A Daily Mantra Practice to Save the World
American kirtan singer and peace activist Snatam Kaur Khalsa shares the details of her daily practice, and why she thinks mantra is essential to saving the world.
How can we really enjoy this life? How can we really enjoy being in our bodies? We must have the capacity to have a still and quiet mind, because the joy is there. The innocence is there. The love is there. We become too ravaged in our own insecurity, misery, and blindness to even see the truth. Yes, thrash around if you must, gnarl and gnash your teeth like a wild animal. After enough tearing about, you will be left alone, simply alone, to rebuild the pieces of your life.
Use the sacred medicine of mantra at this time, and you will find the happiness and the joy that you are seeking. What is despair? What is anguish? It is a simple frequency of the mind. Just as mantra is a frequency of the mind. Mantra is a word that is thousands of years old. It means projection (tra) of the mind (man). Mantra is the way we project our mind to divinity.
As human beings we are constantly in a state of being in touch with our darkness and our light, our insecurity and our security, our courage and our fear. We come to this earth with our karma, our past actions from previous lifetimes. Our souls have come here to learn and grow. The yogis say that it takes 8.4 million lifetimes (rock, blade of grass, ant, tortoise, etc.—not necessarily in that order!) to reach the human incarnation. We have passed through those phases. Yet many of us are still in a kind of animal phase, and even worse than animal. At least with animals there is an innocence about their actions. We have even lost our innocence.
So, how do we experience goodness, joy, and love? How do we reach our divinity? Mantra. Mantra, takes you there. It is a fast track, a direct line. Many people do not want to even practice it because it works too well! They enjoy the neurosis, anger, pain, and anguish. There is a certain kind of satisfaction in it, a sense of something familiar, and the oh so delicious drama of it all. Mantra, well, sorry folks, mantra is kind of boring. But it is the kind of boring that creates a hole into your heart so that your light can finally shine through you. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes consistency. It takes prioritization.
Here is a thousand foot view of the human experience of mantra from the beginning to the ultimate goal. Someone experiences a mantra and they get healed. They feel light, love, and joy. Perhaps they heard someone singing it, maybe their yoga teacher or a musician. If they are lucky, they will realize that it was not in fact the human carrier of the mantra that brought them joy, but the living presence of the mantra. Every mantra is alive, a living breathing energy. The mantras find you. If you know the truth, you will know that the healing, the joy has come from the mantra itself. With this realization one incorporates the mantra into their life. The ultimate goal is for the mantra to become you. You live it and breath it. It guides your breath, thoughts, and actions. These mantras are simple positive affirmations of the love and light of God that is within and around us, the affirmation of truth and reality that all is divine, all is God.
Most of us exist with the mantras on a very peripheral level. We hear the mantra every once in a while. We chant together and then we turn around and yell and scream at each other all in the same day! Such is the human life. How do we get to grace, to true experience and joy?
My teacher taught a very simple practice that in essence gives the opportunity for all of us having a very human experience to transform completely. It is essentially a road map to salvation through mantra. It's called the Aquarian Sadhana. I have been practicing this sadhana since I was a teenager. With all of my faults and life in its ebb and flow, if there is anything that has worked for me, it is this practice.
This is the way it is done: I go to bed early, get up before the sun rises, during what is called the "amrit vela" or nectar time (somewhere around 3:30 a.m.), and take a cold shower. (Yes, I did just cold shower. It is the most awesome experience in the world. It totally wakes you up, for obvious reasons, but also gives you an amazing rush and experience of circulation which is fabulous for your skin and all of your organs. Any emotional freak outs or other craziness can be completely healed by a cold shower.) Then I do a recitation called Jap ji, followed by about a half hour of yoga and seven mantras.
This practice has changed by life. It has given me the opportunity as a human being, in the best and worst use of the word, to reach the divine. Why? Because I do it every day. Let me repeat that. I do it every day. Like the heart beat, I am consistent. With consistency, we convince the mind that yes, in fact we are putting our divinity first. We are prioritizing it at the top as the core experience that we are choosing to have. Daily practice. That is how we are going to change the world. That is how we are going to bring peace to this planet. One practitioner at a time. If we set aside 2.5 hours each day, we give a little over 10% of our day to God, and as my teacher Yogi Bhajan says, then God gives Himself/Herself to you.
My goal is to have sacred mantras in my mind all day, all night, all the time. Am I there yet? No. Do I have a method to get there? Yes.
Join me my friends. Find a way to have a daily practice. Put divinity in the front seat and watch as your life, even if ever so slowly, changes and transforms. We have to start somewhere. And if you are like me, the chaos, noise, confusion, and drama, is well, let's just say, not really working any longer. Let us find the stillness, where we can hear the laughter of a child, where we can finally be still enough to see how much God truly loves us, and where we can finally just be.
Sat Nam. God Bless You.