Yogi Bhajan, Don’t Look for Trouble
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
“Well, sir, I’ll deal with whatever happens.” We were seated in Beverly Hills at our usual luncheon spot. It was an unusually warm day in late January, 1993. The Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, invited this woman to lunch with us. This was quite often the case, as he was able to take care of his counseling duties, socialize, and eat at the same time. I loved it as it gave me complete access to his methods.
There were two other secretaries with us making it five around our usual table in the front corner. in front of the window overlooking the the street. This restaurant was the hot spot of Beverly Hills. There were others of course, but everyone who’s anyone comes through La Scala restaurant at one time or another. Our teacher’s confidence was off the charts. Here he was, an Indian immigrant, looking very different, and followed by a bunch of ex-hippies. Yet, he was who he was and didn’t let anything or anyone rain on his parade. He truly believed that he belonged wherever he was, from the most humble environments to the highest.
Our security team was seated across the aisle at a smaller booth. They were also enjoying a delicious lunch, but at a secure distance so they could do their job correctly. Usually, there were just two security officers. This was the case that day but also another student joined the security table as there was no more room at the big table. Our teacher would meet with him after lunch on our walk down to Jerry’s shop where we would spend the afternoon.
“Is that what you really believe,” the Siri Singh Sahib responded to this ladies statement? “Honey, you’ve been through so much that you think you can handle anything. And, I wouldn’t bet against you. But, the right question to ask is “why”? Why do you still need to go through all this pain when you no longer have to?”
“What do you mean, sir? I don’t understand. Why don’t I have to anymore?”
“Because you can!” he shot back. “You’ve proven that you will handle whatever comes your way and you will. What I’m saying is that there’s no need in creating any more than is already scheduled. You don’t have to ‘deal with whatever happens if it can be consciously avoided. That’s why I’m asking you to relook at what you can do so that your actions can best avoid unnecessary hindrances. Darling, please remember that we’re all here to deal consciously, not corruptly. That starts with how we treat ourselves.”
“You mean that I should avoid things?”
“I didn’t say that. I said that avoidance and immersion are two sides of the same coin. Both are necessary for a balanced life. We believe in a balanced life, so we believe in immersion into things of this world as a duty to fulfill the dream of heaven, as well as the perpetual awareness that everything is accounted for. Mastery of this world and the next becomes a matter of duty. This awareness at least keeps things in proper perspective. And, that means that we will work to avoid things which inhabit our pursuit towards Guru’s world. Believe me, there will be enough that we’ll have to deal with without creating it ourselves. Just keep positive and expect the best. We expect the best because we know that we can handle the worst.”
“Oh, now I get it,” she whispered. “I’m allowed to think great things about myself. In spite of what I know about myself, I’m encouraged by my teacher do this! Not as an ego builder, but, rather, as an example that anyone has the same choice. If I can do it knowing everything about myself, then, who can’t?”
That’s exactly what I mean. If you remember your greatness when lesser actions tempt your consciousness, you will always act correctly. After all, you know yourself better than anyone does, so if sincerity accompanies your self-review, you become your harshest judge. God may be kind to you, Guru may do the same, your teacher may be happy with you, but you’ll never be satisfied with yourself. You will always be striving to be better while accepting yourself as you are. ” Wahe Guru! And, that’s just the way I like it. It keeps life entertaining, always!
In the Humility of Service and Gratitude,
See Sikh Definitions.
Yoga Bhajan, A Pyramid Amid the Third Eye Lid
Sat Nam, Dear Family! At some points, all great religions intersect. That’s what makes them great religions. The truth is recognized through many different costumes. It doesn’t stop there. Many philosophies, lifestyles and thinkings intersect with truth. And, here’s the kicker, the real truth is not up for debate even though everyone has an opinion.
For argument sake, let’s say consciousness is like a pyramid. The degree of consciousness or lack thereof, starts at the base where many people are located and ascends upwards to the tip where only a few of the highest saints reside. At the base, only one truthful postulate is practiced but at the tip, many truths have been adopted into lives. There is a direct relationship to the numbers of real truths practiced sincerely, and a climb up the pyramid. The sincere practice of real truths is the engine which drives individual consciousness up the pyramid.
Whether they realize it or not, everyone has some truth in their life. That’s why we start at one and not zero, or less. The climb up the pyramid is commensurate with the elevation of consciousness. First, what is consciousness and why do I need more? Let me explain. Call it God, call it right thinking, call it philosophy, call it as you may, the greater experience of life comes with a method for truthful thinking and acting. Naturally, the chances are better if a person acquaints himself with God, with right thinking, with anything which leads to truthful living, or some variation thereof.
What comes with climbing the pyramid? Well, the answer is more and more happiness until merger with God is experienced. This climb has to be done, if not in this lifetime, maybe next, or, maybe a thousand lifetimes from now, or maybe longer. Karma must be paid, and living truthfully is the currency which provides the way to advance. Oh, you say, it’s too much work. I can’t; I’m too old; I’m too… Are you too old? Won’t you be lifetimes older the next time this opportunity comes your way? Why wait?
I know many people live in denial. Still, more live in delay - delaying any discipline, any commitment, any pain, any need to deliver a steady progression up the ladder. But, these issues never go away. Delay turns to now and without the discipline needed, increased pain is incurred. I can hear the cries now, “I just need to rest now. I’ll deal with everything later. Anyway, I know I can’t do what’s necessary, so who worry?” Well, when later comes around, as it inevitably will, the climb becomes much more difficult. Be smart; don’t be lazy; don’t wait; do what’s necessary now! It’s in your best interest. Recommit to commitment!
Climbing up the pyramid has other great benefits. For me, one of the most rewarding benefits is the experience of an effortless, carefree life. The higher up the pyramid the student of consciousness, the student of life ascends, the more contentment enters his life. Obstacles which seemed impossible to deal with before melt away effortlessly, almost magically. This is the true miracle. Wanting more becomes deserving more and God comes through. There’s more.
Relaxation makes life more and more enjoyable. Climbing up the pyramid offers more relaxation. Relaxation at a deeper and deeper level is intoxicating. Stress becomes a thing of the past. All situations are handled properly. A guiding hand guarantees victory. There’s still more.
Climbing up the pyramid brings more and more courage into your life. Imagine conquering your fears and even enjoying the process, having fun with it! Courage is the motor which drives advancement. Courage makes commitment real. Courage is what makes discipline useable. And...
Climbing up the pyramid assures victory. The higher up the ladder one ascends, the greater one’s experience and understanding of this reality. Victory becomes a part of one’s belief system. The Guru can never be defeated no matter how circumstances appear. The higher we climb, the more Guru enters our lives, and, thus, the more continuous victory becomes a part of who we are, what we believe, and what we experience. Worry becomes a distant view. What, there’s more? Yes!
Climbing up the pyramid brings more and more faith into your life. Faith provides courage, which provides advancement, which provides real commitment; when faith becomes deeper and deeper, reality changes for the better in each person’s life. A need for more advancement becomes the automatic mantra - Keep Up. The Mantra for Aquarian Age!
