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Yogi Bhajan Lecture: Get Rid of Your 'Couldn't'

Excerpts from lectures on 3/5/95 and 9/4/01

Do you remember a day when you wanted to come into class and you couldn’t? It happens. It happens many times. It happens. When you want to get up in the morning and be with your God and Lord, you couldn’t. It happens. When you wanted to love somebody and serve somebody, you really wanted it but you couldn’t.

We want to get rid of this ‘couldn’t.’ We want to make our will so clean, so clear, so positive, that the ‘couldn’t’ doesn’t touch our shores. We have a very strong disease: ‘couldn’t.’ And ultimately this ‘couldn’t’ is like a cancer and eats our determination, our essence—because we ‘couldn’t.’

All our problems on this planet come from this ‘couldn’t.’ This ‘couldn’t’ gives us a slip from our Dharma, from our duty.

Just imagine Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth master, when he, himself, was decorating his younger son to send him to war. He could, and he did it. Because he had a mastery over ‘couldn’t.’ The Sikhs were there and they said, “Lord, until we are finished you are not supposed to send your son.” He said, “No, let him go and face the war.” For the glory of the Dharma he decorated his own son to go into the war where each soldier was outnumbered by one hundred twenty-five thousand to one.

When I came to the United States I started teaching Kundalini Yoga. I knew that at least it’s a science which gives a person excellence. It will create excellent characters; it will take ‘couldn’t’ away from us. It will give us a pathway of an essential sacrifice which will give us maximum happiness. 

We cannot sacrifice our ego. We cannot sacrifice our attachment. We cannot sacrifice our anger. We cannot sacrifice our lust. We cannot sacrifice our greed. Then, what can we sacrifice? These are the faculties that force our "couldn't" on us.

We make every effort to survive. But we need to survive with the ultimate reality, with applied consciousness, and with absolute reality of grace. We can't compromise. Some people can do it. Some can't. There's nothing personal in it. You can live like a frog in the well or you can live in the ocean. It's up to you.

Things will not change if you don’t change them. What will change things in you is that you, the divine you, which is in you. It is the divinity in you which will allow you to sacrifice. It is the reality in you which will make you realize. Don’t take it personally. It is not personal. It is a general rule of prakirti. It is the law of the Lord. Purkha[3]and prakirti, it shall never change, you have to change with it. 

Commitment gives you character. That gives you dignity, divinity, grace, the power to sacrifice and then happiness. Because the only thing which dies is the physical body, but there are nine other bodies too. The total account is ten bodies. That’s the reality. You have to learn to love all the ten bodies, not the physical body only. Even if you don’t destroy the physical body, it is going to destroy itself. It’s the law of prakirti.

Jo upjo sobinsay. “One who is born has to die.” But the other bodies can help you to be young, fresh and beautiful. This body is given to serve. Recognize there are nine others with it and that is called the path of Dharma. And it is up to you to follow it or deny it.

Life is to be lived. Life is a given gift. Atma, the soul, takes the body. The distance of life is covered by destiny and challenged by fate. That's how it goes. There are no two ways about it.

You have your life. You can live. You can have all that you need, and that is destined. But if you want more, you can only get it if you open yourself. Open your doors. A person has to open his heart to others. It is not necessary to try to predominate or dominate other people. Your one beautiful smile, and one, "Hello, how are you?" or "Sat Nam,"—there is so much good it can do, even to a person who doesn't know you. 

But to do that, you have to put in your investment. You have to move towards the psyche of another person. You have to show that you are the beloved of the Lord and you are here to live a life for everybody. And this is unlimited. Whatever life is given to you by the pranic energy is unlimited.

Once your life gets subject to rhythm, ‘couldn’t’ will go away.

©The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan

This lecture can be found in  Success and the Spirit available through KRI.


[1] Matter or primal nature.

[2] The tenth yogic body representing spiritual radiance and courage.

[3] Purkha is unmanifest spirit.