Friday, August 31, 2018

Beginner-Friendly Harmonium Lead Sheet for "Mul Mantra"

So after I made my beginner-friendly harmonium lead sheet for Guru Ram Das, I got a request to make one for my Mul Mantra.

First off, if you don't already know, you can get a FREE download of my Mul Mantra (11 Minutes) HERE on my website.

It is the mantra for removing the effects of non-liberate thoughts, or "karma."

I made the lead sheet as a download on my site, and the video tutorial explains how to use it.


I am getting better and better at video editing, so this is the product of some of the my first "trys." I'm excited to improve!

Joyfully,
Sirgun Kaur

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

New and Improved YouTube Experience

I learned how to make an intro for my videos the other day, and here is the product: 


The video itself wasn't edited, just the intro. I had one last song from -8 that needed an official video on my YouTube channel, in order to represent the entire album.

So here it is: "Har Piaarai Jio" - mantra for understanding the nature of sound, and the awareness that our human body as a resonator of sound. This mantra is about vibration.

This mantra isn't really a mantra though. It is considered a shabad, because it's longer, and it is an entire section of a longer bani (Sikh hymn).

The full bani is called "Anand Sahib," which is also where I got the ending of my song "Bliss (I Am the Light of My Soul") that Sat Darshan Singh sings. Here is the LIVE version, which pre-dates the recording that has become so popular.




Joyfully,
Sirgun Kaur

Monday, August 27, 2018

Playlist-Me Guilt-Free!


This blog is all about Spotify playlists and how...
 
every time you make one...
a firecracker of appreciation shoots from my heart...
and explodes love all across the sky...


Often I will get a guilty "confession" from someone that they listen to my music on Spotify.

(Let's whisper so no one hears.)

First of all, guilt feels awful, so don't do it!

But secondly, I want to assure you, that from my perspective, Spotify is a great place to listen to music and discover new artists.

This is me telling you why it's OK (nay, AWESOME) to listen to my music on Spotify:


I'd like to highlight one feature of Spotify that is particularly revolutionary, and gets me really excited about the future of music.

It's called PLAYLISTS.

Playlists are a democratic system by which YOU the listener get to share the music you love with (potentially) millions of other listeners.

In effect, anyone who listens to music can become their own (digital) radio station...

Take this "Best Yoga Music of the Year" playlist that I was recently added to, which has 2,514 followers at the time I wrote this.


OR, this "TIBETAN BUDDHIST MANTRAS + ALL" playlist I was just added to that has 11,427 followers at the time I wrote this!

Every time someone listens to this playlist (that I did not create!), I get paid. And depending on how many playlists I am added to, and how often people play them, and how many people play them each time, that really adds up.

That means more people are getting exposed to my music, which is why I do this in the first place!

Also, the revenue generated from all these playlists means I get to create MORE RECORDINGS, which then go on Spotify and increase my chances of being added to even more playlists... which allows even more people to hear my music... and so on.

It's exponential greatness!

So by all means, playlist-me. By all means, "follow" me on Spotify. By all means, listen all day and all night!

The future of music is SHARING.

I'm so happy to share with you.

To see a huge collection of all the playlists I am on (that I am aware of), click here.

Have you made a successful playlist that I'm on? Let me know and I'll add it to my page!

Joyfully,
Sirgun Kaur

Sunday, August 26, 2018

This Week's Posts

Here's what I posted on this blog from Monday-Saturday.

This week I shared some easy ways to start a sadhana (daily spiritual practice), how to distract yourself away from your issue, my favorite sadhana for prosperity, how I discovered my spiritual path, how I met my husband, and my new FUN sadhana.
As always, remember to "keep up and you'll be kept up" ~Yogi Bhajan.

I leave you with one of my favorite playlists on Spotify: YOU, BEAUTY :: Gentle Yoga || Bathtime || After Work


Joyfully,
Sirgun Kaur

Saturday, August 25, 2018

My New Favorite Mantra is "FUN"


Yes, I have of late been meditating on the word FUN. Imagining myself having fun, feeling fun, visualizing fun, and just breathing and being FUN.

