By Victoria Lynes/Atmabir Kaur
“Sometimes the door slamming in your face is just an illusion. If you pay attention, you’ll see that the door is actually swinging open, past your own preconceived notions and presenting you with your life. The first step is the first step…so take it. Break on through to the other side.” -Sharlene Starr
What if Jim Morrison practiced Kundalini Yoga?
Jim Morrison of the rock band The Doors wrote a groundbreaking song in the 1960’s titled, ”Break On Through to the Other Side.” These lyrics were analysed enormously following his sad and early death. Examination of this song by both the writer and his audience, included notions of day destroying night and night rupturing day, of life having a light side and a dark side, of waking time and dream time, of things known and unknown.
Jim often spoke and wrote about life being dualistic. He was brilliant, insightful, and very spiritual according to many who knew him. I remember reading his biography when I was just a teenager and being fascinated by the complexity of him, the brilliant mind he had, the creative thinker he was—and the tragic figure he ended up being. With Jim Morrison, creativity and destruction went hand in hand. In order to create something, he needed to destroy something. In the end, it was his own life that he destroyed.
Jim Morrison died in 1971 at the age of 27, and left the music world reeling. Instead of channeling his brilliance further into his own consciousness, sober, he did so with a cocktail of alcohol and lethal drugs, which were in the end his undoing. What a shame Yogi Bhajan and his teachings of Kundalini Yoga did not find him amongst the hundreds of strung out 60’s kids and young adults that came to his early classes in LA—the timing certainly would have been right.
Jim Morrison often spoke about being so unsettled in his mind, even when fame and fortune found him, perhaps because it found him. But there was something honest and visceral about him. He captured a generation and people still remain fascinated by him. It was clear he was challenged by life and wanted more of something. But not more of what he had already, fame, notoriety, money. Challenged, it seems by something deeper inside. Don’t we all sometimes feel this way? Or didn’t we once?
“… but when we settle for these finite goals, instead of embracing the full light of our infinity, we often get entangled. We become stuck and can neither see nor accept our own light. As Yogi Bhajan put it, we settle for a single peanut butter sandwich instead of the ongoing feast of plenty that will continue for all our lives.” Gurucharan Singh Khalsa.
I believe that Jim Morrison just could not accept his own, wonderful, creative, powerful light. Or he did not know how to shine it in the right direction.
“There’s the unknown – and then there’s the known. In between are the Doors” Jim Morrison.
Yogi Bhajan could have said this—in fact he did, in many different ways in the 1970’s. So did my son’s favourite childhood hero, Buzz Lightyear: “To infinity and beyond!” I loved that guy. So what is all this talk about “infinity”? Is it what Jim Morrison referred to when he talked of the “unknown”? The 1960’s and 70’s were a different era, that is for sure. Consciousness was different than it is today. For one, yoga was certainly not as universal. Kundalini Yoga was only just making its way to people via a charismatic long-bearded man from India who would sit in gymnasiums in LA and teach to an empty room if no one showed. A year later, Jim Morrison overdosed in a bathtub in Paris. I wonder if he finally found his “light,” his “infinity and beyond”?
So, what if Jim Morrison discovered Kundalini Yoga in the late 60’s, out in LA, like thousands of others did? Thousands of young souls who were strung out on pot, LSD and hallucinogens found their way to yoga. And it changed them. They began to understand that they could achieve the same (but of course safer and different) “high” with the regular practice of this powerful ancient art and science. Challenges and blockages that once turned them to drugs became surmountable. Yogi Bhajan would teach that “There is a way through every block.”
And indeed there is if we can just tune into ourselves, our own instinctual intuitive nature, our own power, and our own answers. It’s all there, inside us. Rather than looking at blockages in our lives as something to just surpass, to get through, or to medicate, we need to appreciate that they are messages, signals and blessings—all helping us to grow our light. For what would life be without challenges? How would we even know our own character? How could we learn to tap into what is primal, what is important in life without them?
It is through challenges that our hearts open up. Look at all those people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and say that it was the best thing that ever happened to them. Why? Because something stronger than the physical is awakened at these times; something bigger than fame, fortune, and the pursuit of the material. We begin to understand that all this is finite. But we are not. We are infinity – and beyond. It’s one of the best phrases that Pixar and Disney have shared.
“Life is filled with a myriad of challenges – whether it be relationships, mental and physical health, or financial. All of these challenges help us build our spiritual muscles to grow and expand on our soul’s journey. When you’re in a pickle, it is important to remember this sutra for the Aquarian Age: There is a Way Through Every Block. This means that every challenge that comes to you contains the solution – a way out.” Catalyst Yogi
When dealing with blockages in our life, whatever they may be, it’s our emotions that can often get the best of us. “We get into this entangled state when we are upset by the intensity or misdirection of our emotions. We certainly embrace emotions as essential to a fulfilled life. And emotions are good as they connect us and help us know what’s important. The problem comes in the moment when they become uncontrolled, imbalanced, or simply inappropriate to the realities that we face. Then they fail to serve the real desire of our heart.” Gurucharan Singh Khalsa
I wonder, if Jim Morrison had had the chance, inclination or time to discover Kundalini Yoga, if this may have saved him—if he would have found solace in the quiet breath work, funky chanting or heart-opening meditations; or in the shaking and dancing, Mexican jumping bean style, that we sometimes do. All this would have been movement for his soul.
In the practicing of this art and science of Kundalini Yoga, we are confronted by ourselves. When we hold our arms up in the air for endless minutes, something inside of us shifts. We move through the challenge of the exercise, only to come out stronger in our lives. The practice may have given Jim Morrison’s genius a true launching pad and some inner peace. But instead he chose to escape from what was real inside him, blanketing his light in the illusion of drugs until eventually his flame went out. May we learn from his short but poignant life.
And may we all understand that answers to our own blocks do not come from a rational mind, or by a mind altered by substances, but through the power of our intuition, guided by our heart. With the help of our yoga practice, let’s dive deep into the waves of our challenges and ride them for a while—sober. Be IN them, not avoiding them. There are so many delicious, nourishing lessons to be had here. Digest them. And then move on, stronger, lighter and freer.