Narayan “Cy” Sevak, formerly known as, is a Kundalina Yoga teacher at Divinitree Santa Barbara. A former D1 NCAA wrestler, rock climber, and motorcycle racer, Narayan went through a spiritual transformation when he found Kundalini Yoga through the 3HO organization. Kundalini is a harsher, extreme version of yoga practiced by the warrior Sikhs and brought to the United States by Yogi Bhajan in 1968. The practice of Kundalini yoga focuses on rising energy from the body’s lower centers to the body’s higher centers through mantras chanting, breathing techniques, and performing challenging exercises called kriyas.
Jimmy: What is spirituality to you? Why is it important for the modern individual to be practice spirituality?
Narayan: In one spectrum, spirituality is knowing who you are and honoring it. Now more than ever, we are swayed by public opinion through social media and all these ideologies. For example, like veganism or vegetarianism. If you eat meat you are bad, you are a killer. There are so many sources and forces telling us how to be and how to live more than ever because of the advent of the Internet and social media: Instagram, Snapchat, and so on. So the most spiritual thing we can do is discover our own truth. We find our truths through yoga and sitting still. That is part of us knowing our gifts and knowing ourselves. Our own Saatnam (Literal Translation: Truth Name) and then live that. That is spirituality.
I also look at spirituality also under the lens of consciousness and when I think of that, I think of a Google map. You hit my current location and it pings you right within a 20-foot radius of “you are here”. Then you hit zoom out. Then you hit zoom out again. All of that is just consciousness. We zoom out and realize how unimportant our problems are in the whole scheme of things. You are removing the focus on yourself. You gain perspective and recognize that we are infinitely small.
So spirituality is a balance of those two things. Not living for the self but recognizing the self enough to find your gifts, to live your truth, and to share those gifts but not be self absorbed. It’s like yoga. This part of the body is going one direction and this part is going to the other direction. That is spirituality. It is a balance between consciousness, not hurting others, recognizing that you are incontestably small but that you’re the most important thing there is to yourself so you better know yourself, treat yourself right, and share those gifts to the world.
Jimmy: How is it different from religion?
Narayan: Religion is dogma. Really caught up in ritual. In the Sikh tradition, which really resonates with me profoundly says that all these rituals, such as fasting, are all fruitless if the heart is not in it. I think that is what happens with a lot of religion. It’s that people put on a badge. I’m this or I’m that. Alot of people follow a ritual without their heart actually being connected to it. So spirituality is key. In the Sikh practice, they believe that there is one God, “Ek Uh Kar”. That means one God. They invite all Muslims, all Christians, all Hindus, all Buddhists, and anyone and everyone to come and worship with them. It is profound. So evolved. It is probably the youngest religion in the world. Sikhism is what Yogi Bhajan, the founder of Kundalini, is. We are using the language of the Sikhs, Gurmukhi, when we are chanting.
Jimmy: What is your concept of God?
Narayan: I don’t know. I really don’t know what God is. I honestly have communicated directly with God. I know there is an ultimate intelligence –or rather a consciousness, that’s a better word. There is an infinite consciousness out there that exists without a singleness of doubt in my mind.
God is an infinite consciousness that is both the director and the actor of this big cosmic play. We are creators as well. Creation and creator are one. We are also feeding into that collective consciousness that is infinite. Is there a directive given from that infinite consciousness? A purpose for each of us? If so, we also upload to that as creators. So it is a flux. It is always changing. The truth is God. The truth is that we are God. That creation and creator are one.
Did different individuals throughout time embody that consciousness? Absolutely. That is the name we give to Messiahs. Jesus Christ was a messiah. The Buddha. These are individuals whom have shared that consciousness. Personally, I find my greatest connection with what I understand and feel God to be when I am in nature, where there is moving water or birds, I feel in complete harmony with creation. When I am within the natural world. It goes along with the Sikh idea that creator and creation are one. Eh Em Kar.
Jimmy: This is quite different from the western Judeo-Christian concept of creator and creation being separate, is it not?
Narayan: We are creation right? So we are God as well. We know that we are creators of our own reality. How we think. The vibrations of our thought patterns create the world that we live in. Since you brought up Judeo Christianity, I think a lot of people miss the point: hell and heaven are here on earth. It depends on how you’re living. You are going to find that here.