By Jonathan Ellis, Photography by Joni Strickfaden
Editor’s Note: Sat Nam Rasayan is the name of a sacred healing technique that has recently become available in Ann Arbor, through Billie Wahlen (also known as Mohinder Singh). Wahlen is a gifted healer and massage therapist, and is well-established and known in Ann Arbor’s healing and bodywork subcultures. (He was featured in our cover story on Up and Coming Massage Therapists Under 40 in Issue #41, September thru December 2009 -- available on our archive at crazywisdomjournal.com.) As Billie Wahlen explains in the interview below, healing comes through a state of awareness that has taken him over a decade of practice to develop, under the guidance of a Sat Nam Rasayan master teacher. Wahlen now offers this kind of healing session to individuals at his office at the Parkway Center, or by going to an individual’s home or office.
Wahlen, 45 years old, has been practicing Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, since 2002. He founded Healing Through Awareness, and also A2 Kundalini Yoga. He leads Kundalini Yoga, meditation, and gong workshops, trainings and courses. And he has a private massage therapy practice. Raised in Buffalo, NY, he has been living in the Ann Arbor area since 1995. His daughter, Emma, is 25. She has a degree in culinary arts, and is now working in that field.
Jonathan Ellis: You have done massage and bodywork in town for many years. Now you are also offering individual healing sessions called Sat Nam Rasayan®. Tell us about this healing technique.
Billie Wahlen: Sat Nam Rasayan® means “Deep Relaxation in the True Identity.” It is typically done on a mat on the floor, the client stays fully clothed, and I sit in a meditative posture next to them, touching their arm lightly to connect into a therapeutic relationship. This form of healing works through the meditative mind.
It is through becoming ultra-sensitive in the “sacred space” and allowing myself to expand my awareness enough to include everything my client/patient is experiencing, including their resistances. Resistances can be distractions, differentiation of sensations, preconceptions, conditions, boundaries, or limits.
I am not sending energy, or directing, moving, or attempting to manipulate energy as is done in Reiki, Chakra Balancing, or other energy healing modalities. I enter a state of meditation and connect to my client in a therapeutic relationship. Within this sacred space called shuniya, the healing occurs.
Mahankirin Kaur, a world renowned Sat Nam Rasayan® healer, most beautifully explains the process as “holding a neutral, contemplative state of awareness, being aware of everything - all sensations - and then allowing the resistances to change and/or release as you continue to hold your state of awareness.”
Jonathan Ellis: Can you tell us more about the sacred space of the Sat Nam Rasayan® healer?
Billie Wahlen: Shuniya means deep listening and silence. It is a state of consciousness. I learned to enter this state of consciousness through years of meditation practice. It is a meditative space of thoughtlessness, profound peace, and stillness.
My teacher, Yogi Bhajan, Ph.D., was the master of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, and he said, “The mind of the Sat Nam Rasayan® healer/practitioner becomes transcendent and in the vastness of this consciousness healing can occur.” He calls shuniya a state of “total surrender, becoming nothing and zero.”
Jonathan Ellis: Why might folks seek Sat Nam Rasayan® healing?
Billie Wahlen: Sat Nam Rasayan® is a spiritual healing, like prayer. Simply put, during a session, I meditate and you feel better. The healer simply removes resistances, which stand in the way of the client being free to heal.
People come for a variety of reasons: physical ailments, emotional support, and to benefit spiritually. One client I recently worked with said, "I feel so clear-headed and spiritually clear as a result of these Sat Nam Rasayan® exercises, it’s amazing.”
JE: Does the client describe their condition for the healing?
BW: Yes, sometimes. It is not necessary to know the client’s disorder for healing to occur. It’s the same as not needing to know someone’s specific problems to be able to pray for them.
JE: What are the origins of Sat Nam Rasayan®?
BW: For thousands of years, Sat Nam Rasayan® was a secret yoga tradition. A master taught Sat Nam Rasayan® in silence to his student. The process of training lasted several years, until the student could recognize and maintain a state of shuniya.
Guru Dev Singh, Ph.D. is the living master of this tradition. Yogi Bhajan taught Guru Dev Singh with traditional training in Sat Nam Rasayan®.
JE: How was Sat Nam Rasayan® taught?
BW: It was always through transmission, the passing on of spiritual knowledge from teacher to student that healers were born. It was through being in the master’s presence, learning through being in the teacher’s aura and psychic influence that these states of meditation and profound spiritual experience were obtained. The spoken word was never necessary to transmit or practice it.
The student would go into the state of shuniya and the teacher would recognize that the student recognized this state. It was then that the student would become a teacher and a healer. At one point Yogi Bhajan recognized that Guru Dev Singh could maintain the state of shuniya.
JE: Now there is a broader method of learning Sat Nam Rasayan®?
BW: In 1988, Yogi Bhajan, who had previously been teaching worldwide for over 25 years, asked Guru Dev Singh to teach Sat Nam Rasayan® publicly and to start a school where people could learn to heal. He sent him to Rome, saying, “If you can conquer Rome you can conquer the world.”
Guru Dev is the first and only teacher in the lineage of Sat Nam Rasayan® to develop a linear form to use for learning and practice. He has brought language to a system that was always taught in silence.
In 1989, Guru Dev Singh started to teach Sat Nam Rasayan® openly in Europe.
Mahankirin Kaur has said, “Yogi Bhajan was convinced that in times of great changes, the world would need a strong group of healers.” He wanted to make the knowledge of the old Yogis accessible for all human beings.
JE: Can you tell us about your own training in Sat Nam Rasayan®?
