Friday, 1 December 2017

Consecutive days of Meditation...900 and counting

I don't know the exact number, because I only keep track in my journal and I'm far too lazy to get up and check, but I know I have less than 100 days left of my 1,000 day meditation goal.

It is truly amazing to me. Where I was when I started, where I've been since then, and where I am now.

In some ways, I am the same person. Scatterbrained, prone to laziness (haha, see above), impulsive, addictive. I seem to have listed a lot of my weaknesses! But I've learned so much about myself, and have grown into a much more calm, mature person.

I am at peace with who I am. Well, mostly. I am happy with where I am in my life. Well, I'm getting there.

My patriarchal blessing says something along the lines of "the Lord will reveal to you the unique role you have in building God's kingdom on the earth".

For a while there, I thought that meant I was going to teach Kundalini Yoga to Mormons. Silly me! That role is already filled. As much as I want to be like her, Felice Austen is a unique force unto herself. I can't be her, and whenever I dwelled on the distance between her and me, I felt unhappy. Unsettled. Wrong.

I love Kundalini Yoga. I love how it has influenced my life in deep, profound ways. I loved my Level 1 Teacher Training. I'd like to do Level 2 someday. But I don't think teaching yoga is my calling, at least right now. Going through the training has blessed my life in a million different ways, and I absolutely do not regret the opportunity. I truly believe God prepared that class for me. I am almost finished with my course requirements - I need to attend about 8 more KY classes to sign off on my sheet - and I will be so proud of that certificate!

But if I'm honest, teaching on my own or setting up my own classes somewhere never felt right. I've come to rely on a certain feeling or evolution of events that guides my path in life, and when that doesn't happen and I force it, things don't generally work out very well. Teaching Kundalini Yoga has always felt that way. At first I thought it was because I have so many family commitments, and yes, that has been part of it, but learning KY was only one piece of the puzzle.

Recently I have been praying for guidance on what goals I should be aiming for in my life. I've felt a bit at a loose end, since having my sixth child, and wanted to find a project! We got a dog, which has been fun, but she's such an easy pup (overall I can't complain) that it hasn't been much of a challenge for me to train her and get her acclimated to our lives.

About a month ago, I was listening to a Sister in the ward bear her testimony, and she mentioned something about her work - she's a social worker. The thought popped into my head with considerable force: I can do that.

And as I started researching and considering my options, I realised that yeah! I can do this. I desperately want to do this.

Social work ties into one whole several strands of interest in my life. My experience as a mother of six children has helped me in numerous ways. I understand the challenges of family life. I have a disabled child. My ability to empathise has increased exponentially over the years. I am very interested in philosophy, human rights, social justice and giving people the tools and knowledge to help themselves. I am kind. I have mental fortitude in challenging situations.

I have developed these skills and interests over the years, but most especially over the past 900-odd days. The threads of my life can be pulled together under the umbrella of a career in social work. There are many different aspects of social work that I could focus on, but at the moment I really like the idea of helping adoptive families and children. For many years, my husband and I were interested in fostering, but it hasn't been the right choice for our family. Instead, I can help other people in the fostering system.

The things I've learned over my lifetime have led me to this conclusion - I want to be a social worker. I can do good. I can help others. For so long, I've felt like a "jack of all trades, master of none" but I can see that those varying interests have actually helped me mature as a person and grow in the direction God needed me to grow.

Although I don't for one minute think that this is my only purpose in life, and perhaps it will take me a full lifetime to understand what my "unique" role in God's kingdom really is, but for now, at this time, I feel that my prayers have been answered.

I feel at peace with this choice. I feel nervous about the specifics - childcare! homework! debt and loans! oh my! - but every time I think about the end result, I get a huge smile on my face. I am so excited for the next five years. It's going to be amazing.

And what about my 1,000 days? Will I stop meditating?

Not. A. Chance. If I've changed this much over 1,000 days, what will the next 1,000 days bring?

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Walking through the door

Sometimes, the only way to describe an experience is through metaphor. This can be challenging for those of us who haven’t experienced something similar – or perhaps I’m a very literal person and it’s only me that struggles to comprehend – but once understanding comes, it’s like a lightbulb has turned on that can illuminate the soul.

