Yogi Bhajan, Move Over Rover
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
“Can you please get out of your own way.”
We were walking around the ranch on a rather crisp late morning in April in 1991. It was our beloved teacher’s habit and pleasure to walk and view his estate. It felt as if I were walking with a king and he was inspecting the grounds of his castle. It felt like that because that’s what he experienced. I loved living in his world.
Hearing his words of truth, I knew exactly what he meant. His statement needed no further interpretation. But, when he said it, it reverberated within me and made a big impact. I was currently involved in a business deal which required sensitive negotiations. He rarely bothered with business issues of mine. He left that up to me. He often helped on the human resource side of things but the rest was left up to me.
Negotiations in this deal was proceeding painfully. We were a long way from a deal acceptable to both sides. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I wanted to get even with this guy I was negotiating with. He had betrayed me so badly that I could never give him what he deserved during our discussions. I wanted to recapture what he had cost me. That’s not the way to negotiate. My attitude was, whatever this guy gets, he doesn’t deserve it. Vengeance was getting in the way of making a deal. I wanted revenge and that’s not how a successful negotiation is finalized.
As obvious as it should have been, I couldn’t see this impediment. I was stuck. And, as usual, I hadn’t discussed this situation with the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan. I thought it would work itself out, but it hadn’t. And now with his ‘morning walk words of wisdom’ he was showing me that he knew what was happening when I didn’t. How did he know? And, how did he know just what to say? Well, that’s why he’s the Siri Singh Sahib. He served his title with honor. That’s how he was blessed to know everything he needed to know.
It appeared to everyone else that his statement was in reference to something completely different. That didn’t matter to me. That’s how he often acted. He would use any excuse to say what he wanted. I was used to it. I was trained to look for another reference if the first one didn’t make sense. In this case, it was pretty obvious.
I didn’t need to reflect for long, I knew right away that he meant for me to drop the vengeance. See how a deal can be struck in neutrality. Of course, he was right again. How lucky we all are to have a true teacher who continually speaks words of truth. I am Infinitely grateful for it. Our job is to constantly be blessed to have the understanding to hear them!
I’m not saying that it’s easy to get out of your own way, At least it wasn’t for me. Especially when emotions and feeling are involved. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary in order to do what’s best, if that’s your goal. He taught me that if I want to do what’s best, I must get out of my own way. I must allow something greater to blow ME away. It’s an affront, a challenge, to your very core - your security! I was blessed to understand the sequence.
Anger, jealousy, fear, frustration and hate are insecurities which must be moved aside. Then there are your concepts of faith and reality and happiness… they also must be suspended. Everything you believed in is out of your hands and up to God’s judgement as to whether you can recapture a portion of your habits, or not. Otherwise, they block God’s flow of the true way.
Insecurities create doubt, and doubt creates karma. It’s very definable. ‘Round and round we go, spinning like a wheel.’ That last line was written by a creative and talented member of our sangat many years ago.
The point is, getting out of your own way may come in many shades of success, nevertheless, when you defeat each insecurity in yourself, making the right decision is no longer a problem. What a relief that is. The confidence to make the right decision even if it appears temporally wrong, creates a life of contentment.
If you’re willing to pay the price of humility, any and all of these insecurities can be managed. So, I made humility a game as if it were something I needed to move to the next level. It didn’t matter whether or not I liked it, I needed humility to move on and that was more important than anything. I practiced humility. Let me say this about humility. Giving up one’s ego over and over again is a hard thing to give up, but, when it’s given up, the experience of freedom is so overwhelming that you wonder why you were so stupid for so long. But, as I heard one time, “Stupid is as stupid does,” another reference, this time from a movie.
And, here’s the further beauty in his teaching. His statement was also the key as to how to use humility in order to ‘get out of my own way,’ There needs to be a replacement. Otherwise, without direction it’s too big a risk to take. Where will you end up?
His teachings were filled with references focused on the highest goals, the highest standards, the highest protocol. Please study them. You’ll see what I mean. And, that’s what you really want as a student, otherwise, you’ll be settling for less. Why bother? At least that’s my attitude. I know plenty of others bother, but I won’t allow myself or this dharma a view which has the potential to deflect focus away from our teachings. So I’ve moved myself out of my way.
I’ve replaced ME with the Guru’s teachings. That has make the transition out of my own way the blessing of blessings. When you step outside of you, and into the identity of the Guru, life becomes really worth living. Otherwise, hassle and hassle continue - perpetually! Practice Kundalini yoga forever; find where the teachings lead; follow that lead; trust that lead; surrender to that lead; serve that lead; love that lead; merge into that lead. This is Sikh Dharma at it’s core. ‘God and me, me and God are one.’
In the Humility of Service and Gratitude,
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Surpassing the Passing
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
Did you ever feel that life is passing you by? What to do? You know God is real, but He really didn’t have much to do with your life. You know because you’ve prayed many times and nothing’s happened. Your negativity towards anything spiritual limits this alternative for a relevant life. That’s a very frustrating place to be. Like they say, ‘ignorance is bliss.’ That’s why denial is an easy course to inertia. Life goes on, but frustration remains. And, the smarter you are the more frustrated you become. I know it’s counterintuitive, but it’s true.
Not only is life passing you by, but your negativity creates a negative trend in karma as well. Now, that’s a double negative hit. But, it’s a living, it keeps things as they are. How good a living isn’t within examining range. So, everything you see, everything you hear, everything you feel, is convoluted in your mind to verify your status quo. Only what you want to believe is heard. This is not in your best interest.
Not all people have this issue, but many do. And, for those of you who don’t, you would do well as teachers to understand this issue because, eventually, it will present itself to you. So, I write to all of you as someone who’s gone through this journey, ‘forewarned is forearmed.’ Many times, when you know what to expect, preparation makes future events shockproof. Therefore, it’s easier to access the neutral mind.
