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By Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa
There are certain times of the year that I find myself reevaluating, setting goals, or simply trying to “reboot”: New Year’s, of course; the fall—because I still run on a deeply ingrained back-to-school schedule; and when I travel for any length of time. Right now I’m in San Francisco, California for the month of October, and as I was planning my trip I found myself inevitably setting goals: walk every day, do group sadhana, get out and see museums and hear live music—the list went on and on. Now, these are essentially the things I want to incorporate into my life every day, not just on this trip. But the trip seemed like a good opportunity to “restart.”
After a week of being here I found myself in a funk. Why? Because I was giving myself a hard time about not having incorporated any of the “goals” into my life here. Here I was in a new city, hoping for a new life, and I was still myself. Here’s the moment when I pause and reflect: “Well, your “self” isn’t that bad is it?” Still, I am amazed at my mind’s seemingly infinite capacity to berate myself. However, in my consciousness, I know that there is always the polarity. If my mind has the infinite capacity to be negative, it has an equal and opposite capacity to be positive. And even better, through applied intelligence and intuition, I can find that neutral place where I accept what is and truly experience God-consciousness, fulfillment, and happiness.
Deep acceptance of the self as I am—Sat Nam—and knowing my own truth, establishing my own reality, and affirming and confirming that reality each and every day, seems to be the point. When I get into the negative habit of self-loathing, it’s just another day of having lost the plot.
Yogi Bhajan says:
“What is the problem in life? One simple thing: Either life is fulfilled and you’re content, confident, and caring for yourself, or not. You can care for the whole world, I don’t mind, but if you don’t care for yourself, you are sick. You have to learn to have a relationship with your own mind and with your own soul—that’s the sole purpose of this life.
“After eight point four million lifetimes, we will go to God one day or the other. Forget about it. In the end, if there is no chance, He will say come on in, all are free. You know when you go to a show, and there are no tickets available? They open the doors and say, “Come on, everybody.” So too, one day God, out of His mercy, will do the same. There’s a couplet that I would like to share with you.
Khuda puchega jannat mein pak baazoon se
Gunaah kyoun nahi kiye kya hum raheem they
(Traditional Punjabi saying)
God shall ask the people in the heavens.
Why didn’t you commit the sin? Didn’t you trust that I am forgiving?
“What I mean to say is, God has many ways to reach you—positive, negative, and neutral. But this is all the game of God. If you want to play His chess, He is a big player. But I tell you the simple ways of life, and the simple ways of life are, you want to be happy, you want to be healthy, you want to be holy, you want to be respected, you want to be noble, you want to be prosperous. All that you want can only be done one way—if you know your soul and know your mind and thus know your Self.”
© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, January 11, 1989
Excerpted from the forthcoming Rebirthing: Breath, Vitality & Strength
Being in relationship to a God who wants to forgive, who wants us to make mistakes so that there’s “something to do,” rather than the God who sits in judgment just waiting to strike us down for any imperfection—well, it’s quite the shift in consciousness. Meanwhile, “wherever you go, there you are” is beginning to resonate with me in a more compassionate way. I shift my thoughts and I feel myself as myself, within my own skin, and I begin again. Meanwhile, the negative mind has its positive ends: I went out for a very long walk the next day. It’s still not every day, but it’s a start. And in a life lived in consciousness, a start seems to be enough, for today.
Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa has been singing for as long as she can remember. Her music focuses on using sound to move the body, the mind and the breath toward powerful transformative experiences that uplift the individual and serve the soul.