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Yogi Bhajan Lecture: Changing Behavior Patterns

Excerpts from a lecture given on 11/20/73 in Los Angeles, CA

We have a pattern of sequences which is an unconscious act. You drive a car. You watch—sometimes your foot is on the accelerator, the other foot is relaxed. The car in front of you puts the brakes on and your foot—automatically without you doing anything—goes on the brake. It's an automatic action. There is nothing whether you aim it or you don't aim it. Why?

Do the feet have eyes? Or is there a machine fixed with them that the brake lights can be seen by the feet? No, sensitivity is taken by the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind has been trained. Some people are so well trained in driving that whenever there is a yellow light they will like to push through it. It's their habit, it's a subconscious habit. Automatically if they are going seventy they will go eighty miles an hour because they love to cross through the yellow and red lights.

Your subconscious personality persuades you to many actions by sixty percent. Your conscious activity is forty percent only. Out of this, twenty-five percent is biases, prejudices, and pre-meditation. And fifteen percent is the conscious mind.

In most spiritual books you will find a thing existing called alert nature. Alert nature is a subconscious behavior pattern which gives you a warning before you even pick up the sequence for a consequence. We also call it intuitive nature. What is intuition? Intuition is a pre-meditated warning, a pre-meditated awareness of any sequence you want to choose.

Your inner happiness lies in your mental training. In your mental training, your inner happiness lies in harnessing the percent of your subconscious mind.

Your actions must be guaranteed by you because whatever the sequence, you are going to lead yourself to the consequences. You must understand it is you who are at fault. We live in patterns. Intellect must give you thought wave. Thought wave must get into emotions. With the intellect there is a thought pattern; thought pattern has an emotion pattern; emotion pattern has a desire pattern; desire pattern has an action pattern; and action pattern has an object. Between intellect and object this goes on and on continuously unchecked.

Now two things should happen. For example, either I should really go and rob a bank or I should get rid of this desire. Otherwise, there is no way out. For a yogi it is very easy. He will sit down and he will stab the desire to rob the bank: all right, which bank? Why? Who is going to participate? He will rob that whole bank in meditation. But he is cutting it down right along with it, because with the breath he is chanting the Bij mantra.

In meditation, with each inhale and exhale your Bij mantra runs. And let the thought go free—at that time whatever will come in you, will forever leave you. It can't be with you. The yogi’s breath is there in and out, Sa Ta Na Ma. He will go through it, and let it go.

You will be the cleanest personality and you will be the happiest being. Put any desire into this test. You cannot re-desire it at all. You may try your level best.

There are two methods of life: either you know how to control your instinct of desire and the pattern of your desire, or you must fulfill your desire. Now you can't fulfill all desires, you know that. So what you will do? The only thing you can do is to learn how to check the patterns of life.

For any thought you want to eliminate, there are two positive ways of doing it. Either you manifest it or you put it in your meditation—no matter how negative it is. It will never let go if it’s in your subconscious mind, because it will become a block there. It will reoccur, it will haunt you. We call them haunting thoughts. The haunting thoughts can be burned in meditation forever.

Once somebody went to Guru Gobind Singh and he said, "Lord, I am very much in trouble. This thing haunts me."

He said, "Well, everybody knows to jap the nam—meditation of the japa—because japa creates tapa, and tapa purifies everything. Why, as a Sikh, does something haunt you?"

He said, "Somewhere I met somebody and he said, “When you do the japa, and you do the tapa, at that time you should think nothing."

Guru said, "Well, you must have gone to some hermit, man."

Because when you block something, the more you block, the more powerful it will become. So it is basically very dangerous. But when you are doing the tapa of japa—japa means when you are chanting, meditating—and thoughts have started coming in, let them come in, but let your mantra go on. You will be relieved of that negative thought forever. That's the most positive way of doing it.

First you make habits and then habits make you. It's a very old saying.

Student: I’ve heard that to improve a bad habit you must replace it with a good habit.

Yogi Bhajan: No, first of all you must neutralize yourself. If you want some crops first you have to till the ground.

Student: So then how do you establish to do that?

Yogi Bhajan: Through meditation. First burn your bad habit pattern, and then you have to substitute it, then you have the choice.

©The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan