Feeds:
Posts
Comments

I found this post today, October 1.  I wrote this on January 30, 2011 while in Reykjavik Iceland.  Enjoy!

I’ve been in Reykjavik going on 48 hours. All my molecules have arrived now…which means the bulk of the jetlag has been overcome.   It’s about 2:30 in the morning and I’m typing in the dark in my tiny and wonderful room in my hosts’ home.  I can’t yet really spell their names but I’m getting close to being able to pronounce them reasonably well as I figure  them out one by one.  Gudrun Darshan and her husband Logi and son live next door.  I’m staying with Gudrun Darshan’s parents.   The Icelandic language is difficult.  There are a couple of consonants that are completely unique to Icelandic and many consonants and vowels that are pronounced in ways that are completely unique to my tongue.    And they are not always as they’re written.  For example, there’s a consonant that, when pronounced, starts with an ‘h’ sound and ends in a trilling ‘r but you wouldn’t know it by looking at it.  My hosts explain and patiently demonstrate these to me.  I practice them and get them down to some degree of reasonableness, but then the words and unique little pronunciation twists seem to float away in the cool Icelandic breeze.  This surprises me and I feel a bit of a let down that the words have drifted away.  Most Icelanders speak English very well, however.  So, when you go to the store or the pool or speak with pretty much anyone, they readily switch to fluent English.  I had a funny moment last night in the kitchen at Gudrun Darshan’s home.  Sara, her 19 year old daughter, and I were in there together and Sara shouted a question to the living room.  I replied to her without missing a beat — ‘it’s on the table’.  I could tell that she was asking if there was salad.  We laughed a little bit at the fact I actually could understand.  I told her that I could understand Icelandic far better than I can speak it.  Ha!  That is purely a joke.

I taught a Kundalini Yoga class at Audur’s yoga center downtown.  Gudrun Darshan’s mother gave me a ride.  I had a few minutes to walk around the area.  Across the street is a small white house where Gorbachav and Reagan held a summit in the 1980s that is said to have marked the beginning of the end of the cold war.  The house faces the sea and there is a busy highway between it and the sea.  Reykjavik stretches far in both directions.  Iceland has only 300,000 inhabitants and most are in Reykjavik.  It’s bigger are more spread out than I imagined.  There is a sleek and  large black building nearby that Gudrun Darshan’s mother, Hallveig, tells me has become the symbol of the economic collapse of Iceland in 2008.  Many of the offices within it are empty and dark.  There are quite a few banks in Iceland — sleek, glassy, beautiful buildings.  From the outside, they look vital and in a ‘life proceeds on’ sort of way.  I do know that the economy and the people of Iceland are deeply impacted by their economic collapse. Where it was once easy to get jobs, it’s not so easy any more.  The kroner has devalued so things are more expensive for Icelanders than they used to be (but way less expensive for visitors!).  Opinions run strong.   Of course, we in the states experience all of this in a similar way as well.  The impact here, however, is uniquely palpable and acute.

Audur’s yoga center, LÓTUS JÓGASETUR, is on the 4th and top floor of a building nearby.  http://jogasetrid.is/   I had the pleasure and honor of teaching her 5:45 pm class.  She began with a dance warmup at 5:30.  Audur was an accomplished ballerina and leads the women in free movement.  We danced to Mool Mantra and Ang Sang Wahe Guru from my Kundalini Beat album.  This is somewhat surreal and delightful for me — to dance to this together and to witness the women’s freedom and abandon as they move to these songs.  I sing all the words as I dance.  🙂

I taught a kriya from Dr. Siri Atma Singh’s book ‘Waves of Healing’ on the pranic body and vitality.  It was a powerful kriya with lots of breath to oxygenate the blood and increase the flow of energy in the body.  It was my first time teaching in Iceland and I worked to speak more slowly and enunciate more clearly so I could be more readily understood.  I’m aware that my English is full of all sorts of slang and casual colloquialisms that could make it hard to be understood me sometimes.  I’ll be conscious and careful of that as I teach these next three days. We ended with the Wahe Guru meditation for releasing fear, which seemed fitting after all of this work on the pranic body.

