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Quality of Perpetual Thought

January 27, 2011

Actually man has never understood one thing: it is the most notorious thing in the mind of the man and that is the thought. So powerful is the thought that if the perpetual thought becomes divine, the person becomes divine. If the perpetual thought becomes devilish… ill-willed, negative, stupid, inferior, insecure… person has no chance. Life is a continuous struggle between the two things: positive thinking and positively not thinking.

– Yogi Bhajan, Los Angeles, 1990

Live for today, and don’t worry about tomorrow….

Here is a good example of what seems like a good thought, a positive thought. They are lyrics from a popular 60s song, Let’s Live for Today, by the Grass Roots. Many from my generation, the hippies, the beatniks from the 50s, and many New Age folks that came afterwards, think along this vein. There is a difference however in living for today, or in the ‘now’, and being present in the moment.

In Kundalini Yoga, I was taught mindfulness, meaning being present in the moment. While well known phrases like, Be Here Now, reflects mindfulness, they are often confused with live for now, get all you can get, while you can get it. That is ego oriented thought and selfish. It is also limiting in its scope. When we are only focused on pleasing ourselves, we are shut off from the abundance of life and all that it can offer. On the other hand, when we focus our minds to be aware and mindful, the quality of our thoughts expands our view of life and expands our life overall.

There is a state in meditation where the brain becomes hyper-aware yet remains calm. I liken it to peripheral vision. You can, with some discipline, look straight ahead, yet can see simultaneously to each side, all at the same time. The active mind is focusing the senses to do all three at the same time. It is the same with meditation. Meditation is an active state of mind, not a passive state. Through various exercises we can train our mind to be very focused yet do many things like a well-trained pianist who has spent hours playing scales and songs over and over and then can play great symphonic pieces, or improvisational jazz. But, it takes discipline and plenty of practice to become such a master.

Now, I practiced Kundalini Yoga and meditation for three years under the master, Yogi Bhajan. Yogi-ji was a wise man, a funny man, and I learned his ways and his approach to life. I became a teacher myself, but moved on after three years because I saw that it was time. I was no longer in need of the training. I no longer wanted to expend energy relearning what I had learned! Over the years I have created my own Sadhana, or spiritual practice – incorporating my own kind of meditation and contemplation every day. I came to understand early on that doing hour upon hour of meditation did not make me a better person. It was a tool which helped me to realize that the mind is the servant and the master of each human. How we utilize this power, how we live with this duality in our mindfulness translates into how we manage our lives, how we live, and how we treat others.

You know how low and mean we are that we try to look good to ourselves? There’s nothing more selfish on the planet for a human just to be good for himself. It’s so low and mean, it’s just like we are living like an animal. “Ah, don’t tell me, Sir. I am doing great these days. I am meditating for nine hours.” I said, “What for?” “Oh, I enjoy it.” “Good. You should meditate rest of your life. Who cares?” Anything which you do for yourself, you are only clearing your own doubt. Life doesn’t start with that, it doesn’t end with that. Life is what you have done for OTHERS. That’s the beginning of life.

That quote is from a lecture Yogi-ji did in 1990, almost twenty years after my experience with him. You see, he is saying it is all good when we act in service to others, not as slaves or servants, but for the betterment of others. With meditation we retrain our brain to see things more clearly; to release preoccupations with meaningless stuff and distractions of life. That is not to say we are not challenged by more distractions and more meaningless stuff as we go about living. We do not live in a meditative state all the time. But it does mean we can more easily identify what’s what when this happens, when some choice presents itself and we must see it for what it is and make a mindful choice about what we do and how we go about doing it. That is the quality of perpetual thought. Our higher mind injects itself into the situation. And it is the heart that directs the mind.

Yoga says: “Within you, unite with your own higher self, and create a friendship. Meditate to clean the garbage so that through subconscious you can see your supreme conscious.

Now, this does not mean we do away with spontaneity. Quite the contrary. In fact, when you are not weighed down by self-doubt, by stuff cluttering up your mind, you can be more of what you are, meaning your energy is not distracted by what you think you should do, ought do, might do, will do, etc. …. those are projections into a future that does not exist yet. Spontaneity is about living in the now BUT enhanced by the quality of perpetual positive thought. Whatever needs to be tended to, you will tend to with integrity by virtue of being focused on what really matters. And as Yogi-ji has said, Yoga and meditation are handy. You can do them at any time. They cost nothing. You simply must be willing to do the dance.

Control of the Mind

BBC — One Man’s Story

Tribute to Yogi Bhajan

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