Daily Devotion & Commotion – Sept 2018

In January of this year I discovered and started to work with a very lovely Kundalini Yoga teacher and after our first session together she gave me some suggestions of mediations I could incorporate in my daily practice. I felt the need to regain some balance in my life after a difficult time that had seen the return of some fairly debilitating anxiety. My daily practice needed a complete re-boot and the mediation I selected is said to be one of the most important in the Kundalini Yoga tradition, as it helps to balance the energy in the body and bring mental calm, as well as being a powerful spiritual cleanser and helpful for breaking habits. The meditation did come with a warning that ‘you may go through a lot as you will be releasing a lot’. That sentence in itself brought up some fairly big resistance as I felt like I’d been through enough already but there was clearly some ‘stuff’ embedded in my psyche that needed to go and as I’d found myself in the grip of some very old habits that had contributed to the anxiety I decided that I had nothing to lose! The meditation is called Kirtan Kriya and you choose whether you practice it for 11 or 31 minutes every day. The meditation includes a mantra which you chant aloud, in a whisper and silently for a set number of minutes within the overall time and you do this whilst using different mudras (hand positions). So I set my intention to practice the meditation for 11 minutes a day for 40 days straight, which is said to ‘break any negative habits that block you from the expansion possible through the kriya or mantra’.
Having started well and not missed a day for the first week or so I then fell at the first hurdle by missing a couple of days, this in itself brought up one of my longstanding habits of feeling like a failure, thinking that I must be fundamentally flawed with a lack of willpower because I hadn’t stuck to it, blah, blah, blah. So I switched away from that boring repetitive channel in my mind and started again, this time getting a few weeks in before even realising I had been doing it for a few weeks. Between day 1 and 40 I experienced some vivid and slightly strange dreams, had some days when odd/old thoughts came to the surface, these being the points in the process when the monster that is resistance reared its very large ugly head. There were several days when I genuinely did run out of time to fit the meditation into my daily morning practice, leading to a few occasions of being reminded that it wasn’t time to fall asleep at night just yet, promptly followed by a leap out of bed and sitting on the floor to complete that day’s meditation.
When I reached the 40th day I didn’t feel ready to stop so decided to carry on to 90 days. Practising for 90 consecutive days is said to ‘establish a new habit in your conscious and subconscious minds based on the effect of the kriya or mantra. It will change you in a very deep way’. This was alluring and challenging in equal measure! I can’t remember at which point in the process I realised that I was no longer ‘needing’ to drink coffee every day, this certainly wasn’t a habit I had intended to break but was no bad thing. After day 90 I stopped counting and decided to just continue until it felt right to stop. 200 days after I started marked the end of my relationship with Kirtan Kriya, it felt like it had worked its magic, my perspective, as well as the anxiety, had shifted and I felt mentally stronger than I had in a while. It really did help to shift some very old garbage from my subconscious mind, I know this not only because of the random thoughts and weird dreams but because I had many insights into how and why I had developed many of my habits over the years, much of which was to do with dealing with an underlying feeling of anxiety and fear that I could find no explanation for. Some of the beliefs that felt so ingrained as ‘mine’ were actually those that I had taken on from others as my own. I felt I knew myself pretty well before this undertaking but the challenge helped to peel away a few more layers to reveal a bit more of me that I hadn’t seen before.
I was also practising physical kriyas and breathing techniques alongside Kirtan Kriya so I cannot attribute everything I experienced to it but it was a certainly a huge contributory factor to some re-wiring of my brain!
I would be so interested to hear from anyone else that has used this or any other meditation for a sustained period of time so please share your experiences!