By Bhavanjot Kaur
“We call Christ the Prince of Peace; we call Buddha the Sattvai Buddha of peace; we call Guru Nanak the giver of peace; we call Mohammed the messenger of peace. We have every name for every religion and the basic part of everything is peace. So why not piece together one word: peace?”
-Yogi Bhajan, 6/22/86
When I was a young girl attending the local Catholic Church, I remember during the service there was a point when the congregation was asked to shake hands, smile and offer a prayer to one another. I remember extending my hand out Sunday after Sunday and timidly shaking the hands of strangers while avoiding eye contact in my then very awkward and shy way, while quickly saying, “Pleased to be with you."
It was not until later in life that I learned that what I was actually supposed to be saying was, "Peace be with you." I got a very good laugh at my error and still smile when I think about my innocent mistake.
As a young girl I became fascinated with Buddhist teachings and studied a bit on my own and in college, but barely scratched the surface, I'm sure. What I did come away with was that peace was the goal across the board. I wondered what bridge would ultimately land me in that state of being.
It wasn't until Kundalini Yoga showed up in my world that I came to understand the true experience of inner and outer peace. I find that each day is a new experience to practice finding compassion and love in each situation no matter how challenging, and ultimately finding peace within, or just allowing it to arrive. I think it is just that—a practice. It requires a wholehearted approach and sometimes we even have to reach for the old adage, Fake it till you make it.
“In your day, give one minute to peace. Sit down and just relax, feel peaceful inside and give a prayer to honor those who work for peace and for the tranquility of all mankind. Let us honor ourselves. Let us recognize our inner peace. Pray deeply for your inner peace and for the entire mankind.”
-Yogi Bhajan, 6/10/89
I remember when my daughter was a baby. I called her my little happy Buddha. She had a seemingly endless fountain of joy pouring from her being and she was always giggling and smiling—even in her sleep as early as two weeks old! I was convinced even then that she was surrounded by many playful guardian angels. Someone later told me that my daughter actually shared a birthday with Buddha, which I always thought was kind of cool.
I laugh thinking about when my daughter turned two years old and people would ask her how old she was. She would put up her Jupiter (index) and Saturn (middle) fingers declaring that she was "Peace."
My daughter recently drew a picture that she described as being "Mom and Mom's teacher." I asked who my teacher was, and she grinned, stating that it was her. I smiled and agreed. My daughter is right. She has very much been my teacher since before she was born when I was pregnant with her, and perhaps even before that.
She has taught me how far away from peace I am in certain situations on certain days, for as long as I can remember. If you have children or are around children, then you know what I mean. They are feverishly present and fight to keep you in that presence with them. Their bright eyes and cheerful smiles will no doubt make you see where you are and where you are not, and how you are and how you are not, in any given moment--if you will truly just be with them.
They will also always make sure that you know if they are not at peace within, and they have no problem asking for your help to get back into that place. I believe we can learn a lot from them. Sometimes we all need to ask for help to find our peace again. Sometimes we may need to reach out to a family member, friend or therapist.
I have found that my best bet is getting into a quiet space, calling on God through meditation and prayer, and calling on my soul through the teachings of yoga, which help me find my way back to peace the fastest. A friend of mine often says that we should always be grounded, protected and spiritual. I believe we need to be all of these things every day, all day, in order to be at peace within.
We live in a time when people are living in a lot of fear and it is challenging for many to choose compassion, love and peace. I certainly have my own fears that show up on occasion and throw me off course. I’m not perfect and that is okay. I have learned with much practice that when these fears arise, I can stop myself from going in too far by reminding myself what my ultimate goal is, and I can talk myself out of that dark space.
I may screw up sometimes, but the gift of these seeming mistakes is really just how quickly I can find my way back to compassion and love, and then I find my smile again and voila, my inner peace is often right there waiting for me.
“My request to you is, do not let your calmness go. Do not let your peace of mind go. Be with the Guru through this time. Your spirit shall be content. The majority of the world is living in a terrible fear. Nobody knows what is happening. There’s too much information available to process. Just feel, within yourself, content and satisfied, peaceful and unique.”
-Yogi Bhajan 3/16/03
As I was thinking about writing this blog, I remembered that there is a Kundalini Yoga practice called Smiling Buddha Kriya. It is said that this kriya was practiced by both Buddha and Christ! We are told to practice the kriya, but without trying to be Buddha or Jesus, but just to be ourselves. (Phew!) It is considered an exercise of happiness that opens the flow of the heart chakra. Practice for 11 minutes and see what happens!
One of my yoga teachers often says, “Let go of expectations.” If we can do this on and off our yoga mat, I believe therein lies peace. She also often reminds us to relax our facial muscles when practicing yoga or to simply turn the corners of our mouths up as we move through each pose. I believe this teaches us to be relaxed even in a challenging posture or life situation. And it teaches us to smile even when it's hard to—on or off the yoga mat.
She also reminds us if we fall out or step out of a posture to just come back into it. I think this teaches us that sometimes what looks like a mistake or falling off the path is really just part of the dance. It teaches us how easy it is to find our way back.
We learn how to find that love and compassion and peace on the yoga mat and it follows us out into our lives. When we step out from the inner peace, off the yoga mat, we are able to find that happiness again—perhaps a little quicker each time, and then we can step back in with a big smile and keep moving forward in peace.
“What is the best way you can win the world? Have you seen those books, ‘Act like this and win friends’? What is that one principle that allows you to win the Universe, the Creator, the creation, the contact, the consent, and everything? What is that practice? Stand before a mirror and smile. Keep on smiling. Even if you want to be dead, even if somebody is mad at you, just keep on smiling. See how fast he attacks you. You think a smile is not a power? It’s the most powerful tool a human has.”
Bhavanjot Kaur is the owner and founder of Hamsa Healing Arts located in Centerbrook, CT. Bhavanjot is a Kundalini Yoga teacher and Radiant Child Yoga Teacher. Bhavanjot is a Reiki Master practitioner and Teacher, Craniosacral therapy practitioner, Raindrop therapy massage practitioner and she also offers sound therapy with a 32" Paiste Symphonic Gong. Bhavanjot is a consultant for essential oils, medicinal mushrooms and CBD oil. She is mother to a delightful seven-year-old little girl who overcame a rare childhood kidney cancer, which inspires her work with Lucy's Love Bus and the Connecticut Cancer Foundation.