Matt Burkhartt | Staff Photographer
Subagh Singh Khalsa leads a group in meditation at the Mystic Heart seminar July 17 at the Hall of Missions.
Meditative aspects can be found in all religions, Subagh Singh Khalsa said, and the Mystic Heart Program allows him and other meditation teachers to point out those aspects to Chautauquans of all faiths and traditions.
“We look for what’s most universal in the tradition,” Subagh said. “We look for what’s most accessible to the most number of people. I teach from my tradition, but Christians, Jews, Hindus and Muslims show up to the class [as well as] people with no religion at all. … It’s not like I’m teaching Sikhism or someone else is teaching Buddhism, but what’s derived from that is relevant to we Americans.”
Subagh founded the Mystic Heart Program with the Department of Religion as a way to educate and expose Chautauquans to a variety of world traditions. He will teach this week’s classes from his traditions of Sikh Dharma and Kundalini yoga.
He will focus on the mental and physical healing capabilities of yoga in his afternoon seminars Tuesday and Thursday, “Meditation as Healing.”
The trick is to become aware of the entire body and every emotion, Subagh said. It’s a process of identifying each element and coming to terms with the way each one feels.
“It’s to recognize all the sensations in my body — whether it be my fingertip or my tongue or my aching knee. Or maybe the sensation has to do with some resentment or some greed on my part,” he said. “Whatever those experiences are, whether they be purely physical or emotional and physical, there’s some way that it feels in the body.”
Subagh said the healing occurs when a person is equally aware of all parts of his or her body at the same time.
“I’m just allowing those sensations to be part of a gazillion sensations that are in my body at that moment,” he said. “The insignificant ones and the ones that have no name, the little flutters and tingles and the sensations between those tiny sensations — there’s a sort of oceanic awareness of all of it. And the ones that I don’t want and the ones that I crave, they sort of begin to dissolve in that stew. So there’s a homogeneity that develops unconsciously, and that, it turns out, is extremely healing.”
Meditation isn’t to be confused with medical treatment, though. Subagh said physical pains lessen because the person isn’t focusing all of his or her attention on a problem area. Instead, the problem blends in with all of the other aspects of the body and mind.
“Healing, of course, is different from curing,” he said. “It is about being at peace or being whole, regardless of our conditions. There is always more healing to do, more perfect peace to find, more love to share.”
This internal healing can become so powerful it can affect others, Subagh said. By taking care of themselves, a person can become a healing presence in the world. Subagh said he will “give people the experience of coming to a kind of peace within one’s self that actually touches the person they’re with.”
The Mystic Heart Program holds daily, guided meditation sessions from 7:15 to 8 a.m. Monday to Friday in the conference room of the Main Gate Welcome Center. Meditation seminars, which include more in-depth instruction and discussion, are held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 to 1:55 p.m. in the Hall of Missions. Silent meditation is held Thursday from 7:15 to 7:45 p.m. in the Welcome Center.
People of any religion or spiritual belief can attend the sessions, and can attend any day of the week, regardless of previous or no experience with meditation practices. Gate passes are required to attend the morning meditations.