Ustad Nanak Dev Singh
Belief in the unexpected!I started my spiritual work this lifetime in 1969 as a hippie.
My first teacher was a Native American psychedelic shaman. Through the use of psychotropic herbs my teacher, I and the other members of our commune would explored consciousness. These early experiences triggered my spiritual quest. There was a beautiful mantra we use to use in the commune “Give it all away with Love, Get it all back with love”. This was about breaking attachments to Maya in the pressured spiritual life of our commune.
In 1972 I decided to try to get “high naturally”. It was a common belief that the states of consciousness we were experiencing with the help of psychotropic herbs could be reached with yoga and meditation. I began to experiment with Hatha Yoga but with not much success. The energy levels in Hatha Yoga were pretty low (actually boring but healthy) and the meditation were not so deep. But there was something there so I began to search. In a wonderful book by Baba Ram Das called Be Here Now, I found a reference to Kundalini Yoga which sounded like it was for me. So I put my backpack on and started to hitchhike across the planet looking for a teacher. I eventually found him in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
I would spend the next thirty two years studying Kundalini Yoga and White Tantric with Yogi Bhajan. He took my hippie spirituality and turbo charged it. I became a Sikh, married a Sikh had Sikh children and lived in Sikh communities. It was like living in a spiritual pressure cooker 24/7/ 365 for 30 years. Being a student of Yogi Bhajan was a path of blood, sweat and tears, it was the hardest thing I ever did. As a matter of fact it is all I did for the past thirty years. But just as he predicated all the pressure and heat turned this dirty old piece of coal into a nice little sparkling diamond, well Ok at least a crystal.
For the last ten years I have studied with my third major teacher Akali Nihang Nidhar Singh. He is the last of the Nihang warriors of India. He teaches a once secret martial art know as Shastar Vidiya. Very heavy stuff again and another teacher who demands a lot of blood, sweat and tears -literally!!!!
Christmas 2006 I held my grandson (his name is Kazuma Singh Tanno) for the first time and watched my daughter being a mother. Somehow a cycle has been completed and that feels good. I still am a hippie, a yogi, a warrior, a shaman, a dancer and a grandfather and somehow it all fits. What a Ride!
My favorite quote of all time:
"Tisn't life that matters! Tis the courage you bring to it.”
(Sir Hugh Seymour Walpole 1884-1941 as the opening sentence of his book 'Fortitude')