My experience with meditation is like being in a small room: I need to leave the room and move beyond into a beautiful world that I can see through an open window, but it’s a small opening and I can barely fit through. I struggle and struggle, trying to make myself fit, but movement comes ever so gradually. Sometimes I feel like giving up, but the view refreshes my efforts and I always begin anew. At length, I look around the room itself, and I notice a door. It has been there all this time! I leave the window and go to the door – it is unlocked. Easily, with very little struggle or pain, I open the door and walk through.

I am a covenant-keeping woman. I have been baptised by Priesthood authority, entering into a solemn promise with God that I will follow Christ’s example and repent of my sins when I do wrong. I continue to try to be like him, and as I strive on this path, God has covenanted with me that He will help me in my efforts. What efforts do I make? Attendance to church meetings, specifically sacrament meeting, wherein I renew my baptismal covenant by partaking of the sacrament. I pray daily for others, for my family, for myself. I repent of my sins and seek out ways that I can eradicate them from my life. I apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ not only through my sincere repentance, but also through seeking for healing from pains and sorrows that have been inflicted upon me through others’ actions (and even my own). I seek to bless and heal others through my words and deeds. I learn, and I grow, and when I fall, I get up and try again.

But change came gradually. As I struggled to overcome my faults, to heal from past sorrows, to serve and love my fellow humans, I felt like I was continually trying to squeeze through a too-small opening, never quite fitting all the way through. I was optimistic – I felt that I could do this, and that with God’s help I would, but I was missing a vital element in my efforts.

Meditation changed everything for me. I was able to look around, see a better path, and choose it. Like walking through a door, the change I so fervently sought out came simply, easily, and naturally. It took commitment on my part, but all the other elements of my worship became amplified as a result. I was able to access the Atonement in a depth and breadth that I wasn’t even aware existed before. Now, I pray for help and almost immediately I receive an answer – or inspiration that eventually leads me to an answer. I receive help before I've even prayed for it, even. I am not blinded by my emotional baggage and sorrows; issues that would take years to hash out in therapy have taken me weeks or months to discard with the addition of meditation to my daily routine.

“If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”

I continue to seek out all of the knowledge that will lead me closer to Christ. Kundalini Yoga and Meditation is a vital part of this experience for me. I know it can be the same experience for you – life is beautiful! You can find peace, joy and comfort through all of life’s myriad challenges. Christ calls us to lay our burdens at His feet, and in return we will feel lightened. It is my fervent belief that this meditation technology is an integral part of doing just that.

Friday, 26 February 2016

20 down, 20 to go.

Back in January, I went to a day-long workshop of White Tantric Yoga. One of the suggestions after attending such an intense day of meditation is to pick a personal practice and commit to 40 days. For about a week, I was resistant to the idea and was very happy continuing on with my 11 minutes of Kirtan Kriya every day. It was working for me, and I didn't want to change it or add anything else.

However, I'm not one to dip a toe in the waters of life - I tend to jump in and completely immerse myself in an experience (emigrating to a new country, having five children, and obsessively learning new hobbies in the space of a week are examples that come quickly to my mind). After humbling myself and opening my mind up to the possibility of trying something new, I found myself jumping into a 40 day commitment in a spectacularly huge way.

I am halfway through a 40 day meditation that lasts 2.5 hours each day. I have a busy household, so the only way to fit it in is to start at 4 am. I also am carrying on with my Kirtan Kriya - I've been doing that every day for many months and don't want to stop - and another meditation for abundance and prosperity. All together, it takes nearly 3 hours to finish my daily meditation commitments.

I was very determined for the first week. I managed to get through the 2.5 hours and then immediately launched into the other two afterwards. After a few days, I started feeling really tense and overwhelmed; my children would start waking up by 6.30am, so they were wanting breakfast and interrupting me while I was trying to concentrate. It also just felt completely overwhelming to fit all that in before the start of the day, so I finally gave myself permission to do my other meditations later in the day. What a relief! I know it's only a half an hour difference, but now I can complete my meditation and sneak back into bed for another hour or so. My husband now gets up with the children and serves breakfast to the toddler, so I can recover for a little bit before officially starting the day in daylight!

I've got a little routine going, and a vaguely comfortable set up. I like to meditate in a darkened room, but I have a subdued light that I turn on so I can see well enough. I use a couple of blankets and several cushions that I can use to sit on, or prop my knees up with or lean back on. Sometimes I take a break and just wiggle around a little bit, stretch, flop over, whatever. Sitting in the same position for hours at a time is not super comfortable for me, sadly!

