Your spiritual name is your designated destiny, your heavenly identity. That’s all it is. You may or may not live to it, but it is your guiding force. And it’s a prayer… It’s a prayer in the other man’s word. What is prayer? It is a calling. And you answer the calling. You get uplifted. It’s a plus. It’s a way of receiving people’s blessings. — Yogi Bhajan
Those of you who have spiritual names and those who are looking to find them will all have your own experiences, but I thought I’d share the story behind my spiritual name: Sohan Kaur.
I wasn’t about to wait until teacher training to get my name, I didn’t want to cry in front of everyone. (Although I did cry, a lot, but that’s another story.) I requested my name after much debate about how much I might actually hate it and not want it. Not to mention spiritual names were kind of a new age-y hippie thing to show off your spirituality right?
When I received my name, I cried. It sounded nice, Sohan. I briefly studied hatha yoga a few years earlier, before starting Kundalini yoga. I meditated using the mantra “Soham.” I was a little surprised by the similarity and it made me feel more comfortable with the name. The meaning was totally different and I didn’t really care for it at first: “princess of God who is beautiful in the eyes of God and in her soul.” (Kaur = princess of God)
I’d never really considered myself pretty so I could see why they picked that. I never even really identified with my body as a child, looking in the mirror I knew I was in there, but the body wasn’t familiar to me. Growing up my younger brother was so gorgeous people thought he was a girl and told him how pretty he was. Not sure he liked that, but it sure didn’t build self-esteem for a teenage girl. Some of the comments I received about my appearance were to ask if I had eaten chocolate because my face was breaking out, again. Luckily I didn’t like chocolate. Blessings.
So I certainly understood that I needed to see my own external beauty regardless what others thought, but then again, since we are all part of God, that meant others must see me as beautiful on some level (“…in the eyes of God…”). I never was big on caring about other people’s opinion, but somewhere deep inside I did care. It was just easier to deny it. I’ve been a perfectionist and now the imperfections in my skin are starting to bother me with age. Although others now see and comment on the beauty on the outside, I have a hard time accepting it. It seems to me to be much less about the physical beauty at this point, I’ve always had the same body, sometimes a little heavier, not much. Yet the change in peoples’ reaction to it has changed drastically in just a year or two (especially since receiving my name, imagine that).
The beauty of the soul must be shining through from somewhere. I wish there was a mirror to see that. The physical is a little easier to handle now and at least accept gracefully even if I don’t always believe the compliments. But sharing what’s inside still takes a lot of courage. It wasn’t just the exterior that felt rejected for a long time, but the interior as well. Bringing that out into the light of day sometimes takes extra effort. A small turn of events can send it all hurtling backwards, but there’s something else coming out with it, acceptance. Perhaps the imperfection is perfect just so we can help ourselves to help others. There’s beauty in the unusual and unique and as an artist I can relish that. Sometimes more in other people than myself.
It was just earlier this year when someone spoke about spiritual names and said that each time someone says your spiritual name, it’s like receiving a small blessing. That’s when I began to appreciate the name on a different level. It wasn’t just some new age thing to sound spiritual or to replace your old name because it was no good or bogged down with past associations. It was there to receive blessings and remember the truth of your Soul.
It was just earlier today as I walked through the park, and thoughts were running through my mind, that I began to identify with the meaning of my name more completely. “Beautiful in the eyes of God and in her Soul” became “I am beautiful in the eyes of God and in MY Soul.” It may not sound like a big change, but it was more about the realization that I could own that beauty and really identify with the Soul, not just mindlessly repeat the translation when someone asked me what the name meant.
In case you are interested in a spiritual name, 3ho.org provides them. (http://www.3ho.org/spiritual-names/request-spiritual-name)