For me, this journey started well before I found Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini Yoga along with Sikhism just topped it off beautifully. It started with the shock of having my world shaken. Life wasn’t the same. Much wasn’t going my way. I liked things going my way. When they didn’t, especially in great numbers, I wasn’t happy. I like being happy. It’s one of my great virtues. I want to enjoy life. I know there’s a cost, but it’s a cost I’m willing to pay.
I looked to find perpetual happiness. Everything I experienced which provided happiness turned out to be short lived. After all these failed attempts, finally, I thought, ‘this thing called spirituality has been around since the beginning of time. Some forms of it promise happiness. I better check it out.’ And, i did.
Without being specific, I studies many, many form. I finally wound up reading the teachings of our beloved teacher. He taught, ‘Happiness is our birthright.’ Wow,” I thought. “I think I’m home.” Naturally, I explored further. Everything he taught registered with me. Not that I agreed with everything initially, but this truth haunted me. I knew he was right.
I knew that for me his way was the way to not let life pass me by and still be happy. I didn’t want to hang on the cross for a relevant way. There are plenty of others for that job. He delivered what he promised. He taught me to view life not only as relevant, but compassionate, loving, serviceful, truthful, devotional, neutral, prosperous, obedient, and blessed. How much more in love can you be with someone who lights the path to a relevant life in this mode for you? And, he even occasionally will push you along. He taught me that my love for him is manifested though the correct service to what he built, to his will. That’s my job. I’m Chief of Protocol. I was trained and ordained for the job by our teacher. Others have others, but this is my job.
Where is there any room for a life passing you by anymore? There’s not. Serving what he created correctly guarantees this. Everyday is still an adventure. Why not? After all, I’m supposed to be happy and adventures make me happy. I’ve paid the cost and I continue to pay the fare for happiness. I may as well enjoy it and I do.
The secret I’ve learned is that even if you are the greatest master in the world, the cost of a continuous, meaningful and happy life is always there. The process continues. How you pay that cost will shift but the cost remains. Don’t ever think you are done or you’ll be done.
The one constant, the one truth, the one security blanket, the one rule, the one law, the one blessing is to always practice following the teachings, our Guru’s will. Guaranteed, life will not pass you by.
In the Humility of Service and Gratitude,
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Clairvoyant Deployment of Pain Avoidance
Sat Nam, Dear Family! I’ll tell you one of the things that our teacher did, which set him apart. The world is set to be pain avoidant. We all do whatever we can to avoid pain, mental and physical. That way we don’t have to deal with the pain. It’s normal, very normal. That was not our beloved teacher’s way.
Everyone’s issues, everyone’s problems, everyone’s negativity, everyone’s doubt became his stepping ground. He was right in it with everyone. I saw it. I was blessed to see it many times every day. He was in it and he wasn’t. He experienced it, then he traveled on. All trusted his sincerity, and he always delivered. He delivered help, wisdom, and compassion, nevertheless, he was protected from involvement. His equilibrium was omnipresent.
How could he do this? Why would he want to? Didn’t he have enough problems of his own Why chase after more? These are all good questions. Once again, the answer lies in, and verifies, the teachings. He was a true teacher. The best way to rid yourself of pain is to help another rid theirs. That makes sense. That takes courage. That takes faith. That produces miracles. That ain’t easy, but it’s well worth it.
I was blessed to see in him the constant example of the beauty of duty. His reward was painless pain. In fact, enjoyable pain if he so chose. He served other with all the compassion in the world, but he was always still himself. He was the Identity of Guru Ram Das serving Guru ji’s will and being more and more grateful for the opportunity. It gets to a point where you are more and more in love with Guru as he does for you what you can’t do for yourself. It’s a win, win. Everyone, teacher and student, benefits.
I remember way back when, we were in the car driving somewhere, a person of intimacy was in the back seat complaining. These times were filled with daily financial crises. The complaints being uttered were just another to deal with but, to this person they were “life threatening.” “What do we do now,” this person loudly protested? “I mean this is serious. How do I pay these bills? What’s going on?”
“Relax darling, has Guru Ram Das ever let us down. Why fret now? How many times does he have to show His protection before you believe that He’ll cover you?”
“But it’s cutting it so close. I mean that we’re just days away from shutting down. Let’s be real here, what next?”
“I am being real. It’s in his hands. Ask yourself this question. Have we done as good or better than expected? Have we worked hard and smart to solve this issue? If the answer is yes, and it is here, then you’ve done your duty and you expect Guru’s favor. After all , if you truly represent Him, He would have no reason to not help you. If all you want to do is serve Him, how can he let you down. This grabs Guru ji’s attention. It’s all perfect. Everything going to be O.K.” And, it was again and again. Eventually, it was easy to live off his faith. Here’s the good news, it’s still available.
In the Humility of Service and Gratitude,
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, The Source of Strong Force Remorse
Sat Nam, Dear Family! Last week as the Immersion Class was drawing to an end, I was sitting at a table after serving langar with a student who asked, “Do you have any remorse? I mean, you always seem happy You serve langar and talk with everybody. Don’t you have any guilt which haunts you sometimes.”
Now, this was quite a question, especially from a relatively new student. Of course, it said more about her than anything, but as a teacher you must recognize, understand, and answer questions appropriately. “Would you like me to share with you how I’ve learned to deal with this issue,” I asked?”
“Please, I’d love to hear it.”
“Let me give you an example. Our beloved teacher was a royal spiritual teacher. He lived it. I was blessed to tag along and live off the ‘fat of the land’ with him, so to speak. We lived regally, both in this world and the next at the same time. He could do almost anything and be protected by Guru Ram Das. That makes for a very happy and contented life.