I start my day out like this everyday, silently meditating on FUN.

Many fun things have happened. My children are very appreciative that I have been jumping on the trampoline, and playing more with them.

This is my way of being a better mother, and a more fulfilled human being at the same time.

Here's some fun we had the other day with a phone app:



Sometimes the simple things make all the difference.


Joyfully,
Sirgun Kaur

Friday, August 24, 2018

My New Year's Resolution Was to Get Married!

(This was originally posted on the Spirit Voyage blog)

This is a story of yogic technology in action. It is the story of an answered prayer and a fulfilled New Year’s intention. It is the story of two people who knew what they wanted and dared to receive it. This is the story of how I came to enter the most rewarding (and yes, often challenging) partnership and commitment of my life. This is how I met my husband.

In 2010 I attended my first Summer Solstice Sadhana in New Mexico. I was very new to Kundalini Yoga at that time. A friend had invited me to sing for his workshop, and besides, I had some free time. At least that’s why I thought I was there. If you have ever been to this epic event, you know that the reason you think you go, is a very far cry from the reason your soul arranges for you to be there. It turns out there were a lot of reasons for my presence, not least of which was doing a service exchange on the sound team with the man I would marry exactly one year later.

The most amazing part about our first meeting was that neither of were interested in the other romantically. It was not love at first sight.

In fact, besides some conversations about his teacher training, and some other service-related banter, we barely interacted.

The next time we met was at Winter Solstice in Florida, only 6 months later. I had just finished my month-long intensive teacher training in Espanola, New Mexico. Also, I had completed 40 days of reciting the prayer “So Purkh” with the intention of attracting a partner.

My future husband, Harimander, had begun his own spiritual practice. He had expressed interest in marriage, so his teacher encouraged him to being a Sahej Path to activate the intention. A Sahej Path is a personal prayer that involves reading the Siri Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh scriptures) each day, eventually completing it in its entirety.

When we met again at Winter Solstice, something had changed in both of us. Still no attraction though.

We both signed up for the sound team again. On one of the days, we were assigned to help out for a class taught by Snatam Kaur and So Purkh Singh (I love that that is his name by the way!).  I could tell the story within the story of how they met and married—because that was the topic of their class—but I’ll keep on point here.

At some point during their class Harimander and I realized that everything was going smoothly, so we decided to participate in the class.  Unbeknownst to me, he got a very clear message as we were doing one of the exercises in the kriya. The message was: “Your future wife could be very near you right now.” Immediately interested in this suggestion, he opened his eyes and sees that I’m the only one next to him within a few feet. We were “backstage” and everyone else was actually in the class. He didn’t tell me this until a little later in our relationship. He probably didn’t want to scare me.  Smart man.

Our courtship began when he started Facebook messaging me about two weeks later. He ended up coming out to Los Angeles, where I was currently living, to see “how our auras would get along.” I kid you not. That is what he said.

In the car, on the way to a Dave Stringer kirtan, he asked me what I wanted out of a relationship. I told him I wasn’t interested in dating. I wanted to get married. He said that was exactly where he was in his life as well. Three months later he proposed over skype—and again in person when he came to meet my parents in Connecticut. Two months after that we got married at Ram Das Puri in New Mexico at Summer Solstice Sadhana.

Some family members expressed their concern that the relationship was so new, and that the marriage felt rushed. My mom thought I was pregnant! (Nope, not until the next year!). Funny enough, for the Kundalini Yoga community, short courtships (even no courtships) were fairly commonplace. Yogi Bhajan had arranged marriages for many people who met and married on the same day. Harimander used to tell people that Guru (the subtle energy that guides us to our highest and brightest) arranged our marriage. I think that’s about right.

We knew what we wanted, recognized it was right there, and signed up for the adventure. We have certainly had our difficulties, but all in all, we both know we made the only possible decision. After all, when God answers your prayers, the least you can do is receive.

__

End of original post. This is footage from our wedding, with Snatam Kaur playing the traditional shabads for the Sikh "Anand Karaj" ceremony.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

How I Found Kundalini Yoga

This is the story of how I found Kundalini Yoga, and, through it, myself. 