After teaching, I walked about a mile to the public pool where I swam and soaked in the hot pots and sat in the steam room.  The pool complex is huge with an indoor and outdoor pool and a large outdoor water play area.  The pool rules are very clear and adhered to — remove your shoes before entering the changing rooms, shower completely without your swimsuit and with soap before you enter the pools, and, after your swim/soak, dry off completely after you shower and before you enter the changing area.  I met Hallveig in the hot pot with the jets.   The bubbling hot pot.  After my swim, I walked another 1/2 mile home.  I felt quite accomplished and independent to be able to walk from one place to the other by myself.  Mind you, this particular journey was all on a single road but there was a bit of a sense of anxiety that I was out on my own.  My phone is programmed with the right numbers and the pool is a good landmark.  In fact, the big black building that is the icon of the economic collapse is a solid landmark.  I knew that if I moved away from that, I was headed in the right direction.  There’s a metaphor in there, perhaps.

Time to go back to sleep.

It’s late at night in Reykjavik and, once again, I am in the experience of lingering jetlag.  So far, every night I awake at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning and am awake for many hours.  Tonight I sit in the dark in my cozy little room and listen to the wind outside.  It is a wet, cold wind that I am told is more common to a Reykjavik autumn than winter.  The students in the teacher training tell me that the winter in this part of Iceland is once again mild as it has been for the past several years.  This damp wind gusts and surges through the trees throughout the neighborhood.  It’s a comforting sound and sensation for me.  In northern New Mexico, the spring winds are dry, strong, dusty, and incredibly intense.  They shake the house from the south and are deeply irritating for me.   It’s not a simple irritation.  It really goes deep into my being.   These winds are why I find spring to be my least favorite season in New Mexico, even with the promise of green and renewal.  But this damp, gusty, swirling Reykjavik-ian wind brings me great comfort.

My throat is a little scratchy and I could be getting a little sick, probably directly because of that damp, cold wind.  I am very cautious about this.  I had been foregoing wrapping my neck with a scarf, even though I’ve been carrying one around.  Now when I go outside, the scarf is cozily around my throat.  I have been drinking water and Icelandic moss tea, taking homeopathics, and resting — even as I sit here in my jetlagged awakeness.  We will have group sadhana (daily meditation) at the yoga center tomorrow morning.  I am prayerful that I will attend but my priority will be to rest, particularly given that I am awake now. Here is the website for the yoga center, by the way http://www.andartak.is

We have one more day of the three days of teacher training.  We are definitely on track with what I have intended to cover.  The topics are sound & mantra and mind & meditation, which interweave very very nicely.  I simply love being in Iceland.  I love the feel and the easy pace and lovely, smiling hearts of the people.   I love working with these wonderful students as we collectively work with the material and draw forth our own experiences to make the topics palpable and taste-able.  We are having great fun and getting to new places of awareness and understanding.  I always learn so much when I teach.  I am deeply grateful.

Relating the pronunciation of the mantras of Kundalini Yoga to Icelandic equivalents is fascinating and a valuable means of figuring it all out.   I can see, in a new way, how the language of Gurmukhi is quite simple, really.  We often say that when Guru Amar Das designed the written script in the 15th century, he did it in such a way to be particularly simple and accessible so that anyone could learn it and have access to the wisdom of the words.  I can see more clearly that, in Gurmukhi, what you see is what you get.  When you know the rules and learn the alphabet, you can figure it out, read it and pronounce it reasonably well.  Learning to speak just a little bit of Icelandic has helped me to understand this much more deeply.  Icelandic is beautiful and fascinating and rich … and quite complex.  From a pronunciation standpoint, what you see is often NOT what you get.  For example, ‘yes’ in Icelandic is  Já but it is pronounced e-yow.  And sometimes they say Já on the inhale rather than the exhale in a sort of hushed whisper.  After being here for a few days, I can hear this whispered hush more readily in the patter of Icelandic around me. 

It’s time for sleep, or at least a non-computer sort of rest.  The winter wind continues to sigh and blow outside.  The wind of language and hushed e-yows and the sensation mantras moving through my throat sigh and blow within me.

Blessings

I’ve made a lot of Yogi Tea in my day.  Early on, I didn’t measure the spices very accurately and came up with some not-so-great tasting brew, particularly when I put too much cloves in the mix.  My good friend Shanti Shanti Kaur tested the combinations and measures of spices until she got it just right.  I always use the recipe now and it always works for me:

Ingredients:

Good Cinnamon — 13 long sticks (6″ or so)

3 Tablespoons cardamom pods — pound them so they open up (I roll them with a rolling pin)

1 Tablespoon cloves

1 1/3 Tablespoons peppercorns

As much as two handfuls of peeled and chopped ginger in long sticks

2 1/2 to 3 gallons water (I use a big pot that I have — holds about 2 gallons or so)

Wait until the water is at a full boil  Add the ingredients.  Lower the heat to a slow roll (not a lot of steam) and simmer for 2 hours.  As soon as it’s cooled off enough to handle it, strain the tea (or else it will get bitter).

