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These are turbulent times. Storm warnings surround us. Personal breakdown and information overload are everywhere. Our need to live balanced and integrated lives is more acute than ever before. We are all in the process of understanding that our spirituality needs to infuse all the parts of our lives—personal, family, and community—both in the workplace and outside the workplace—every day, all the time.
Spirituality in Action
Spirituality in action has an underlying technology that is common across all religions and beliefs. This technology is based on the physiology and consciousness of all human beings. Understanding and practicing this technology of spirituality on a daily basis results in alignment, balance, focus, harmony, and the ability to function successfully under the pressures of time and space. Now is the time for us to learn how to thrive and be happy under the elevated levels of pressure that we are all experiencing.
The Aquarian world of the new millennium requires a different relationship between people and the organizations for which we work. During the end of the ‘90’s, we witnessed a growing disconnection between our life "at work" and our lives "outside of work." Businesses often treat people as disposable commodities, and people are treating work as the place to earn enough money so they can enjoy their lives outside of work. People switch jobs easily and employers fight to retain their people. This is neither healthy for businesses nor healthy for people.
We all have a deep need to grow; to feel that we are contributing to the good of the whole, and to understand and express our own identity. We need to find these things in all the various parts of our lives. When we do, we feel engaged, fulfilled and satisfied, and we bring all of our energy, creativity, intuition, and experience into our work. In order for this to happen, there needs to be both an inner and outer alignment between our needs and goals and the needs and goals of our companies and businesses.
Rising Pressures of the Times
The rising misalignment between people and their work, along with the mind's limited capacity to handle the rapidly growing profusion of information, and the awakened sensitivity of subtle consciousness, is causing additional pressure on every one of us.
At first, people try to deal with this pressure by increased use of electronic technology. We find devices that are more sophisticated—better software, more gadgets to help us sort out the flood of information. Electronic technology, however, only brings us more information, more choices, more contacts, and more complexity. It pushes us beyond all the old frontiers of identity—home, neighborhood, country, values, and the natural rhythms of nature. These old touchstones we have used to form our identity are beginning to fail and we are experiencing a pervasive identity crisis.
So the ancient defenses of our human nervous system accelerate. We fight, withdraw, and fantasize more. Some people attempt to diffuse the impact of the flood of information with harmful adaptations such as drug use or violence.
So how can we effectively deal with these pressures and evolve our ability to live joyfully in this new environment?
The Shabad Guru
Four thousand years ago the spiritual masters, sages and yogis recognized sound as the primal force of creation and wrote about it in the Vedas. 'Shabad', as it's called in the Sanskrit and Gurmukhi languages, was perfected with the science of Raga (melody, pitch and interval) and Taal (rhythm and pulsation).
The yogic science of melody and rhythm is called Naad Brahm and Shabad Guru (supreme harmony); both are parts of the greater science of Kundalini Yoga. Yogi Bhajan brought Kundalini Yoga out of India in 1969. He'd mastered these sacred sciences as a young man and came to the West to create teachers who would spread peace of mind and peace on Earth. “Our music,” he says, “will inspire our souls. It defines our identity and establishes our sense of self within the vastness of creation.”
Psychologists today say that with this deeper sense of identity we become more secure and better able to cope with the challenges we are facing. In studying the brain they've found that we excel, our physical health actually flourishes, when we obtain this inner security.
The outcome of this shift of the Age depends on our ability to assess and command our own consciousness. The demands of this great change require that each of us use, master, and apply this inner technology of the Shabad Guru.
The Shabad Guru is a sound current, but not just any sound. It is a sound vibration that cuts through the ego which obstructs the truth, and that prevents us from perceiving and acting from our authentic Self. It is a quantum technology of sound that uses the science of Naad Yoga to affect consciousness.
Beyond the chaos and noise of the five senses lies the mind's intuitive power. During meditation on the Shabad, attachment to the world defined by the senses can be temporarily released. This allows our inner dimensions to reveal more relevant information. Through training the mind, the intuition can perceive these inner dimensions while the senses navigate the outer world. Connecting with this intuitive consciousness is like entering a forgotten world filled with solutions.