(This was first posted on Spirit Voyage's Blog)

When I first heard Snatam Kaur’s voice, I had no idea where it came from. I was not a Kundalini Yogi. I was not a Sikh. I could not have even told you how to pronounce Snatam’s name (first or last!), let alone the mysterious sounding words she was singing. And yet, I listened to her “Ray Man Shabad” (from her album Grace, produced by Thomas Barquee) on repeat in my car for three months when I first moved to Los Angeles.

The way that track made me feel was different from any other song I’d heard before. I would usually gravitate towards music that fit my current mood—happy, distressed, lovelorn, lonely, angry, etc.
This music was different. It was fitting to any emotional state, but it didn’t keep me where I was. It took me somewhere else. More than that, “Ray Man Shabad” created a sonic space I wanted to live in.

I cannot remember what seemingly random incident first took me to the Golden Bridge, however, when I entered, the bookstore was playing Snatam’s “Ray Man Shabad.” I saw a few people who dressed identically to what Snatam was wearing on the album cover of Grace, and I thought to myself: “this place is the physical manifestation of how that music makes me feel.” In that moment, I had a very strong sense that I had been part of this community before in another lifetime.

After this experience, I wanted to know more, and it only then occurred to me that the meaning of the shabad (Sikh hymn) might be on the internet somewhere. My first understanding of what I found was that “Ray Man Shabad” was about the healing that comes from singing. Since I was a singer, that seemed pretty fitting.

My current understanding is that the shabad is a statement about true God awareness— that it cannot be superficially expressed by wearing “spiritual” clothing, or preaching about one’s faith. It can only be lived—as virtue.

In a place like Los Angeles, where persona tends to rule the day, I am so grateful for this sound current that reminded me (albeit in a language I didn’t think I understood) to be true to myself. It has been my compass ever since.

My favorite line, and the one I mediate on most frequently is:
Jaap so ajapa jaapay,

… which I interpret as, “sing with such devotion that you are vibrating God’s name even when you are silent.”

In the magical synchronistic way life seems to work since Kundalini Yoga entered my life, I was recently asked to sing background vocals for SatKirin Kaur Khalsa’s new album, Good Company. In the control room in Thomas Barquee’s studio (producer of Grace) he asked me if I knew the next shabad we were going to record vocals for. I looked down at the shabad sheet titled “Ray Man Eh Bidh Jog.”

Yes, I know that one well.

----

End of original post. I hope you enjoyed that.

Joyfully,
Sirgun Kaur


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Great Mantra Sadhana for Prosperity

I have coined this daily spiritual practice--or what we like to call "sadhana"--as the GREAT MANTRA SADHANA FOR PROSPERITY.

I did it for over 90 days and it felt like it shot forth into prosperity like a rocket. I have felt more creative, more driven, more energetic, and more passionate ever since. So I wanted to share it with you!

If you are looking for an easy place to begin a sadhana (they start at just 3 minutes a day!), check out my previous blog post HERE, where I outline 5 Easy Kundalin Yoga Practices Everyone Has Time For.

:: THE SADHANA ::

1) 11 recitations of Bahuta Karam

This mantra is for prosperity. It reminds us that you can ask and ask, but until you resonate with the vibration of solution (i.e. the vibration of your soul), you will not feel the prosperity. You will be like a person collecting water with a bucket that has a hole in it. Come with a mended bucket and receive all the "water" you can drink from the Universal "tap." (Read the full post on this mantra HERE)


2) 11 recitations of Amul Gun

Yogi Bhajan gave this mantra to people to recite specifically for business success. He said it “transforms nothing into everything. In your business it banishes losses, misfortunes and miseries.” Can't hurt, right? Even if just play it in the background as you work, it will be enormously potent.