Faith brings more benefits than I’ve described above, too many to list. I’ve given the above as examples of why climbing up the pyramid is so important, so beneficial, and so necessary. Finding the truth and practicing it more and more is the discipline to move up the pyramid. Khalsa means “Pure One”. A Pure One lives the truth. Sikh Dharma provides the formula for accession through the Guru and His teachings.
What’s at the tip of the pyramid? Where does consciousness lead? That’s a good question. Again, it’s a progression. Commitment leads to faith; faith leads to courage; courage to belief; belief leads to trust; trust leads to “In God I Dwell;” and, dwell leads to merger. So, the tip of the pyramid becomes merger with God.
Although it may be hard to get your mind around, faith isn’t the answer it’s a step in the progression. Faith is a hope. Courage is direct result of faith. Belief is a projection, a good projection but with no time guarantee. Trust is the step which solves all the previous issues. Trust in God translates to God’s protection and blessings. Trust is the step where all doubt is removed and replaced with grace. “In God I Dwell” manifests identity and surrender where God is experienced within. Merger is the ultimate goal. All identity, all surrender are forgotten. God and the student become one. There is no difference between the Guru and the student. The student becomes a walking representation of Guru Himself.
When a Sikh, or anyone for that matter, practices the Guru’s teachings, a progressive ascent up the pyramid is the result. This much I know, the truth can be found in many forms, but Sikh Dharma offers a fool proof method of continually ascending up the pyramid as far as your karma, your duty, and your destiny allows. My advice: Don’t judge it; just keep up practicing living the truth. Create your own miracle.
In the Humility of Service and Gratitude,
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Life's Little Loops
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
A reader responded to one of my stories. She was absolutely correct. So, if I may, I’d like to share something with you. She said, “Why don’t you write about what you’ve learned and how it’s affected your life. That’s what people want to hear.” She’s right.
My reluctance has been not out of shyness, but a genuine belief that a self-aggrandizement issue might come into play. There are many people ready to tell you how great they are. But, now, I’m clear. I will write about this as a teaching, an inspiration, a motivation, a service. Many believe that they’ve already got it figured out, so they don’t want to be confused by the facts. That’s fine and that’s too bad. But, there’s a whole new market of seekers desiring to hear how my life has changed due to living the teachings. The way I live is the example I offer as my teaching. Let me give you an example.
First, let me say that the example any teacher sets is never perfect. It’ can’t be, so I don’t worry about my flaws. I’ve learned long ago, it’s not what you do wrong; it’s what you do right which separates the caliber of people. Everyone does wrong things; it’s the things that you do right that make a difference. Here’s the result, the more things you do right, the less you do wrong. It’s like God has you on a scale and when one side goes up, the other goes down. That’s just the way it is and I can’t change it. Really, I don’t want to, I like it just the way it is.
When I arrived upon the scene, my life was massively engrossed in maya, the things of this world. Right off the bat, the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, taught me that that was O.K. In fact, he allowed me way too much leeway in this area and I took full advantage. But thankfully I learned that without humility, gratitude, sharing and compassion, riches are just riches. A juice, an essence of life is missing. The comfort they provide is time sensitive. Nevertheless, I enjoyed them. I didn’t know any differently...yet.
But, by Guru’s Grace, I saw in our teacher the balance. When someone gave him a gift, he’d place it on his alter for 72 hours. Big or small, expensive or not, his true understanding of who is in charge, who is the Giver, made this gesture a devotion to He who Provides for everything. This was quite a lesson. His life was not under his control. His Guru provided for what was needed.
Yogi Bhajan, was a Saturn teacher. He did everything in a big way and not always the soft, easy way. His habit of pushing beyond normal or comfortable expectations was his style. He pushed all around him and mostly pushed himself. This was under his command and his control and it was his way of teaching and his way of fun. He pushed and we kept up with him, stretching beyond our own self-imposed limitations. Wahe Guru! I enjoyed it with him. On one side it was if I sent here to share his life and on the other side he would teach me how to handle prosperity graciously, properly, and reverently. Like with most things, the ability to handle prosperity is a never ending story. It never gets boring.
I’ve practiced his way. I want to fully understand what it’s like to live a life in true reverence, true devotion, true compassion, and true love. It takes surrender. You can fool yourself all you want, but it you want what your teacher has, the more you practice surrendering to his will, his example, his manner, the more he becomes your life. We’re unbelievably lucky to have such a vast and pure teacher. Our beloved teacher’s way bestows grace into your life. It’s an experience of honor.
Life is fulfilled with the honor of continuing to do right no matter how many times failure has interrupted the commitment; the honor of carrying forward the legacy of our teacher as a mission; the honor of representing his legacy as he wants it represented; the honor of no longer being haunted by past thinking. The honor of representing our teacher is the most honorable way. It is a constant focus.
My touchstone for the purpose of my life is that I am dedicated to always surrendering to our teacher’s will. What I witnessed and experienced daily was that our teacher’s teachings are the Guru’s teachings. He grew as we all must, so sometimes it appeared that he said contradictory things. And yes he did. That was his privilege and he earned it. That’s not for us to judge. In reality, that’s just another test. Reconciliation becomes a blessed understanding. Trust in Guru brings an acceptance and then understanding of paradoxes.
I know that this kind of surrender leaves a lot of room for criticism. It can leave room for abuse, and, has been abused since the beginning of time. But, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. It is not total surrender which is bad; it is what you’ve surrendered to that’s the blessing or the killer. I’ve been able to understand this. That’s because I’ve gratefully surrendered to the right thing, the truth. Our teacher delivered what he promised, and he promised the moon, the sun, and Infinity.
So, I learned a fabulous life lesson from his trust, his trust in Guru Ram Das. I have practiced his way of thinking for many decades now and thankfully it has taken hold. My life is relaxed. My life is no longer in my control. What happens to me is up to Guru. This state of being is based on true trust. It takes a while to build this trust, but when it starts to develop, life becomes relaxed, happy, and contented.
I no longer fret or react to my insecurities. They no longer turn into worry or inappropriate actions. I’ve learned to relax and let things come to me rather than running after them. Not only is this a relaxed state of existence, but I recognize that whatever comes my way is best for me because it comes from Guru Himself. Yes, it takes guts, it takes courage, it takes surrender, it takes keeping up, but this trust brings Guru into your life in an experiential way. The virtues of hope, belief, and faith become real through the trust in Guru. Then, life is worth living. This is what the teachings have given me so far, I can’t wait to see what lays ahead.
In the Humility of Service and Gratitude,
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, The Good Manners Mantra of Tantra
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
Here’s an interesting fact. On a spiritual path, even though you are going for the gold, you find that you still don’t like someone, or even a few someones!! You may want to be more expansive, neutral, compassionate and loving but the challenge remains. If you give in to this and say it’s O.K. to ‘not to like someone’ you know there is a cost. The cost is your good karma. And isn’t the purpose of embarking on a spiritual path the cultivation of good karma and the minimization of the opposite?
Good karma goes hand in hand with good manners. Good manners must always reflect a graceful presence to everyone, even to those whom you dislike, especially to those you dislike the most. Your actions must never reflect how you truly think. You must serve them just like all others. Now, that’s easier said than done.
First, let me explain what I mean by ‘not liking someone.’ Sure perception, consciousness, separates people. But, that’s not what usually is bothersome. It’s perception, plus personalities, plus projection. This triumvirate allows plenty of reasons for almost anyone to easily find some reason ‘not to like someone.’ In fact, there is an interesting fact of human behavior that is widely understood in the East. It goes like this.