So this all begs the question - why?? If I am losing out on sleep and sitting in uncomfortable positions to merely sit in a darkened room chanting a mantra in a foreign language, what am I actually getting out of it?

Yogi Bhajan is the Kundalini Master who openly taught this and many other meditations and kriyas to the world. He talked about this meditation:

All mantras are good, and are for the awakening of the Divine. But this mantra is effective, and is the mantra for this become one with the Divine.

Sounds good to me. I've been talking about Ego and how to strip it away, and this meditation is REALLY GOOD for that. Strip away the layers, reveal your true self, and see God to be like Him. That's the goal, right? That's why we're here, isn't it? I think so, anyway.

Obviously I don't think that this meditation is the only answer to returning to live in God's presence, not even close. But, it is a lever; it helps to change you in a very specific and efficient way.

My experiences so far have been surprising. I have had greater clarity of thought, in spite of my near-constant state of exhaustion! I have been able to cope with stress and anxiety in ways I never thought possible a few months ago. I am releasing trapped emotions all over the place. A few days ago, I had an intense experience. For some reason I couldn't pinpoint, I started crying during the meditation. The crying got more and more overwhelming, to the point where I could only chant one cycle of the mantra before I had to take a break to cry my heart out. I felt like I was being put through the wringer and ended up curling into the foetal position to have a little sleep. I woke up a little while later and finished the meditation feeling lighter in my heart and didn't cry again. Whew. That was unexpected, I must say. The next day, I went through some strong feelings of anger and sullen recalcitrance. I quite literally folded my arms and turned back into myself in a huff, refusing to chant for a while. After an undetermined amount of time I felt better and was able to resume meditating. So funny!

This is an interesting experience for me, and I'm happy to carry on, but I am also looking forward to completing my task. Oh, to sleep in.....

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Peeling back the layers

Okay, so I've talked about Ego. It is a tool created by our finite human minds, to protect ourselves from fear of the unknown and from exposing our true self to the world. Through Christ's atonement, we have no cause to fear. There is no unknown - we have the plan of salvation to guide us through life, and we know that our ultimate aim is to be like God. Our true selves are like Him, Gods in embryo. Christ beckons us to be a light to the world, to remove the mask of our Ego and live true to our highest self.

But... what does this all mean, in practical terms? I feel like a lot of what I've been saying is very theoretical without being grounded in real-world examples. I will share with you some of my layers of Ego that I've been sloughing off. A word of warning: the Ego isn't very pretty. Like Eustace's knobbly dragon-skin coat that Aslan peeled away, looking at the truth of your Ego can be uncomfortable.

"Home Ed Mum"

I got used to being noticed, being a bit different from the norm. (see #3) I loved home educating my children, and for a long time we had a blast! But after a while, the children's needs changed and I didn't want to change with them. I liked being a bit quirky. I enjoyed having a reason to spout off about "the state of education" at every opportunity. I was probably a bit insufferable about it all! I felt very smug about being outside of the "system" and living life off the cuff without a set routine or schedule. Hmmm. Ego, much?

"She's So Clever"

I got married and started a family young. I was a bright student and everyone expected "more" of me. Although I was happy with my choices (and still am), I also felt the pressure of proving that I was still intelligent and bright, and that I hadn't wasted my life. Conversely, I avoided challenging myself too much (for example, I never got around to taking any night classes despite wanting to go) so I couldn't fail at being smart. There was too much of my Ego tied up in this way of thinking, and I missed out on friendships, opportunities and new experiences because of it. 

"Where are you from, then?"

I'm a transplant from another country. I've lived outside of my home country for nearly the same amount of time as I grew up there, but have retained my accent and a lot of my cultural mannerisms and thought processes. Being "American" has become a part of my identity in a way that probably wouldn't have if I had stayed in the States. I get a fair amount of attention, being a foreigner, and everyone I meet seems to remember me easily. I've gotten lazy over the years and I very rarely remember people's names after first meeting. I have secretly scoffed at cultural expectations of my new country many times. I tend to have a sort of lofty attitude, like I'm above all that stiff upper lip British politeness or whatever. How unpleasant! Nothing makes me better or more interesting than someone else. Time to peel back this Ego layer and eat some humble pie, to boot. 

There are more examples - plenty more! - but I hope that what I've shared helps to spark a realisation or two in your life, so you can peel off your dragon-skin Ego and live a bit closer to the Lord. Looking at my list, I can see why these Ego layers formed, and what purpose my Mind thought they would achieve, but in the end all they have done is separate me from living as my true self and have distanced me from other people.