On my way to Iceland

I’ll be leaving for Iceland on Tuesday morning where I have the honor and pleasure of teaching in a Level 1 Kundalini Yoga teacher training course there, as well as teaching a Naad Yoga workshop and presenting a concert.   Plus I hope to soak in hot springs, take in Reykjavik, visit the countryside a bit (hopefully!), and maybe ride an Icelandic horse (very furry this time of year).  I’ve been anticipating this trip with great enthusiasm for months and months, studying about Icelandic culture and history, watching the news, getting a feel for what it might be like, imagining myself being there, and, perhaps most importantly, imagining myself TEACHING there and meditating about what might be most important to convey.  As is my specialty, I will be focusing primarily on sound and mantra.  That being said, how the teaching comes forth is unique each time I teach depending on the moment, the students, the culture, and the result of ‘tuning in’ using Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo before we teach.  As we say ‘Ong Namo and away we go!’

You might imagine my excitement when I received the email from Gudrun/Darshan Kaur inviting me to teach.  I immediately sent emails to her from three different email accounts to make absolutely certain she got my reply!  A little overboard, perhaps, but I didn’t want this opportunity to slip me by.  This connection began about 5 or 6 years ago, when a lovely Icelandic woman named Audur/Siri Avtar Kaur came to study at the KRI teacher training here in New Mexico.  She was introduced to Kundalini Yoga through Gurmukh’s yoga dvd.  Darshan Kaur and another Icelandic woman came to New Mexico the year following Audur’s visit to also go through the training.   Audur and I have remained in contact and I have been longing to visit Iceland all this time.  In fact, I was planning to visit in early 2009 but broke my ankle and was unable to go.  Darshan Kaur emailed me when a teacher was unable to come and she was looking for a replacement.  I believe Deva Kaur from Florida suggested I come.  Also, the lead trainer, Shiv Charan Singh, knows me and my work.

In preparation for my trip, I’ve tried my hand (tongue?) at learning a little tiny bit of Icelandic learning a few words here and there that aren’t particularly useful but are fascinating to look at and attempt to pronounce.  My first, as some of you know, was ‘kakkalakin’ or ‘cockroach’.  I’ve been informed by my host that there aren’t many — maybe no – cockroaches in Iceland.  But it’s a fun word nonetheless.  Darshan Kaur also taught me the word for awesome which is ‘meiriháttar’.  I say ‘awesome’ alot.  Per Darshan, ei is pronounced like a in alien, á is pron. ou like in outsch! and tt is pron. as if there was an h in front of it, and a is pron. like a in afternoon.

Now I’m going through my final preparations to go.  Making sure I prep the material I’m teaching, have the materials and tools that I need, and pack enough but not too much (I tend to overpack).  I have my camera and I’ll bring a computer so, by God’s Grace, I’ll blog a bit.

For fun, here’s my bio in Icelandic…  🙂

Dev Suroop Kaur er fjölhæfur tónlistarmaður og hefur gefið út fjölda geisladiska sem njóta vinsælda í kundalini-heiminum. Hún kennir Kundalini jóga og Naad yoga (jóga sem byggir á hljóði). Dev Suroop Kaur notfærir sér list hljóðsins til að ná fram heilun og umbreytingu. Hennar sérsvið eru að kenna kennurum Kundalini jóga og meðvituð samskipti auk þess að kenna öðrum að nálgast fegurðina og kraftinn sem býr í röddinni.
Dev Suroop Kaur kynntist Kundalini jóga árið 1983 og hitti kennara sinn, Yogi Bhajan, meistara í Kundalini jóga, stuttu síðar. Þá hófst langt og ríkt ferðalag andlegrar iðkunar, náms og vaxtar. Hún býr með manni sínum í Espanola, New Mexico og starfar við tónlist og sem framkvæmdastjóri.

Biggest blessings!

Yogi Bhajan passed away 6 years ago today in 2004.  In 1999, he asked that I write this song for the time of his passing.  He asked that it be written in the past tense as if he had already passed, and that it be a celebration of his life and our own infinity.