If one is in a room with 30 people and gets to interact with them for some time, then, later when quizzed, most people will very much like 1/3 of the 30, strongly dislike another 1/3 and barely remember the other third. Then if one gets to be in the room with the 1/3 they really liked, (now it 10 people in the room!) after sometime and when quizzed again, it breaks down into liking very much 1/3 of those 10, 1/3 strongly disliking and barely remembering the last 1/3. This phenomenon brings a whole new element of the nature of the mind into play!
So mastering the mind is the key to rising above human tendencies. The way of White Tantra is to go through whatever issues need to be defeated. Tantra allows for the neurotic privilege of ‘not liking this or not liking that,’ while, at the same time, knowing that the student must eventually not ‘like or dislike anything.’
A Sikh, a yogi, a White Tantra yogi, a spiritual person lives a life seeped in balance. The student must not just know that he should like everyone; not just act like he likes everyone; but, actually like everyone. This is accomplished through the neutrality of suspending any bias or prejudice. Neutrality maintains trust in the teachings in spite of any continuing attachment to being satisfied. Eventually, the student will wind up where the teachings lead because that’s the goal. Any blessings to be found are there.
Good manners will carry the student through when nothing else will. The privilege of ‘not liking someone or something’ is balanced through good manners. Good manners allow the process to mature rather than rot, the Tantra is satisfied and personal wants become a thing of the past. Good manners lead from satisfaction to surrender. Good manners allow the student to keep up; Good manners are attractive; good manners are appreciated; good manners are the only true way to get along with others; good manners bridge any cultural gap; good manners is Godly. Let me give you an example of extra good manners.
Our beloved teacher hosted all sorts of people, some liberal, some conservative, some in-between, some rich, some poor, some short, some tall etc. etc. Naturally, many times we’d meet someone whose views were opposite ours and they weren’t shy about sharing how they felt. I was always shocked by the response of our teacher.
He’d agree with them. I don’t mean just nod, I mean he’d carry on the conversation to great lengths spouting rhetoric which was opposed to his known views. What was shocking wasn’t that he agreed, but that he did it so eloquently. Who knew? His manners were on display. It was a display of understanding, of friendship, of love rarely seen. His manners refused to even give a hint that he was against anything being said, and, as such, against any guest. He was always their friend, period. One of his teachings was that we treat guests like God and he showed us how.
Here’s what I learned. It wasn't just manners which were on display, but his depth of understanding that everyone has a master. Your master is your security. In this Kali Yuga era, our mind is our master (yes, I know it should be the other way around). He understood that whatever his guest’s thoughts were, it was their reality and security. Sure, he could agree with everything being said in a sincere manner, because he realized that they truly believed it. Manners dictated that he remain a gracious host, not a debater.
I must admit, sometime this was somewhat uncomfortable. I wanted to say something. But, I learned early on to just keep quiet. He had everything under control. And, there’s another level to his manners. When I saw him agreeing with opposite opinions, it gave me, the student, another perspective. It lessened the prejudice I came with. I gained more balance in my opinions. In fact, although my views haven’t changed, I’ve gained compassion for those who think differently than I. Flexibility, neutrality, and compassion are necessary on a spiritual journey. They all come with good manners.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, The cognizance of bottomless competence
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
I’ve found out that one of the hardest things to overcome is the feeling of incompetence, especially on a spiritual journey. At some time, every blessed student hits this wall. Some duties you are not prepared for; some social function you are not worthy of; some situations you don’t know what to do about. Sikhism is the answer to overcoming this incompetence. Nevertheless, at some point, almost everyone gives up. A Sikh never gives in. Please, let me explain.
First, and foremost, a true Sikh recognizes his or her limitations. A Sikh recognizes limitations which can't even be seen yet. A Sikh leaves limitations up to Guru. A Sikh doesn’t let anything get in the way of devotion. A Sikh leaves the competence issue up to God.
In the 1970’s there was a very popular book called The Peter Principle. The essence of this writing is that everyone rises to his own level of incompetence. Promotions continue until promotion has taken you to a place you’re not prepared for. That’s it. Promotions stop. Incompetence has set in. The reason I mention this is because there is a bit of truth in this principle. Yes, Mr. Peter has presented this truth in a negative vein, but the fact remains that everyone faces this challenge in their own mind. Some know it, some are anesthetized to it.
It’s how a Sikh handles incompetence that allows him to overcome it. In Sikhism, eventually incompetence is no longer your problem, it’s the Guru’s issue to take care of. Any guilt which remains is washed away in devotion. The more the student surrenders in gratitude, in appreciation, in love, the more worthy the Sikh feels, until the true Sikh has complete trust in Guru through service to Him.
When a Sikh reaches this level, he no longer has a competence limit. The answer is, so what! A Sikh understands the restrictions he’s placed upon himself. A Sikh quits judging himself and leaves that up to his compassionate teacher, his loving Guru, and to the always protective watchful eye of God Himself. A Sikh has no competence and no incompetence. A Sikh is in service to Thee. A Sikh is accepting of God’s prosperity as a duty bestowed by Guru. His prosperity is God’s call, not his.
So, if you think that you’re not worthy of something, take heart. There is a remedy. The remedy is becoming non-judgmental. That’s a tough one because it’s easy to not even see your judgmental nature. This is where a good teacher can help in keeping the student focused.
A non-judgmental way of thinking takes a lot of practice. Typically, it doesn’t just happen automatically. This is the cost of never again feeling incompetent again. Once you know this, you can only do what’s best for you because that’s what is best. So, just because you want to judge something, now, no longer means that you should. Discipline becomes a factor, a factor in spiritual growth. Discipline is important and this is the way of my Sikh. This is the Sikh that I serve and love.
This Sikh way which I have learned, has proven that the Guru’s way is right. Well, who doesn’t know that? I didn’t, that’s who. The Sikhs I serve are those who are trying to do what’s right. From the novice to the self-proclaimed, they all still must be served. And, I mean served gracefully. This is the way of the Guru’s teachings, and this is the standard we must maintain. It’s the Godly thing to do. We carry the sacred burden of reflecting the Guru’s teachings. It’s no joke. A Sikh takes this very seriously. A true Sikh’s only desire is to surrender in service to his Guru.
Then the question comes, “I can only do so much!? How can you expect all this from me? I’m not like you. I have so many other things to do.” Do you really? I mean, don’t you ever ask yourself, ‘what am I doing here? What’s it all about?’ and then you settle for less along the way. What makes us so worthy as to see and feel deserving of the blessings which have been bestowed up on us? How did we get so lucky? Here’s the secret, the blessing of being deserving of all is available to everyone. Our experience verifies our tradition. Make no mistake about it, Sikhism offers the whole ball of wax; Sikhism has the answers; Sikhism is truly for everyone, no exceptions.
A non-judgmental Sikh is a boon to the planet. Sikhism serves the planet again. Hooray for Sikhism. Well, take it as you may, in my life this discipline has provided many many rewards. A non-judgmental mind offers a different perspective on reality. Feelings and emotions are taken out of the equation. Decisions become much easier because they’re made from a neutral place.
