Gemma Bliss Shamrang Kaur

A few lessons I’ve learnt from 1000 days kirtan kriya

This morning I completed 1000 days kirtan kriya. I will do one more tomorrow for good measure, just to cover the Arabian Nights, and then it’s on to pastures new. Wow – two and a half years. I keep repeating that in my mind, just to impress myself a bit. But where I might have been wildly impressed at the thought of conquering a 1000-day practice at the start of this adventure, I am not that fussed now. There were no bells and whistles to accompany my swansong this morning. It was just sadhana as usual and sat nam and bow and on I go with my day. Pretty beautiful, really.

Looking back, this 1000 days kirtan kriya sadhana has been an astonishing ride. Immense lessons have been learned on so many levels – too many lessons to detail below, and many of them very personal and unlikely to be of help. But here are some of the general things I learnt.

1. Commit.

My commitment to a 1000 day meditation has been easy at times and difficult at others. There were days when I had to do my 31 minutes of kirtan kriya on a long-haul flight; days when I had to do it super-quietly with friends in the room because I had nowhere else to practice; days when I had jet lag and really didn’t want to get up and do it; days when I was so sick I could barely drink a cup of peppermint tea let alone do 31 minutes kirtan kriya! But I hooked onto my commitment and would not give it up for anything. I suspect that’s the kind of commitment required to approach every one of our projects in life!

2. Take it step by step.

I had a deep desire to complete a 1000 day meditation long before I actually started it, but the thought of 1000 days seemed completely overwhelming and out of reach. And so I carved the journey up into 120 day segments (those who’ve been following this blog may have noticed that!). Each 120 days was an achievement. And as they went by, my commitment grew and there was less effort and motivation required to keep the wheels turning. It just became something I did every morning, without question. And hey presto, here I am, 1000 days later.

3. Initiate yourself.

One of my favourite things about kundalini yoga is that it encourages us to step into our own power, to make the impossible possible for ourselves. I think there’s no way I can hold a camel pose for 11 minutes (NO WAY!)… until I do. I think there’s no way I can practice a single meditation for half an hour every day for two and a half years (NUH-UH!)… until I do. It’s a process of self-initiation. If we want to achieve something – especially when that achievement is working on ourselves – we must challenge ourselves. We must venture beyond our comfort zone. It’s a very personal thing – no one can do it for us. We need to self-initiate.

4. Choose a practice that is easy to commit to.

I love kirtan kriya – it’s simple and effective and that sense of space and expansion that blooms in the silence after every practice is pretty special. Choose a practice that is portable (ie. you can practice on an aeroplane seat if necessary) and that you like. Try it on for 40 days, and if that works, take it step by step, go deeper and deeper. You need to be in love with it initially, as that love will carry you through the inevitable shakti pad stage of ‘Meh, this is boring now’. You’ll know pretty early on if it can keep you engaged on some level until you reach the 1000 day milestone.

5. It’s about the ego. Until it’s not. (And then it still is.)

Over the past 1000 days, I have considered deeply the reasons I’ve been doing this 1000 day kirtan kriya. There were a few. One was to self-initiate (see above), to make the impossible possible. The second was to overcome shakti pad (I have since learned that shakti pad is not as cut and dried as this!). The third was because I simply wanted to do a 1000 day practice. I wanted to see what happened, whether it gave me something special, made me a stronger teacher, gave me omniscience (haha!). You will see from all of the above, there’s inevitably ego involved in a 1000 day practice. And if my ego got me to the end of a this journey, and, ironically, the sweet humility that comes with that, I’m ok with it.

6. We change over 1000 days.

This is my favourite one. I have noticed immense changes over this 1000 day kirtan kriya. Extraordinary changes in my psyche, in my awareness, in how my life has developed, in my long-term memory (this one in particular has been extraordinary!). I can see these most clearly when I look back over my previous kirtan kriya blog posts. No doubt many of these changes are organic – we inevitably change over the course of 33 months or so. But I feel that kirtan kriya is imprinted indelibly on my life path and has somehow set me up for the next phase.

Speaking of the next phase… what will be my next practice? This is something I’ve been getting quite excited about recently. I’ve been browsing lots of meditations and wondering which particular treasure to pick. Now I’m here, I think I will sit in silence with the breath for the next 40 days or so, just to let this one percolate a little longer.

Sat nam x

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