Tools for spiritual vitality

Spiritual practice is a process, entirely unique and personal; every path has value and effect.

by Sevak Singh Khalsa and Sat Kartar Kaur Khalsa — 

Many powerful tools are available to help us with our spiritual practice. Some of these include the breath, movement, prayer and meditation, sounds of the gong, and the music of chants and mantras.

Breathing

As long as we occupy a physical body, we are gifted with the breath. We breathe from the first separation from our natural mother to the final separation from Mother Nature and this earthly existence. The relationship between breath and life is obvious, yet many of us move through this life connected more to the mind and emotions than to the power through which this existence is sustained. For centuries, yogis have taught the relation between breath and one’s spiritual path. We teach these ancient breath tools, applied with both the body and mind, to release a surge of vitality from within.

Spiritual practice is a process, entirely unique and personal; every path has value and effect. We must, however, move along our path toward inner peace and happiness. Everyone can learn the simple art of using this vital breath to smooth out life’s rough spots and enhance the experience of everyday life. It can make the difference between being on a spiritual path and moving along it.

Movement

Our body is our base camp — the vessel through which we live and feel our time on the planet. Explorers looking to new horizons have always ventured into the unknown with faith and openness to find the expansiveness in their spirits. Upon arriving at the edge of their known world, a base camp is established — a place to return to and rely on as they travel toward the summit of their experience.

Our body base camp is here 24/7, so it is important to take good care of it. Basic joyous movement, guided with breath and mental focus, brings about a self-induced condition of health and well-being. Yoga is a combination of mind-body practices beyond physical exercise. These systems are universal in their application.

The human body, in whatever condition, vitalizes with the addition of these sequential practices. Life is meant to be happy and joyous. When using the physical body in concert with mental clarity, the spiritual core emerges with light and love.

Prayer and meditation

Prayer is our process of projecting a specific message into the unknown with faith and hope in making the message known. This conscious projective dialogue toward the Infinite produces a cascade of effects — mind-body and spiritual. In prayer you talk to God; in meditation God talks to you. The test of meditation as a technique is in whether or not you consciously recognize its effects. The products of applied meditation are the clearing of the subconscious mind, the release of fears and pain, and connection to the blessings of life.

Prayer and meditation are specific tools or experiences, not ideas or concepts. That is, our spiritual life is for living, practicing and enjoying — not for thinking about. The mind in prayer and meditation is a tool to serve our spirit along its journey. Meditation is a simple process, applied to anyone’s spiritual path, like a light illuminating the way.

The power of the gong

Gongs are among the oldest and most important instruments of Southeast Asia, and are special tools for communing with the cosmic mysteries of the spiritual heart. For centuries, Tibetan monks and other spiritual teachers have used the gong to aid in meditation. The gong is the only instrument that the mind cannot stand up against. It covers the frequencies of the human chakras in and around the physical body. A gong meditation produces relaxing benefits — similar to meditation, exercise and breathing — without effort.

The vibratory frequencies emanating through this lineage of gong mastery flood the system with sound and patterns, effectively washing the subconscious mind and physical body clean of obstructions and imbedded pain. The nervous system rejuvenates, relaxes and allows a wide spectrum of sensations.

There is no score to follow: the gong pulsates what is needed specifically at that time and space for those present. The gong covers the full sound spectrum, vibrating all the body’s cells, bones and organs. It resonates in the skull, stimulating the glands, instructing the whole being to release and relax into the experience — very transcendental, fully healing. The body absorbs the sound, creating a total sense of well-being.

The music of chant and mantra

Chant is the one common denominator woven through religious practices and spiritual paths around the planet. It is the primal call to the Divine; a uniquely personal conversation between an individual and a Higher Power; now an ancient music form beginning to “in-chant” our culture.

A mantra is a religious or mystical syllable or poem, typically from the Sanskrit language. The word mantra is two syllables: “man” or mind, and “tra” or attunes. So it means “to which the mind attunes.” Naad Yoga is the study of this code of syllables — a programming language of primal sounds upon which all spoken and sacred languages are built. Similar to the coding system that allows a computer to run and function properly, sound code programs are generated so the human mind/body can respond and readjust itself.

Mantric sound immersion, with consistent intention and practice, can jump-start a temperament shift. Chanted mantra has a broad capacity to create and maintain a positive state of mind. Pratyahar — the focus of replacing a lower thought or sound vibration with a higher one, using mantra — can be used to manage depression, enhance intelligence and intuition, and bring forth compassion. Combining specific sounds with the flow of melody and rhythm creates a potent tool of empowerment.

 

Sevak Singh Khalsa and Sat Kartar Kaur Khalsa, of Phoenix, are artists, yogis, spiritual teachers and coaches who have studied with Yogi Bhajan, Master of Kundalini Yoga. www.spiritvoyage.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 3, June/July 2007.

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