3) 25 recitations of Aakhan Jor

Possibly my favorite of all three. This one seals in the energy of all them to me. It is the mantra that says, and I paraphrase, "I am not the doer, GOD is." Put a different way: I ask, the Universe gives. I call, the Universe answers. I am pray, the Universe hears. I request, the Universe grants. We recite Aakhan Jor to firm-up our certainty that everything is always working out for us. There is no need to effort, because the great power of creation is not ours to create. But it is ours to direct through our focus. (Read more about directing focus HERE). It is important to understand our place in this business of Creation. We don't create energy. We direct it through our vibration. 


And slowly...


If you don't know them yet, begin by listening. Snatam Kaur has 11 recitations of each on her album "Meditations of the Soul," which is a gem of a reference for people wanting to learn Japji better.

Oh, and check out the song versions I have made of these mantras too:




Happy mantra-ing!

Joyfully,
Sirgun Kaur

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Overcome Your Issues

Sat Naam,

This is a response to a question I got on facebook.

How do I overcome issues?


I used to think I had to talk out my problems. This was how I was raised: You talk out your feelings to a loved one, and they help you work out a plan of attack.

It took me a while to realize this system is totally flawed. For one, it defies Universal Law. But no big deal there, right? (I kid.)

The deeper I have gone into my yoga practice, and my understanding of the law of vibration, quantum physics, and humanology, I have come to truly understand what Yogi Bhajan called "dissolving" our problems.

Eistein said "No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it."

This is a statement from someone who understands that our energy follows our attention. Our attention creates an environment. This environment has a vibrational "ecosystem" that will be more or less conducive to the growth of certain things. For example, a farmer would not prep his/her soil for corn, place corn seeds in it, and then expect roses to come up.

Similarly, you cannot focus on a difficult issue--or even an interesting question--and expect to find a solution. To find a solution, you must expect a solution. 

The energy of expecting a solution feels very different from the energy of needing a problem to be solved.

Let us sit with that.

Imagine...

... trying to solve a problem. Feel what that feels like. To me, it often feels like a mental gymnastics tournament. Trying to come up with a million different plans and really effort my way through it. It is, to put it plainly, exhausting.

Now, imagine...

... expecting a solution to come. Or knowing that an answer is on its way. A great way to feel this is to remember how you feel when you order something on Amazon and you are checking for the box to come. You don't doubt that it will come. You wait for it because you know it will.


Everything that we ask is answered. Every problem we face has a solution.

That is what the Universe loves to do. It is built for this. It is the way the Universe (and all who are a part of it) expands.

You ask. The Universe answers. The Universe expands. 

Now, just like potatoes, problems/issues/questions, are not BAD.

They are great fodder for making more and more focused choices around the topic of what we truly want.

You cannot know for certain, for example, that you prefer caramel ice cream unless you have tired other flavors right? And you may try many flavors before you decide caramel is your absolute favorite.

You need to know the choices before you can make a good choice.

And aren't we blessed that the human experience provides just that.

So to sum up my answer, the way I deal with issues/problems/questions in my life is like this:


  1. I stew in it. I allow myself to feel the full emotion of it. 
  2. I decide if this is how I really want to feel about it.
  3. I reframe the issue/problem so that I can feel better about it... OR (and this usually works better, actually) I distract myself with something else. 
  4. I do some vibrational work to seal the deal. I meditate, do some breathwork, or recite a mantra. Sometimes I'll take a nap with the intention of waking up with a renewed perspective.
Remember, the more people you get involved in your "problems", the more they will remind you of it--even if they are well-meaning. Leave it alone and the answer will come.

The more you align with who you really are through YOGA or other spiritual practices, the easier this will become.

Joyfully,
Sirgun







potatoes are nt a problem.

Monday, August 20, 2018

5 EASY Kundalini Yoga Practices Everyone Has Time For

I was recently asked how to start a personal sadhana (practice). Yogi Bhajan said "when the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off." The best way to start a personal sadhna is just, well, to start! Here are 5 easy Kundalini Yoga Practices everyone (yes, even you!) has time for.

All you need to get started is a mind to learn and a timer. I recommend doing one of these practices for 40 days to see a noticeable effect. Even the first one, which is only 3 minutes long, will impact your life in a significantly positive way. Don't discount the power of commitment, however small the task.