Better and better decision-making means a life greatly benefiting from this duty. It’s like a surprise you never expected and it’s the best surprise of all. And, all the time, all you were doing was what was expected, there was nothing unusual about your actions at all. Imagine, you can now add-on the unexpected benefits bestowed by Guru Himself. This is the icing on the cake! Now you have been provided with the russ, the sweetness, the juice of life!
Our Spiritual teacher taught me how to not judge myself. When I’m no longer the judge, then the limits I bring with my judgment are broken. What I couldn’t do yesterday, what I wasn’t worthy of before, what I never dreamed of in fantasy, what I didn’t want to pursue, all of these have been removed from my doubt, removed through the trust in Guru to guide and judge me. I’ve come to know that He has a much bigger, better, and conscious picture of what I’m capable than I do, so I ride with it.
His view of me was greatly expanded and, here’s the best part, his view comes with the confidence and sense of adventure which makes this journey successful and fun. Incompetence is a thing of the past. Whatever challenge is put in front of me is now, I just let it be. It’s Guru’s duty to provide everything necessary to defeat any challenge. This is a blissful state of existence.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, The Range of Prearranged Change
Sat Nam, Dear Family! Everyone’s a teacher. If a person is such a recluse that he doesn’t come into contact with anyone to teach, he shouldn’t fret. He’s still a great teacher. Although it’s not the way many want to think, teaching is really sales. Communication is sales. One person wants the other to hear, agree, and follow what is being said. Oh yes, I know that there are others who don’t ever want to be heard, agreed with, or followed, but that in itself is a sales job if you look carefully. And, more importantly for a spiritual aspirant, the conscious mind is perpetually attempting to teach the subconscious.
Selling is actually inherent in everyone’s nature. As for the recluse, that’s a little more difficult to fathom but this quality is there too. In fact due to less distractions, the recluse may have more selling, i.e. teaching, as part of his makeup. The conscious mind is constantly peppering the subconscious with thoughts. The more the mind focuses on a particular subject, the quicker the subconscious takes it seriously. If this continues, the subconscious is sold and adapts the projection as it’s own. Change occurs whether it’s designed or not. Here’s the kicker, the relevance, the truthfulness, the good or bad is not a judgement the subconscious weights in adapting change. A good mantra becomes a great design for change to increase life’s benefits.
A mantra is really nothing more than a sales tool to trick both the conscious and the subconscious minds to project and change into something both are currently incapable of becoming. Few of us ask ourself, ‘how can I we change my life?’, and, fewer still, know how to do it. We all want more out of life. I’m not defining more, that’s an individual desire. We’ve been taught the answer!
Oh, I forgot to mention that true belief must also be factored into the equation of change. Without the caliber to be flexible enough to believe that change is possible, change will not happen, at least, not in this life. And, the more flexible a person is, the quicker change may occur. The flexibility to change belief and to trust is the secret. This surrender is difficult, but, again, we’ve got the answer.
Another thing I forget to tell you is that karma plays a great factor in process of change as well. No matter what you think, no matter what you do, no matter what you desire, if your karma won’t allow it, it won’t happen. Sorry... but wait! Our prayers have been answered. Karma doesn't have to be the end of the game. There’s still hope. We can change our Karma when we live our Dharma. This is when hope becomes real and reality delivers Guru’s blessing! Wahe Guru!
Guru is the final judge, thank God. This is the only place our karma can change and allow us to do what, otherwise, we’re just not capable of. No one comes perfect, so the point of inflexibility comes with everyone at some point. At this point, help is mandatory to change further. Now, we know that we can’t change our karma ourself, so, thank God, there’s help. It’s available to everyone, but only a limited few will take advantage of it and it’s expensive. Guru offers this help. The cost is service to His will. The more a person does this, the more help he is given. Otherwise life is lived without any recognition of “limitedness, remedy, and recovery.”
There’s further good news. Guru provides a tool to make the cost of Guru’s help not just easy to pay, but a great joy as well. It’s called the sacred name of God. All you have to do is chant His Name. It’s magic, but it’s not instant. This is where discipline comes into play. Some way or other, the sincere student must fine a way to practice saying His Name over and over. Even here, there are many names, but their specific use is for another time.
A Sikh is given many sacred mantras with the Khalsa sacred name of God as “Wahe Guru.” It works, it’s not secret, and it’s universal. Find a way to remember and practice saying this Name of God. Practice makes perfect!
There are more goodies. Guru teaches us to sing God’s sacred songs as they contain many mantras. We do this every morning for starters. And we have exponential results when we sing his glorious praises in the ambrosial hours, before the sun rises. It works whether we believed it, whether we concentrated on it, or whether we liked it. Trick your mind into being flexible enough to do what Guru says instead of what you say to yourself. We have been blessed to have found the mantra, “Wahe Guru,” which offers the highest rewards. This mantra is the key.
There’s more. How lucky was I. Well, I not only had a Guru providing everything I needed, but I had a teacher who gave me much more help. I must have been a terrible student to need and demand so much help. Nevertheless, I got it. My teacher, the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, provided more help through Kundalini Yoga, which is another technology which provides everything necessary to allow flexibility into life. It starts with postures (commitment), continues with pranayam (breathing discipline), and proceeds through meditation (deliverance of change). Kundalini Yoga is Ashtanga yoga on steroids. Flexibility is developed through the required discipline. Change happens quickly, although, while going through the process, it seems like it’s taking forever.
Please, take advantage of what we’ve been so blessed to have. It’s an opportunity afforded to very few. It’s the opportunity to live in harmony with existence. It’s, indeed, a rare opportunity to not just understand everything, but become it all. I know many will discount what I say, they should. But for those of you who understand, please know that I say this in the honest prayer that your life should change in the direction of bliss. Why not? That’s what I want from you. I want you to live a effortless, dutifully, radiant, carefree life filled with the confidence of God. That’s my sincere prayer for your life.
My teacher, my Guru, and my God did this for me. Be flexible enough to follow their way and prosperity will begin to take shape in your life -- sell yourself on Kundalini Yoga, sell yourself on mantra, and sell yourself on seva, service, to His will. You’ve been given the blessing of God to have this opportunity. Please, don’t let it go. Get going and let sincerity, concentration, and discipline be your mantra along with the Name of God. See what you life becomes. It’s beyond belief; It’s beyond dreams; It’s a place where gratitude is the only other resident; it’s where love truly exists. And, you have a chance to participate. Wahe Guru!
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, The Nobility of Flexibility
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
It’s finally dawned on me. It’s easier and more efficient to understand how to best work with a person in order to get the best out of him rather than expect or teach him how he should act in order to get what is required. Much better. Nevertheless, we must still continue to teach through our example. Wow. It’s only taken me over seventy years to figure this out. At least I did it no matter how long it took.
In other words, flexibility wins the day. Flexibility includes welcoming contrary opinions. They either verify your thinking or provide valuable alternatives. Flexibility also includes, and this is a hard one, that everyone needs to be heard. Be flexible and listen to all. Well, nobody said it was going to be easy.
Be flexible in allowing a boss into your life. We’ve been blessed to have the absolutely best boss. At least he was for me. And, of course, if you are flexible enough to let a boss into your life, you should be smart enough to also listen to him. This is the kind of relationship which bears fruit.