The Power of Mantra
Chanting mantras, either silently or out loud, is a conscious method of controlling and directing the mind. Happiness or sorrow, joy or regret are all vibratory frequencies in the mind. Call them attitudes or beliefs, but fundamentally they are vibratory frequencies or thought waves. They determine the kind of program our mind plays. The scenario we choose to hold on to becomes our vibration. It defines how we feel and what we project to others. We can exercise our right to choose at any time. When we chant a mantra we are choosing to invoke the positive power contained in those particular syllables. Whether it’s for prosperity, peace of mind, increasing intuition, or any of the multitude of other possible benefits inherent in mantras, simply by chanting them we are setting vibrations into motion that shall have an effect. It doesn’t actually matter if we understand the literal meaning of the sounds or not. The science is in the sound itself.
We are creating with every word we speak, and even with every word we think. By speaking in the consciousness of the Shabad Guru we tune into the inner sound; wisdom comes spontaneously, and we are merged into the vast awareness of “Anahad” (the unstruck sound or inner sound current).
By using the Shabad Guru, we can quickly and effectively find the calm eye of this mental and social storm of change. And from this place of inner stillness, the "zero point" or “shuniya," we can find our focus so we can excel and be happy. This state is known as the state of natural, spontaneous inner balance or "sahej." In this state we can consciously direct the consciousness of our own mind.
We don’t need new choices. We are flooded with choices. We need an elevated capacity to makechoices. We don’t need more information. We need the wisdom to use all the information. We don’t need another religion. We need the deep personal experience of our own religion. This is what creates the spiritual fitnessto act believably on our beliefs. The Shabad Guru is a special kind of technology with a unique contribution to develop potentials and handle the problems of the Aquarian Age. It produces vitality in the body; it awakens intelligence in the mind, and it develops our wisdom and intuition. It anchors the touchstone of compassion in the heart and it builds in each person's consciousness the clarity to act with fearless integrity.
The Aquarian Age
Let's talk for a few minutes about the character of the Aquarian Age.
We recognize that the Aquarian Age is dawning. November of 1991 marked the cusp of the last step of the shift of the Age. There have been many Ages and shifts of Ages in the long history of humankind. But this shift of Ages is different. Machines and hierarchies dominated the Piscean Age of the last 2000 years but awareness, information, and communication rule the Aquarian Age. The greatest power in this Age will be our own consciously projected words. This change is radical, not incremental. It is a simultaneous change in both the inner and outer worlds. Our minds are changing—their sensitivity, basic frequency, and functioning are transforming. Our lifestyle is changing our sense of time, space, relatedness, and relevancy. We have always experienced change, but rarely with this intensity and speed, and never with this scope and vastness.
In the Age we are leaving behind, it was a central, and even sacred, task to find and gain access to the right information. There were special places of study in remote areas, like Tibet, or in a deep jungle or an isolated desert. These places were accessible to only those few who could qualify, or who had a special destiny. The motto of the Piscean Age was "to be or not to be." Learn, grow and become something. Secrecy and layers of initiations guarded great knowledge about human potential.
In the Aquarian Age there are no secrets. Information is available to everyone. Finding information is no longer our central task. In the Aquarian Age our motto is "I am, I Am." By the grace of the Creator, we already are what we are. We simply have to accept our wholeness and our oneness with the larger creative existence, experience it consciously, and express it with each committed action. Our actions must demonstrate our wisdom. Studying and knowing a truth is no longer what is important. Real value comes from the spontaneous flow of truth manifested through all our actions.
In the world of the 21st century our value does not rest in what we acquire, find, or know. It rests in who we have become through our experience. Value lies in our capacity and ability to consciously use information. Ultimately, we are valuable for our wisdom and our ability to deliver results. That is what the Shabad Guru develops in us. It is not a thought or an idea or a piece of information. It is a patterning of information. It is not just an experience; it is an experience of experience. In a world saturated with information we need a technology to develop our command of it, not just to gather more of it.