I'm really happy to be releasing these issues. I feel lighter and more comfortable in who I am. I think that, when you are constantly trying to shore up your Ego and keep that mask firmly attached, you aren't able to be authentic and loving. This is a better way to live.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Be not afraid, only believe.

Ego is the mask or protection that our limited mortal mind creates in order to protect itself from fear.

As I discussed in my previous post, Here Be Dragons, fear is rendered unnecessary because Christ lived, died and rose again for all of us. If fear is unnecessary, then we certainly don't need our mask (or dragon skin) of Ego, either.

Christ beckons us to believe in times of great trial and in times of happiness. When Jesus was travelling to the house of Jairus to heal his daughter, the ruler of the synagogue pointed out that it was a hopeless effort - she was already dead:

As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

When the rich young man came to Jesus asking how to inherit eternal life, he was not in distress or suffering a trial. He had a comfortable existence. He was content with his circumstances. Christ asked him to believe - "come, follow me" - as he asks us all to believe.

Putting our trust and faith in God has power to shift our consciousness and awareness. It can lift us out of depression and darkness, and lead us to safety. 

My family is going through a period of change and stress. It has been ongoing, in one form or another, for almost five months. Due to these changes, we are currently living in a tiny, bleak, rented house. The roof has a leak, which has led to a perfect breeding ground for mould in several parts of the house.

Although I am grateful for a roof over our heads (however patchy), I have been struggling with living here. I just. don't. like it. I want to leave, immediately! We are in the process of buying our first home, and I want everything to go smoothly with a sort of manic desperation that I have never felt about anything else before.

Manic desperation, feeling out of control, creeping depression, overwhelmed with managing a household of almost constantly grumpy small people, and this mad 40 day meditation I've been doing -- it's a lot to deal with!

When everything was getting me down and I didn't see a way back up again, I was blessed to attend the perfect lesson at church. It made me remember that my pain and suffering weren't coming from punishment or lack of love from God. My feelings were because I was doggedly hanging onto the plan that I desired, rather than surrendering to His will. 

During our family prayer the next day, I said aloud, "Thank you for this mouldy house." The words practically stuck in my throat, but they came out. Saying it aloud created a change of heart in me.

I replaced my fear with faith. I voiced aloud my humility for God's plan, and my depression, fear and anxiety almost immediately disappeared. 

Nothing in our living situation has changed since that day. I have experienced the blessings of God's immeasurable love as I've worked on replacing fear with faith. I'm not perfect at this effort, and continue to have highs and lows, but when I recall that powerful experience of the desire to believe having such a profound impact on my psyche, it buoys me up.

My Ego tries to tell me that Things Aren't Fair and I Deserve Better. It tries to convince me to be impatient and revel in anger and frustration. Fear is at the root of these thoughts and feelings, but it can be dispelled.

Be not afraid, only believe.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Here Be Dragons

As I grow older, I enjoy the character of Eustace Scrubb from the Narnia series a lot more. He was a vile character, a spoiled boy in the very literal sense of the word. 

His view of the world was utterly skewed by his Ego. His journal entries are a sharp contrast to the realities of living aboard the Dawn Treader (a magnificent Narnian ship); complaints flowed thick and fast - about the food (decent naval fare), living quarters (the King gave up his quarters for Eustace!) and company (talking animals). Meanwhile, Lucy and Edmund have the time of their lives and are fully appreciative of the living situation aboard ship.

Human Ego is powerful. Just like Eustace, it colours the view of our world and alters our internal landscape to such a drastic extent that we literally cannot see the forest for the trees. It gets into our eyes, ears and heart. We speak through a mask of Ego, covering our true selves out of fear.

Ego is our human remedy for fear, but it is unnecessary. Christ's atonement renders our Ego completely redundant, if we allow it. 

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve clothed themselves out of fear of being seen naked. Similarly, the Mind clothes itself with Ego out of fear of being Seen. Why is the Mind afraid? 

Without Ego, we are seen for who we are. We are children of the Almighty, and we have Light within us. In coming to Earth, we must learn to become as He is, but that separation is a painful one. Just as the newborn cries out with its first breath, our Minds cry out over the separation from God. 

This is normal and natural. Ego is not a terrible thing; it is a tool that teaches us how to come into our true selves and fully reach our divine attributes.