Disclaimer: if you already have a 2+ hour morning practice, I would not recommend switching over to these practices. These ideas are for people who have been putting off starting a practice and need ideas to START. You don't need to be doing a 2.5-hour 3am sadhana to see improvement in your life. Simplicity can serve you well. And you might find yourself inspired to do more as you maintain CONSISTENCY. 

Read my cyber lips: DAILY is the most important part of any of this. Not how much, not how arduous, not where, not with whom. DAILY. Do it DAILY.

Got it? :-) Power to you!

1) 3-Minute Right-Side-of-the-Bed Sadhana:


  • Upon waking, do 3 minutes of ego eradicator while still in bed. Watch Russell Brand do it here. Do it, and you are done for the day! (Women: if you are on your moon cycle, do long deep breathing in the same position--as demonstrated below by Arjan--on heavy flow days, and then resume normal practice.) (Total: 3 minutes)

2) 6-Minute Extended Version

  • Do the 3 minutes of ego eradicator as described above. (Total: 3 minutes)
  • Before bed, chant your favorite mantra for 3 minutes. "Ma" is a super easy one to begin. So is "Wahe Guru, Wahe Jio." (Total: 3 minutes)



3) 15-Minute Calming Breathwork Sadhana


  • Upon waking up in the morning: immediately do the "wake up series" in your bed. No clue what I'm referring to? Watch Anne Novak do it here. Do 1 minute of each to start. (Total: 3 minutes)

  • After brushing your teeth, having some water, etc... sit down and do 3 minutes of Long Deep Breathing. Inhale "Sat", Exhale "Naam." Watch Arjun Kaur do it here. (Total: 3 minutes)

  • Set yourself a time for midday, before you eat. Again, do 3 minutes of Long Deep Breathing. (Total: 3 minutes)
  • In the evening, chant along to your favorite mantra for 3 minutes. You can do this while doing dishes, preparing dinner, or driving home from work. Up to you.(Total: 3 minutes)
  • Before bed, do 3 more minutes of Long Deep Breathing.  (Total: 3 minutes)

4) 20-Minute Great Mantra Sadhana

  • Upon waking, great the day with a victorious WAHE GURU. If you share a room with someone, keep the enthusiasm high and volume inaudible! :-) (Total time: negligible)
  • Still in bed, sit in easy pose and chant Wahe Guru, Wahe Guru, Wahe Guru over and over for 3 minutes. Chant with Nirinjan if you like! (Total: 3 minutes)

  • Get out of bed and start your timer for 10 minutes. While you are chanting Sat Nam, Sat Nam, Sat Nam Ji you will be going about your morning routine... Anything you need your mouth for (giving instructions to family members, drinking tea/water/coffee whatever, brushing your teeth, etc...) will have to be done before this, or after this. Plan accordingly. (Total: 10 minutes)
  • Midday, either before or after lunch, do 3 minutes of inhaling SAT, Exhaling NAAM. (Total: 3 minutes)
  • Before Bed: Chant your favorite mantra for 4 minutes. I enjoy Guru Ram Das before sleep, or Sa Ta Na Ma. Chant with me if you like! (Total: 4 minutes)

Remember that quality is more important than quantity. Doing things spread out through the day has the advantage of being a nice reminder (and helpful practice) to bring you back into alignment with who you are. Focus is something we need to keep working on, so even if you do a 31-minute meditation in the morning, don't stop inhaling SAT and exhaling NAAM throughout the day. 

I pray this helps you START. 

Joyfully,
Sirgun


Sunday, August 19, 2018

Prickly Beauty through the Lens of Love

Some things are easy to love. Some things are harder to love. But I believe all things have the potential to inspire love, when we look through the lens of love. And I think the prickly beauty of cacti is a nice place to start.

When I first moved to Phoenix, I loved all the desert flora. After a while though, I started to miss tall greens, cooler climes... seasons!

Some things are easy to love. Like dessert. Not the desert. DESSERT. The stuff with sprinkles, with frosting, with obvious sweetness.

And then there is guilt. Guilt of imbibing too much sweetness. Guilt from participating in something so easy to love. It makes it harder to love something so easy to love, doesn't it?