Flexibility leads to surrender. The more the student, employee, friend, etc., surrenders to the boss, the more of the boss is seen. We've beat unbelievable odds. We’ve not only found the right boss, but our boss has found the right boss - Guru Ram Das. We’re well credentialed in our flexibility.
We understand that flexibility is the secret to success. I’m not saying that everyone who’s flexible is successful. What I’m saying is that everyone who isn’t flexible will not be successful, at least not in this life.
There are a few exceptions; like those who are inflexible about a discipline which can and does yield results. Yes, in these rare cases, inflexibility can deliver a specific result, but it’s still a long way from happiness. Even inflexibility to a true spiritual structure will fail as, at some point, it becomes unidimensional, limited and ineffectual.
Then it dawned upon me, flexibility is tolerance. So, flexibility works in all venues all the way up to spirituality. Flexibility leads to tolerance, and tolerance leads to compassion, and compassion leads to merger. It’s a good formula for elevation. This formula delivered much more than I ever expected.
For years you want to believe that God exists and He personally cares about your life. This thought becomes a prayer. Then it happens, God does enter your life. You know this because prayers are answered.
Now, you have to make sure that your prayers are pure. No more asking for personal things. No more praying to God as if he were your personal piggy bank. The piggy bank prayer is for others, not you. You mean that you still don’t know that God already knows exactly what you want, your innermost heart, so shut up about it and get on with more important things. Believe me, this takes a lot of flexibility.
Deal with students where they’re at, not where they’re suppose to be. Yes, still teach the correct way, but learn and use the best method in directing the student in the most efficient way. Be flexible; be tolerant; be compassionate; be prayerful. Be not just a great teacher, but a great student as well.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, The Gain of Pain
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
The difference between motivations to come to yoga from when I first went to class and now is gigantic. I’m not saying that our reasons were always pure, but we knew it should be a lifetime commitment, shopping time was over. Many left, some are still here. The recognition of this difference is the dance of God.
I’ve been so protected in my life that I sometimes forget to continue to be grateful for the perspective we’ve been given. We see things from 35,000 feet up, like a jet plane’s altitude. We see the pain in others; we sometimes forget because our life has become so painless.
I’m always glad when I remember to see the pain in others. That’s part of my job description, so I’m glad when I remember no matter how. At it’s base, this pain is no different than the pain we all felt back when. The pain of life has it’s own teaching and all look for a way out. Some do this, some do that, but all want out of pain. Yes, I know there are some masacists who want pain, well God bless them, they don’t really count in this equation. I’m talking to those who want out of pain. That’s what we’re about.
Kundalini Yoga offers relatively instant relief. Some part of your being relaxes a bit. It could be your shoulders; it could be your mind, it could be your judgement; it could be your soul. It could be any of these or others too, but the relaxation is so dramatic that it’s felt almost immediately. Automatically, the perception of life shifts. Gratitude comes into play.
To be able to move your shoulders painlessly, to be able to calm your mind a bit, to be able to see on only the best in others, to be in touch with your soul, makes gratitude mandatory. Otherwise, the relaxation will go away. You learn, the more grateful you are, the less pain life brings.
I’m not saying that life is without crisis. In fact, some may think that our life is one of perpetual chaos. It’s neither. It’s a life lived in the neutrality of existence. Whatever comes, comes. No judgement attached. Sure, there is a duty to act to prevent crisis and that’s what is expected, but the final call is Guru’s.
The way to live painlessly is to overcome pain, not to avoid it. The anomaly is that this is one of the most painful things to do. Thankfully, there is a way to make all pain disappear, including the pain of overcoming pain.
Kundalini Yoga is a great way to learn to overcome pain. Bend down and grab your toes. Pull until your hamstring muscles feel the burn. Pull until it becomes uncomfortable and hurt a bit. Don’t let up. Go into the pain and relax. Relax into the pain; relax through the breath. Kundalini Yoga becomes a place to practice and experience overcoming pain. It works.
Sikh Dharma offers another tool to aid in this process. It’s called “Guru Prasad,” God’s gift. It works when nothing else can. It makes relaxation real and immediate. Like Kundalini Yoga has done for pain removal, Sikh Dharma does for soul protection. When your soul is protected, ”Guru Prasad” comes your way.
“Guru Prasad” removes the pain of life, period. relaxation moves into all aspects of life, so all pain is removed. Well, I guess I shouldn’t really say removed because it’s always there, it’s just handled differently, correctly. It’s handled through Guru’s grace. It’s a gift. It can't be bought. It can be earned. It’s the balanced state of perpetual endurance balanced by the state of Guru’s grace, “Guru Prasad.” It’s Miti and Piti, Mother and Father. It’s duty and faith together. It’s here and hereafter. It’s I and Thou. So chaos and grace go together. One is necessary for the other. Both become a part of a balanced life. Both must be dealt with properly. Both must be equal. This is Sikh Dharma.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Blue Chip Leadership
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
I’ve been thinking about leadership for years. I’ve read books about it. I’ve seen lectures about it. I’ve even written about it. And I watched our teacher exemplify and model leadership impeccably. He said : “If you want to know something, study it; if you want to learn something, write about it; if you want to master something, teach it.”
I can think of many definitions of leadership and they would not be wrong, I’m just saying that I’ve come to the conclusion that leadership should first be defined by the maintenance of the purity of the teachings. Spirituality, consciousness and competence come next. These must all be satisfied to join the club of leadership.
On our blessed path, first, foremost, and always, the leadership must maintain through the purity of the legacy. That’s easier said than done. Nevertheless, it’s especially important for a spiritual entity. It’s way too easy to get off track. Purity of the teachings, the legacy, and the organization is the first and last order of business.
The question becomes, how is this purity continued? At first, it seems a simple task. It is anything but. Our egos get in the way. We think we know better. We think it’s our turn. We think we’ll keep up with the times. We think, we think, we think… When it comes to purity, thinking is not the answer, obedience is!
This morning in Sadhana Gurdwara we sang the Shabad: "Waaho Waaho Saachae Mai Thaeree Taek", with the repeating verse:
Here the Guru is reminding us that our purity is up to him, we’re not capable. So, the more we rely on Him, the more pure our legacy is. Our teacher relied on the Guru for everything. This guaranteed his legacy as that of the purity of the Guru. It’s up to us to continue this lineage. Once again the Guru has reminded us, it’s not about us, it’s about Him.
The first step in leadership requires no thinking. In fact, thinking becomes a detriment. All that’s required is a leadership which understands the purity and continues to practice living this purity of the lifestyle of our Gurus sincerely. That’s it. Without this, purity fades and fails. If it fails, it fails all those who come after; all those who counted on us and hungered, longed, and prayed to follow the legacy in it’s purity. We must not fail the future generations, period!
The good news is that our organization’s purity is not up to us. Our impurities will not come into play if we are committed to the teachings, the legacy, as is. This is the direction of Yogi Bhajan, the Siri Singh Sahib. The purity is on his shoulders. Wide and strong, his shoulders are our benchmark.
