Mary Desmond | Staff Writer
Subagh Singh Khalsa has looked a whale in the eye and lived.
While kayaking off the southern tier of Mexico, Khalsa spotted a whale blowing a mile in the distance. After determining the direction of the whale’s travel, he paddled his boat to intercept the creature. When the whale was a mere 20 feet away from Khalsa’s vessel, it surfaced, blew and then dove 10 feet below his boat.
“We maintained eye contact until the moment it dove,” Khalsa said.
Some of the most powerful and profound moments in Khalsa’s life have taken place while he’s been immersed in water.
“In winter, I swim, dive, and kayak off Mexico’s Pacific coast and have had many close encounters with sea turtles, whales, rays and countless fish,” Khalsa said.
Khalsa is the co-director of the Mystic Heart Program and has been practicing Sikh Dharma and Kundalini yoga for approximately 40 years. He will lead the Mystic Heart meditation sessions and seminars during Week Four.
The Mystic Heart Program was started 12 years ago. It shares meditation techniques derived from different wisdom and religious traditions. The traditions include various religions, Buddha Dharma, Sikh Dharma and Yoga.
This week, Khalsa will draw on his experiences in water, as he reflects the Week Four themes, “Water Matters” and “Water: Life Source/Life Force,” in his morning meditation sessions and semi-weekly afternoon seminars.
“The idea is simple: Life is constantly washing over us like the currents in a river or tides and surf in the sea,” he said. “If we fight those forces, or if we fight against what life presents, we can drown, literally or figuratively.
“When we are able to let the currents carry us, when we don’t try to fight the tides, we can relax, enjoy the ride and take only the most helpful actions.”
During the weekly morning meditation sessions at the Main Gate Welcome Center, Khalsa will lead participants in the Sikh Dharma tradition of meditation. Though some techniques and traditions practiced and taught in the Mystic Heart Program are rooted in various world religions, all meditation sessions are facilitated in a way that makes them open and accessible to anyone of any faith, Khalsa said.
Every morning meditation experience is different, he said. Meditation techniques can be silent or include chanting mantras.
“Every moment and every class is, inevitably, different. In these sessions, I will be looking specifically at how we can use meditation to process emotions,” Khalsa said. “One of greatest lessons we can learn is that our emotions, positive as well as negative, don’t have to rule our lives. Fear, desire and all their variants can be experienced fully and healed as necessary without our being controlled by them. Meditation gives us the ability to know life fully while remaining peaceful.”
Mystic Heart’s morning meditation takes place from 7:15–8 a.m. Monday through Friday in the Main Gate Welcome Center Conference Room. The meditation seminar takes place from 12:30–1:55 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Hall of Missions.
Gate passes are required to attend the morning meditation session. All sessions are welcome to people of any spiritual or religious belief.