Enjoy!  Spread the word!  I’ll leave it up for a few days.

http://www.4shared.com/audio/UV-8uUsF/01_A_Masters_Request.html

Here is the prosperity article I wrote for the German Kundalini Yoga Journal, translated into German (about 1/2 of the article).

Novemberausgabe 2008

Wohlstand und der Wert des Gebens –

Yogi Bhajans Lehren umgesetzt

Von Dev Suroop Kaur Khalsa, New Mexico

Ich kann mich daran erinnern, wie sehr mich Yogi Bhajans Konzept des

Wohlstands am Anfang, als ich gerade seine Schülerin geworden war,

herausgefordert und an meine Grenzen gebracht hat. Für mich hatte es

immer mit finanziellem Wohlstand und Reichtum zu tun gehabt, ich

hatte die Vorstellung, wenn ich versuchen wollte, „wohlhabender“ zu

werden, dass es meine primäre Absicht sein müsste, Geld anzuhäufen,

damit ich mehr Besitz oder einen hohen Netto Wert hätte. Aber wenn ich

um mich schaute, wusste ich, dass finanzieller Wohlstand allein kein

bleibendes Glück und wirkliche Zufriedenheit bringen konnte. Nach

dieser Definition war „Wohlstand keine hohe Priorität für mich.

Yogi Bhajan hingegen benutzte für Wohlstand Begriffe, die viel

umfassender und weitreichender waren als alle meine Vorstellungen in

Bezug auf dieses Konzept. Für ihn war Wohlstand die vollständige

Verwirklichung des Glücks, der Erfüllung und des Sinns im Leben eines

Menschen. Er lehrte, dass der Schlüssel zum Wohlstand darin lag,

solche essentiellen Werte wie Charakter, Integrität und Nobilität zu

pflegen. Anstatt dem Erfolg und dem Glück hinterherzujagen, ging es in

erster Linie darum, still zu werden und auszustrahlen – damit alles zu

dir kommt, was du brauchst.

„Ein Mensch im Wohlstand zeichnet sich durch bestimmte Merkmale

aus. Für diesen Menschen ist Reichtum an sich nicht das eigentliche

Ziel. Der tritt sowieso ein. Ein Mensch im Wohlstand häuft nicht Fülle

an, sondern die Fülle der Fülle. Wie auch immer sich die Umstände

gestalten, ein Mensch im Wohlstand erschafft, erledigt und erfüllt. Er

bleibt gleichmütig und beständig trotz aller Widrigkeiten und

Belastungen. So ein Mensch wird niemals die Werte seines Charakters

oder seiner Identität aufs Spiel setzen, um einen kurzfristigen Gewinn zu

erzielen. Er wird sich immer an die Gegenwart und die Möglichkeiten des

Unendlichen in jedem Menschen erinnern. Er wird Ausdauer, Hingabe

und Achtsamkeit kultivieren. Für so einen Menschen ist Wohlstand so

natürlich wie der Atem, so unbegrenzt wie der Geist und so unmittelbar

wie dieser Moment.“ (Yogi Bhajan)*

Uns daran zu erinnern, dass wir zeitlose sind, Tod-lose Wesen sind, ist

ganz unmittelbar mit Wohlstand und der Erfüllung unserer Bestimmung

verbunden. Und doch erfährt jeder von uns in seinem Leben die

andauernde Herausforderung der Versuchungen und Anforderungen der

materiellen Welt und die Neigung des Verstandes und des Egos, uns in

die falsche Identifizierung mit Begrenzungen zu ziehen. Uns so in den

Griff zu bekommen, dass wir an jenen stillen Ort unserer eigenen

inneren Unendlichkeit gelangen – unserem „Sat Nam“ – erfordert Übung,

Unterweisung, Geduld und nicht nachlassende Bemühung.

Yogi Bhajan hat uns in zahllosen persönlichen Begegnungen, in einer

Vielfalt von Yoga Sets und Meditationen und in immer neuen

Vorlesungen herausgefordert, uns über unsere begrenzte Vorstellung von

uns selbst auszudehnen, über unsere eingeschränkte Wahrnehmung

unserer Fähigkeiten, damit wir lernen konnten, uns beständiger auf

unser unbegrenztes Selbst zu beziehen. Wir können diese Anweisungen

jeden Tag umsetzen, wenn es uns vergönnt ist, den kuscheligen Komfort

unserer Betten zu verlassen, um aufzustehen und am frühen Morgen zu

meditieren, oder wenn wir eine Meditation 40 Tage lang praktizieren –

und uns alle möglichen Gründe einfallen, aufzuhören, wir aber doch

weiter machen – oder wenn wir es schaffen, eine schwierige 62 Minuten

lange Tantra-Meditation durchzuhalten.