For a long period of time after college while I was trying to "get healthy, " I actually convinced myself I didn't even like dessert. Like, not even the raw vegan desserts I would occasionally allow myself.

It was kale and more kale for a few years there... and if it wasn't kale, it was green juice, or zucchini noodles, or cashew cheese.

My point is that you can convince yourself of pretty much anything; find beauty, find flavor, find LOVE in pretty much anything, if you are determined to find it.

My children are often easy to love. And often hard to love. I know they are not the cause of my fluctuating assessment of them. It is only my choice to see clearly (or not) in the moment.

So, enjoy your cacti, your tall trees, and your cupcakes... or whatever it is you love.

But remember that anything can be re-framed and seen through the lens of love.

As Louise Hay said "it is only a thought, and a thought can be changed."

Have a beautiful Sunday!

Joyfully,
Sirgun Kaur

Saturday, August 18, 2018

3 Tips for Yoga Mamas

Sat Naam Yoga Mama

If you're like me, integrating my yoga practice into my family life has been a learning process. I've learned some things along the way about being a yogi and a mama that I want to share with you. Here are my top 3 tips for getting your yoga on as a mom.

  1. Acknowledge that your spiritual practice is monumentally important: As my friend put it to me when I first gave birth to my oldest son: "put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others." In other words, the people in your life who rely on you, need you to show up. Without a foundation of spiritual practice, you are not connecting to the totality of who you are. This affects everyone you interact with, especially your children. Your children can sense when things are off with you, and they will most likely react in ways you aren't going to enjoy. Your children will benefit from a mother who is sane and calm. Namely, because they will be able to sense when they are "off" and know that they can always get back to balance--just like their mother does. Taking care of yourself is selfish in a good way. You cannot help anyone unless you are taking spiritual care of yourself. So that's step one. You must decide you are worth it! 
  2. Space it out: The best advice I can give any parent who struggles with getting in a long morning practice is to ditch the long morning practice. Instead, do a short meditation in the morning, a few short practices smattered throughout the day, and a short cool down practice before bed. For example, I recite Japji first thing in the morning while I'm getting my kids breakfast and watching a show on Netflix. Once I know they are occupied, I do kriya for liberation (9 minutes) with an optional 16 minutes of silent meditation afterwards (the option is dependent on any "crises" that may have developed while I was "away"). Then, because my children are homeschooled, we are onto activities. While I'm preparing lunch I may chant "Bahuta Karam" 11 times, or while I am doing dishes I may chant "Wahe Jio," and/or while I'm picking up toys with them I may chant 25 recitations of "Aakhan Jor." At night I take a bath, and do some light stretches, maybe meditate, and do a prayer called "Kirtan Sohila" before my head hits the pillow. I might do all of these nighttime rituals after I've put the boys to sleep, or, more likely I'll do some of it while they are awake, and some more after they are sleeping. The flexibility we cultivate in our bodies through yoga is "extended" to our minds as well, and as a mother I've had to come up with sneaky ways to get my sadhana in without having to forfeit sleep, which I really need. 
  3. Accept what is: There are days when I am interrupted even in my 9 minute meditation, or I have to stop and start Japji 15 times before I can finish because I am being asked questions. There are days that I have to wait a while before I can even begin to do my meditation. But if I decide I'm doing it, it's non-negotiable. It will get done. The other element of acceptance is recognizing that our children are our greatest teachers, and that at any given moment they might have a really great idea to share... if it feels right, go with it! They are fresh life on this planet and they are born in a state of natural YOGA. Just being in their presence and being in their joyful company can be a yoga practice in its own right. 
As you can see, I am not a perfectionist. I believe that doing something is better than nothing. And more than that, doing something sets you up for positive momentum. From a short meditation in the morning, you may want to do more. You may want to do some chants with your children. 

My son was really into "Ek Ong Kaar Satgur Prasaad"(or the magic mantra) for a while. Here's a video of his teaching it:

May you find the time you desire to build the foundation you need.

