You know, I never liked my name growing up.
I grew up in the suburbs of Northern Edmonton and we were the only Chinese people in my neighborhood. My parents did what most Chinese immigrants did, and adopted a Western name for me, keeping my Chinese name as my middle name. The kids would make fun of me and my name calling me “Phyllis Diller“, “Philly Cream Cheese” or “Fill us in on the information”. My dad used to tell me that he named me after a famous singer. But the only cultural references I knew of are:
“Phyllis” from the Office
All in all, I have never felt that my name fit me. It feels like a name from another generation. A name that is inherently unsexy. (My apologies to anyone named Phyllis who holds different views) At age 13, my father told me if I really didn’t like my name I could change it. But after reading through name books, I couldn’t decide on a name that suited me.
Two year ago, May 11th, 2016, I became initiated as disciple of Sri Dharma Mittra and became accepted as a member of our spiritual family. This was a very important date to me. The initiation was not something that I took lightly. It involved open heartedly asking Dharma to accept me as one of his disciples and if he felt I was not ready, he would say no.
It involved choosing a spiritual name that best fits me to be used during the initiation ceremony.
A spiritual name is a vibration and a tool that helps to elevate your energy through the power of its nadh (inner sound current), and meaning. It is your spiritual, soul identity. It is challenging you to live in your highest consciousness. Making the choice to receive a spiritual name is taking a step toward leaving old patterns behind and connecting more deeply with your infinite self.
How does having a spiritual name impact your life?
- It’s your spiritual identity.
- It’s an opportunity to leave the past behind.
- It’s a rebirth in consciousness.
- It’s a tool and road map to your highest destiny.
- It’s life changing.
The recommendation is to read the Swami Sivananda’s text on Hindu God and Goddesses if you are at a loss for a name. Through my research, I found that the deity that spoke to me most was Krishna. Krishna comes from the sanskrit word Kṛṣṇa, which means black.
- Krishna is the God of Compassion, tenderness and pure love.
- He is Arjuna’s most trusted advisor in the Bhagavad Gita, which is my favorite text.
- He plays the flute and attracts the Gopis, the milk maids who he likes to dance with him. However his heart belongs only to Radha who he is completely in love with.
But isn’t Krishna a male name?
In Hindu myths, many more male gods change into female ones than female Goddesses change into male gods. (Mahalingam, 2003.) This suggests that Indians should be more likely to essentialize female identity than male identity.
There is no pressure to announce your spiritual name. Some choose to keep it personal between them and their teacher. For 2 years, I have kept my spiritual name to myself because I wasn’t sure about this transition and how it would play out in the Western world.
And then more recently, I took a course on structural joint balancing called the Voila Method. One of the things this course taught us is that the wisdom of the body can differentiate truth from false. And in the course we were learning body tests and for some reason during the body tests, my name Phyllis kept coming up as false.
When I brought this up with Joel Crandall, founder of the Voila method, he had said that sometimes this happens with people who don’t like their names. And, Did I not like my name? I thought about it, and replied that I hated my name. He asked me if I had a name that I would like to be called instead. And right away, I remembered my spiritual name and asked to be called Krishna. That entire weekend, everyone called me Krishna and I loved it.
Then I went to Thailand to teach yoga retreats for Pure Flow Yoga, I decided to keep on using the name Krishna. I love it. Every time someone calls me Krishna it feels like shivers up my spine and it brings me pure joy. It feels a part of who I am now. And now it is the only name that I would like to go by because it feels the most authentic to me.
So I hope that you can respect this change. I know that it can be challenge and I completely understand that. I am not legally changing it at the moment, but you may start to see Krishna instead of Phyllis on the upcoming yoga schedules and my social media.
I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings on this. Have you ever had a name change? Or do something that might seem strange to other people yet feels authentic to you?
In Love and Gratitude,
“You are all here; we’ll share with you every moment of your life, and we will ask you to understand your spiritual incarnation and your spiritual name, and try to find out the strength to live it.” ~ Yogi Bhajan
- Krishna. In Wikipedia. Retrieved May 25th, 1980 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krishna
- Heine, S.J., (2016). Cultural Psychology – Third Edition
- Happy, Healthy, Holy Organization. (May 25th, 1980). Spiritual Names. Retrieved from https://www.3ho.org/spiritual-names