On that first Christmas day, when angels came to announce the birth of the Saviour of the world to shepherds, they said, 
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
The angels were not only speaking to the shepherds; they were speaking to "all people" and reminding us all that we no longer need to fear. Christ has come. Ego will be eradicated, and will no longer slow us down in our efforts to reach God.

Eustace Scrubb's ego became so big it literally turned him into a dragon. He covered himself in scales that obscured his vision, limited his ability to communicate, and caused him pain. While sitting sulking in his quarters on the Dawn Treader, he willingly separated himself from others; as a dragon, he had no other choice.

After a period of time, Eustace learned that he could be more than his Ego. He could be better than he was before - still the same boy, but a happier one, a shinier version of himself. Removing his dragon skin ego wasn't easy; in the end he needed the help of Aslan:

So at last we came to the top of a mountain I'd never seen before and on the top of this mountain there was a garden - trees and fruit and everything. In the middle of it there was a well.
“I knew it was a well because you could see the water bubbling up from the bottom of it: but it was a lot bigger than most wells - like a very big, round bath with marble steps going down into it. The water was as clear as anything and I thought if I could get in there and bathe it would ease the pain in my leg. But the lion told me I must undress first. Mind you, I don't know if he said any words out loud or not.
“I was just going to say that I couldn't undress because I hadn't any clothes on when I suddenly thought that dragons are snaky sort of things and snakes can cast their skins. Oh, of course, thought I, that's what the lion means. So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and, instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, like it does after an illness, or as if I was a banana. In a minute or two I just stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bathe.
“But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that they were all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before. Oh, that's all right, said I, it only means I had another smaller suit on underneath the first one, and I'll have to get out of it too. So I scratched and tore again and this underskin peeled off beautifully and out I stepped and left it lying beside the other one and went down to the well for my bathe.
“Well, exactly the same thing happened again. And I thought to myself, oh dear, how ever many skins have I got to take off? For I was longing to bathe my leg. So I scratched away for the third time and got off a third skin, just like the two others, and stepped out of it. But as soon as I looked at myself in the water I knew it had been no good.
“Then the lion said - but I don't know if it spoke – ‘You will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.
“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know - if you've ever picked the scab off a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”
“I know exactly what you mean,” said Edmund.
“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off - just as I thought I'd done it myself the other three times, only they hadn't hurt - and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me - I didn't like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I'd no skin on - and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I'd turned into a boy again. You'd think me simply phoney if I told you how I felt about my own arms. I know they've no muscle and are pretty mouldy compared with Caspian's, but I was so glad to see them.
“After a bit the lion took me out and dressed me –“
“Dressed you. With his paws?”
“Well, I don't exactly remember that bit. But he did somehow or other: in new clothes - the same I've got on now, as a matter of fact. And then suddenly I was back here. Which is what makes me think it must have been a dream.”
“No. It wasn't a dream,” said Edmund.
“Why not?”
“Well, there are the clothes, for one thing. And you have been - well, un-dragoned, for another.”
“What do you think it was, then?” asked Eustace.
“I think you've seen Aslan,” said Edmund.

The Lord can remove anyone's Ego. When we let go of our plans in life, remove the many layers of the versions of Self that we present to the world, and come to God symbolically naked, He will clothe us in white robes and present us to the Father.

Letting go of Ego can be painful, yes. We have to look hard at ourselves, letting go of many comfortable lies. What will you Be when your Ego is removed? Your true Self will come forth, "tender" and glorious.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

A million others all around me

Long Ek Ong Kar

Morning Call

Long chant

Adi Shakti mantra

All these names describe a meditation that has a deep power to change our lives. It aligns the chakras (represented in the picture above) and connects your soul to God.


About a week and a half ago, I attended my first White Tantric Yoga session in London. I had to go for my teacher training; it wasn't something I was particularly excited about to be honest! I'd heard stories about how hard it was, and I also read about how close you had to sit to your partner and neighbours and I'm really not comfortable with touching people and looking people in the eye. It all seemed very awkward and unpleasant!

But, I want to be a teacher, so I went. It was hard; we had a series of 62 minute meditations throughout the day, and we were required to sit still throughout the meditations and hold a specific posture (the most challenging was holding my finger on my partner's third eye point, while she did the same to me, and staring at her in the eye. FOR 62 MINUTES).