Joyfully,
Sirgun

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


Freedom from the Good Opinion of Others

Greetings Clever Consciousness,

This morning I have Wayne Dyer on my mind. Well, Abraham Maslow through Wayne Dyer to be exact.

Maslow once said that self-actualization was "being independent of the good opinion of others."

Can you imagine not giving a flying fizzle what anybody else thinks about you or what you are doing?

It is the ultimate freedom in my opinion.

Kundalini Yoga is a veritable treasure trove of tools to help practitioners attain this kind of freedom.

The freedom to be yourself. Period.

Not caring what people think is not synonymous with not caring about people. In fact, it is caring so much about who a person truly is--their SAT NAAM (read: their true identity as an infinite being in human form).

Disregarding someone's thoughts (or rather, your thoughts about what you think they are thinking!) and seeing the real person is what unconditional love is all about.

And wow, it's freeing.

You cannot control others, but you can control how you feel about them.

And if you can find peace within yourself as you interact with even the most difficult people, you will be sooooo free.

Enjoy your independence from the good opinion of others!


:: MEDITATION TO EXPAND YOUR INTUITION ::

Here is a video of a  meditation to strengthen your relationship to your own inner "opinion"--so you never need be reliant on anyone's else's. 


This is one of the four meditations from my Reclaim Your Happiness album. It uses the "miracle mantra" that Yogi Bhajan gave: Guru Guru Waheguru, Guru Raam Daas Guru.

Enjoy the miracle mantra?

Here's a playlist with over 40 versions of it: 



Joyfully,
Sirgun Kaur

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Mantra for Prosperity: Bahuta Karam

Good Evening Beauteous Being,

Have you noticed that most human concerns tend to fall into three basic categories?
  1. Relationships
  2. Health
  3. Wealth
Prosperity encompasses all three.

Truly prosperous people are magnets to healthy relationships, a good-feeling and well-functioning body, and an abundant flow of money.

Bahuta Karam is a mantra I have admired for a long time. It is the 25th pauri (read: verse) of a long bani (read: poem/hymn) called "Japji Sahib." I have been reciting Japji Sahib every day for over 7 years.

You could say it's in my DNA now. I am blessed to have memorized it so that I have been able to make this 20-minute practice a consistent habit even while birthing babies, nursing them, running after toddlers, long plane flights, and all the unexpected and delightful things life has brought me.

While I have been reciting Japji daily, I will hone in on a particular pauri every once in a while. Before I put this one to music, I noticed I would often wake up chanting Bahuta Karam in my mind. Having to record this, also, selfishly, meant that I had a good excuse to fine-tune my pronunciation.

The version I recorded on my newest album -8 is two complete recitations. The way I learned Japji was actually from listening to the pauris in song form (mostly from Snatam Kaur), so I was excited to contribute to the Japji library with this one.


Bahuta is a map to prosperity. I feel very blessed to have it in my toolbox. And you can too!


:: RECITATION ::

When learning a new mantra (especially a long one, like this one) it is recommended to recite it 11 times per day for 40 days. I have done this a few times, and it (literally) pays off.

This is the complete pauri, taken from the lyrics page of my website.

ਬਹੁਤਾ ਕਰਮੁ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾ ਜਾਇ ॥
Bahuthaa Karam Likhiaa Naa Jaae ||
His Blessings are so abundant that there can be no written account of them.

ਵਡਾ ਦਾਤਾ ਤਿਲੁ ਨ ਤਮਾਇ ॥
Vaddaa Dhaathaa Thil N Thamaae ||
The Great Giver does not hold back anything.

ਕੇਤੇ ਮੰਗਹਿ ਜੋਧ ਅਪਾਰ ॥
Kaethae Mangehi Jodhh Apaar ||
There are so many great, heroic warriors begging at the Door of the Infinite Lord.

ਕੇਤਿਆ ਗਣਤ ਨਹੀ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥
Kaethiaa Ganath Nehee Veechaar ||
So many contemplate and dwell upon Him, that they cannot be counted.

ਕੇਤੇ ਖਪਿ ਤੁਟਹਿ ਵੇਕਾਰ ॥
Kaethae Khap Thuttehi Vaekaar ||
So many waste away to death engaged in corruption.

