naanak aanae aavai raas
Guru Nanak Dev Ji Siree Raag 25
So it's been a while since I last posted. I came back from uni last month... Taken a while to get used to being at home again. No independent space here, no privacy...in the words of the Genie from Aladdin "PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWER!....eeeeeedie beedie living space..." Just kidding...
But it is a bit cramped here. Big family and all that.
A few weeks after I moved back home, I was off again. New Mexico, USA. Guru Ram Das Puri to be exact. I ventured out there alone for the Summer Solstice Camp hosted by 3HO, thanks to Gurumustuk Singh from Sikhnet.com.
I didn't know much about the event, apart from what I'd learnt from sikhnet.com. I'd never practised yoga on a serious level before...much like my sikhi, it was largely internet based research.
I don't really want to relay every experience I had out there. So I'm just gonna go with the flow.
Summer Solstice is definately something you have to go to; with an open mind - which might be a little difficult for a lot of punjabi's. There are people of almost every faith, nationality and ethnicity who take part. It is NOT a solely sikh event. That's one of its major charms I think. People coming together as one, praying, chanting, singing, dancing, eating together. As One.
The camp is based around the teachings of Yogi Bhajan who taught Kundalini yoga. I don't know much about the yoga, nor am I gonna pretend to. Postures wise, I thought it was fantastic. Cleared up my mind and my body definitely feels better. Yogi Ji used sikh mantras like - Satnaam, Vaheguroo, Aad Gur E Name and more alongside these different yogic postures. They're not what the typical sikh would be used to but it was a nice difference.
Rising early in the morning to Guru Singh, the very first Western Sikh in the USA, singing 'Rise Up' with a few other musicians at 3am was something to get used to...after a while I'd begin to lay awake in my tent at ten to 3, in anticipation.
Sadhana could be difficult at times...I think I only managed 2 full sadhanas the entire time I was there. The rest of the time I'd sleep through at least one segment. Tended to be yoga....
The heat was not unbearable but it chapped my lips big time. Chapstick became my lifeline. Yogi Ji's prescribed diet was definitely unbearable though...I couldnt handle mungbeans and onion soup, so pretty much lived off of fruit and almonds...and Golden Milk (Haldi doodh) during white tantric days.My favourite thing about Guru Ram Das Puri...jam sessions. Any time of te day you could sit under a gazebo and sing or chat or meditate with whoevers there. Whether to vaaja or to a makeshift drum beat. That was awesome.
Peace Prayer Day was terrific, really got me hyped. Amazing energy. The love and energy really lets you believe that we can make a difference for Mother Earth (Maata Dharath) despite the setbacks.
White Tantric Yoga was 3 days of solid kundalini yoga with a partner. We all sat in long rows opposite our partners. It was a weird experience. Absolutely shattering and yet exhilerating. I found it weird and awkward having to stare into my partners eyes at times or hold their hands (since partners tend to be opposite gender). I found it too intimate and to be honest I'd feel the same doing it with a girl. The other thing was...a few people I spoke to had made this whole tantric experience sound like some kind of profound time and apparently a lot of partners would fall in love. Tantric , for me was a good bonding experience for the group of people I had hung around, good work out and made me feel spiritually more clear minded. Other than that...I honestly feel no different to how I feel, if not less so, when I read Gurbani.
For me, there's just nothing more uplifting than Shabad Guru.
I loved the fact that whole time we were out there, we could have a ball, literal midnight raves - without having to intoxicate ourselves with alcohol or cannabis or whatever. We were high on life, on Naam, on love. That was something I've never felt before. That was profound.