So, this has become my duty as Chief of Protocol. Let us all keep asking the questions: Who knows the legacy? Who is living the protocol? This is my initial criteria for purity. This is my criteria for leadership.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, A Life Lived Royally
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
A royal life is the byproduct of Sikh Dharma. A royal life is not what you think. A royal life may or may not include a palace, subjects, and material wealth A royal life will include prosperity in the form of an elevated consciousness which, in the case of Sikh Dharma, may include palaces, students, and wealth.
An elevated consciousness traverses through many different paths. Each path produces a different experience of elevation. For some it’s poverty; for others, prosperity. And, poverty and prosperity are defined differently through each path. So, myriad are the ways.
Sikh Dharma is a path of prosperity. The secret is in how prosperity is presented through Sikhism. Turns out that it’s a fantastic path, a path where prosperity is truly defined by the Guru. It’s exemplified through the royal life of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru.
This week is the celebration of Baisakhi, when Guru Gobind Singh created the Khalsa, the pure ones. Purity leads to prosperity. This is a celebration in which to participate.
Guru Gobind Singh, first and last, was a man of consciousness. His view of reality was gazed from 35,000 feet up. Yes, he could also see things at ground level, but it was his elevated view which afforded him with a different perspective, a deeper perspective, a spiritual perspective. This is the starting point in a Sikh’s prosperity.
This elevated view allowed for a view through the teachings. A view devoid of bias or prejudice. A view through neutrality. A view added by the secret Name of God. A view in service to God. A view through truth.
The question becomes, what do I do with this truth? A Sikh becomes a living example of God’s bestowed prosperity. A Sikh chooses the path of a palace, of wealth, of students. A Sikh accepts these gifts in the devotion to Him who bestowed them, and as an example for others to see that spirituality, religion, lifestyles can be also lived regally.
Sikhism is a religion which flies in the face of those who believe that poverty is the only path to God’s House. A Sikh deserves this blessing because he knows who the Giver is and who the servant is. A Sikhs devotion is the key which tweaks these blessings into reality. A Sikh’s love of his Guru guarantees that this form of prosperity will be handled gracefully.
A Sikh becomes an example for others to see that spirituality works, that prosperity includes whatever form you want it to be within the bounds of propriety. Otherwise, all bets are off. A Sikh understands that the responsibility which comes with this blessing is the necessity to keep up in following the teachings.
A Sikh knows that he owns nothing, he’s just a caretaker. And being the caretaker of God’s property, he must serve it in the most reverent manner. He must maintain it, he must grow it, he must share it, and he must display it. For a Sikh, wealth is not a private thing. This display is in recognition of his Guru. Although counterintuitive, the more wealth displayed, the more devotion comes into play. Therefore, no guilt attached. This is a Khalsa Sikh.
Prosperity for a Sikh comes in other forms. As God’s trustee, a Sikh glows with the radiance of Guru himself. He dresses like the Guru, he decorates himself like the Guru, he acts like the Guru and he speaks like the Guru. He is absolutely humble on one side, yet totally confident on the other. He walks in the trust that his protection and prosperity are in the hands of the Guru.
For a Sikh, it’s all about devotion begotten through Gods sacred name. It’s a life lived in confidence and humility at the same time. A Sikh knows where his bread is buttered.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, The Autocracy of Democracy
Sat Nam, Dear Family! Trump is turning out just as I thought. He’s a test as to whether our form of democracy holds up. He’s a worthy opponent. He’s a test of our concept of the separation of powers. He’s an examination into America’s values. Can our democracy overcome a good attempt at being taken over by a despot?
I’m glad to report that there is a strong voice standing up to the truth beyond politics. Yes, they’re usually Democrats, but I’ve seem some even minded Republicans join in as well. This all must be seen as a test of our American reality. I have confidence, but it won’t come easily.
In a strange sort of way, we should be grateful to Trump for testing our metal. We Americans demand that we, the citizens, come first in the thinking of our leadership. That means that no bully is going to upset the system of which we live under. We believe in our system. We trust in it’s truth.
We, the citizens of America, understand that we will not let our system down. We will stand up for democracy because we will not go backwards.
Did you think that freedom is free? The Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, said “There is no liberation without labor. There is no freedom which is free.”I thought that we learned long ago that we always must be willing to defend our freedom, or someone will eventually take it away. That’s the deal. We must be willing to stand up for our freedom. That’s the way it works. I can’t change it. It’s not my doing. We accept that and when called upon, we’re not only willing but surrender gratefully to do our duty in the name of our beloved country. Now, is one of those times.
This test is about us. It is always about us! Do we understand, are we willing, and is surrender in sight? Are we willing to defend our structure, or are we willing to allow another’s selfish interest and thinking to lead us? This second choice is not acceptable. We, as Americans, must stand up. Anything less is unacceptable.
America must survive as the hope for the rest of the world. Well, that’s how we started out. America represented freedom to the rest of the world. We were, and in some ways still are, the hope of freedom. The image of America rang true, ‘the streets are paved with gold.’ In America, everyone is free to do, earn, and serve as they please. America meant that you were free to create your own destiny or fate. Now, that’s truly freedom. It’s allowed for all of our different way of thinking to coexist.
We take it for granted that we can do mostly as we wish. We shouldn’t. We should always remember that this freedom comes with a cost. We must never allow another to say how we must think and act. Without a check and balance, that way of thinking can become, and always has been, abusive. There is no freedom in this way. This way must never be allowed to penetrate our defense.
Our check and balance must work. It must work beyond politics. It must be recognized and used when an attack on our freedom is at hand and that’s not tolerable. And, the sooner the better as far as I’m concerned. The quicker we get this over with the better.
The answer is in something we were taught as a youngster. How do you deal with a bully? You stand up to him no matter how big he is. Otherwise, he owns you whether you recognize it or not.
Let me say this, I have a lot of confidence that the checks and balances will work. They must work. And, they will work. What will emerge will be a whole new strata of status. A status of reality will emerge built on the experience of who was who during the test to our democracy. The slate is washed clean and everyone is born again. It’s another chance to do what’s right for yourself and for everyone. Everyone has a chance to stand up for the gratitude freedom can lead to. Everyone has a chance to do the right thing. It’s a really good feeling.
Mr. Trump must not be allowed to act in any manner which even gives the slightest essence of self-interest. He must be challenged at every turn. He must not be allowed to out fox us, out weigh us, out last us, or in any other way ‘out’ us. We must continue to challenge. And, we shall do this in the knowledge that we are doing God’s work. We win twice. Stay tuned.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, A Stern way to Learn
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
Our beloved teacher, the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, was a kind soul. He treated me with trust; the trust that I wouldn’t betray him. And, I’m sorry to say, I betrayed him more times than I wish to remember. Many times I betrayed him when I didn’t even know I was doing it. My failing was part of a universal process of growth, and, yes, I do apologize to him for all the trouble I gave him.
Here’s the beauty, I know he’s already forgiven me, that’s how I can be so flippant about it, He needed the same kind of kindness from his own teacher. And, maybe even more. That’s where his compassion comes from. So, with his forgiveness all guilt is removed. What a gift. Life just got a lot easier and more enjoyable.
Once in a great while he would request something of me that I had no way of producing. “Hari Jiwan, I want you to look into such and such business and give me a report which will produce a million dollar profit this month.” What? I had my own business to run and I spent a lot of time with him, how is this possible?
