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Sitting here having breakfast in Northern India and suddenly I hear Bob Dylan’s song “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Written in 1962 it was iconic in that it represented a youthful time for our generation looking at the problems before us like equal rights in America and the beginning of the Vietnam war. As I have struggled over these past days to know what I wanted to say in light of these terrible accusations against the man who was my teacher for, really, my entire adult life; and, who in fact, was greatly responsible for the man I became; I found this song singing to me. Though the times may be different, I wonder if some of what we are facing now as a community of like-minded individuals cannot be found in the lyrics of the song. I urge you to listen to it again.

We live in times where each one of us is being asked to rise to the occasion of seeing the world for what it is and to accept the shadows as well as the light, especially on the spiritual path. Now is the time to say, “I want this for myself: I don’t want to live in duality any longer and I don’t want to depend on anyone except myself to tell me about the path that stretches out before me.” We are seekers of truth and we have the capacity to know what our heart is telling us. Believe in what you find – the ecstasy of consciousness along with the pain of deception for they must walk hand in hand.

Blowing in the Wind

(When darkness turns to light)

 

How many roads must a man walk down

Before you call him a man?

Yes, “n” how many seas must a white dove sail

Before she sleeps in the sand?

Yes, “n” how many times must the cannonballs fly

Before they’re forever banned?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind

The answer is blowin’ in the wind

 

Yes, “n” how many years can a mountain exist

Before it’s washed to the sea?

Yes, “n” how many years can some people exist

Before they’re allowed to be free?

Yes, “n” how many times can a man turn his head

And pretend that he just doesn’t see?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind

The answer is blowin’ in the wind

 

Yes, “n” how many times must a man look up

Before he can see the sky?

Yes, “n” how many ears must one man have

Before he can hear people cry?

Yes, “n” how many deaths will it take till he knows

That too many people have died?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind

The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Bob Dylan

 

These are disturbing times. Credible allegations are coming out against Yogi Bhajan after the publication of Pamela Saharah Dyson’s book, “Premka, White Bird in a Golden Cage.” The Kundalini Yoga community is reacting to a long litany of abuses by the teacher who made these teachings so popular in the West. It is the abuse of power that a charismatic spiritual leader held over so many innocent souls looking for truth. And more importantly, the revelations of sexual abuse by Yogi Bhajan. What was once hushed up, dismissed viciously by the one at the center of story, is now being opening condemned and spoken about. We live in a world where it’s impossible to hide from these unthinkable abuses; yet, I can’t think of darker times than these.

Premka’s book (Pamela Saharah Dyson), is not a vindictive “tell all” book but a beautifully written love story. It is about how she fell in love with Yogi Bhajan shortly after taking her first yoga class. It is about the abuses of power that Yogi Bhajan regularly exercised over his staff and all of us who were his unrelenting students. It is about a double standard that he openly lived as different from his teachings. The story is about how completely we can be led to hand over our lives to another if the promise of a higher, spiritual and imaginary reality is created for us. It is about how difficult it is to break free finally from the psychological conditioning that takes place and the potential loss of love that one so hoped for.

There is danger in all of this – of blindly following someone in hopes of receiving something in return. In this case, it’s about finding truth and happiness. Though this story of abuse takes place in the early days of 3HO from 1968-1985, the symptoms of feeling needy and wanting of so many around the world are still with us today.

The real question is whether we can feel around in the darkness inside of us and try to touch it source? Try to genuinely accept and understand it. Can we sit and not move and see where our hurt and despair takes us? Can we try to heal and preserve the life that is ours keeping it sacred for ourselves only?

Like Premka and so many of my contemporaries going back in time; I became a non-believer of much what was given to us as doctrine. I had to break free not having all the answers but knowing I had to do it. It was a difficult time but I encountered so many of you openly embracing me for my courage. I don’t think it compares in the least with what Premka had to live through nor what it took to come forth with her book.

I continued to teach Kundalini Yoga because I loved it. I continued to praise the source because being a student was important to me and I didn’t want to break the connection. I’m sorry, that has changed. More than 10 years ago, in a dream, the man asked me to forgive him. Somehow, I have to find that possibility again in my heart. I don’t know if I can.

Our individual journeys through life are unique but they convey a human message of oneness at the same time. We are innocent and vulnerable souls wanting to believe like children that we will be cared for, protected and guided to some intangible “promised land.” There has never been room in the world for taking advantage of other human beings by the powerful, yet it has repeatedly happened. There has never been a place for sexual abuse and the resulting deep psychological harm it causes, yet it continues to take place. Times have changed. You can run but you can’t hide as the saying goes. Nevertheless, we must fight against our complacency and our ignorance and let the voices come out in protest. We have to listen deeply and protect the wounded and the lost.

I too feel lost at this moment in time. Sleep does not come. My stomach is tied in knots, my heart aches and my head doesn’t know how to react. I can only try to feel my own pain and that of others and hope it subsides one day. Maybe all of us together can let the light come in and penetrate the darkness and allow us to find that place again where we feel safe and secure. I am different now, perhaps wiser, definitely more mature on all levels of my being; but I don’t want to lose the innocence that is my soul.

1 Comment

  1. Patricia

    Thank you…. from México .
    The song makes me smile.

    My name is Patricia.
    I have been practicing and teaching for five years now …
    I was sooo sad last week. Now I’m mad
    I’m lost too… I don’t know if I want to continue and just not. Tune in … how to separate ..? I can’t believe I was so happy to find all this structures and “truths” … I guess Is better practice without theories but … is real KundaliniYoga!? He made up the kriyas ?? Are we connecting to him through the kriyas ?