They say that it is common to experience a change or shift in your psyche after attending a White Tantric session. Perhaps that seed was planted in my subconscious so I was expecting a change, or, more likely, the idea prepared me to accept any changes that would occur afterward.

Whatever the reason or logic, after a full day of very long and challenging meditations, I did feel different. I feel rumblings and shiftings taking place that I can't quite describe yet, but the most notable was the feeling of low-level anxiety that I have been managing quite well with daily meditation (but still reared its ugly head during especially difficult days/weeks) is gone. I suddenly noticed that the irrational fear that stopped me from answering the phone or opening an email was gone. I was able to face a few stressful situations last week without putting them off and letting them loom large in my mind. This is a revelation to me! I feel lighter on my feet, and much happier in myself.

Anxiety is a huge problem for many people. It can be crippling. I managed to live a semi-normal existence with anxious feelings plaguing me from day to day (some days much better than others), but I know other people suffer to such a great extent that it terribly impacts their ability to function, or even leave the house. My heart goes out to anyone suffering with this condition. If this is you, to any degree, please start meditating! Contact me if you want to start; I would love to help you.

I already recognised that my anxiety was stopping me from dealing with things like housework or making/attending appointments, but it has been holding me back spiritually, as well. My mentor/teacher trainer suggested that we all choose a 40 day meditation after attending White Tantric Yoga. All of that hard work to clear out the subconscious is a great time to plant a new seed of hope and spirituality.

Mentally, I scoffed at the notion. I told myself that I didn't have time, and I wasn't prepared to start ANOTHER meditation. I was very happy with my current routine, thankyouverymuch. (I am nearing on 300 days in a row of Kirtan Kriya, so that's exciting)

Hmm. A lesson I need to learn repeatedly (and then again, and possibly again again) is that when I mentally scoff or kick back at a wise idea, I need to attend to that idea and examine it closer....

This past weekend I attended my teacher training and went to an early morning sadhana session where we performed the long Ek Ong Kar meditation... for 2.5 hours.

I was excited to try it, and obviously a week out from my White Tantric experience, I knew that I could at least sit and meditate for one hour. What's another 90 minutes, right? Easy-peasy!

The experience of meditating in a circle of like-minded people, repeating the same mantra over and over again in the early morning darkness (whilst hearing birds chirping out the window) is like no other. At times I drifted in and out of consciousness (I was tired! We started at 5am!), but I was supported by the mantra's vibrations. I felt a deep change within me, and at times I was very emotionally uncomfortable, like I was in an intense counselling session. I felt the release of some very deep trapped emotions. By the end of the 2.5 hours, I felt like I had dreamed most of the experience. I was rejuvenated and peaceful. And yes, it was a test of self, but all good things in life are worth working for.

During that day, I felt very strongly pulled toward doing a 40 day meditation of 2.5 hours of long Ek Ong Kar. After all, I'd already done day 1! Great start!

Uufff. How do I fit this into my day? 2.5 hours is 150 minutes. That's a looooonnnggg time to expect complete stillness without being disturbed. I have five children, and they are home educated. I am lucky to have 11 minutes to fit in Kirtan Kriya at random points throughout the day.

There's a reason why the meditation is also known as Morning Call; it needs to be done during the Amrit Vela, the time of the morning nectar, in the hours preceding sunrise.

I'm on day 3, but only 2 of those days have been at home on my own, outside that wonderful circle of yogis that I meditated with on day 1. I have to wake up and start meditating by 4am, so that I am finished with Long Ek Ong Kar by 6.30am and can fit in 11 minutes of Kirtan Kriya before my household awakes.

Committing to such a task isn't for the faint of heart, I'm discovering! While I'm sure that my lack of anxiety has helped propel me towards this meditation, I still need to keep up in order to be kept up!

Yogi Bhajan said, "If you must do sadhana by yourself, then while you are chanting, imagine a million others all around you. Hear them all chanting, with you in the middle, not moving at all. Feel that you do not chant physically, and yet are leading the chant and letting the chant lead you. As you imagine this, continue chanting."

I need to work on imagining a million others around me, supporting and lifting my efforts, as I felt on day 1 with my fellow teacher trainees. I know this is a task God wants me to accomplish and succeed at. There is great treasure to be found at the end of such challenges, and I look forward to being worthy to find great hidden treasures of knowledge.

If you are so inclined, think of me during the Amrit Vela, those hours before sunset. Send me your support as I tremulously step into this new experience!