Why is he pushing me like this and why now? And, why is he acting like he’s mad and he means it? He never stays mad even when he means it, so I had no fear of his anger. I came to find out that that was a rare commodity. Nevertheless, fear is a great motivator and shouldn’t be avoided even if you are clever about it.
But, what was this all about? My life was about figuring him out, and this issue was a doozy. These occurrences were usually spontaneous and unexpected. They always caught me off guard. I’m sure I appeared befuddled and perplexed. That’s hardly the face I wanted to present, but, in cases like this, I couldn't help myself. Forewarned is forearmed as the statement goes. I had absolutely no forewarning.
By the next day everything was back to normal. No word about it was spoken. I was left to stew in my wonder. “What’s it all about, Alfie.” He had covered the issue himself, I was off the hook. I was grateful, I shouldn't have been. I was stupid. I should have understood what he wanted to see in me. I should have challenged myself and the situation and, rather than wonder how, I should have just begun.
I should have displayed the trust necessary to do the impossible. I should have had the courage to put myself at risk. I should have relaxed into this duty with the humility to know that He who gives me what I need, will provide for me to do what is necessary, as well as the confidence to know it will be done. I should have known that I could gracefully accept any result because that’s not my call and because nothing is ever final.
But, that would have been a lot to know. I barely knew any of it. As time went on, I was able to see the opportunities in his great demands.
Also, there was more to it. I came to realize that our beloved teacher would use opportunities like this to take the temperature of his students. Catching a student off guard will force his real face forward. All the will, all the projection, all the hope goes out the window and a true window to his soul is exposed.
This would tell him several things. First, who’s advancing, who’s growing.This is important for a vested teacher. Next, it would tell him whether advancement was warranted, or more time needed to be spent where the student was at that moment. And, finally, it would challenge the student in a way which challenged limits.
Sometimes I think that it would have been a lot easier if only I had known then what I know now. Then again, at the time, I most likely wouldn’t have been able to gracefully pursue what was necessary. I probably wouldn’t have even know that I was in a game of love, a game of understanding!, a game of obedience.
Everything has it’s time and the augmentation and understanding of our teachings into our psyche is no different. There is a Bible quote from Ecclesiastics as well as a popular song taken from this quote by the Byrds called, 'Turn, Turn, Turn', in the mid-1960’s which goes, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” This is another one of those universal truths. Everything is perfect and timely.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Immunity from Community
Sat Nam, Dear Family! After langar lunch, today, I sat down at a table with people I know, and people I don’t. One was a young man traveling the country culminating in southern Oregon. He, along with four or five of his friends are homesteading land. I didn’t know you could still do that. But, evidentially, you can.
This young man just graduated from Penn State University. I said to him, “Why are you doing this? What is your purpose?” He then went into a five minute animated response about how he feels that community is so important and how the creation of community's become his goal.
“Would you like my opinion?” I asked. “That’s why I’m taking my time going across country. I want to experience as much as possible before we begin this journey. Please, tell me what you think,” he concluded.
“I’ve lived a long time and I’ve seen many many communities formed. It’’s been my experience that unless the community has a mission, eventually they fail or, occasionally, if they continue to exist, they do so in anonymity.”
“What do you mean by a mission?”
“A mission, a purpose, is doing something, like building a community, but with an elevated reason. In other words, a mission is doing something in service to humanity. It’s selfless service.”’
“Can you please give me an example?”
“Suppose your homestead venture includes building a community to display that organic stainable farming is not only possible, but profitable.”
“That’s just what we want to do,” he exclaimed.
“Well, why didn’t you say so. Then you have a mission.”
“I guess we do. Why is a mission important?”
“Because life is hard enough. Now, you want to build a community. I’ve been witness to scores of communities, many built in our organization alone. I’ve seen what keeps people connected through all the negativity, which inevitably arises. Homesteading is hard, especially from scratch, no buildings, no water, no anything.”
“That’s right, I know it will be hard.”
“Personal issues will arise. Personalities, habits, history, emotions, and culture will create conflict. I’ve seen it happen time after time. These issues become exacerbated as times get harder and as pressure is turned up. Without a mission, people follow the course of least resistance. There usually comes a point were it’s easier to move on than stay. When there is a mission in play, it’s easier to sacrifice and be flexible enough to continue beyond conflict.”
“I see. Where did you learn this?”
“I was lucky, the luckiest. I was blessed to spend a lot of time with my spiritual teacher, the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan. I saw him act and react in many situations. He was a self-professed garbage collector. He took on the dirt of his students. None came with clean hands, otherwise they wouldn’t have come. So, he took everyone’s dirt. He didn’t react. That’s how he could teach. Many think they knew better them him; others thought they were his teacher; still, others didn’t think that they needed any dirt removed. In spite of all this, he took it all and then gave, and gave, and gave.”
“Do you mean that he loved you in spite of your dirt?”
“I mean that he loved my potential, not my dirt. He didn’t love my dirt. His great love was reserved for the mission and for all those following the mission. His great love was reserved for those whose actions were selfless. Our mission states that our selfless actions are defined as those actions, which serve Guru’s will, period. All else is dirt. He taught me that this is how a teacher is born.”
“Thank you very much,” the young man said.
It’s always fun to see new, open people. Stay tuned.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Glove Love
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
Tonight I feel like expressing why I love our teacher. I’m sure that everyone has their reasons, let me share mine.
I came from another world. It was just the opposite of what you’d expect from someone so close to our beloved teacher. I was shocked when he picked me out of the crowd of more experienced and more well known teachers. Maybe it was because I was a willing participant. I was willing to do his will. That’s where this journey becomes real.
Life changed for me. I not only didn’t have to follow anyone but him. I was provided many trappings of prosperity as well. I believed that all my prosperity was of his making, and, as it turned out, I was right. I was grateful, but never grateful enough. That’s why I’m again expressing my sincere gratitude for what opportunities I’ve been given. And, this is just one of the reasons I love him deeply.
The more reality that exists in the teacher, the more goodies, the teacher can ask Guru Ram Das to bestow on his students. That’s the formula, at least, that’s the Sikh formula. My teacher provided gifts for me beyond my imagination. I was never grateful enough, yet he kept providing prosperity. What’s not to love!
I swore allegiance to him. I believed in him. I was ready to serve. I served. Then, I failed. Gratefully, I never gave up believing in him or serving him again. I was lucky. I saw enough of him to verify my commitment. I saw his grace.
I was a good servant, but I got complacent. It happens. Complacency is covered up through arrogance.The evidence of complacency is excuse after excuse. This leads to a downward spiral into the worldliness of lies. It can gobble you up, and it does most people.
For some reason, I was blessed to be aware of this process. I knew what I had to do. I knew that my complacent days were over. I remembered that the battle is never over for a Sikh. I reminded myself that there was nothing to feel badly about. I focused on only seeing the potential in everything. I practice this every day. I learned this from the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan. I saw him manifest his dream out of nothing into reality. He loved my potential, not my dirt. He was required to tolerate my dirt, but he didn’t have to love it. Thank God.
