by SS Dev Suroop Kaur Khalsa, Espanola NM
Throughout 2010, a common reflection for me has been the concept of Sahej. With all the considerable challenges and ups and downs of the year, I’ve often wondered what this state of “peaceful acceptance” really means in my life. When do I experience ease and elegance? When do I not? And when I don’t, why not?
A key point in this discovery process occurred in March while teaching at a Level 1 Kundalini Yoga teacher training in Ottawa, Canada. One of the topics I was asked to present was the five stages of spiritual development, Karam Pad, Saram Pad, Shakti Pad, Sahej Pad, and Sat Pad.
In prepping for the course, I anticipated that the tough stage for the students to grapple with would be Shakti Pad, the test of ego and power. However, when we began to discuss the transition from Shakti Pad to Sahej Pad, the personal challenges of the students really came forth. In the teachings, it is said that moving from Shakti Pad to Sahej Pad is a leap of faith or a moment of surrender and letting go.
I was fascinated that this concept of “surrender” struck a deep chord in the students and came forth as a key challenge. They wanted to know, in a very real and practical way, how to surrender, how to bow, how to relax and let go, and ultimately, how to get to that place of bliss, “Sahej,” we keep hearing about. The course took a new turn at that moment as we explored the concept of surrender and what “Sahej” really means to each of us.
Around this time, I had begun recording the album that became “Sahej: Peaceful Acceptance.” I had decided to produce an album of classical raag kirtan, the most difficult style of music that I play. Despite the complexity of this style, when I play it, there is really nothing better for me.
It is truly a “Sahej” experience to collaborate with fellow musicians I love and trust, work up a shabad in a specific raag (scale) and taal (rhythm), play it together live in Gurdwara, and lose ourselves in the infinity of it all. That experience is true bliss.
The actual process of creating the album was a huge challenge and stretch, and simultaneously a deep meditation in sahej. Among other things, it was my first self-produced album.
I had to figure out how to direct western classical musicians to play eastern classical music, and I was at times hugely insecure about the process and the end product. Yet the album was named “Sahej.” The apparent irony was not lost on me.
The process of creation was a constant exercise in surrender requiring me to keep up no matter what, to trust my inner voice when at times that voice didn’t make sense, and to step out of the way and let the album come forth in its own unique identity.
In the end, we produced a gorgeous album. Very simple, clean, and deep. It has been received with grace and huge open arms and has resonated with people far more deeply than I ever imagined. While the end product is truly Sahej, the process of getting there involved countless leaps of faith and moments of surrender.
A Process of Discovery
I have often thought, and, quite frankly, hoped with vigor, that Sahej would become a constant state of being. I imagined that, at some point along the way, a switch would flip and I would be permanently “over there” watching the world from a flowing, peaceful place.
At this point in my life, the reflection on the state of Sahej continues to be a process of discovery, marked by moments of bliss and ease and coupled with the challenges inherent in a very human life. While moving through the ups and downs of living, I can clearly see Sahej as a texture in the process of surrender.
I experience Sahej in those times I can recognize the calm and steady heartbeat underneath all of the chatter. I witness Sahej in those blessed moments when I am able to accept things the way they are rather than trying to make them something else.
About the Author
SS Dev Suroop Kaur is an ordained Minister of Sikh Dharma, an accomplished musician and recording artist, and Professional Level Trainer in the KRI Aquarian Trainer Academy. She studied directly with the Siri Singh Sahib (Yogi Bhajan) for most of her adult life, and gratefully shares what she has learned. She trains students and teachers of Kundalini Yoga in the science of Naad Yoga (sacred sound current), conscious communication, and how to access the beauty and power of their personal voice. She lives with her husband in Espanola, New Mexico, is certified as a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance and holds a Masters of Business Administration from the Claremont Graduate University.