Während er noch lebte, konnten wir diese Vorstellung von Wohlstand bei

Yogi Bhajan auch in der persönlichen Beziehung zu seinen Schülern

beobachten. Wenn er z.B. wollte, dass ein Buch zu einem bestimmten

Thema geschrieben werden sollte, dann hat er diese Aufgabe jemandem

mit einem bestimmten Talent aufgetragen – von dem dieser Mensch

vielleicht nicht einmal wusste, dass er es besaß – und ihm eine sehr

kurze Zeit dafür eingeräumt. Es schien, dass das Buch nur noch der

Nebeneffekt der Bemühung war – in Wirklichkeit ging es darum, dass

dieser Mensch sich dadurch ausdehnte und wuchs. Wenn jemand

anderes z.B. musikalisch war, dann hat er ihm oder ihr aufgetragen, eine

Woche lang jeden Tag ein Lied zu schreiben – und ihm dieses Lied dann

jeden Abend vorzutragen. Oder er hat jemandem aufgetragen, ein

bestimmtes Lied aufzunehmen und ihm innerhalb von drei Tagen nach

Europa zu schicken. In dem Bemühen, diese Aufträge zu erfüllen, hat

jeder der Betroffenen sich vermutlich enorm angestrengt, aber sie sind

dabei weit über das hinaus gegangen, was sie sich hätten vorstellen

können zu erreichen. Sie sind dabei in einen sehr viel größeren

„Wohlstand“ hineingewachsen.


My good friend Sujan Singh lives in Rome, Italy.  We became Facebook friends when I was recovering from ankle surgery in early 2009.  He and his friend translated this song that Sangeet Kaur, Ek Ong Kaar Kaur and I wrote for Yogi Bhajan at his request:

——

Traduzione a cura di Sujan Singh e Dora Rossetti

——

Chi era questo uomo chiamato Yogi Bhajan,

che venne nelle nostre vite attraversando il mare?

Un padre, un insegnante, un maestro,

un servo per tutta l’umanità.

Venne da est solo per insegnarci

Che c’è un Dio che dimora in tutto.

La felicità inizia con l’impegno,

la realizzazione nel rispondere alla chiamata.

Lui disse “Non piangete per me figli del Sikh Dharma,

il mio amore per voi vivrà eternamente,

continuate a cantare con la vostra forza e grazia

e coraggio,

Cantate il nome e liberate il vostro spirito,

Cantate il nome e servite l’umanità”.

Con i sandali tra i cumuli di neve a Toronto,

la sua missione iniziò in maniera così umile

Toccando i cuori di coloro senza speranza,

li aiutò a riguadagnare la loro dignità.

Attraverso ogni prova lui continuò a vincere

per mostrarci che potevamo farlo anche noi.

Con gentilezza, compassione e con il sorriso

Lui disse che il coraggio reale ci vedrà vincitori.

Lui disse “Non piangete per me figli del Sikh Dharma,

il mio amore per voi vivrà eternamente,

continuate a cantare con la vostra forza e grazia

e coraggio,

Cantate il nome e liberate il vostro spirito,

Cantate il nome e servite l’umanità”.

Lui scolpì ogni grande cosa con precisione a prescindere

dalla sua posizione sociale o stato. Spingendo,

provocando, confrontando,

il suo unico scopo fu avere un obiettivo.

Lui fece della nostra casa un tempio,

del nostro matrimonio un sentiero verso Dio.

Della ricchezza un via per servire il nostro vicino

delle nostre figlie e dei nostri figli il nostro futuro.

“Non piangete per me figli del Sikh Dharma,

il mio amore per voi vivrà eternamente,

continuate a cantare con la vostra forza e grazia

e coraggio,

Cantate il nome e liberate il vostro spirito

Cantate il nome e servite l’umanità”.

“Non piangete per me voi siete il Sikh Dharma,

lasciate che il vostro amore viva eternamente,

continuate a camminare con la vostra forza e grazia

e coraggio,

Cantate il nome e liberate il vostro spirito,

Cantate il nome e servite l’umanità………