Sat Nam Goddesses,
This weekend’s Full Moon in Pisces happens to fall on Yogi Bhajan’s birthday. There are teachers of kundalini that met Yogi Bhajan and teachers that did not. I fall into the latter category. If you started practicing kundalini after 2004, then you will definitely be in this group and that will never, ever change.
If that is you, how open are you to having an experience of YB Love?
When I first fell in love with Kundalini, I tried to find out as much as I could about this man who brought Kundalini to the West. At first, I was delighted to listen to the unique stories that are circulated in trainings, classes, and pieces of his lectures. There are tales of how he ended up in Canada when he was 39 with no real shoes (his luggage had been lost and he wore what were essentially Indian flip flops on the plane) or a job, (he arrived to find out that the man who offered him the job passed away as he flew from India). He cleaned the marble at the Golden Temple at 4 am every day for 4 1/2 years to clear the karma from a time he used his yoga superpower over the element of water to move rain clouds away from a wedding. He washed the marble to clean away the effect of this act to avoid coming back as a fish and have to redo 8.4 million lifetimes. Once he was left in a tree for three days by his yoga teacher and told not to move, so he didn’t even loosen his tie.
Things started to turn a bit for me after the quaint stories started to sound dogmatic. Different people were using the same turns of phrase in telling them like Newspeak. After my initial awe at American people choosing to wear Punjabi clothes and turbans wore off, I asked myself “is this ok?” I wasn’t sure. I overheard some teachers reminiscing about the boarding school in India where 3ho kids attend calling one of my favorite lentil dishes “monkey barf,” and other stories about those “crazy Punjabis.” I found myself with a heavy, heavy heart. Why did YB make the Sikh “identity” part of the path for kundalini teachers? And why do I even care?
I am still trying to make sense of how I feel about the community around the kundalini teachings. From my first class, I knew I loved practicing Kundalini. As I progressed, I started thinking more about Yogi Bhajan. Practicing Kundalini made my hectic life as a mother of small children so much more joyful. I couldn’t help but wonder what YB was like as a father? As a husband?
My experience with the Kundalini community has made me think I am alone in really wanting to know about Yogi Bhajan in his personal life and relationships. People seem to like the lore and don’t want to address the lawsuits that cropped up after he passed except in whispers and without any real information. I recall a time a few years back when a long overdue decision came out from the organization that is in charge of Kundalini teacher trainings regarding an excommunication of a long time teacher and former student of Yogi Bhajan’s in Europe for sexually preying on his students for decades. A statement was disseminated through various channels that I received via email—I still have no idea how I got on that list to relieve that email…
Anyway, I brought this email up during a Kundalini training and the leader said they didn’t know anything about it. They quickly changed the subject so we could spend the next hour talking about how we all needed to wear white and turbans when teaching Kundalini. It seemed like a wasted opportunity to practice the core values of the Aquarian Age as taught by Yogi Bhajan: transparency and eschewing ritual over having an actual experience of Spirit and Truth. An experience I have had more than once with the existing Kundalini community. What would Yogi Bhajan have thought of this type of thing going on in the community he created? How would his life been viewed under the lens of the #metoo movement?
I started going to the source and listening to Yogi Bhajan lectures while I meditated. Something happened when that familiar Punjabi accent cut through illusion and his words that hit my ears and heart and guided my mind in meditations. His spiraling way of speaking, dipping my consciousness in and out and in and out of the same idea until it was integrated. I came to have my own experience with the Master without ever having sat at his feet.
I stopped needing so much information about him and started focusing on my own experiences on my yoga mat and the day that unfolded from there. Life became richer with heart-burst-open experiences. Yogi Bhajan used to say that he didn’t believe in miracles, he relied on them. I’ve shifted into a life of reliance that once a day my heart will be burst open with love and gratitude with being alive in this time and space.
I heard a story from a dear friend who is a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism about Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. For those that don’t know, he was a very gifted monk who came to the West and helped found one of my alma maters, The Naropa Institute in Boulder Colorado. His ability to communicate the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism was a thing to behold and students flocked to his lectures. One time he was on a teaching tour and his student was helping him at his hotel. The student found Rinpoche in his room wasted, screaming and acting like a normal drunk instead of an enlightened master. According to the story, the next morning Rinpoche asked the student how he was doing and the student couldn’t really look at him. So he asked his student,
“Oh, you are embarrassed for catching me like that last night, right?”
The student could not respond.
Rinpoche then told him, “Never confuse the teachings with the teacher.”
I still don’t know how Yogi Bhajan really lived and what his relationships were like. I do know that practicing these teachings makes me more loving, more merciful, more joyful and more ME.
In recovery, we don’t worship Bill W., the man that created the 12 Steps. He was a colorful character that created technology that got people sober when nothing else worked, changing their Destiny. You can practice the 12 Steps without even knowing his name— they still work. And so will Kundalini—with or without knowing Yogi Bhajan.
If you want to make the most of out of this incarnation, to maximize Joy and authenticity, and create prosperity in the Earthly Realm, Kundalini Yoga *as taught by Yogi Bhajan is a powerful vehicle to do all of these things. With this in mind, I created this month’s full moon practice. It is a kriya that generates prosperity that is powered by authenticity. In the words of KRS ONE, this full moon practice is all about health, wealth, and knowledge of the Self.
If you are local I will be leading a free mantra immersion at 5:45 am Sunday, August 26 at the beach in gratitude for the teachings of Yogi Bhajan.
Details Are Here
Happy Full Moon.
“Don’t love me, love my teachings. Become ten times greater than me.” YB