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Pandit Mukesh Desai At Kashi

Pandit Mukesh Desai Comes to Kashi Ashram

Pandit Mukesh Desai

Mukesh Desai

On June 3-5 one of our favorite presenters, Pandit Mukesh Desai will be here at Kashi Ashram to present Yoga of Sound. What is Yoga of Sound? It has been described as yoga’s long history of applying sound to reduce stress, maintain health and invoke spiritual awakenings. It is also the art of mantra and how the practice of mantra can help to restore the flow of energy within the body, thus enhancing well-being in a very deep and profound ways.

Pandit Mukesh Desai is an internationally acclaimed performing artist and teacher of North Indian classical music, and a foremost disciple of the legendary singer and master musician, Pandit Jasraj. He has performed extensively in the US, Canada, London, Germany, Austria, Brazil, South Asia & India. He is highly appreciated for his voice quality, music performances and teachings.

Pandit Mukesh Desai

Concert of Devotional Music

In Mukesh’s workshop, he will offers his students the opportunity to explore sacred sound, Vedic mantras, kirtans and chanting, guided sound meditations, the scale sysem and Hindustani raga system.

Speaking with Amba Greene, an Ayurvedic practitioner and longtime devotee of Ma Jaya, she related how she initially connected with Pandit Mukesh Desai in 1998 in California. She became so enamored of his musicality and talent that she invited him back to Kashi where he has been giving workshops ever since. As Ms.Green explained to me: ” All of the different paths of yoga understand that Sound is the original form of energy which gives rise to prana, breath and movement.”

Ms. Green continues of Pandit Mukesh Desai, “He is a sound master who has spent his life studying the art and science of sound.When we understand kirtan in a very deep manner, we realize that it can connect us to a universal vibration of love. The concept of sound is at the root of all this. This workshop will be led by a very down to earth and unassuming spiritual man with an amazing sense of humor and extraordinary ability to plug people into the sound current. “

This is a very exciting event and we are honored to have Pandit Mukesh Desai with us for this amazing presentation of yoga of sound. You will have an experience that you will long remember and savor.

If you have a question about “Pandit Mukesh Desai,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer.

Posted in Chanting, Kirtan, Spiritual Music | Leave a comment

How to Forgive: Ten Steps

Forgiveness: how to forgive – Part 2

How to ForgiveBefore I begin this article, I must first discriminate between those abuses that are truly horrific and those where someone might realize that they might have had an unconscious but contributing element to what they feel has been perpetrated upon them. I am assuming that the people to whom I am speaking have already traversed a long road and have at last come to see the possibility of how to forgive. As an example of “horrific” abuse and emergence as an enlightened survivor, one must  view the creation of one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s  greeting cards entitled, ” Where There Is Understanding.”

Forgiveness arising from “powerlessness”

In our last article, we spoke of what forgiveness means and how lack of forgiveness arises essentially from a “powerless” place. In fact, it is my theory that all psychological difficulties are problems of powerlessness. If one were to ask how does that powerlessness begin, I would say at the feet of one’s parents. It is because children, unless they are very unique, give their power to their parents, thinking them as the repositors of infinite wisdom and caring.

Alas, too often those parents do not have the requisite wisdom, caring and ability to raise sound and mentally together children, often projecting onto their children their own ideas of which simply do not fit their particular child’s abilities or characteristics. We can remember very clearly how one word or phrase said to us as children has stayed with us with us forever, to-wit: I wish you could be more like your brother or sister; Why can’t you be as good as I need you to be, etc. and etc. This is called conditioning. It goes without saying that it is the good parent who raises children to have an ego that can both withstand the stress of the outside world and maintain a sturdy connection to themselves. If the child is catapulted into awareness that these parents are not ideal, at best, it might start them on the path of how to forgive.

Continuing the original relationship

As we continue on with our lives, we notice that we have continued those ways of responding to what our parents did with us in subsequent relationships. We might ask ourselves, “Have we married a father or mother who strongly resembles in behavior our parents?” Or did you have a friend who was reminiscent of your brother or sister and carry on that same dysfunctional behavior with them?

