Working through the stories of Yogi Bhajan
There are conversations that need to be had; there are voices that need to be heard; there’s things that need to be acknowledged; there are changes afoot; there is the need for deep listening and feeling; this is the time for compassion.
When I learned about the release of the book by Pamela Saharah Dyson, Premka: White Bird in a Golden Cage: My Life with Yogi Bhajan and many other heartbreaking stories much of my head and heart has been in such a deep process to integrate what this all means for me as an individual, for me as a teacher and trainer, for me as a business owner and for us as a community.
I have already felt so much. Shame, pain, anger, disappointment, sadness. And it’s important that I continue to feel, so that I may address the pain and connect into my own authenticity and be guided forward by my own inner compass. It is from this place that I will find clarity and in time more peace.
Each of us is going to feel and process this issue very differently. There is not a right way to react. It’s a very individual process. Even a decade ago we would have reacted and felt very differently about it. We would probably have felt very alone, isolated and caught up in the paradigms of the times – deny it, push it under the carpet. But because of the evolution of our awareness things need to be different. Each person who has experienced abuse; been controlled and manipulated; or had another misuse their power over them, deserves to be heard and have the perpetrator held accountable. It is such an important step in our continuing evolution.
Pamela said in one of her social media posts that the greatest outcome she could hope for, by releasing her book and story, would be ‘for the community coming together to address these and many such issues, opening hearts and minds, healing, forgiving and finding the beauty of connection within the community. And most of all, learning how to be authentic with one another.’
It may very well shake us to our core, but it is an important process for any organised group. It can only make us stronger.
The pain and trauma that people are feeling is palpable. The impacts of Yogi Bhajan’s actions are for us to be felt too now. And we are not only feeling the impact within ourselves but feeling the pain of the collective.
Be gentle. These are difficult times. It takes time to understand what we are feeling. To sift through the layers and address the pain that arises. Be gentle and take time before you take your final stand. Because as it all unfolds there are many things to learn. Do not lose hope. It takes time to create the new. Reach out and be heard. It can be such a balm.
We are made for these times. This is an opportunity to relay the foundations in which our values lay upon. We are here to disrupt the normal and keep on choosing that which aligns with the equality of all sentient beings and let’s not forget Mother earth. If there is one thing, we can learn from this, is to stop giving away our power by looking to others to know what is right for us.
Even though there is pain and processing there is also a lot of light. In my experience I see that we are a community of truth seekers who wish to live life with an open heart and with the courage to step beyond our comfort zone and make changes that are in service to the whole. This is the kind of light we need to expand on in these times.
Don’t forget the technology works. Yogi Bhajan may have delivered the technology but it works without him. It is a safe and effective practice that offers such healing and transformation and it makes us better people. It is based on having an experience of Self and we must remember that no one person has domain over the way we experience our Yoga practice. Turn to it and be moved deeply. Practice and hold space for your processing. We want to build and strengthen our discerning mind, we want to question things to check if they are aligned with our heart, we want to reflect on our tendencies, behaviours and habits that no longer serve us so that we can follow our own path. Be careful not to be ruled by fear. Be brave and express your truth and be ready to listen to the truth of others and to those with different perspectives. There is freedom in truth and an opportunity to be your own authentic self.
I read a beautiful quote from Pema Chödrön who has also had the experience, within her community, of a leader who misused their power.
‘To stay with that shakiness – to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge – that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic – this is the spiritual path’
We will all have to be patient for these allegations and others that have come forward to be attended to, but I feel hope and an optimism that our governing body KRI/IKYTA and the strong leaders within our community will deliver what is needed to ensure peoples voices are heard and there is resolve. But I am also aware that we will need to sit in the unknowing. Again, we shouldn’t rely on another for our own healing and advancement, we can grow and move forward with this regardless of what others or organisations may or may not do.
A statement from KRI reads:
‘Continuing to uncover the truth and facing the truth, no matter how uncomfortable, we believe will ultimately make us stronger. A third party investigation is the beginning to allow what needs to be uncovered. We want every voice to be heard and no voice to be silenced.
All of us at KRI, as well as all our organizations, firmly and strongly stand for honouring the grace of all women and all people, and do not tolerate teachers abusing their position of power with their students. We will continue to improve our systems to prevent abuses from happening within our community and to quickly learn about and address any issues now or in the future that are brought to our attention. We are aware that this has not been the experience in the past. We will be sending out more documents in the near future that outline our organizational values and how we uphold them, so that it is crystal clear what we stand for and what we won’t tolerate in our community.’
What I am remembering, as I sit with this is why I began this path as a Kundalini Yogini. What was and has always been so clear to me is that this practice is so healing. It has the capacity to clear the blocks, to create vitality, to unlock a deep confidence in self and to build awakened warriors. And because of this I will continue to draw on the technology for myself and share it to whoever shows up.
And from now on I want to make it very clear that when I teach, when I train, that everyone has an absolute right to feel safe and comfortable to find their own expression in their yoga practice, through their own experiencing, as I know that there is not one way or one path. And know that I am committed to, always, offering each person CHOICE in what they do, how they do it and how they make up their own mind.
Again, be gentle. You don’t need to justify how you feel. Just feel it and practice loving, nourishing self-care. Give yourself time and space. Reach out.
Billie Atherstone | Siri Bhagvati
Have you read the letter by Kundalini House owners Pip and Billie about the initial news of Yogi Bhajan’s wrongdoings? Click here