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Yogi Bhajan Lecture: Select Your Path

Excerpts from a lecture by Yogi Bhajan

I have heard repeatedly that many people believe that the spiritual path is difficult and the neurotic path is easy. I have never agreed.

This is a life choice we must all make. If you do not understand the mind and its reactions, your first chosen step will be wrong, and your whole progress will be painful. It takes the same effort and energy to walk either path. The difficulty lies in the nature of the mind and how it grasps things and becomes entranced by feelings and sensations.

Whatever path we take in life, the requirement of life is the same. For a spiritual path it takes X amount of discipline of the mind and body. To accomplish that discipline takes Y amount of energy. For a neurotic path it also takes X amount of discipline and Y amount of energy. Each has its own habits and challenges. It takes the same energy, the same amount of meditation to become a confirmed thief as a confirmed saint. The same energy must be directed.

If it does not take more energy then what is the difficulty? Why do we have the impression that one is easier than the other? If they are equal, why aren't all people spiritual?

The answer is very simple. The ego of the mind attaches to immediate impressions. It enjoys the entanglement, the struggle for control, and the intensity and drama, regardless of whether the sensation is pleasant, or painful.

The reaction to become entranced and distracted from the long run is automatic in the facets and momentum of the mind. The spiritual path is a long haul. It is vast, subtle, and refined. The neurotic path is immediate, reactive, right there. It is tangible, and automatically physically expressed.

Without any sensitivity, you can feel your traumas and dramas. You easily feel your depression and aggression. You go after immediate feelings. And there are so many feelings. Your mind becomes heavy and dense with those feelings. Everything else fades to the background.

Your soul and you become more and more remote. Your soul, your most intimate friend, seems very remote in time. Then, acting by commitment and grace becomes remote in space. Then you lose face and grace and ultimately the race!

There is only one simple fact: On the spiritual path you have to pass through your mind, your power in experience, to reach the soul. But mind is not bound in time and space. So you must create a focus, an identity, a sensitivity to be beyond time and beyond the challenge of space. Then the soul is always immediate and present. It gives you a flow and makes your presence glow.

The Guru puts the situation in a single line:

Man vidh chaanan vaykhiaa.

Man means the mind. Vidh means to make a hole, like when you punch a hole in the earlobe to put in earrings. Man vidh means you penetrate through the mind and make a hole in it, like a pearl, or a bead. Chaanan is the light, the Infinite reality. Vaykhiaa is to see. So, you must go through the mind, penetrate it, and through that hole see the light beyond. That is what soul is: That is also what God is. That vision takes you beyond your reactions and carries you for the long run to Infinity.

The mind is like a camel. Have you ever gone on a camel ride? If you are not an expert you will tear your skin and pull your muscles and legs along with every other part. To ride the camel successfully you have a special way to sit on it, and a special way of synchronizing with its motion. And if you are very lucky you have a nail through its nose so you can direct it. Then it can carry you over endless deserts. If one day that nail is gone, you will remember that day well! The camel, by nature, knows all kinds of tricks to throw you. It loves to do it. Then, after you fall hard from about ten feet, the camel has a very effective policy. It sits on the ex-rider and relentlessly grinds it and finally kills it.

This is exactly what the mind does to you. You need to punch the hole and conquer the mind, ride it in synchrony to your path.

The mind is supposed to be your power, your instrument, and your projection. It can tell you where you are and what is going on. But that very mind becomes your enemy and it kills you. It brings your downfall. It was given to you to connect you to God and to help you express and experience you. How can you put that nail in? How can you create the hole in the mind and see the beacon of the soul's light?

The problem with walking on the spiritual path is that you are tested at every step. Each step expands you, lifts you, and gives you elevation. But on the neurotic path, the path of ego, you enjoy every step, but every step is just flat. No lift, no elevation. You get so tied into it that soon nothing can reach you.

Ego is the very capacity to be finite. You say, "I am. These are my things. This is my life. Nobody can tell me anything. I'll do whatever I want to do." In the end it confines you tremendously and tragically. You give no attention to your destiny and lose perspective. You live life through the mind's reactions; you do not feel you as you. You do not penetrate to the soul and live from your heart. You avoid the tests and never gain your uniqueness in your destiny. The immediate pleasures of the ego cut you out of the picture and drag you away from the soul. Choose that path and you will never penetrate through your own mind and see the light of the soul, which is the part of God that is in you.

