Friday, August 17, 2018

Beginner-Friendly Harmonium Lead Sheet || Guru Ram Das

Greetings Friend,

I did it! I completed something I think will be very useful for those of you learning harmonium:

Beginner-friendly lead sheets for my version of "Guru Ram Das."



The video explains the sheet, and how to use it. If you have any additional questions, please let me know.

I'm really excited to share this with you.

Here is a video I made a few years ago that explain how to play the entire song. It might be called step #2.



Joyfully,
Sirgun

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Piano Split

Greetings Greatness Personified,

This is a picture of me with my friend, the piano. The reason this piano is in my home in Phoenix, and not in Connecticut, where it used to belong, is thanks to a split.

A split of a marriage. A split of property. A split up.

To me, this piano is a great example of contrasting circumstances bringing something great—a blessing “in disguise” if you will.

A few years ago my parents decided to end their marriage. My father moved half of their belongings to California. Since the truck had to stop in Phoenix along the way, he asked me if I wanted my piano (as well as a few other things). Why yes!

Now they are happier with different partners, and I have this beautiful cherrywood piano to play in my home.

When we see things as "sad" we are taking score of the game too soon. A quote I have been thinking of a lot today is:

"... there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" ~Shakespeare (Hamlet)

If something things awful. Wait. Reframe it. Find the lesson or the good in it. Feel better about it. Relax and know that everything is always working out for you. 

Joyfully,
Sirgun Kaur

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Make Believe Life || Kids Are Geniuses

Greetings Creative Genius,

Today I have "make believe" on the mind. As I write this, my children are outside on our trampoline making "phone calls" with a cordless handheld phone that isn't connected to anything.

Kids are great at this. They have wonderful imaginations. They believe anything is possible. They can have fun with a bar of soap, or a piece of rope, or... trying to find another rhyme.

Why do we stop making believe?

Maybe it's because we get pressured into facing the already established reality of our parents, our teachers, our siblings, etc. We are told over and over again (until it really sinks in), that our imagination is not real.

But if you believe you create your own reality (as I do), then kids actually have it right. And we are crippling them with "facts" and "reality."

:: IS IT TRUE? ::


Whenever my son asks me "is it true?" or "is that real?" my response is always the same: do you WANT it to be real?

Sometimes he says "no", because he's asking me about something scary. Sometimes it's "yes", because he wants confirmation about something that seems wonderful.

We can choose to focus on the things we want, or the things we don't want. We get what we focus on. It becomes out reality.

There is no hard and fast REALITY out there to find.

We create it.

Visionaries, like Einstein knew that imagination was priceless.

He said:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
One's ability to believe in their own imagination until it becomes TRUE for them, is what we call GENIUS.

Let your kids be creative. Try and play with them. It's for your own good (and theirs!)


Joyfully,
Sirgun

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Realize Mercy || Dayaal

Dearest,

I was asked by a yogi recently about this song, Dayaal (Satigur Hoi Dayaal). It is from my album with the same name, released in 2015.



Satigur Hoi Dayaal means "when the true Guru is merciful", which means something like "when the cosmic force of the Universe is merciful." And because the Universe is not arbitrarily merciful, I translate this to mean "when you realize that the Universe is consistent and plays by laws that apply to everyone, you will see mercy in every action, every event, and every person you encounter.

There is ONLY mercy. We must grant ourselves the right to see it.

Another way of saying, your beliefs are what create your reality.

Enjoy!

Joyfully,
Sirgun

Monday, August 13, 2018

Radical Appreciation

Greetings Friend,

Today I want to talk about RA: Radical Appreciation. Or "RA" as in the sunlight that emanates from your heart when you notice something that is going well for you. Or "RA" as in "ra ra ra", like a cheerleader encouraging YOU through your day.

When we notice the positive aspects of our life, it's really a win-win. Not only are we choosing a focus that is uplifting, it creates a momentum of positivity so that even more things can be viewed through that lens.


:: COMPLAINING ::
I used to complain a lot. In fact, I used to complain without even using words.

Every done that?

It's like: "ugh", "humph," big fat sigh of "pity me", and the like.

I'm pretty sure it's a human thing to complain, because we see things all the time that we don't like. And if we keep it all bottled up we eventually blow something else out of proportion...

It's not very balanced.