In the Piscean Age we could get away with many destructive behaviors—from embezzling to dumping pollutants. We could simply hide them. Now that is rapidly becoming impossible. In the past we could establish a persona, a mask to show to the world, and we could be known by it. Now every persona is under audit. All actions can be tracked regardless of how we may appear. Every money exchange, statement, and behavior leaves a trail. We are known by those actions. Our individual actions are what bring us nearer to, or further from God.
As the Aquarian Age dawns, action is the language of the awakened self. The old defenses and manipulations based on hiding or controlling access to information no longer work. We need the capacity to assess each action and its consequences before we take it.
There are many other dimensions to this radical shift of the Ages. People everywhere are talking about it, making predictions about it, or debunking it. Some sense the shift as a cataclysm, or the end of the world; others as a new beginning; and still others as a time of uncertainty and unpredictability. We all feel the need for more love and unity in a world filled with fear and tremendous insecurity.
Stamina and the ability to deliver are the common benchmarks we use to evaluate every person and their work. The only way to achieve this is to go inward and regenerate ourselves. We require a reconciliation and integration of the spiritual side of life with the technological and material sides—a Spiritual Fitness to constantly sense values and meaning.
There is no isolation. Each action we take must be considered ecologically, in terms of others and in terms of its global context, because each person does affect, directly or indirectly, vast networks of other people, and many other living beings and places.
We can see opportunity, and potential prosperity, everywhere—and with this comes equal danger. Information and intellect are no longer enough to manage our brains and our actions. Now is the time that we must learn to use our minds differently. Our minds must dramatically increase their sensitivity and quality over the next several decades. In a few generations, our current mental struggles will seem as distant and perplexing as the problems and thoughts of ancient empires seem to us now. This change of mental quality is occurring automatically, and many people are already experiencing it.
We all need a powerful intuitive mind in order to handle paradoxes, uncertainty, and the need to act. The intuitive mind integrates the polarities in any situation with a creative sense of purpose and neutrality that serves both polarities. This "diagonal thinking" is now becoming a key difference between those who are happy and prosperous and those who feel isolated and miserable. The capacity to command our brains into states that handle all information simultaneously (social, emotional, sensory, psychic and subtle) and the pressure to act wisely, will create great differences and classes in the world of work, economics, relationships, leadership and lifestyles.
So, how can we develop our minds to excel in this new environment? How do we embed core value capacity in the mind so that it has an axis of action, an orientation to guide clear decisions? We do so through the experience of being consciously conscious of our own consciousness, i.e., we explore and understand our own consciousness and we retain awareness of our own mind and its actions and reactions. In order to do this, we need to tune ourselves by our daily practice.
Meditation on the Shabad Guru: Ek Ong Kar Sat Gur Prasad
“Ek ong kaar sat gur prasaad, sat gur prasaad ek ong kaar”
(The Creator is One Consciousness. Truth is revealed through the Guru’s Grace.)
Chant in a monotone with a steady rhythm.
“This mantra is a gutka shabad—one that reverses the mind. It is the essence of the Shabad Guru. It can stop anything negative. If the mantra is chanted just five times, it will stop the mind and put it into reverse gear. The Shabad Guru will sit in your heart. It is so strong that it elevates the self beyond duality and establishes the flow of spirit. This mantra makes the mind so powerful that it removes all obstacles. Its positive effects happen quickly and last a long time. It needs to be chanted with reverence, in a place of reverence. This mantra brings great intuition to the practitioner. After chanting this mantra, anything you say will be amplified and created with great force. So have a positive projection and do not say anything negative for awhile after chanting it.”
- Yogi Bhajan © The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan
Guruka Singh Khalsa is a teacher, writer, inveterate punster, and the Executive Director of SikhNet. He has translated Yogi Bhajan's Gurmukhi poetry into English in the volume Furmaan Khalsa as well as translating Guru Nanak's Japji and other hymns from Sikh scriptures. Known by many as "Doctor Hi-Fi," he loves to play with electronics, computers, multimedia, and words.