We spent many afternoons at a jewelry shop in Beverly Hills. In fact, they had a special seat for him, and every afternoon he would hold court. People in Beverly Hills were attracted to him just like everyone else. One afternoon as we were perusing the showcases again looking for some nugget which reflected royalty, something life-changing happened.
The backstory is that over the past few months our darling teacher had been spending a lot of my money on jewelry for others (that’s the problem right there, when I begin to think that it’s ‘my money’). It happens. I decided to even the score. There was a very expensive watch which I fancied and had looked at many times recently, but never had the courage to spend that much. This day I did. How far can I push his good nature? Is understanding, compassion, and grace his true nature? Is he real? In other words, I used his compassion against him for my own neurotic interest once again.
In retrospect, It was a terrible thing to do, an ill-mannered, thing to do. I was acting like a spoiled brat demanding my way. I was not the student I wanted to be. I was acting in a self-centered manner and wanted more of my share. It was selfish and stupid. And, I knew it at the time, I just catered to it. His compassion always allowed for these nuance, so why was there a need to doubt it then? I abused his wonderful nature once again to get what I wanted. He forgave me again He allowed me way too much leeway which I evidently needed. He protected me like Guru Ram Das did him.
On reflection, this could be viewed as one of the most embarrassing occurrence in my life. Do I regret it? Do I feel badly about it? Should I? Well, I used to. Our beloved teacher taught me how not to regret anything in my history.
If you’re happy with who you are, then everything which has happened to you up until now has brought you to this good place, including this occurrence. All that’s left is to understand why ‘everything’s good.’ He used to say, ‘Good or bad, I’m yours Guru ji, take me as I am. As obnoxious as my manners appeared to be, without this occurrence, my teacher would not have had the chance to demonstrate his grace once more. This ‘one more’ time finally tipped the scales. He took the hit to teach me “once more.”
I felt so badly that I never wanted to take advantage of his good nature again. After all, a man of his caliber, a man willing to give and give, forget and forgive, when it’s not required, in fact, when he’s been abused, is divine. I’m definitely happy under the umbrella of the Siri Singh Sahib’s compassion. I began to want to repay him perpetually for his grace, not ‘sometimes take advantage of it anymore. This was a big turning point in my life.
This incident is now a memory of my gratitude; a memory of my humility; and a memory of his grace. And, after all, the only tool at our disposal is our memory. Our life flows in the manner of our memories. That’s what we remember. When our memory is changed, overcome, or compartmentalized, and when life is trending in a sincerely elevating direction, life becomes happier and more and more contented.
The Guru says in the Mool Mantra, ‘Akal Moorat,’ meaning an undying portrait, an eternal picture of the truth, a pictorial memory of Infinity. This is what his compassion helped my mind to see. A new memory, a new picture, was created. When gratitude, humility, and grace are pictured correctly in the memory because of the compassion of a true teacher, life is elevated. This is what he taught me. What’s left to feel remorseful about?
If I no longer feel any guilt for embarrassing situations in my life, what’s left to feel guilty about. Nothing, that’s what! He allowed me the blessing of a guilt-free life. I love him more and more for it each day. Shouldn’t I be happy to live such a life? That’s why smile. That’s why I laugh. That’s why I talk. That’s why I’m happy. Otherwise, I’d still be an ungrateful student.”
“Can I do this,” she asked?
“Sure, why not? Practice seeing yourself as truth, as humility, as God. Create this picture in your memory. If you feel guilty thinking such things about yourself, don’t pay any attention to it. Just keep seeing yourself as your true teacher, as Guru Nanak, Jesus, Moses, you name it. Put that image in your memory bank and see what happens.”
“Thank you so much, I will,” she said.
That was easy, I thought. She asked a question in all humility. And that became a gift to me as well: to experience the elevation in sharing!
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, The Arcane Reign and Waning of Pain
Sat Nam, Dear Family! Have you ever felt lonely, useless, worthless? If you haven’t, you are either not human, or you are lying, or absolutely unconscious, or the best actor in the world. For almost everyone, life isn’t always a ‘bowl of cherries.’ These experiences are God’s trick, His trick to get you to pursue a way out. Not everyone does, but, eventually, maybe thousands of lifetimes from now, everyone will seek a way out of this pain. Why wait? Now is the time!
Our Guru says, “Pleasure is the malady, pain is the remedy.” Yes, I think I get it, but how is pain the remedy? If you’re lucky, pain causes you to seek a way out. So, the first lesson in understanding that pain is the remedy is the awareness that pain must be viewed differently, especially mental and spiritual pain. See pain as no longer the enemy, practice seeing it as the test, a challenge to overcome.
How do I do that? Well, you look at this differently as well. What do I need to make pain the remedy? Turns out that the remedy for pain is consciousness. It comes through different disciplines and in many forms. This dharma has a systematic way to overcome pain. Please, let me explain.
Let’s backtrack for a moment. “Pleasure is the malady” is explained as a satisfaction of your desire. Well, your satisfaction is your habit, but it’s really limited. You may not know it, you may not want to do anything about it, you may do anything, but your satisfaction is limited to your needs. Change your needs and you automatically change your satisfaction level.
By the way, as your needs change, you also change your ability to satisfy your satisfaction level, but that’s another story. Our satisfaction level does vary slightly as we progress through life. How much, in what direction, and can we match up… these are the questions to satisfy. Whether we consciously change our needs, or time and space roll us over and does it for us makes a big difference. And, of course, if needs change through conscious direction, in which direction are new needs tilted? The answer to these questions are infinite. There are as many answers as there are people.
In order to never again experience loneliness, uselessness, worthlessness, you must be a person who consciously explores ways of no longer just seeking pleasure alone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not against pleasure, I’m against pleasure not being balanced, balanced through the ability to deal with, or overcome, pain. Those who seek this reconciliation through this dharma are lucky. Our beloved Guru has provided the answers. There’s no need to seek further. Let me explain further.