I understand your insecurities, your desire to not be tested, and your desire for happiness. Your mind becomes satisfied and happy when you get feelings of security on this earth. You think, ''My job is good. My car is great. My home is fine. My sex life is good. My blood pressure is fine. My food is good." Everything you have is fine and good. But are you fine? That is harder to answer, but everything hangs on it. You are that you which is above everything. You can never be this, or that. You are that you which is you and you alone. That is the secret of your soul. You must be alert because the mind's reactions can lull you away from that dose reality of your soul. That is called temptation. It comes in every form, some subtle, some not.

Often you do not believe yourself and do not trust your destiny. When my book, The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, was written, the person who was to promote it and finish the publication approached me. He said, "We need someone to write the preface. Some actress or important American. Then the book will sell more."

I said, "I am the only person to write that preface. These are my teachings, and I am an important American." Now that was a test. I was not speaking from ego. I refused to get into this buy and sell game. I do not need a gimmick. It is a truth, and that truth will sell on its own time by the Guru's Grace.

The temptations to succeed, to impress, to control, and to belong are everywhere. If your mind reacts and you have no nail for it, it can make you leave "you as you" behind. When your mind is controlled, every opportunity will come to you as you, in your destiny, and in your spirit.

We claim and hope for a lot of things. When it comes to the test, it is very difficult. We claim we commit to marriage and a graceful relationship. When a problem comes, we run away and become rude and difficult. Each neurotic drama becomes a choice between temptation and consciousness. Which should win? Consciousness and your spirit! But often you know this, and you still let the temptation win and you lose your self. How can you fail your own conscious being? How is this betrayal of your own consciousness possible? It is the same answer: There is a joy in ego because it is now. But the ego is also blind, and that is why there is pain in life.

So what other power can we use to put the hole in the mind? What pearl can focus us beyond the immediacy of the ego? You cannot control your own mind with your ego. It only produces more of the same and more complications. The Guru tells us this and gives us a tool to control and understand the mind: the Guru's Shabd.

Guru's Shabd is words and rhythm and meaning that give you an automatic stamina whenever you face a test, a situation, or a temptation to betray your consciousness. When you train the mind with the Guru's Shabd, you develop a faculty called naam chit aveh—the identity of your spirit, and God comes to you instantly in your mind.

Those words come to you when you are in difficulty, in pain, in trouble, or you are in a good situation. They come in your mind automatically, like a sprinkle of water. Then it blossoms in you. It establishes an attitude of gratitude. And that gives you a balance and an antidote to the egomaniac mind.

With this remembrance and meditation the mind chooses the spirit, chooses grace, and chooses the remote soul as if it is more tangible than anything else. To close this gap of the mind and save your life from the sense of remoteness is the purpose of life! Throughout all your activities, you have to relate, connect, and keep your soul with God. When you are eating, living, waiting, driving, anytime, remember. Let the word guide your mind to synchronize with the Infinite under every mood. With this attitude established you can embrace life and feel the ecstasy of the creation with clarity, humility, and happiness.

The mind loves to feel its power and have you pay attention to it rather than to you and your soul.

The mere touch of the wisdom and blessing of the Guru protects me and gives me the power and opportunity to train my mind to remember Har—God's Names. When the Infinite penetrates the mind, it dyes you in the same way. You become vast and see the light of the soul everywhere. Then it is truly true: if you don't see God in all, you don't see God at all.

By the blessing of the Guru's Shabd, may you always uphold your consciousness and walk the path of spirit with every step. May the Guru bless us to serve all those whom we are destined to serve. Give us the scope to reach every heart, every being, and to bring joy and happiness. Thank you for this day and for this evening and this chance to talk and share together. You are the kindest of all kindness. You are Lord of all Lords. May Thy Light guide us each step and all through life.

Sat Nam

© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan

This lecture can be found in The Mind: Its Projections and Multiple Facets available through KRI.