Dysfunctional behavior

All of this leads to what we have called “dysfunctional behavior.” Dysfunction is a form of behavior that essentially does not serve one in any respect nor fulfill what you “say” you want in your life. Some have also used the word “neurotic” to describe how one relates to someone else. For instance, you say you wish to be loved, and yet find yourself doing all kinds of things, which would lead to the opposite feeling from that person whom you care for. You perhaps show them anger or stinginess, all behaviors that “turn off” your intended love. But you find yourself unable to help behaving in a certain way even though you regret it. That’s what you call dysfunctional behavior: when you cannot evince the correct behavior to enable you to have a desired response. That ultimately leads one to a very unhappy relationship and general dissatisfaction with life.

How does neurotic behavior arise?

How does neurotic behavior arise, one might ask? It is my personal feeling that this behavior arises from the ultimate vulnerability that occurs when one might receive the hoped for and loved response. It is as if you have said to yourself,” I will never be in this position of expecting somebody to love me, because it only leads to disappointment.” Thus, when you actually get a loving response to your behavior, you are catapulted into fear and might suddenly throw a wrench in it. For example, you might start an argument or all of a sudden do something that will incur an unfavorable response. Neurosis and dysfunction are very difficult to identify. However if one can begin to see the etiology of this behavior, and create requisite compassion for it, one can then perhaps begin the path of how to forgive.

Steps to how to forgive:

  1. Announce to yourself your intention to seek forgiveness.
  2. Allow yourself to feel the totality of the pain and angst you feel you have received as a result of your interaction with the person whom you feel has hurt you.
  3. See how you have perhaps contributed to it, if that is true.
  4. Allow yourself to feel compassion for your pain.
  5. Allow yourself to feel compassion for the person who hurt you. Unless you truly feel compassion for your own pain, you cannot do this part of the exercise. If you are still hitting yourself over the head for being so stupid as to have accepted your pain, you cannot continue this step. You must be able to also begin to bring into your awareness the suffering they might have undergone in order to be able to unconsciously or consciously let go of your pain.
  6. Understand that it is not the unconsciousness of the person, but your reaction to the situation that brings you pain. Allow yourself to feel how your body is reacting when you think of how you have been injured and your responses. Note your responses. What happens? This in itself is worthwhile because it will begin to allow you to separate your thoughts of victimization from your body responses.
  7. When you begin to truly separate your thoughts of your pain  from your body response and reactions, you can begin to bring some detachment to your pain.
  8. Taking full responsibility for the totality of the situation. When you begin to take total responsibility for your situation and see with a clear mind how you have played a significant role in the drama you are attempting to unwind from, you will have taken the first steps toward how to forgive which involves forgiving yourself.
  9. Seeing the role you have played in the drama, which has unfolded, and how the role keeps playing in your life is a true step to how to forgive. Understanding that it was your reaction and how you chose to respond to the situation that continued the resulting same dramas in your life. (Give an example). Your father beat you and you said to yourself, “All men are no good and every man I meet will be no good.) Then you notice that all the men you have chosen since that time fit that conclusion.
  10. Tell yourself that you will now make different choices, starting from now and you are not powerless anymore to change your destiny. You have awakened and seen with greater awareness how your actions in the past have brought you to this place in your life.

As a result of all of these lessons, there is a feeling of spiritual empowerment that comes from acknowledging not only a small part towards your suffering through your reactions, but also seeing how you are now willing to address your suffering in a significant way. We all desire peace, and forgiving is a large part in achieving the peace we long for.

If you have a question about “how to forgive,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer

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What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness – Part 1

Dear Spiritual Explorer: Last year I was very hurt by a cousin of mine who said and did some very unconsciously hurtful things. I say unconscious because I do not think he deliberately chose to hurt me. However, even though it was not deliberate, it hurt. Can you give me some insight on the process of forgiveness? Megan P., San Francisco, CA

Waking up with clarity

ForgivenessDear Megan: In making my own steps towards forgiveness, I have to say it’s not an easy thing to do. One of the best reasons for not forgiving is that you think you are right and that the person is wrong or has truly wronged you. That is not an easy place to journey from. I use the word “journey” because I feel that forgiveness is truly a spiritual quest and is consistent and can cohabitate with spiritual enlightenment. It also requires that you begin to disidentify with your pain body as clarified by Eckart Tolle in The Power of Now and expanded by me later on in this response.