Pain is overcome through trust, the trust that Guru ji is on your team. I don’t mean practicing to trust, I mean true trust. The trust that when things are down and darkest, you stand tallest in your love for your true Guru. Trust which must be exemplified to Guru’s satisfaction. Pain is remedied, taken away, when Guru has truly taken over your life. Sure, fake it until you make it, but, make no mistake about it, until the pain of separation from God is the most unendurable pain, other pains will remain in one way or another.
When the pain of separation from God becomes real, it trumps all other pains. Then under God’s protection, all other pains become His drama and not your problem anymore. Your problem is to continue to show more and more gratitude through your love and service to His will, that’s it. When your service and love of God become satisfactory to Him, pain is removed. So long as the pain of separation from God is real, deep, and to God’s satisfaction, other pain will be held off.
This is when pain becomes your blessing. It has taught you how to never again be lonely, useless, and worthless. God has shown you His two sides - you’re great, and you’re worthless, you’re small and all, you’re pratyahara and pranayam, you’re expansion and contraction, all at the same time. How is that possible? Your worthlessness is as much His doing as your greatness. You are truly both and both are acceptable and desirable so long as both are always present in your consciousness. Guru has reconciled this conundrum for His Sikhs to enjoy.
How can I be great and worthless at the same time? It’s hard to understand. Yes it is, thank God for our teachings. Your greatness and your worthlessness come from God. Everything comes from God, so why should your worthiness be left our? It shouldn’t and it isn’t. It just needs to be seen through a prism dangling 35,000 feet up.
Worthlessness must be viewed as a blessing, not a curse. It becomes a blessing when consciousness accepts the reality that the more unworthy you are, the better it is for you. This realization comes from the gratitude gained and expressed from knowing who you were and who you’ve become. The awareness of what grace you live in creates this elevation. Gratitude spirals deeper with every minute as this awareness becomes a part of your consciousness. In God’s eyes, everyone is unworthy, yet everyone is also worthy. What makes unworthy worthy is begotten through God’s help. His help is required and begotten through your love of Him and service to His will. It’s a lot to ask, but I didn’t set the rules.
God doesn’t want any slackers representing him. He expects constant love expressed thorough His divine name. The game of love is never up. Loving Guru ji more and more is the secret. Guru has a direct link with God. When he introduces you, God listens. That’s their relationship of love, they’re the same Guy, so take advantage. When you satisfy small, Guru; you satisfy all, God Himself. The reconciliation of opposites is complete and pain is removed.
Loving and serving God is the eradicator of the emotions of pain and pleasure. In it’s place is the contentment, the enjoyment of whatever comes your way. It’s all good.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, The Strange Range of Change
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
“Oh sir, I’ve seen you change so much,” I blurted out one afternoon in the May of 1993. Thank God we were alone. I immediately realized that it probably wasn’t my place to speak to my teacher this way. I was shocked. He just gracefully turned his head, gave an ever so slight nod, and that was that. Well, not quite! Please let me explain.
El Dorado Hotel
We were driving into Santa Fe for our evening repast at the El Dorado Hotel. If he wasn’t cat napping, we were usually discussing something or other. On this occasion, we were discussing change. Specifically, the time it takes for individuals to change. It’s an interesting topic, especially from our beloved teacher, Yogi Bhajan aka the Siri Singh Sahib's, perspective. His perspective was always unique.
I don’t remember the exact discussion, But what I do remember is what’s important. Whatever the discussion was about prompted me to make this statement directly to my teacher. Right then, that’s grounds for expulsion. Who am I, a student, to challenge in any manner the perfect form which was our teacher. Anything less, and I infer that he wasn’t what he professed. That can be very rude even though that’s not how I intended it to be. Thank God we have a most compassionate teacher.
I vividly remember thinking, ‘What did I just do? I pray he reacts knowing that I meant no disrespect.” His answer was almost immediate. Not only was I not rejected, not only was he not going to get even with me for my ignorance by delaying a response, his response was so quick I had no chance to feel anyway but good about what I’d said. I always loved his compassion. Yes, he could get upset with me and I’d know it, but he never abandoned me. No matter what! I counted on it and he was totally reliable. He was what he taught.
At this point, I felt emboldened. I proceeded further, but this time I carried a filter. I thought before I spoke. That way I wouldn’t take the chance of saying something disrespectful, and, still, hear through his intimacy what he thought. These were rare and beautiful times. Believe me, I took full advantage. Truth be told, I believe that’s the way he wanted it. Occasionally, he took advantage of situations like this as well to say what he otherwise wouldn’t say.
“You’ve occasionally told me some explicit examples of your actions in India which didn’t paint a pretty picture. I can imagine the difference between you now and then. That’s why I said what I did. I meant it as a compliment.”
“I know son. That’s why some Indians see me differently than Americans. They remember who I was and can’t believe that I could become who I am. On the other hand, Americans see me without prejudice. They see who I’ve become, not who I was unencumbered by history.”
Being cute, as I often thought I was, I chuckled and said, “Well, thank God I caught you at a good time.”
“No, anytime’s a good time, only time is easier now.” That statement took a while to focus on as well.
“Is that why you say, ‘It’s much, much easier to become spiritual from the worst of places than it is from comfort?’
“Yes, I know first hand how that’s done.”
“If you don’t mind me asking sir, how did you do it?”
“I challenged Guru Ram Das. ‘If you’re my Guru, then take care of me, take care of my mission, take care of your responsibility. I need your help, so take care of it.’ He did and here we are.”
“That’s it, it was that easy?”