His example was exactly what you’d expect it to be. Many thought him grand; many not. Isn’t that verification of something? He was what the viewer saw. This has always been the way of the world. The prisms we see through create our reality. Family, culture, environment, are just a few of the factors which create our prisms. For me, he broke all prisms. He was universal. First and always, he was a servant of Guru Ram Das. That’s another reason I love the Siri Singh Sahib.
My dirt was tolerated. My potential was exalted. Whether I knew it or not at the time isn't the issue. Fact is, I was given gloriously. Sometimes I forgot who the Giver was and thought that I deserved more of the credit. This way of thinking turns to arrogance. I could see the way he would handle this negativity. He just wouldn’t give in. He was a warrior of many swords. For me, he lived an example to love. And, I do more and more each day.
You know what the biggest reason is that I love him? I’ll share with you. It’s because he becomes a gateway to our Guru. My experience is that his great blessing to his students is that following the teacher and the teachings and the legacy is a grand shortcut into the Court of Guru Ram Das.
That’s the beauty of a true teacher, they make things much easier and faster. And, here’s the real beauty, they make it effortless. At some point, my teacher takes me by the hand and leads me into the Court of the Guru. Why me? Who cares! What else is there to love?
This Royal Court is home to those who have prayed and disciplined themselves into deserving of a place to display more and more surrender to Guru’s will. The reward for this deeper commitment is more and more prosperity.
This Royal life is the life he showed me way before my time. I lived a life of prosperity. Of course, it was never enough, but that’s just me. I lived a real life because of him. It’s no longer a guessing game, is it real, or not. I’ve experienced his magic. He gave me the opportunity to provide him and myself with regal things of this world. I was smart enough and grateful enough to share it with him. In fact, he was welcome to all of it and, at one time, he did take it all as well. I was ready and I was really lucky.
I saw his reality, his realized potential. This is what it showed me: His blessings continue. I love him because he loved the potential in me and I loved the reality in him. We were good for each other. Now you know why he kept me around. I’m tired of letting him down. All my dirt has to go. I just don't want him to have to take it on again. I don’t want to ever cause him any distress. At least I’ve said it. We’ll see if I mean it this time. We’ll see how much I really love him.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, "I Like Ike"
Sat Nam, Dear Family! I’m reading, or, I should say, my lovely wife is reading a book to me that I’m really enjoying. We are part of a book club and we are the only members! I don’t really get into noted peoples lives like so many do, but once in a while something tickles my interest. This book does more than that. It’s called “Three Days in January” by Bret Baier and Catherine Whitney.
What does this have to do with spirituality? Everything, that’s what. Please let me explain.
The story is about Dwight Eisenhower, our 34th president. And, specifically, about the creating and delivering of his farewell speech as he left office in 1961. Because of his great prowess as Supreme Allied Commender of the Allied Forces in Europe during WWII, he actually was hugely instrumental in the winning of that war. Sure, he was part of an enormous and talented team, and he’d be the first to declare it, but his leadership was critical.
Eisenhower’s life is an inspiring story in and of itself. Born on the plains of Texas and raised on the prairie of Kansas, his story begins uneventfully, almost too ordinary for a man who was to become the leader of the free world. I was raised in this area, so I know his history well.
Eisenhower’s family gave him two great things. First, his parents were deeply imbedded in the faith prairie life brings home. They were staunch conservative Christians, and pacifists, at least that’s how we’d view them today. It turns out that this way of dealing is great if expansion accompanies it, and very limited if it stays put. His family was of the expansionist variety.
According to the book, and it makes total sense, one of the values his parents held sacred was to raise children as if parents are their caretakers, not their owners. In other words, let each child find his or her own path and don’t get in the way - even if their path trends in another direction. Now, this is what I call an “expansive” form of Christianity. The understanding of the relationship is the key.
Funny, but this is our teachings as well. We strive to be neutral, even in parenting. I know how hard it is, I still fall victim to it. But, I do better and better each time. We serve our duty as devoted servants of the Guru in a manner which teaches by example. This is our goal; this is our character; this is our destiny; this is our reward. This is where we Sikhs and “expansive” Christians meet. It’s very comfortable to both of us. This is one place where Eisenhower and I shake hands.
Through a convoluted sequence of events, Eisenhower winds up at West Point. Wow, what a change. From a poor prairie life to the spite and polish of the Academy must have been a shock. But, much to his credit, he rode with it. He didn’t excel yet, but he obeyed, and was allowed to follow his destiny. He went with the flow until he caught an eddy which thrust him forward. That eddy was his pure heart nurtured by his mother. This pureness of heart was the second gift from his upbringing.
West Point gave him discipline, discipline in a different manner. Discipline which wasn’t always understandable, but obedience ultimately provided the answer. He learned the value of order, he was made for it and for the lessons West Point had to offer. He learned the great value in the “chain of command,” and the handicap it may become as well. His Kansan faith gave him the obedience to understand the great value in doing something right. He loved structure; he loved duty; he loved obedience. This, also, is our teaching.
“Ike,” as he was known, was a true servant of this country. He served America and the free world well. He was just what was needed. He brought a standard to the office of president which can only be served when the office is consciously self-judged. He lived up to it. Was he perfect? He’d be the first to tell you he was far from it, but history has proved him wrong. Was he a great man? Twenty years ago, those who vote for such things, voted him as the 24th best president of the United States (generals generally haven’t been held in high esteem as far as presidents go), last year he was up to 7th and trending upwards.
His service during WWII was marvelous. I’ve read his own account of his thinking and acting in his book “Crusade Through Europe” published right after the war. Surprisingly, a compassionate general emerges. He had seen the horror of war up close. Rather than pursue violence like so many warriors do, he courted peace first, last, and always. So much so, that if war weren’t unavoidable, he’d have been a pacifist. Yet, at the same time, he was a great general. Aren’t these things mutually exclusive? Not in Ike’s world. Again, his thinking was as if he were a great Sikh warrior, a great general. The balance between war and peace is the key. Once more, Ike’s consciousness reflects that of a great Sikh warrior and leader.
Rather than hate his enemy, Ike learned to respect their valor, their commitment, their discipline. He may not have liked what they stood for, but they were humans too. As different as his belief was, he looked at them as misguided, not as evil. WWII softened him, made him more loving of humanity. The great love he had for his family, the great love they had for him, the great love he had for God was exalted in his love for humanity as a whole entity. He became a great warrior and a great lover of humanity at the same time.
His expanded nature combined with his loving, structured upbringing created an exalted life. He was a great leader. Let me prove it to you. If I heard our beloved teacher say it once, I heard him say a hundred times, the way to live life is to obey, serve, love, and excel. From the prairie to the White House, Eisenhower made this progressive and successful journey by obeying, serving, loving, and excelling. I’ll be darned if Ike wasn’t a great Sikh, a great Kundalini Yogi, and a great student of our beloved teacher, the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan. At least, his actions matched up and that’s the final verdict.
No matter what cloths he wears, Eisenhower is a great Sikh General, the perfect leader. How can I not love a man who exemplifies our manner of living no matter where he or she comes from? I can’t. During his campaign for president, Eisenhower’s campaign slogan was, “I like Ike.” Well, I like Ike!
See Sikh Definitions.
Pages And Points To Ponder
Memories, Moments, and Missives
See more at 3HOLegacyLinks.com.
Memories to share? Register here.
Pages And Points To Ponder