In honor of Yogi Bhajan's birthday, I'd like to spend some time with some of his words. I've chosen three favorite quotes to highlight here. They're favorites because they are at once simple, beautiful, profound, and shifting. Just a few words can shift my mental state, my outlook, my emotions.
I'll begin with "Go within. Or go without." I used to have this one on my refrigerator as a many-times-a-day reminder. If I don't take the time to be in the here and now with my inner world, I miss the most important aspect of life, re-discovering my Truth, my path, my purpose, my reason for being.
When I ignore what's within, I suffer. Sometimes, I'm tempted to distract myself instead of recognizing difficult emotions like uncertainty or fear or pain. And sometimes, I give into that temptation. But I aim to witness and listen. I know to witness and listen because it's in those meditative moments when the voice of my soul emerges with an insight or beautiful sense of peace. Simple, beautiful, profound, shifting.
Another quote that I absolutely love is: "I don't believe in miracles. I rely on them." That one always makes me smile. It's a whole approach to life in two sentences. Life is miraculous, so dependably miraculous that you can rely on it. In the same way that I can rely on there being air to breathe, I can rely on miracles.
If I'm having a day when it seems nothing is going right, I can go to these words and suddenly I'm grateful for it all -- the broken umbrella, the dent in my fender, the curdled milk. Simple, beautiful, profound, shifting.
One more. The one I repeat the most when I am teaching. "Keep up and you will be kept up." I'm in good company with many, many Kundalini Yoga teachers who shout these words out to encourage students. Sometimes it's just "Keep up." That says it all.
Keep up. Don't give up. Don't give up on yourself. Don't give up on the next breakthrough before you get there. Keep up.
Keep your arms in the air, despite the discomfort. Hold your legs up, despite the shaking. Stay focused, despite the desire to tune out.
And you will be kept up. The effort, the intention, the staying steady in the midst of the storm primes us for life, for thriving in life. Simple, beautiful, profound, shifting.
Thank you, Yogi Bhajan, for the teachings and your words. They've changed my life. In many ways, they've become my life.
Now, I'd love to hear from you. What's your favorite Yogi Bhajan quote? Let us know in the comments below.
Cate discovered Kundalini Yoga by accident over 20 years ago and was surprised and thrilled by how engaged, energized, and inspired it made her feel. She's been practicing ever since. In 2008, Cate completed her Level 1 (200 hr) teacher training with Hari Kaur Khalsa of Hari NYC. In 2012, she broadened her knowledge with a very special Holistic Hatha Yoga training (300 hr) with Amy Witmyer of Sacred Space. Kundalini Yoga is her home, her go-to sanctuary, her point of peace and insight. She believes that it is a wonderful tool for busy times and busy minds. Join Cate on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday mornings for Kundalini Yoga & Meditation.
Co-owners and Instructors of Montclair Kundalini Yoga, Cate Baily and Savitri Narayan Kaur. See their bios here.