Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Word (Part 1)

This is a long chapter so I am breaking it into parts for my blog. Please make sure you finish all the parts so your mind can be totally blown. Part 2, Part 3

The Word

I have given them the words thou gavest me.––John 17:8

One of my early and fondest childhood memories is of sitting on my grandparents’ front steps on Anacapa Avenue in old Ventura, California, with a yellow legal pad on my lap and the dictionary at my side. My mother had written a list of evenly spaced words on the lines down the pad. When I found each new word in the worn blue dictionary, I would carefully copy the definition onto the yellow paper.
This activity was as much fun for me as it was for my two younger brothers to crawl around the front lawn acting like rhinos and fighting with swords made of sticks. I loved words as much as my grandmother loved food. We lived next door to my grandparents, but my brothers and I roamed back and forth as if there were only one house.
An exotic fruit had recently appeared at one of our houses, and no one was sure what to do with it. But the fruit’s strange shape and mysterious pit could not dissuade my grandmother. She would eventually learn every nuance of the mango.
Mango. I felt the word hover around my lips like a kiss. Then I tried the new and consonant-rich word choreographer. But what could compare to the beguiling beauty of words like melancholy and nonchalant.
My grandmother was probably at that very moment standing over the sink with her sleeves rolled up, letting the mango juice drip down her arms as she “just went for it.” If my grandmother were to write a definition for mango, it would read, “kind of like a peach, but tropical.”
For the next several years my mother, who was busy with three younger children, used the dictionary as free babysitting as often as she could get away with it. I never got suspicious.
For the next twenty years, I spent every opportunity I could learning about and playing with words. I didn’t know what drove this desire or the pleasure it brought me. Perhaps it was the same force that moved my grandmother to nourish. Perhaps Mozart also did not understand his compulsion to compose music. I believe some things are preassigned.
After about 10,000 hours of practice, I had established myself as a writer, and then my path turned unexpectedly toward healer and then teacher, in which I was again using words and stories. As I healed myself and others, I began to understand the true meaning of the Word.
Much can be said about the power of words, but if we are to get right to the heart of the matter, we should start at the beginning with the famous line of scripture from the Gospel of St. John, which is actually a quote from the Vedas[1]: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
Though Christian church doctrine for centuries has interpreted the Word to be a reference to Jesus himself, Paramahansa Yogananda comments, “That was not the understanding originally intended by Saint John in this passage. . . . The term Merma (word) is used to describe God’s activity in the world.”[2]
The prophet Joseph Smith’s inspired translation of this passage in John gives even more clarity: “In the beginning was the Gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God and the Son was of God (Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:1, italics added).
While many great teachers and prophets continue to refer to Jesus as the Word, it is important to understand the distinction noted above. Jesus was powerful because the Word, or gospel, was with Him. And He was with God and of God. Through this power He created all things: “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made which was made” (Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:3).
Everything in our known universe was created with the power of divinely spoken words: “God said, let there be light and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). As sons and daughters of God, our true nature is divine; thus, our words have immense power. That is why mantras are not only powerful but essential. 
When a man works by faith he works by mental exertion instead of physical force. It is by words, instead of exerting his physical powers, with which every being works when he works by faith. God said, ‘Let there be light: and there was light.’ . . . And the Saviour says: “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, say to this mountain, ‘Remove,’ and it will remove; or say to that sycamore tree, ‘Be ye plucked up, and planted in the midst of the sea,’ and it shall obey you.” Faith, then, works by words; and with these its mightiest works have been, and will be, performed.––Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, Lecture 7 (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2009), Kindle edition.

The word mantra has two parts: man, which means “mind,” and tra, which means “tune the vibration.” Therefore, a mantra is a tool that tunes the vibration of the mind. All sound is, of course, vibration. Our ears, if they are working well, create sound with this vibration, but even when a tree falls in the woods where there are no ears to hear, there is still vibration. Everything has a vibratory frequency. Every object, particle, thought form, and word on this page has its own vibration. All of these vibrations travel through us, and even in the vacuum of space, there are vibrations that our ears would hear as sound.
High-vibration, sacred sound currents affect not only the mind but the whole body. The yogis of old knew that when you repeat the patterns of sound and thought, which make up these sacred shabds (sounds/mantras), those sounds counter the direction and intensity of the habitual thoughts based in ego. The shabd provokes a release of the stored subconscious patterns of thinking and feeling. If a person flooded with these feelings and thoughts persists in repeating the shabd, then the new pattern will establish itself. “Your mind clears and you awaken dormant inner capacities or enhance existing ones.”[3] Author M. Catherine Thomas says, “Man is designed to reach for and grasp and fill himself deliberately with Truth and Light and thus to be quickened with the same energies as the Gods in their Heaven. For this purpose the energetic Word of God is provided, it having a quickening or vibratory effect on the human mind as it causes the mind to expand.”[4]
The Word also has a profound effect on the neurological and endocrine systems as well as other systems in the body. The words we vibrate with our voices have direct, powerful effects on the brain. When mantras are chanted out loud, the tongue strikes the upper palate. This process vibrates the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, which are located near the roof of the mouth. When the right frequency vibrates these glands, a kind of magic occurs: The vibration causes the pituitary gland to secrete and the pineal gland to radiate, which can cause a person to feel bliss, happiness, joy, and even rebirth.
It should not be surprising that in order to experience Infinity, the actual chemistry of the brain must change, just as Moses and other prophets had to be changed, or transfigured, before they came into God’s presence. Having an experience of God, therefore, has both spiritual and physiological components. Chanting-expert Dr. Robert Gass says, “Sound is a remarkable bridge between the two worlds, a bridge between spirit and matter.”[5] Indeed, it was God’s word that brought spirit and matter together: “And I, God, said: Let there be light; and there was light . . . and this I did by the word of my power, and it was done as I spake” (Moses 2:3, 5).
All of our physiology is affected by sound. In order to have the greatest impact on our minds and bodies, we must attempt to resonate in harmony with the highest and best frequency of all, and that is God’s. John A Widtsoe, in his book Joseph Smith as Scientist, said, “Can anyone refuse to believe that man, highly organized as he is can ‘tune’ himself to be in harmony with the forces of the universe?”[6] We attune ourselves with God through mantras.
M. Catherine Thomas writes, “Everything in the Cosmos is playing music based on its particular configuration and vibration. The spheres are full of music. The elements of our physical world play the music given them by their Creator, but . . . we shall see that Man can choose to a degree the energy by which he will vibrate and the music that he will play.”[7]
As implied, not all languages vibrate equally. English, the language of this book, is a lower-vibrating language. The ancients had a pure language, which God has promised to return to His people someday.[8] But until we rejoice together at that day, to make the greatest impact on our minds we use mantras in any of several ancient languages that are based on the Science of Naad. Naad means communication. Here is an explanation of the Science of Naad:

The most profound changes take place in our consciousnesses on a deeper level. . . .[9] “Naad means harmony, a process of harmony through which the ‘Aad,’ the infinity can be experienced. Naad is the basic sound current for all languages through all times. The sound comes from one common source called the sound current. It is the universal code behind language and therefore behind communication.”[10]

Though there a few English mantras that work well, English is a symbolic language, which means that if you say the word “love,” you have to know what love means. Whereas, in Gurmukhi, the language of most Kundalini mantras, if you say the word which translates as “love,” you feel love. The patterns of the sacred Sound Current, existed from before the beginning of creation. The patterns are simple, primal sounds that are the tides and rhythms of the creative pulse of the universe. (See more on page xx about the gong.)
Shabd means “sound” as well as “to cut off the ego.” Guru means “teacher” or literally “that which brings light to the darkness.” So the Shabd Guru[11] consists of sounds that teach, and bring light to the darkness. When we chant mantras from the Shabd Guru, which are believe to be in Naad, we shut off the ego so that we can be humble and resonate in harmony with the ultimate Word or vibration, which is with Christ, who is with and of God.[12]
Yogi Bhajan compared the technology of mantra to a phone number: “Mantra is your heart-line telephone. You are dialing in and you are reaching God.”[13] In the ancient temples of God, similar technology was used to come into His presence. This technology is still used in sacred ordinances. The scriptures also reference this technology: In Facsimile 2 from the papyrus scroll that is now known as the Book of Abraham, Figure 7 is explained as “God sitting on his throne, revealing through the heavens the grand Key-words of the priesthood” (emphasis added). These key words are sacred and powerful uses of the technology of the Word.
As you study the list of top mantras and their translations on page xx, you may notice several characteristics they share. Good mantras combine the Infinite and the finite (God and Me, Me and God are one), and all mantras are some form of praising God.
While the Christian canon may not use the word mantra, there are hundreds of scriptures that advise God’s people to praise Him or His name. Here are just a few examples:

  • Psalm 47:6: “Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises.”
  • Doctrine and Covenants 136:28: “If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.”
  • Alma 26:8: “Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever.”

There are just as many hundreds of scriptures wherein the ancient writers do just this, they praise God in mantra, repeated over and over again. The first of these scriptural mantras I discovered is in Revelation 4:8. St. John the Divine sees four interesting “beasts” before the throne of God that “rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”
Though this verse does not use the word chant, the beasts repeat the phrase day and night. That is what one does with mantras. Mantras are something that we repeat and repeat. Not just once in a while, but all the time. The yogis call this jap. Jap means meditate, but it implies repetition. We repeat until the mantra becomes part of us and we become part of it. This is the same idea as the word remember. Remember is the most commonly used imperative in the scriptures (used 405 times in the LDS canon).[14] Remembering is one of the things we covenant to do each time we take the sacrament. Here are some great examples of jap from the scriptures:
  • Ether 6:9: “And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord” (emphasis added).

  • Alma 26:14: “Yea, we have reason to praise him forever.”

  • Alma 26:16: “Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel” (emphasis added).

  • 1 Nephi 18:16: “Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions.” (Nephi is tied to the mast of ship and his brothers are planning to kill him, yet he praises God.)