:: CHOOSE ANOTHER FOCUS ::

Rather than attempt the impossible and stop complaining, I recommend starting appreciating.

It's much easier to start a new habit than stop an old one.

But if you're clever and choose a new habit that replaces the old one, you basically trick yourself into quitting. 

One of my favorite teachers in Phoenix once told me that in order to quit smoking she started pranayam (breath exercises). Her body quickly caught on that it couldn't do both, and her focus gradually became centered about pulling in more prana (lifeforce energy), rather than nicotine. She got an energy boost either way, and she much preferred the pranayam.

:: THINGS TO APPRECIATE ::

Anything that you notice that is working. The water that runs from your faucet. The hair growing from your head. The sun shining above you. The air coming into your lungs. The cars moving through traffic. The trees growing. The birds flying. The bakeshop around the corner. The coffee in your cup. ANYTHING that you can truly get jazzed about.


:: THE CHALLENGE ::

Try it for 40 days, or even just one day, and see how it shifts your attention. Energy follows attention. I promise you, if you shift your focus towards the things that are working in your life, and thus away from the things that aren't, your life will be transformed.

Happy trails on your journey. You are exactly where you are supposed to be!

:: VIBRATIONAL TOOLBOX ::

Here are some tools to help along the way:

~ BLESS THE GOOD Song: see what's working and bless it ~



~ YOU, BEAUTY Playlist: songs that remind you of your goodness ~



Joyfully,
Sirgun Kaur

P.S. If all else fails, meditate or take a nap. Treat yourself well!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Ajai Alai: Victory, Radiance, and Power

Greetings Radiant Reader,

I recorded a new(ish) version of "Ajai Alai" the other day. This mantra is for VICTORY, RADIANCE, and POWER.



Most of the longer mantras I do are from a hymn (called "bani") called Japji Sahib (Nirankaar, Bahuta Karam, Amul, etc...).

This one however, is from Jaap Sahib. It was written by the 10th Sikh Master, who was a SPIRITUAL WARRIOR. When I recite Jaap Sahib I feel carried by a very forceful and consistent rhythm... like being on horseback.


:: THE POWER OF NEGATIVE WORDS ::

The rhythm of this mantra, which is created from using couples of words that sound very similar to one another: ajai alai/ abai abhai/ abhoo ajoo, etc... These are all aspects of GOD, but because God and Me are One, these are aspects of all of us.

It's also worth noting that the sound "a" at the beginning of most of these words is a negation. Each word brings up its opposite. Alai--cannot be detroyed; abhai--beyond fear, etc. This is a bit confrontational. In order to qualify God, you are speaking all the things that God isn't. All these things that we think we are (full of fear, perishable, visible) because we often limit our sense of who we are to that which we see in physical form.

Guru Gobind Singh is saying God is NOT and we are NOT limited to these "human" weaknesses.


:: POWER IS INTERNAL ::

POWER is not something we can exert over anyone else. POWER comes from the eternal flow of our beingness. It is innate within us. It like an underground well, waiting to be tapped. It's just there. Ever-present. Ever-flowing.

We become very powerful when we realize that everything we need is always available to us. And that is radiance. It is a confidence rooted in spiritual knowing.

Ajai Alai brings this understanding to us because it vibrates within us at the frequency of our eternal power.


:: VICTORIOUS UPLIFTER ::

It may sound lofty or even esoteric, but I if you think of someone who can command a room when they walk into it--not by yelling or asserting their power, but by a subtle yet forceful presence--THAT is radiance. That is true power.

That power can be used to elevate others.

That is a true victory in my book. 

When you have that kind of power, it's easy to maintain it.

If you're looking to grow it, it just needs to become a habit.

Try reciting this mantra 11 times per day for 40 days and see what happens. (Let me know!)

Ajai Alai – Invincible, Indestructible
Abhai Abai – Fearless, Unchanging 
Abhoo Ajoo – Unformed, Unborn 
Anaas Akaas – Imperishable, Etheric
Aganj Abhanj – Unbreakable, Impenetrable
Alakkh Abhakkh – Unseen, Unaffected
Akaal Dy-aal – Undying, Merciful 
Alaykh Abhaykh – Indescribable, Uncostumed
Anaam Akaam – Nameless, Desireless
Agaaha Adhaaha – Unfathomable, Incorruptible
Anaathay Pramaathay – Unmastered, Destroyer
Ajonee Amonee – Beyond birth, Beyond silence
Na Raagay Na Rangay – Beyond love, Beyond color
Na Roopay Na Raykhay – Beyond form, Beyond shape
Akarmang Abharmang – Beyond karma, Beyond doubt
Aganjay Alaykhay – Unconquerable, Indescribable

Joyfully,
Sirgun



Friday, August 10, 2018

When Vibration Matters More Than SOUND

Greetings Spiritual Adventurer,


I recently re-watched some footage from a benefit concert I did at a cancer treatment facility in Trumbull, CT.

