By Guruka Singh
“Who are you? You are all consciousness. You are a part of universal consciousness. You are a part of universal consciousness—therefore you are an individual consciousness. Because you live on the Planet Earth, therefore you are a group consciousness.
You are an individual consciousness, you are a group consciousness, and you are a universal consciousness—but you don't relate to it. Why not?
You don't know. That is your answer. 'I don't know.' But why don't you know? This is a truth. Truth is that you are an individual consciousness, I agree, I bow to it. You are a group consciousness, I agree, I bow to it. You are a universal consciousness, I agree, I bow to it. But why don't you bow to it? Tell me why. Because you love to play ‘I am the worst.’ ‘I am negative.’ ‘I don't know.’ You want sympathy that way. You choose a wrong path? So? Right path is not closed to you. Life of righteousness is the life of God lived in the human body.”
-Yogi Bhajan, 4/7/72
There is a journey we are all on together. That journey is from individual consciousness to group consciousness to universal consciousness.
But what does that mean in a practical way in our daily lives?
During the mother’s pregnancy the soul that is about to incarnate chooses the vessel through which it will incarnate, and at 120 days the soul commits to the incarnation. Each incarnation is a gift. We use this gift to work through our karmas. The soul only incarnates to pay the karmas that it can pay during that incarnation.
We are born with a load of karmas we bring from previous lives and then our parents’ souls begin their karmic entanglement with us and we have those karmas in addition to the ones we incarnated with. In addition, this incarnation brings us yet more karmas as we go through relationships and cause pain to others. That’s a lot of karma.
Those of us who live this Dharma get to process a lot more karma in a single incarnation than most souls. When someone said to Yogiji, “You are a yogi. You are a highly evolved spiritual being. Why are you so sick?” he replied, “I am sick because I made a lot of people do things they did not want to do.”
What he meant was that because the teachings of Kundalini Yoga and White Tantric Yoga® are so tremendously powerful and take a lot of consistent effort and keeping up, he led us to do things that strengthened us and elevated us, even though those practices are difficult. Most people will not voluntarily hold their arms up for an hour the way we do in White Tantric Yoga® or Kundalini Yoga. That was Yogiji’s job in this incarnation: To train us to use these sacred tools, and help us develop our own discipline so we can continue to use these tools and share them with the whole world.
But elevating ourselves is not the goal. You have, I’m sure, heard the quote from John Donne, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.”
What use is it to go off to a desert island or a mountaintop cave and do yoga and meditate? That does not get our karmas paid. We must do the work, but not alone. We have Sangat—our peers with whom we get to do this work together. What a blessing!
We are on the journey of moving from ME to WE.
Our large human brains were evolved to collaborate, not for primitive, deer-like instinctual functions, like fleeing from danger. We needed the brain we humans have not to run away from tigers, but to deal with each other. Humans are social creatures, and this is where our karmas play out.
Loneliness is the saddest thing on the earth. Group consciousness takes away the loneliness. We know, “I am not alone. I have many brothers and sisters.” And this is a unique power. This is a unique virtue. This is a unique strength. And when my brothers' and sisters' goodness inspires me to my own goodness and I know that I am good, and around me there is the goodness of all my brothers and sisters, this is the sweetest feeling.
Group consciousness comes bit by bit as we experience meditating, chanting, yoga, and seva alongside our peers. This is not a group of personas with some earthly thing in common. Rather it is a Sangat of souls who have come together to be together and work together in this lifetime. Here is where we can rise above our individual karmic predicaments and experience the moment together in all its depth—pain and joy alike. We become fully present with each other.
It is in those moments of synchronicity and awareness that we experience the group consciousness. The more we practice being fully present and being together, the more we can experience it. It is a state where we experience our connection with each other, ourselves and the Universe. In group consciousness our prayers are multiplied to many million moments of moments. And that is what Guru Nanak gave us: Sangat and Pangat. Eat together and meditate together.
All souls come from the ocean of universal consciousness and all souls return to that ocean to either reincarnate or be liberated from physical form and become ‘spirit guides’ to work with those who are incarnated.
“All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.”
But the goal of life isn’t death. Birth and death are just our stage entrance and our stage exit. In between, we must play the roles in which we are cast by our own karmas.
And our journey leads us from WE to THEE.
When we have direct experience of group consciousness, it gives a taste of another way of living. It is a way of living that allows us to live on all the levels of reality simultaneously. A man or woman of God walks this Earth with his head in the clouds, his feet on the ground, and he remembers his postal code.
In universal consciousness, we consciously feel our connection to all beings all the time. We move easily through all our chakras allowing the energy in our bodies to move freely with no constriction or tension. In that state, we have constant access to our shuniya throughout the day and we are able to use our ego as a tool to do the work we came to do rather than living a me-centered life and treating other people as objects we manipulate to satisfy our fantasies and desires and reinforce our own persona.
This is the realm of the Light Warriors. This is where we act from neutral, loving awareness rather than reacting. This is where we live our Dharma fully. This is where we simply are. No judgements. No beliefs. Just awareness. This is the realm of true leaders and healers.
“The worst leaders are feared by the people. Then come the leaders who are obeyed, loved and praised. But the best leaders are those whose people hardly know they exist. They weight their words carefully and speak but little. When they have accomplished their work, the people say, ‘We did this all by ourselves.’”
-Tao Te Ching
In his final talk on Sunday, October 3rd, 2004 Yogi Bhajan said:
“It is the rule of God's kingdom to cleanse ourselves and then our ray can go. And our life is happier then. That's how it can be. Our rhythm of life, our atom, can be and do in that truth. And that will give us truth. That will give us truth forever, forever. Then, when we are real, we create. In our realm we can make ourselves whatever we want to be. And life is to live for each other. It is to live for each other.”
Each of us must honor our own incarnation and the roles we play in this lifetime and, if we are able to do so, deliver on the job our souls promised to deliver when we took this incarnation.
May this be a season of transformation and renewal for all of us and may we be blessed to live to our destiny.
Guruka Singh Khalsa is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sikhnet. He is a teacher, writer, and inveterate punster. At SikhNet he does management, administration, business networking, fundraising, communication, and teaching. He is a source of inspiration to SikhNet staff as well as the entire “cybersangat.” He has been featured in over 70 SikhNet video interviews.