“Did I say that. It’s not easy. it takes courage, guts, grit, gratitude, trust and love. What I said to Guru Ram Das may not appeared to be said in reverence, but it was. I talk to Him my way and he understands that I mean only devotion through it. I’ve been blessed because of my love my way. It’s the deepest way I know how, so I love him my way. And, the good news is that Guru has accepted my love. That’s the key right there. Love, in whatever form, has to be reciprocated by God. Otherwise, God’s blessing will be missed.”
What could I say after that. I just drove ahead with thoughts swirling through my consciousness. Where to begin; where to remember; where to practice? Where to remember these divine words when they are most appropriate. Where, where, where! Enough with the where already. Trust that Guru Ram Das will come through when you need Him is the antidote for the removal of all ‘wheres,’ and, how the blessing of effective effortless change takes place. I remember thinking, ‘Just trust in Guru Ram Das and don’t let any doubt get in the way. I’ve continued to practice since. It works.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, The Apocalypse of Relationships
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
“Once upon a time long, long ago, relationships developed. I mean lifetimes ago, thousands of lifetimes ago this dance began. You think you’re free? You’re never free. For good or not, your relationships will follow you through time. There’s only one way to rid yourself of this karma.”
I couldn’t wait to hear his next sentence. How do we let go? How do we surrender? How do we get off this wheel? How do we overcome deep attachments?
We were seated around a large table in the back of the Estates in New Mexico several decades ago. It was Solstice time, so many students were seated with our beloved teacher. Some old, some new, all subject to his truth. It was a time for him to expand himself and teach both intimately and universally at the same time. It was a time for his duty and his enjoyment. It was the season of grace.
He often took these occasions to put things into another perspective, his perspective. In fact, another dimension. I was blessed to see this marvelous teaching many times. It’s creative teaching; it’s dynamic teaching; it’s direct teaching; it’s very effective teaching. I know why he’s a Doctor of Communication, both certified and qualified.
He knows that not everyone will hear him. In fact, many will disagree or dislike him for it. But, as he often said, “Quality, not quantity is what sustains this Dharma.” He was willing to suffer the ‘slings and arrows’ of many in order to support the obedience of a few. His perspective wasn’t his own. His was his Guru’s. And, that’s really the only reason to follow him. That’s what made him real. That’s what garnered trust.
Just at the moment he was about to say how to get off the addiction wheel, one of the students poked in and said, “But, sir, I love the thought of being with my relatives and friends for a very long time.” This totally broke the energy of something I was fervently interested in and it angered me. I began thinking of how to redirect the energy back to his next sentence. No, I wasn’t shy.
Before I could open my mouth, the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, said, “Oh, that’s just you. You’re lucky. You and your relations are all on good terms. Do you know how fortunate you are? You’re rare, you’re one in a million, no, you’re one in five hundred million, but karma is still karma no matter what.”
This got me thinking. ‘What does he mean by a rare person? And, more importantly, why doesn’t it matter whether it’s good or bad karma? Why is this experience far from a fair sample? What does this have to do with eliminating karma?’
Then it dawned on me, ‘If it’s about eliminating karma, then whether I like my friends and family or not is no longer the question. The question becomes, do I do as I like, or do I do as I must? If my teacher is telling me that the way I think is not the way everyone thinks. In fact, almost everyone has ill-fated relationships and, for them, eliminating them would be a tremendous boon.’ Therefore, all I need to focus on is eliminating this karma, not whether or not I want to?
Things became clear. My anger almost stopped me from gaining one of the great lessons in my life. Without this student’s interruption, I would have never understood the constant need to eliminate karma, all karma, good and not. We come empty handed and we go empty handed.
Then, to my delight, our darling teacher finished, “The way to eliminate karma is entered through the gate of wanting to eliminate karma. That sounds easy, but it’s not.” No, it didn’t sound easy to me. “Wanting to” is the first step towards commitment. Commitment means going through whatever is necessary, whatever pain and discomfort in order to keep-up in doing all the things this Dharma offers in eliminating karma.
Sadhana, seva, bana, bani, obedience, discipline, japa, and deliverance, commitment means commitment, no turning back. Commitment means ‘come what may.’ Commitment becomes trust. That’s when commitment is complete. and no more is commitment necessary. Commitment becomes who you are. Past relationships turn to dust only to reappear as blessings when the dust has settled. You begin to understand that everything in your life is your blessing. This view, this perspective, allows God to lead your life. What a blessing.
He continued, “There are many ways to eliminate karma, We practice many but Guru says the easiest way is to have him help in the process. This is done through japa, repeating His name. Do all the other ways, but don’t leave out Japa.” What else is there to say.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Hit the High Note, Don’t Sugarcoat
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
“I sugarcoat the truth because people can’t handle the truth,” the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, said to me many years ago. I don’t remember whether he or Jack Nicholson (in A Few Good Men) coined the phrase first, I do know that both are right. We were driving to the a part of L.A. known as Hancock Park to have breakfast with Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and a married couple who were students of the Rabbi’s. Rabbi Carlebach was a charismatic spiritual teacher, musician, and composer in the 60s through 80s who was a good friend of our beloved teacher.
I remember the exact occurrence and circumstances because it turned out to be so impactful. I wanted to know more, “What do you mean by “they can’t handle the truth”, sir? Isn’t that why we’re here?”
“No, that’s not why everyone is here,” our beloved teacher responded. “That may be why most are her in the hopes to handle the truth, but the truth is that they’re on that journey and probably haven’t reached the point of unlimited self-evaluation. We project for that, we practice that, but that is only begotten through Guru’s grace. The courage to understand and change yourself in an unbridled elevating manner is God’s reward, otherwise there’s just too much junk in the way to delve deeper by ourselves.”