BW: I first took a class with Guru Dev Singh in 2002 at a Kundalini Yoga festival called Winter Solstice Sadhana Celebration in Florida. I was interested in this ancient yogic healing technique as I was new in the Kundalini Yoga community and by profession was beginning as a therapist to do massage and bodywork. In my training I took more of the esoteric approach to healing, i.e. Reiki, polarity therapy, energy balancing, etc. Sat Nam Rasayan® was intriguing, although I had no idea what it was.
The following year at the same event I had my first profound experience of these teachings. There were 400-450 people. I was at the back of the tent, partnered and attempting to understand what this healing and meditative state was all about. I remember thinking nothing was happening and I wasn’t able to do this right.
At the end of a three-hour class, intermixed with meditations and practice healings, I had a strong pain in the left side of my heart center. It felt like a strong muscular pain in the intercostal muscles. Guru Dev said, “Well, that’s all we have time for today. There is still a pain in the left side of the heart, but don’t worry, I’ll take care of it later.”
I was amazed. I thought the healing, that was supposed to take place, was between my partner and myself. Did he just do a group healing on all of us? How is that even possible? Did everyone experience this pain I was experiencing? Later I discovered I had just experienced a group healing done by the Sat Nam Rasayan® Master. This was my first noticeable reaction in a Sat Nam Rasayan® class and my first direct experience of its effects.
JE: And you continued this training for over a decade?
BW: I continued to search for this meditative state called shuniya and practiced meditation daily at home for years. I participated in large group classes at Solstice gatherings, both summer and winter, every year since 2002. I have been to Guru Dev’s intensives in India, Los Angeles, New Mexico, Mt. Shasta in California, and Virginia.
The intensives are really powerful, usually about 100 - 200 people, practicing six to eight hours a day. I clearly and distinctly recognized the state of shuniya at an intensive in 2014 in New Mexico. While in a deep state of meditation Guru Dev exclaimed, “That’s shuniya!” I recognized this space from previous meditative experiences and now could distinguish it from other experiences.
Through personal and group meditation practices, I’ve been training to be able to stabilize this state of consciousness, and this training will continue for the rest of my life.
I have been blessed to have Guru Dev as my teacher. He has often given me specific meditations to do that have helped me with a variety of problems. Receiving Sat Nam Rasayan® from Guru Dev was a very profound experience. To explain briefly, he put me in the present moment, fully, I mean, fully! Every breath, every step, and every action was fully in the present moment for some time.
In August 2016 at a five-day intensive in Mt. Shasta, California, I tested for my Level 1 Certification. It involved doing a healing in the presence of Guru Dev. He asked me to heal a person’s stomach. I related to this situation while in meditation and allowed the sensations I was experiencing.
JE: Can you talk more about the Sikh roots of Sat Nam Rasayan® and Kundalini Yoga?
BW: Yogi Bhajan taught Kundalini Yoga, the Yoga of Awareness, openly for the first time in recorded history, and probably even longer. It is said the roots of Kundalini Yoga go back thousands of years, back when information was only passed down through generations orally. The great sages and yogis of that time figured out how to manage the energy of the body through techniques and control of the breath, sound, body, and mind.
In 1968, Yogi Bhajan knew we were on the cusp of a great change and the techniques that have been held in secret needed to come out and be shared with the world. For the next 37 years his mission was to “create teachers, not to gain students.” Kundalini Yoga is currently taught on every continent, in 81 countries, and in at least 15 languages.
Yogi Bhajan was a deeply devoted Sikh. Sikhism is the world's 5th largest religion. He inspired thousands to follow the Sikh Dharma, the way of life of a spiritual seeker. The connection between Kundalini Yoga and Sikhism is through the current of divine sounds, which is called the Naad.
We practice Naad Yoga, merging with the divine through sound. The Sikh Gurus, which began with Guru Nanak, shared ecstatic poems sung while in highly elevated states of consciousness. We practice these same songs and poems to get us into the same elevated states. There are some sounds, names of the divine that are repeated in meditation. This practice helps us go into the subtle space of shuniya so we can heal others through Sat Nam Rasayan®.
JE: You are also a Kundalini Yoga instructor and Sat Nam Rasayan® comes from that tradition. How are they related?
BW: I have been teaching Kundalini Yoga in Ann Arbor since 2004. The technology of Kundalini Yoga works directly on our reserve capacity of energy. We tap into the life force within us for vitality and strength. Regular practice of the techniques of Kundalini Yoga increases our intuition and our ability to become more sensitive. Yogi Bhajan often said we need to become self-sensory human beings to keep from going berserk in the information age.
Using the meditation practices in Kundalini Yoga, we can effectively enter the sensitive space to heal others through Sat Nam Rasayan®.
JE: How long is an individual Sat Nam Rasayan® session with you?
BW: Appointments are forty-five minutes to one hour, while the actual Sat Nam Rasayan® session takes about 30 minutes.
JE: Your spiritual name is Mohinder Singh. How was that received?
BW: I received my spiritual name while Yogi Bhajan was still alive, in 2003. Mohinder Singh means “I am the Lion who is the Love of God.” It is said if we meditate on our spiritual names we will reach our destiny faster in this life.
JE: Thank you Mohinder.
BW: Thank you Jonathan.
Billie Wahlen (Mohinder Singh) can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 734-276-6520. He does massage/bodywork and Sat Nam Rasayan® sessions at his office in the Parkway Center (Castle Remedies Building), where he’s been located for the last 14 years. He also goes to people, doing healings in their homes and offices. He also teaches Kundalini Yoga classes regularly. His website is at: www.a2kundaliniyoga.com and the website includes his Kundalini Yoga classes, specialized yoga workshops, gong meditations, cleanses, and lots of information on yogic lifestyle, healing foods, and meditations to practice.