ਕੇਤੇ ਲੈ ਲੈ ਮੁਕਰੁ ਪਾਹਿ ॥
Kaethae Lai Lai Mukar Paahi ||
So many take and take again, and then deny receiving.

ਕੇਤੇ ਮੂਰਖ ਖਾਹੀ ਖਾਹਿ ॥
Kaethae Moorakh Khaahee Khaahi ||
So many foolish consumers keep on consuming.

ਕੇਤਿਆ ਦੂਖ ਭੂਖ ਸਦ ਮਾਰ ॥
Kaethiaa Dhookh Bhookh Sadh Maar ||
So many endure distress, deprivation and constant abuse.

ਏਹਿ ਭਿ ਦਾਤਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਦਾਤਾਰ ॥
Eaehi Bh Dhaath Thaeree Dhaathaar ||
Even these are Your Gifts, O Great Giver!

ਬੰਦਿ ਖਲਾਸੀ ਭਾਣੈ ਹੋਇ ॥
Bandh Khalaasee Bhaanai Hoe ||
Liberation from bondage comes only by Your Will.

ਹੋਰੁ ਆਖਿ ਨ ਸਕੈ ਕੋਇ ॥
Hor Aakh N Sakai Koe ||
No one else has any say in this.

ਜੇ ਕੋ ਖਾਇਕੁ ਆਖਣਿ ਪਾਇ ॥
Jae Ko Khaaeik Aakhan Paae ||
If some fool should presume to say that he does,

ਓਹੁ ਜਾਣੈ ਜੇਤੀਆ ਮੁਹਿ ਖਾਇ ॥
Ouhu Jaanai Jaetheeaa Muhi Khaae ||
He shall learn, and feel the effects of his folly.

ਆਪੇ ਜਾਣੈ ਆਪੇ ਦੇਇ ॥
Aapae Jaanai Aapae Dhaee ||
He Himself knows, He Himself gives.

ਆਖਹਿ ਸਿ ਭਿ ਕੇਈ ਕੇਇ ॥
Aakhehi S Bh Kaeee Kaee ||
Few, very few are those who acknowledge this.

ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਬਖਸੇ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਸਾਲਾਹ ॥
Jis No Bakhasae Sifath Saalaah ||
One who is blessed to sing the Praises of the Lord,

ਨਾਨਕ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੀ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੁ ॥੨੫॥
Naanak Paathisaahee Paathisaahu ||25||
O Nanak, is the king of kings. ||25||


:: DELVING DEEPER ::

I actually don't spend much time reading or learning translations of mantras. 

Whereas I have a completely different relationship towards positive affirmations in English, I have a deep faith in mantras and the vibration they help me achieve with consistent practice, without needing to know their exact meaning.

And while I might only vaguely know what a mantra means intellectually, I feel it's meaning deeply on a visceral level.

I picked two lines from this beautiful mantra to highlight, because I found them particularly pithy.

The first is this one:

There is a stream of infinite good that is constantly flowing towards all living creatures. Some are allowing this flow into their experience, and some are not. 

If you are feeling lack, that is a vibration you are holding yourself in. It is not because "the Great Giver" is holding back from you. To receive is to achieve vibrational parity with "the Great Giver."

This entire mantra could be summed up with this beautiful line, I think:


Everything one could ever want is up for grabs. The GIVER is giving, and giving, and giving... are you RECEIVING it?

For me, this mantra is about realizing the infinite potential that I AM and finding as many ways as possible to keep myself feeling OPEN, WORTHY, LOVED, and TAKEN CARE OF so I can enjoy the fruits of Creation. 

Bahuta Karam invites us to look around and see the world through the eyes of our Source. 

You will receive what you are. When you recite Bahuta Karam, you become a magnet to prosperity.

Wah!


:: PROSPERITY PLAYLIST ::

This playlist contains 16 versions of another prosperity mantra--Aap Sahaaee Hoaa. Enjoy!



Joyfully,
Sirgun Kaur

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