“Being right” is a very difficult step to overcome when attempting to being forgiving. You need only to have taken those popular EST courses in the 70’s given by Werner Erhardt, later called Landmark, to realize how being right can be so wrong. Yes, you may be “right,” but in terms of forgiveness, it backs you into and keeps you standing in a corner of self-righteousness, alone and solitary. Being right also means that you are not cognizant of the suffering that has forever created similar situations between not only you and that somebody else whom you are currently struggling with, but other like situations where both of you consider yourselves to be right. You both are stuck and eventually are standing like statues on a pedestal of being right. It is an immovable, fixed place where no peace or joy resides. You have not realized the joy of “letting go,” and consequent forgiveness, which is about surrendering the ego eventually. I term “ego” the personality and conditioning you have suffered from through your whole life.

What is spiritual enlightenment?

And what is spiritual enlightenment? In a very specific way, the word “enlightenment” means we lighten up as we traverse our path. It simply means we get lighter. How do we get lighter? We give up that baggage we have been carrying for a lifetime. The next question is what does that baggage consist of? For me it is about blaming somebody for something in my past. I am sure many people are going to say, “Well my so and so raped me and it sent me on a path to drugs and promiscuity.  How can you say I can’t blame him?” You’re quite right; it might have sent you on that path; however, the fact that you continue down that path becomes your responsibiltiy. In this day and age, especially, when we have so many self-help books and groups dealing with various kinds of abuse, there is almost no reason for somebody to continue what they call the “blame game.” I also understand that not everybody, no matter what is available, has all the requisite knowledge or ability to be able to come into an enlightened stance of forgiveness. For some it might take a lifetime; for others, it is truly a process of gathering together all the psychological, mental and physical steps necessary for forgiveness. I cannot of course say how long one might achieve that place.

The power of intention

I do believe however in the power of intention, and if one has come to believe that it is a necessary step up to spirituality, I believe that there is magic in the universe that will enable us to receive the necessary lessons and teachers we need to help us along the path. Again, I rely upon the prayer of Jesus, if one has the eyes to see and ears to hear, one will receive the truth no matter how it appears. For me, this has meant that unexpected words of wisdom have come my way in times of suffering for which I have been most grateful.

Aligning with spiritual self rather than psychological self

Now of course we know people who are still suffering from what I would also call an alignment with their psychological suffering. So long as you align yourself with your psychological suffering and feel that your life is controlled from what you have suffered, you will never reach the other shore towards that which you wish to reach. F. Scott Peck, the best-selling author of The Road Less Traveled, felt that true salvation or mental health comes to persons as they set aside prejudices of the past and strive toward fulfilling their own potential to save themselves. F. Scott Peck also speaks of traveling to the other shore, which is the place of spiritual empowerment. Spiritual empowerment comes from alignment with one’s spiritual self, not identification with one’s injured psychological self.

Taking responsibility a large step towards forgiveness

How does one not identify with the ‘injured” self? One of the ways is to intend to take responsibility for one’s life in a really big way. We know many people who have taken responsibility for their families, their physical self, perhaps even their mental self but still hold onto the pain of a painful past. In fact, their identification with this painful past has created what Eckhart Tolle in the Power of Now talks about the pain body. When a situation occurs that perhaps is neutral in some way, but one reacts in a totally reactive way, it emanates from that pain body that has been allowed to exist as a formidable block within one’s consciousness. Unfortunately, no matter how realistic or rational one becomes, unless one begins to disidentify with that pain body, and see it’s existence clearly, one will always react.

All of what I have written above is a precursor to taking the next step. It is my belief that these are necessary “aha” moments you may have received through this discourse,but one of the next steps is to begin to solidify your awareness in order to make that quantum leap into the necessary forgiveness that is part of the spiritual journey.

Our next post will give ten steps on how to forgive.

If you have a question about “forgiveness,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer

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