I was reluctant to post the footage when I first saw/heard it because the background noises were so loud. We did the concert completely acoustic in the outside "healing garden", but the center is right next to the highway and there were traffic noises throughout the whole concert.

Interestingly, I didn't notice once I started singing though.

The audience was so "with me", so engaged, I was just able to tune into my Self and play away. It was an amazingly healing meditative experience for me.

When I heard the footage, I was actually kind of shocked that we were able to create a sort of bubble for ourselves during the concert. I don't think anyone else noticed the highway either.

I re-learned from this experience that vibration trumps acoustics.

In other words, reality is what you make it.

We were all having a good time and decided we could hear just fine. Traffic and all.

Obstacles really aren't obstacles unless you decide they are. And we didn't.

Here are two clips from the show.



The other thing you may notice is that I'm standing. I NEVER stand and play harmonium, but I chose to this time because everyone was sitting in chairs and I wanted to be at their height.

I will stand again!

Voice teachers will always advise a singer to STAND rather than SIT for optimum performance.

Ok, I concede. They are right.

Joyfully,
Sirgun

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Mantra with Children

Good Evening Friend,

Being a mantra artist with children is a wild ride. For those of you who don't already know, I am the mother of two adorable boys--ages 2 and 5. 


One of the comments I get a lot goes something like this: "wow, your children are so lucky to have you to sing to them!" 

I smile. 

See, the people who buy my albums and come to my concerts are far more interested in my music than my children are. 

My oldest asks me to stop singing frequently, while my youngest allows me to sing three songs (oompa loompa, twinkle twinkle, and a song I wrote called "sit your little bootie down"), but only when he requests them. Mostly though, he prefers to sing these songs alone. 

I do play music in the house while they are playing sometimes. It relaxes me. 

I feel really blessed to have MANTRA at my fingertips in particular. My children are in the habit of watching me meditate, but I keep that to 20 minutes or so, and somewhere in that time my toddler often comes to pull down my shirt so he can nurse.

Mantra is the best friend of the mother or father who wants some peace of mind without needing peace and quiet. 

I can recite or chant mantra anytime, anywhere. I can chant out loud, or quietly in my mind. I can whisper it under my breath while I pick up toys, drive my car, do dishes, or take my kids to the playground. It's good to have at least a handful memorized and they can really be as simple as "Sat Naam" or "Waheguru", so long as it keeps your attention while you do it. 

Breathing exercises can also be subtle when chosen appropriately, such as the breath I generally use when I'm putting my children to bed. I count 4 on the inhale (1 - 2 -3 - 4), and 8 on the exhale (1 - 2 -3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8). It relaxes the nervous system and my kids can't tell I'm doing it. 

Later when I put myself to sleep I will often to some left nostril breathing, or alternate nostril breathing. (Here's a video I did a hundred years ago... I will try to make more!)

 

I'd like to share more of what I do as a mother in this blog, so I'm starting here.

Joyfully,
Sirgun









Kindness Looks Amazing On You

Greetings!

I was at the Phoenix Children's Museum today with my boys. The one room they really wanted to hang out in the most was the under 3 year old room, where my 5 year old has to stay in what I call "big boy jail" so as not to disrupt the babies and toddlers. So my 2 year old joined him in there and they hung out in a tiny play pen for over 40 minutes together... in a building that is three stories high!

(I get a kick out of my kids.)

Sitting on a bench was a mother of two girls wearing a shirt that lit me up from inside. It said "kindness looks amazing on you."

I don't usually feel enlightened from a tee-shirt, but there it was. Instant zen.

I could feel my shoulders relax and a brightness emanating from my heart, like it was a reminder that I bothered to notice. I got the memo.

