting got deeper. And then there was a magic that happened… every single morning without fail. In the chanting I knew I would experience the sweetness of God and feel completely cleansed for the day.
So this is how my love of Sadhana began. Since that time I moved out of the ashram called Hargobind Sadan and lived my life for some twenty years. And now with my husband and our daughter we are back at Hargobind Sadan… dipping back into that experience of chanting together again.
Someone living in America once approached Mother Theresa and said something like, “I would like to help you out with your projects in India. You are doing so much to help people there.” Apparently Mother Theresa inquired as to what this person did. She told her that she was a writer among other things living in America. Mother Teresa said something like, “Work and serve the people of America. In this place there is a famine of the Spirit.”
So we are here now in America praying to do that which Mother Theresa asked this lady to do. We have a little ashram here called Hargobind Sadan which has inexplicably brought me back into its magic fold of energy. I serve this beautiful energy and invite you to come and take part in our small and humble offerings any time you are in town.
Love and Blessings,
PS – Please join us in Costa Rica this March, 2012, for our Song of Self Retreat. The image above is from the past retreat.