The Mystery of Meditation; the Power of an Altar

Sometimes meditation practice grants us mysterious rewards.

Almost 40 days ago on June 21 at the 2015 summer solstice celebration in New Mexico, I committed to practicing two 31 minute meditations for 1000 days, as part of the Kundalini Yoga Level 3 teacher training requirements. I have been travelling and teaching in Spain and Belgium since then, and have been blessed to be able to keep up with these daily meditations.

Today I returned home from Belgium after a long day of travel. I have a little room I often meditate in. It needed a good cleaning and some re-organizing. I removed the clutter from the shelf that I use as an altar, wiped it down with a damp cloth and set upon it a picture of Baba Siri Chand, a small calligraphic ink painting by Thich Nhat Hanh that says “Flow as a River” and a large crystal. I cleaned every part of the room, swept the floor and put everything in its place.

Buddhist Monks and Sand Mandala, Santa Fe, 2015
Buddhist Monks and Sand Mandala, Santa Fe, June 2015

About an hour earlier as I was cleaning, I had emailed my photographer husband, Har-Prakash, a photo taken on my phone in June in a small Buddhist Centre in Santa Fé, New Mexico, and asked him if he could make a print of it for my altar. My daughter, Gurushabd, and I had gone to the Buddhist Centre to watch monks create a Tibetan coloured sand mandala as part of a tour to raise funds for educating young monks. It was a beautiful experience seeing them carefully blow millions of grains of coloured sand to form an intricate design. Afterwards, we wandered around the room looking at the books, incense, souvenirs and other items for sale.

In a corner of the Buddhist Centre, I noticed a small collage against a painted wooden backdrop. Someone had assembled photos of my teacher, Yogi Bhajan, taken not long before his passing, beaming with Buddhist monks on either side of him. The monks were holding a photograph of the Dalai Lama behind Yogi Bhajan, and one photo included a painting of Guru Ram Das. The collage had clearly been assembled with love and a playful spirit. We left a donation before departing.

Yogi Bhajan & Tibetan Monks, 2004 collage found 2015 in Santa Fe Buddhist Center)
Yogi Bhajan & Tibetan Monks, 2004, found collage, June 2015 in Santa Fe Buddhist Center

After telling my husband the story of the photo, I went into my little room to meditate, and closed the door. The last time I had meditated in this room, I had been practicing a 90 day meditation. A dear friend had given me some superb raw chocolate chunks and, rather than eat them all at once, I had decided to shave the chocolate into 90 small pieces, with one to be eaten as a reward after each day of meditation. (Good plan, but I ate the chocolate before the 90 days were up).

This evening, the meditation was difficult. I was overtired. It was hard to concentrate. Nevertheless, I made it through. About 5 minutes before the meditation was over, I heard a little sound beside me. When I opened my eyes, something was on the floor to the right of my mat. I picked it up and to my delight realized that it was a foil covered chocolate kiss. It had appeared mysteriously – no one had opened the door, it had not been on the shelf or the floor previously. It smelled of strong incense. Without thinking, I carefully peeled the silver paper off, and popped it in my mouth. It tasted like incense. I can still taste the incense now, a few hours later. I noticed a little paper inside the wrapping with fine print. I delicately straightened the paper, and took out my glasses to read it. It said KISSES, KISSES.



For upcoming Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training courses, as well as Beyond Addiction and Healthy Breast workshops with Sat Dharam Kaur, see events..


One response to “The Mystery of Meditation; the Power of an Altar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *