I got off the plane traveling from Zurich, Switzerland and walked through a long corridor with windows that revealed the cloudy Boston sky. CNN broadcasted from a TV monitor with the latest on the presidential election. Rolling my suitcase along at a fast clip across the tiled floor, I was excited to be home. I had to slow down for a long line that formed underneath a sign that read "Immigration and Customs." Now at a complete stop, in a line that was growing quite long, a ripple of confusion erupted through the crowd. There seemed to be one line forming without a distinct line for US passport holders. The man in front of me turned around and commented, "Everything is so disorganized here. This country is just going down the drain."
After being in many beautiful countries in Europe where life just seemed so much better for people, the weight of the trials and tribulations of being an American seemed to wash over me like a big sloshy wave. The dismal soundtrack of CNN overhead didn’t help. Perhaps because I had been traveling for sixteen hours straight up until that point, I did not respond to him with much more than a tired nod. Yet, even in that moment of dull surrender, something awakened and shifted within me. I felt an internal promise like a spark of light in a dark room. It was a tiny voice that silently responded in the core of my being and it said, "I like this country and it's worth fighting for."
I had just given ten concerts, in nine European countries in 24 days. I was blessed to tour with Neelamjit Singh on tabla, Siri Kirtan Kaur on base, and Stuart Fuchs on guitar. I sing and play the harmonium and share chants from the Kundalini yoga and Sikh tradition. Our concerts have become healing sessions where people have the opportunity to experience the power of mantra to heal. Everybody needs healing. Even in the most beautiful and prosperous countries.
In between concerts, we had some time to walk around and I admired the numerous public recycling facilities, the incredibly efficient public transportation and the beautiful design of cities without any urban sprawl. I felt a sense of environmental awareness on a government level that is palpable in many of these countries. Given my great passion for the environment and a deep desire to be a part of the change so that we can give our coming generations a beautiful planet to live on, I think the technology of mantra has a lot to offer us.
In one concert I explained how mantra works. I was sharing about one mantra in particular called "Sat Naraayan."
Sat Naraayan Waaheguru
Haree Naraayan Satinaam
True (Sat) is the experience of Naraayan, the Name of God, and when we chant it, we are given an incredible energy of abundance, courage, and support for the soul. We chant Waaheguru to open the gate of transformation, that we may truly experience the wisdom of the Divine.
When we chant Naraayan, the seed of its consciousness, the Haree, gets planted within and we are able to access the Satinaam, the truth of the vibration of God's Name which calls forth the truth of the soul.
This mantra allows us to live in our abundance, our truth, and joy.
As I explained in the concert, when we chant these sacred words there is a deep transformation happening and we are accessing our inner truth. However, we may not feel it right away on a mental level because it is a very deep kind of communication - from cell to cell. The cells in our big toe are getting the communication in the same frequency as the cells in the brain. Wherever the receptivity is greatest for the vibration of the mantra to transfer, that is where the energy goes. Perhaps the cells in the big toe get the transfer and start vibrating truth first. We keep chanting and eventually other cells get it until our whole being is vibrating the inner truth of the soul. Eventually our thoughts, our words, and finally our actions reflect this truth. That is why a daily chanting practice is so key in all of this.
Yet, we can have all the daily practices that we can dream of- hours and hours of chanting and still be overwhelmed. In order for mantra to truly work for us, we have to make a choice to actively engage with the mantra and allow it to truly resonate. As environmental and peace activists, if you wish to identify yourself in that way, we have to actively engage with our part, no matter how small it may feel or even be. That moment in the airport, looking at that man’s tennis shoes, was my wake up moment to engage and a new English mantra was born for me.
I like this country and it's worth fighting for.
We have mantras from the masters, saints and sages of our times that are ancient combinations of sounds to shift our consciousness. And we also have the repetition of our own words that create consciousness. We can understand through the technology of mantra how changing our base frequency communication can shift us inside and the energy of our environments.
Yes, it’s true. In Europe, there is much more awareness about the environment, better health care, more organization on so many levels and the list goes on. But as my grandfather said, who was active in the American peace movement after World War II,
"Now it’s your turn, we did our part."
So I say to you now, with a deep prayer in my heart, it is our turn. Each of us.
It is a matter of belief. Not religious. Just pure and simple inner belief, hope and trust. I am starting small; with my neighbors, my friends, with my power to vote and all the little things that will add up.
I believe we can live for freedom. I believe we can protect our environment. I believe we can be a loving community although diverse in nature. I believe we can be a force of peace on this planet. And yes, while I may be just one voice living in southern New Hampshire, like a tiny cell in a big toe, I am Naraayan. We each are Naraayan, a beautiful vibration of God's Name, living in our truth.
Snatam Kaur is an American singer, peace activist and author raised in the Sikh and Kundalini Yoga tradition. She grew up in the presence of her spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan, learning the essence of Naad Yoga, a form of yoga focusing on sacred sound. At the core of this practice is an essential experience of peace and healing which helps her music be accessible to all people. Her book Original Light is a compassionate and supportive guide to creating a daily spiritual practice. To find out more about her book and online course visit snatamkaur.com.