I understood what he said, but I needed more clarification. “Sir, if you don’t mine me asking, how do you curry God’s favor? I know that there are no guarantees, but what would God like us to do in order to do what He wants? You’re my teacher, so I humbly request that you teach me the best way to handle the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. What must I do which will lead to this conclusion?”
“You’re doing fine, son.” Now, I didn’t know whether he was being sincere or sugarcoating his response to me. Do you mean that I’m still in the “want to” stage? Don’t I get it; don’t I look to change; don’t I challenge myself? It turns out that I do and did as we all did, but not enough for our darling teacher’s satisfaction. And, I wasn’t satisfied to continue to be in the “want to” category.
“Thank you, sir.” I got it, but the question was still unanswered. This was a game we’d play. He’d give me just enough to tweak my interest and I’d have to figure out the rest. This was another one of those times. I actually looked forward to them, they were fun to figure out. We were made for one another, his example has changed my life as it was always the necessary clue to deeper understanding.
My first thought was, ‘ What does he do that allows for Guru’s grace to flow and keep flowing through him? What separates him from all the rest? What’s his secret to success?’ It became obvious. His compassion is what separated him for the rest. I can personally attest to many occurrences where he covered me. His compassion is what saved me. His compassion was demonstrated through giving me what I needed with all the sugarcoating necessary to cover my neurotic patterns, including covering me when I didn’t deserve it because my ego demanded it.
His compassion made him an enabler to my desires. He wanted me to be fulfilled. He wanted nothing left on the table. He knew that there would be a day of reckoning. He knew that I would no longer be able to really on my teacher’s compassion, that I’d now be on my own. So, the only thing I know, the only thing I’ve been taught, is that by practicing compassion, there’s a chance that the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth will be a blessing to handle.
So, this is what I’m down to, I’m down to practicing more and more compassion. This is how I give to myself the cover my teacher previously covered. The Siri Singh Sahib taught me by example that compassion is the way. He taught us all this, I was just lucky enough to have some skill sets he needed, so I got an up close and personal experience of his compassion. It wasn’t the gushy kind of love that has emotion attached. It’s the kind of love which carries the Guru’s favor along with it. It’s a dutiful love; it’s a beautiful love; it’s a truthful love.
It’s the kind of love which transcends limits. It’s the kind of love which carries Guru’s blessings. It’s the kind of love which recognizes and rewards service to the right thing beyond the beyond. It’s the kind of love which automatically makes you worthy of more and more. It’s the kind love in which you are no longer in charge of. It’s the kind of love in which you become an empty vessel. It’s the kind of love where you are no longer you.
He knew that when I figured it out myself, I’d listen. He was right again. As I saw deeper into the understanding, I fell deeper into the experience as well. It’s like being well prepared for an test. I was well prepared to see deeper into who our teacher really was. It just made me more and more grateful for the blessing of being his student. I was lucky. I couldn’t doubt him. I’d gone too far to give up now. What he had to deliver was what I was going to get. Thank God it’s been the right thing.
He taught me that in order to hear the truth: just follow your teacher’s example. And, that’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The breakfast with Rabbi was great. My mind was in another detention.
See Sikh Definitions.
Sat Nam, Dear Family! There’s a song in the Broadway play “Oklahoma” which starts, ‘Oh, what a beautiful morning! Oh, what a beautiful day! I’ve got a wonderful feeling, everything’s coming my way.’ I’ve always loved this song. It defined my goal in life. Who knew? Now, how to get it? Subconsciously and consciously I’ve been pursuing this goal all my adult life.
Oh, what a beautiful morning!
I tried many venues to find a ‘beautiful morning and a beautiful day.’ Although many attempts were attractive, all had an end. No satisfaction. How does a person really find the path towards a ‘beautiful morning and a beautiful day?’ Not to mention that all blessings befall you as well. Where do you go to make this life happen?
I figured that it must be a universal goal as it was right in the middle of a Broadway play, and a very popular one at that. It turns out that it is, but one most people think is a pipe dream with all sorts of excuses for no longer believing in these lyrics. Life is full of ups and downs, life isn’t always a bed of roses. To think anything less is fantasy. And, that’s true, but it’s true only for most; God’s help is available, but it’s a journey.
Everything is a fantasy because existence is a fantasy. This world isn’t real. Yes, reality can be sought though existence, that’s actually the purpose of life. But, how many believe it. This isn’t my teaching. This is the teachings of all the truly great masters. There are many paths to God, but, at the top, there all merge. Thinking makes these differences. What you think, you are. Not what you think you are, you are. But, what you THINK you are. In other words, life is what you think it is. That’s universally true.
So, thinking gets in the way of the ultimate truth. Whatever your perception, your conception, your whatever ‘tion,’ may be, the truth lies beyond. Getting out of your own way is the issue. First, don’t fall for the fantasy. Don’t believe anything your mind is telling you. Know it’s a lie no matter how convincing it may be. Move your mind back to the lyrics. This is all that matters. All else is false.
With practice comes the experience reconciling the conundrum of a “Polyanna” world, juxtaposed to the reality of this time and space. Tell me how everything is so beautiful with all the pain in the world? How is that beautiful? Are you crazy? All good questions.
There’s nothing beautiful about great pain and suffering. That’s true. But, there is great beauty in understanding that it’s all God’s doing, and understanding of why. It’s not up to us to judge why God does what he does. That’s his doing and any interference is not only unwanted, but punishable.
Your job is to make it better for all those you can. The drama is God’s doing, the love is yours. Love knows no boundaries, so you must love those who create pain just as you love those who don’t. Your job is not to judge, your job is to serve any and all who seek you help. Love them all and let God sort it out.
