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Tapping into Calm

By Shakti Parwha Kaur

When I was a little girl back in Minnesota in the early thirties, appliances were built to last. I don't remember my mother ever buying a new toaster or a new iron. But periodically she would show us a frayed electric cord with the fabric wrapped around the cord worn so thin that the copper wires inside were exposed.

She'd say it was time to get a new cord, because a frayed cord was dangerous. She explained that without insulation, bare wires could cause a short, blow a fuse or even start a fire! I can still picture those frayed cords, with their frazzled ends and the bare wires exposed.

When I think about the nerves in our bodies, I see a network of 72,000 “wires" intertwining and connecting, carrying messages back and forth to the brain and throughout the nervous system.

No matter how good our intentions, if our nerves are weak, frayed and frazzled, we can, and often do, blow a fuse. However, when our nerves are strong and well insulated, they give us physical and emotional endurance. Strong nerves make it possible for us to have patience. Otherwise, when our nerves are weak, we can fly off the handle at the slightest provocation.

Every day brings some stressful situation, some test, big or small, which we have to face, to solve, to overcome. That's life, folks! Life is a school, and Earth is a giant classroom and the tests are going to continue until we graduate. The outer events that occur, the daily challenges at home, in the office, the supermarket, on the freeway, are all tests. They are exercises in learning to master our minds and emotions so that we are not uptight and upset.

Learning how to be patient, calm, compassionate, and kind, no matter what happens around us, or to us, is not only a practical accomplishment. It's a yogic skill!

We may not be able to change the circumstances happening around us, but we can learn to control the way we respond. And I don't mean by squelching or stifling our reactions or denying our emotions. Developing a strong meditative mind through Kundalini Yoga is a major step toward developing our own indomitable inner strength and serenity with the ability to call upon it whenever we need it.

Through meditation, mantra, and pranayam, we can tap into the absolutely calm and tranquil inner peace and stability that already exists inside us. With strong nerves and a balanced glandular system, we won't just "react" to situations. We will be in such a stable and secure mental and emotional condition that whatever and whenever challenging events occur, we will be competent to evaluate our response and decide how we want to handle them.

As aware yogis, we can stop being reactive robots, and become calm and capable human beings, masters of our emotions and minds. Strong nerves play a big part in helping us to achieve all of the above.

Excerpt from Kundalini Yoga: Flow of Eternal Power

Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa was Yogi Bhajan’s first student in the United States. He gave her the title of Divine Mother of 3HO. She has been teaching Kundalini Yoga since 1969. She is the author of Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power; Kundalini Postures and Poetry; and Marriage on the Spiritual Path: Mastering the Highest Yoga. She is a frequent movie-goer in the City of Angels.