  • 2 Chronicles 20:21: “And when [Jehoshaphat] had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.” (The people of Judah do not have to fight. All they do is sing this mantra, and the opposing armies kill each other until there are no enemies left.)

The likely reason for the prolific use of remember is that God knew mortality would be full of distractions. He knew, and the prophets knew, that the Word had great power to deliver God’s children and keep them from sleepwalking through life. The Book of Mormon prophet Alma the Younger asks his people several times if they have sufficiently remembered God’s mercy toward their ancestors: “Behold he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of everlasting word” (Alma 5:7).
I love how Alma uses light to describe sound. For any who have the perception that light is more powerful than sound, or that they are different, that scripture should settle the issue. Everything proceeds from the Word, and the Word has great awakening and enlightening power.

Krista’s Immediate Response to the Sound Current

In my experience teaching this sacred science, I have witnessed many people have immediate reactions to the Sound Current. Not long ago, on the eleventh day of the New Moon, I held a meditation gathering for friends. We needed at least eleven people in order to do a special meditation. We were short a few people and prayed that people would somehow show up. One of the participants went outside to look for a lost guest and while outside saw a passerby, whom the guest invited to come in and meditate. That is how 21-year-old Krista joined us. We were thrilled to have her. She was wearing a t-shirt with a black spider painted on it, and her hair was untamed and wild. She looked like a nice girl, but I could see that she struggled with awkwardness probably other issues.
After some brief instruction, we chanted the tune-in mantra three times, followed by the protection mantra. After we tuned in, quiet Krista blurted out, “This is totally taking away my anxiety.”
She seemed surprised. I agree that on the surface, chanting mantras in an unknown language with a group of strangers would normally seem like a great recipe for anxiety. Yet in just a few minutes, she felt it all flow out of her. I let her know that her feeling of calm was a normal side effect of the Sound Current and that with regular practice, she could enjoy every day without anxiety.

Kimberly’s Immediate Response the the Sound Current
A few days after the experience with Krista, I received an e-mail from Kimberly. Kimberly had some experience with yoga and meditation but never with Kundalini Yoga. Kimberly had suffered from depression and anxiety her entire life and sought many techniques to heal from her trauma and abuse. She had been praying fervently for months and attending the temple to petition God for a solution to her pain. She was almost to the point of giving up when she found one of my meditation videos on YouTube.
This meditation, which was for managing fears (youtube video here), requires that the mantra Chattra Chakkra Vartee be played in the background in order for the meditation to be effective. Kimberly completed the three-minute meditation with the video, and as she did, she felt her fears falling away from her. She wept. In her mind, she heard the words, This is your answer. She e-mailed me and asked me what on earth this experience was and how a mantra in a strange language could have such power. She wanted to learn everything she could. She started an intense training and daily sadhana practice the next day and within 40 days everyone was noticing the difference. She is still growing in light and is now teaching others this technology.

One Reader’s Response

Lani, whose amazing experience with the healing mantra Ra Ma Da Sa is on page XX, forwarded the following e-mail to me from a blog reader:

Thank you for the link to that mantra. I listened to it that day, and my toddler was singing it and kept saying “gain” (again) when it would end. I shared it with my husband that night, and he bought the whole album from the link you shared to iTunes. He listened to it on his two-hour drive home last weekend, and said it made him feel wonderful! Like some of the feelings he has had during the very most sacred times of his life—when he was in a coma, and likely had a near death experience (though he can't remember it), and also when our baby girl died. So, I really wanted to thank you. I have been looking for and praying for more spiritual experiences—more revelation, more inspiration, more visions and dreams. I'm hoping this might be a way to help me with that.

I receive e-mails like this every day, and I rejoice in God.

[1] Ancient Indian scriptures that Jesus likely studied in India.
[2] Paramahansa Yogananda, The Yoga of Jesus (Los Angeles, CA: Self-Realization Fellowship, 2007), 22.
[3] Yogi Bhajan, The Aquarian Teacher: KRI International Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training Level I Yoga Manual (Santa Cruz, NM: Kundalini Research Institute, 2007), 71.
[4] M. Catherine Thomas, Light in the Wilderness: Explorations in the Spiritual Life (Salt Lake City, UT: Digital Legend Press, 2010), 61.
[5] Dharma Singh Khalsa and Cameron Stouth, Meditation as Medicine: Activate the Power of Your Natural Healing Force (New York: Fireside, 2001), 112.
[6] John A.  Widtsoe, Joseph Smith as Scientist (Layton, UT: Eborn Books, 1990), 125.
[7] Thomas, Light in the Wilderness, 39.
[8] Zephaniah 3:9.
[9] Shakti Parwah Kaur Khalsa, Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power (New York, NY: Dorling Kindersley, 2001), 38.
[10] Quoted in Shakti Parwah’s Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power.  Original source: Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, excerpt from “Naad Yoga.”
[11] The Word and the Sound Current are all used interchangeably in this chapter. The Shabd Guru is a collection of writings compiled in a book that the Sikhs look to as their living Guru. It is believed to be in Naad.
[12] Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:1.
[13] Khalsa, Kundalini Yoga, 37.
[14] The LDS canon includes the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.

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