Courage to see darkness
"The ability to hold light is directly proportional to the courage to see darkness. Choosing to see just one creates distortions and illusions." – Anis Springate
Darkness is being exposed in the Kundalini Yoga community, brave women and men are sharing their stories of abuse at the hand of Yogi Bhajan. My projection of light onto the persona of this man is shattered and I feel the heaviness of the darkness as it moves through me. I try to be a witness to this as much as I can as I allow myself to feel the rage, the sadness and the pain.
Life is not black and white. As a human being I attempt to navigate the spectrum of polarity as best as I can, looking for meaning as a sort of compass. In the search for meaning it can feel like such a relief when you can follow a fellow human being showing ‘their’ way, their projection of their meaning, their interpretation of reality.
When I found Kundalini Yoga 9 years ago I felt this relief, a sense of coming home. It felt like I finally found the manual of ‘How to live life’ that I was looking for for so long. There was so much release and so much joy and from this enthusiasm I wanted to share this feeling with as much others as I could. And I did, and it felt great. I found a purpose, a direction and a meaning.
This is not the first time I come to know about the dark side of the man I regarded as my teacher. In 2015 I found several lawsuits against him online, which triggered my search for more and what I found was not pretty. Besides the stories of abuse I came across an article written by Philippe Deslippe, in which he questions the lineage of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. To be honest with you, I found his essay much easier to believe than the story we were told during Teacher Training. It launched a very heavy period of doubt that stopped me in my tracks. I just wanted nothing to do with all of this anymore. After a few weeks of feeling paralysed I regained my will to teach by focussing on how I felt when I taught. The group energy, the joy, the tears, the feeling of connection and togetherness.
Last year the doubts resurfaced and it really bugged me there was no-one I could turn to to ask questions. I only knew teachers who had never met Yogi Bhajan in person and so the only information I could rely on was what I found online. I did email one teacher whom I knew was there in the early days back in the 70’s, but he replied with the advice to simply let the past be the past.
So there I was, teaching a yoga I feel has the potential to hold so much light, but I also felt the need to acknowledge the darkness. I again decided I needed to focus on the light if I wanted to be capable to continue to teach. I had to put the uncomfortable questions ‘on pause’ or I had to stop. I chose to continue but wished for a way to come to terms with this.
And then at the beginning of this year a book was published by Pamela Dyson called ‘White bird in a Golden Cage’. In this book she describes her years of working with Yogi Bhajan as his personal secretary and how he has abused her. The book has been the catalyst for many women and men to step forward and share their stories too. Some for the first time, some already did many times. But now they were finally listened to. Now they are finally believed.
Reading their stories I know in my heart they are speaking the truth and the heavy veil of doubt is lifted. Their stories, however horrible and painful as they are, are setting me free. And for that I am eternally grateful. I can now let go of of all these questions that were burdening my heart. With this comes a big release of sadness and a shattering of a belief system.
I have never given birth but right now I feel the pain and joyful anticipation of birthing a me that is much more free. Shedding belief systems I believed supported me, but that I can no longer hold onto.
With many questions answered, new questions arise. The biggest one, which I can’t wrap my head around is: how can I teach this yoga if it is coming from a man with such defects that was doing the exact opposite of what he taught. If he truly had deep inner realisations how could he be abusing people, be so interested in the money and powerplay that he didn’t seem to mind to hurt people and betray their trust in him as their spiritual guide?
Was he a Divine channel or a very clever ego-maniac who fooled us to believe he was representing an ancient sacred practice which in fact he invented on the spot? Is it possible he was both at the same time? Does it matter who he was if the yoga works? Does the yoga work because the so called sacredness or because we believe in it’s sacredness. Does the yoga work or is it our belief that makes it work?
Now is the time for me to ask these questions out loud and to have the guts to acknowledge that yes, there is light as much as there is darkness so that I do not end up in the next illusion. A belief system can only work when we believe in it. Once it is shattered, there is no way back unless you have a tremendous capacity to fool yourself. I don’t want to replace a believe system that no longer suits me for one that feels comfortable now but will in awhile again feel to constricted.
Stepping out of a belief system shows me how our whole world is constructed out of believe systems. We are all brainwashed to belief something and so many people are trying to get our attention just long enough so we might start to believe the solution or the answer they present us. It’s everywhere and when I think about this too much it’s driving me mad.
So what to do? For now my solution is still no-thing. I trust that when the time is right there will come an answer from deep within me, MY answer that will allow me again to do something. I trust that my innate human creativity will rise her head and the creative energy will surge through me again, wanting to express herself in whatever way. Just as I cannot stop change I cannot stop this creative expression either.
In the meantime I choose to believe in the power of my belief and I believe that I have no right of telling you what to think, believe or do. So therefor I humbly apologise for the times that I did.