When you truly love it all, you see the beauty in God’s creation. There is no beauty without both pleasure and pain. male and female, up and down, Creator and creation. There is no experience of creation without Creator and creation. Then, you see that there is no difference in one or the other, it’s all One. Pleasure and pain are viewed the same. Therefore, life itself becomes always beautiful, no matter what - and I mean whatever! Is that easy to believe? No. Is that possible? Yes. [See 1 Is The Answer.]
This awareness brings contentment into your life no matter what circumstances surround you. There’s great comfort knowing that ‘everything’s coming your way.’ A covenant exists between our Guru and His Sikhs. When a Sikh experiences contentment, he/she automatically relaxes. This allows the flow of grace, Guru’s blessings, prosperity shall be accepted by you. Don’t laugh. Who wouldn’t want this you say. Many people, that who. Many just don’t feel worthy enough to accept His blessings. It sucks, but many, many students block themselves at this juncture. [See A Factual Story.]
But, a contented live brings with it the automatic experience of feeling better about yourself. Commensurate with contentment comes a better self-esteem. Thus, more grace is allowed in. A life of fearlessness; a life of courage; a life of devotion, a life of service is what comes with the blessings. It’s marvelous. Now, you can’t wait for the next challenge, as you are now well prepared and the next challenge can be effortlessly executed. You become like Pavlov’s dog. An unconditioned response, an automatic action, an unlearned reaction is the result. You can’t wait for the next challenge because you know of the grandeur in victory. Your unconditioned response to challenges has been adjusted by Guru. Wahe Guru!
When the pain in life is no different than the pleasure, life always has a ‘beautiful morning.’ When you share Guru’s view of events, life always has ‘a beautiful day.’ When rather than chase after things in this world, you sit in one place and see what Guru brings you way, ‘everything’s comin’ my way.’
The lyrics become real when it is realized that all is God. Everything you own is on loan. This song takes you to places few have visited, let alone lived. All the pain is His; all the pleasure is His. It’s His will and not for anyone’s opinion. Just serve and love - chop wood and carry water. Enjoy whatever He does. Love what He does. And, if He makes a mess, clean it up. That’s what He wants from us. I clean up His earthly messes. That compassion allows one to enjoy everything.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, A Kinder Reminder
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
“Yes, sir. I want to do what you want me to. Thank you so much for the reminder again. Thank God, you put up with me.”
The Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, and I were seated in the New Mexico Estates on a crisp Tuesday afternoon. I remember that it was Tuesday because communication on Tuesday, Mars day, war day, should be done consciously, and this was a Tuesday, the worst day to need his help as, inevitably, it would take longer and more doubt had to be overcome.
I had a business. It produced money. I dealt with many people. I only knew one way to deal: the way I had been raised. It happened to be a method to success if you take it to heart. But, not everyone can as it’s a very direct way. That frustrated me. Why don’t others understand what’s necessary to succeed? So, my dealing with them wasn’t in the best interest of many others, as well as mine, I might add. I couldn’t hear this. My mind was made up. I believed I knew the way to success and why doesn’t everyone just listen?
Into the fray steps the Siri Singh Sahib. “Son, how are you going to handle the conflict you have with so and so?” I went into a soliloquy about how this other party needed to understand, etc., etc., etc. He listened patiently. I got it all out. Then what he said hit home deeply, “You are his boss, you must act like it.”
“What does that mean exactly sir.”
“If your his true boss, then you must do what’s right in spite of what you believe or he believes. You must be flexible; you must be compassionate; you must be obedient to the teachings. That usually means you must bend and that’s painful. I know that. A boss is willing to go into the pain to come out the other side.
Otherwise, he’s just a sucker, energy sucker, moneymaking sucker, and something that rhymes with it.”
I loved the way he spoke. It was so real both in content and style. His style made his content all the more relevant. At least it did for me. I knew what he meant. He was reminding me that he would make the decision as to how to handle this situation and I wouldn't like it, but that didn’t matter, and that he didn’t wish to cause pain, nevertheless, when change in the right direction was necessary, he had no choice.
I understood this. I was committed to this. I was devoted to this. I knew that I wasn’t perfect at this, so I understood when he’d remind me that I wasn’t the boss of my teacher, he was mine. And, as both a good servant and good boss, I had learned a great lesson. I’ll only be a good boss when I follow his direction. After the initial shock of the necessity in donning my humility coat, order would only come through the service of sacrifice, surrender, and acceptance. Our beloved teacher’s direction is all that mattered. This was and still is my mantra. After all, that’s why I signed up forty five years ago.
We all came for a reason and we’re here for a reason. That reason is to clean ourselves up. By that I mean to commit and work to going through the pain of learning, learning how to deal with the pain of change, and learning to enjoy the pain associated with changing yourself for the better. That’s why we’re here, to better ourselves. There are a myriad of methods and degrees, nevertheless, they all exist to ease pain. The anomaly is that in order to ease pain, a painful process is in order.
Our way not only eases pain, but it does it organically through trust. We’ve found a very easy way to clean ourselves up. It’s called “obedience to the truth.” That’s it. If you are sincere in trusting in your obedience, you quickly become what you’re obedient to. There are a lot of traps here. Many, many things are attractive, which are less painful, even enjoyable. But, obedience to our teachings, our teacher, our Guru, and God Himself is our process. I know that obedience is a charged word, especially since it leaves one vulnerable. Have no fear. For whatever reason, for good karma, for luck sake, we’ve been blessed to follow a teaching which serves us, not exploits us. Thank God for that.
I have found a way and I want to share it with you. It’s up to you to believe me or not. But, for those of you who want to believe me, I share my story. Our teachings and our teacher are the way to our Guru. Our Guru is our way to God. If this is true, then surrendering to our teacher’s will is the easiest, quickest, and most efficient way to elevate yourself. This is one of the great blessings in the universe. It allows the student to travel well beyond limits, limits not even seen.