So here's your message if you choose to receive it:

Kindness looks amazing on YOU too. :-)

Joyfully,
Sirgun Kaur


P.S. If you want a little uplift in your, check out one of my personal favorite playlists. It's not mantra music, of even my music. Just really happy songs with beautiful messages. It's called "Happy Me."


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Hummmm

Greetings Enchanted Entity,

Yesterday I recorded this little ditty so I'd have a record of its evolution. I intend to perform this one very soon, so I'll post a band version when that happens. 

Hummee Hum Bhram Hum is a mantra I had never worked with before, but felt inspired on the day I played for over 3 hours of classes at a beautiful yoga in Princeton, NJ. 


When you chant "hum" you can feel it warm your heart center. I hope it warms yours.

If you want more heart-opening mantras, check out this Spotify playlist I made.





Joyfully,
Sirgun Kaur

Monday, August 6, 2018

Hey, What's RIGHT?

Greetings Luminous Leader,

You might be confused by my chosen title because you probably don't hear anyone going around saying: "hey there, what's right with you?"

So often people ask each other "what's wrong?" because as humans we have confused focusing on each other's problem with caring.

It's well-meaning, but it's not a productive use of your time, or someone else's for that matter, to recount all the things that went wrong in your day.

Do you believe energy follows attention? Do you believe you create your own reality by what you focus on?

And for the completely skeptical: if you had just one moment left to your life, would you want to use it to complain?

(I'm going to hope the answer is NO as I flow onto the next sentence...)

Then why would you want to draw your attention, let alone someone else's, to your problems?

There are literally millions of things at any given moment that are going amazingly RIGHT that you are completely ignoring. And it's affecting your ability to see clearly. It's affecting your ability to create the reality you actually want for yourself.


:: HOW TO ANSWER THE RIGHT QUESTION ::

Here are 3 categories of things that are certainly going RIGHT for you. While I cannot see through your eyes and notice all the things you could notice through them, here are some ideas to get you started at re-framing your reality.

Appreciation appreciates (i.e adds value) what you are experiencing. Appreciate something and you add importance to it. Add importance to it, and you'll talk about it more. Talk about it more and you'll have more of it to talk about.



1. NOTICE YOUR SURROUNDINGS: Have you ever considered how truly blessed we are that there is air to breathe, that the sun comes up every single morning, that the Earth continues to rotate on its axis? Too basic? How about the human ingenuity that has built structures that stand up straight (houses), house people vertically (apartment buildings), carry passengers miles up in the air (planes) to the furthest reaches of the planet... The things to notice will vary greatly depending on where you are, but they are there for you to notice nonetheless. 


2. NOTICE YOUR BODY: I don't have a good enough knowledge of human anatomy to list all the magical components of your body! Even if you are laying in a coma right not (which you're not because you're reading this), your body is amazing. Your eyes, ears, eyelashes, mouth, lips, tongue, hair, legs, skin keeping it all together, all the sensors with which you see, hear, taste, touch, smell... all might not apply to you, but many will. The intricate system of internal organs that are functioning while you are simply sitting down is mind-blowing. And it all happens without you having to do anything. In fact, that's probably why you rarely think about how great your body is until you have something wrong with it, right? Don't wait until you're sick to appreciate your health. And if you are sick, notice the parts of your body that are still going RIGHT. 


3. NOTICE KINDNESS: There are so many people out there doing nice things for others. Maybe they are letting you go ahead of them in line at the grocery store, maybe the bank teller smiled at you, maybe you get to witness a child laughing at the playground. This is all for your enjoyment. Don't dismiss the positive vibrations of the incidental people in your life. See what happens when you tell the story of the free coffee the barista gave you because they accidentally made an extra, or the toddler who drew a picture for you in the sand. It will change your life. 



OK, THAT'S ALL for now. I do appreciate crystals. This set was given to me by my friend Nina at Sage Moon. I do appreciate gifts. And crystals. :-)


:: THE "RIGHT" MANTRA ::

The mantra for appreciation is "Waheguru." It has WOW (wahe) built into it. Chant Waheguru and become amazed by your life. 

Here's a musical version from my album THE COSMIC GIFT:



And a playlist to get your started...




Joyfully,
Sirgun Kaur


Beginner-Friendly Harmonium Lead Sheet || Guru Ram Das

Greetings Friend, I did it! I completed something I think will be very useful for those of you learning harmonium: Beginner-friendly lea...

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