Serving our teacher has been my miracle. It can be yours too. Many don’t believe it; many don’t want to believe it; many can’t surrender to it; many, many, many. But, for those blessed few who take advantage of what I’m saying, serving your teacher so that he reciprocates by being your constant reminder, your alter ego, your teacher in reminding you that obedience is all that’s required. This is the cost of your elevation. And, here’s the best news, it’s still available. Although he isn’t with us physically, we can still serve him through his teachings. That’s where he’s found again.
His reminders reminded me that I’m not my own teacher, and anyone who thinks they are has ended up in destruction. That’s the statement of history, not mine. However, I do agree with it. So, the constant nagging, tugging, pulling at me was necessary and I’m extremely grateful for it.
Once again, he cleared it up for me. I humbled myself and acted like a boss. It wasn’t easy, but I did it, and I continued to do so until it became easy. His reminders have taught me that criticism, especially coming from your teacher, is a blessing. It’s no longer criticism, it’s a teaching. It’s another opportunity to practice and experience another way of thinking which leads to nothing but elevation. This new way of thinking does not have a negative effect on me anymore. That’s a great experience. It makes doing what is uncomfortable easy. That, too, is a great experience.
“Sorry for bringing this up on Tuesday sir.”
There was no response from him. That wasn’t all that unusual. Now, what does his absent response mean? Another game to understand on this dance of love. It’s beautiful and never-ending.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, The Inherit Carrot for Self-Merit
Sat Nam, Dear Family! Thank God I know how bad I am or was, otherwise I might think what’s good about me is really my doing. I’ve come to learn that it’s not. And actually, it was very difficult for me to accept the image of me which is really very good. Everyone has a limit. Limits vary greatly. Thank God, I’ve learned to increase my limit. It’s easier than I thought. I thought I’d share how it can be done with you.
Your image of yourself, your self-esteem, your worthiness, your self-merit, is both your blessing and your curse. Take away all other influences, your self-esteem ultimately generates who you are and who you’ll become. Other issues like training, environment, education, etc., are conscious efforts to change your subconscious worthiness factor. Where do you land on the scale of humanity, and where do you really trust you belong on this scale. Not what you consciously think of yourself, but the real you without projections, the subconscious you. This is where value and limits both lie. That’s the bottom line.
If you accept this as true, then it must follow that by increasing one’s self-esteem we can elevate our life experience. The real question is: How do we increase our self-esteem? That will solve everything. That will cover all of our limits.
It turns out that the quickest, best, time-honored method I have found, and I’ve studies many, is Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma together. They work synergistically to reduce the time it takes. Kundalini Yoga provides the energy, the concentration, the discipline, the total commitment; Sikhism provides the way, the Nam, the protocol. Together, they provide all that’s necessary to greatly raise your limits. When yogic focus is used to focus on the Nam, magic happens. This is what our beloved teacher taught. They make the Nam vibrate and resonate inside you. When the Nam flows, self-esteem grows automatically, grows until layers of limited self-esteem fly away like dust in the wind.
A Sikh sits in meditation and leaves his body like a yogi. In place of himself, he sees his teacher and his Guru sitting inside him. As this image is carried forward, or any variation of it, this reality is verified through the waves of self-esteem permeating through his/her body.
Relaxation is the immediate result. When Guru is part of you, relaxation is the immediate benefit. Nothing further happens until relaxation is part of your life. Relaxation allows focus, concentration, to be effortless. Effortless concentration which flows through the Guru inside you produces exaggerated self-esteem. The circle is complete. Your self-esteem is no longer under your control. You’ve hitched your wagon to a star, the star of God’s light.
No matter how bad you are or you think you are, it no longer matters. The esteem of Guru ji enters your body. There’s no more bad in you because you’re not you anymore. In reward for representing Him, you have been blessed with an appropriate elevated self-esteem. It’s Infinite so it never is complete, there’s always more to do and more to enjoy.
I'll tell you what comes with an elevated self-esteem. First, there is God’s protection. Your past is but a beautiful memory. That’s pretty good for starters. God protects your honor. God’s working for you now. That’s pretty good for closers, but there’s more, much more.
Guru, God, becomes your ticket to prosperity. And, I don’t just mean money. Money is just one parts of prosperity. Happiness, trust, respect, honor, love, compassion, are but a few of other blessings within God’s concept of prosperity. Tap into His view and life has a chance to elevate through expanded sell-esteem right on the spot.
I purposely left out the most important aspect of prosperity. Prosperity includes God and Guru’s love for you. You’ve become their trust, their hope, their lover. Can you accept God’s love? It’s easy to say yes, but how much? Enough to have God’s trust that He can trust you to do his will? That’s where real prosperity lies.
When Guru ji selects you into his Court, it’s because He’s fallen in love with you. It’s totally His choice and, thank God, His standards are usually different than everyone else’s. Your limits are automatically faded. God can’t have anything but the best representing Him and being in love with, so what else can He do. He fixes you. You Him love more and more him for it. You can’t believe you are so lucky. You realize that you are not there because of you, you’re there because He has admitted you into His court. Well, what do you know, He really does love me, and, most importantly, I now bathe in it. Of course, I don’t deserve it, no one does. That’s part of the process. That’s why it’s called increased self-esteem.
It’s freaky to understand, but all that stands between us and God is our limited self-esteem. When it’s said like this it seems so easy. It’s not. It may be the hardest thing on the planet. To be able to view yourself beyond yourself is an oxymoron. How can anyone see beyond who they are? Well, most can’t. But, there are many, many self-help concepts which work to one degree or another. They’re helpful for many.
But, if you’re interested in an unlimited self-esteem, unfortunately more is required. This Dharma offers a unique and powerful technology to board a rocket ship to Infinity. It works. If I can find contentment, why not you.
See Sikh Definitions.
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