An Interview with Yogi Bhajan
–Reprinted from “Esteem” – a publication of the California Task Force to promote Self Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility. Yogi Bhajan was a participant at the Task Force’s “Think Tank” in May of 1988 with other eminent authorities on human behavior. The questions were asked by David Shannahoff-Khalsa who is a member of the Task Force.
DS-K: From the point of view of a yogi, can you tell us what self-esteem is?
YB: Simply it is the state or condition of mind in which the self is realized. Also, at the “Think Tank” I defined it as the character of human excellence. For example, if we excel in the human virtues of kindness, righteousness, courage, dignity and grace we experience our own nobility and divinity. This is the wellspring of self-esteem. Actually speaking, it is the self-conscious good performance which gives self-esteem.
DS-K: At the “Think Tank” you stressed the importance of the subconscious mind and how it affects our self-esteem. Will you do that again?
YB: One has to be very conscious in dealing with one’s own mind. The best way is not to record and activity for which your subconscious mind can pick at you. Secondly, never do anything which you cannot explain to yourself and prove to yourself on the touchstone of Universal Truth. Third, never take any action for which you cannot face the reaction, because the first thing to give you a reaction is your subconscious mind. Fourth, never compromise with your lower nature, with a friend of lower intention, of negative intention or of negative environment. When the subconscious mind is controlled consciously by the individual as a habit and he does not relate to his negative past as a habit and he relates to infinite nature to bless him, that person reaches the highest consciousness as a living being. Basically, what I want to tell you is this–commanding the mind is the only art of survival in a state of bliss.
DS-K: You also brought up the role of the body and its metabolism and gave the analogy of how we need the “Steam to generate self-esteem.” What about this?
YB: Within you, you have the dormant power of infinity. It is the power in you through which you make your mind expand. Uncoiling the coil within yourself, within your own consciousness, is the power I am talking about. The condition of your mind and its ability to achieve this potential is based on a chemistry and this chemistry is regulated by your glands and nervous system. If you can learn to control your own metabolism to lift yourself out of depression, you can always excel and perform, endure and achieve against the greatest odds. You must understand, it is depression in consciousness which is the real cause of fluctuation. It is in this depression that we fail and fall apart. This faulty chemistry which causes an individual to recoil instead of uncoil is a root cause of low self-esteem. It is a matter of function and dysfunction. When we learn to consciously control our minds, subconscious, conscious, and superconscious. It is in the reality of this conscious interplay of the self that we become immune to depression, anger, fears, doubts, anxiety and all of the common neuroses. When you become free of these limiting factors in life self-esteem is no problem.
DS-K: How does Kundalini Yoga fit into this?
YB: There are many kinds of yoga and in the West we have many thoughts about them, but as far as Kundalini Yoga is concerned, it is the yoga of awareness. The total potential of the person becomes known to the person. Every known has an unknown potential and that unknown potential is your right to know. Why don’t we know? Because you do not have the technical know how and that technical know how is available to the man through the great teachers who have left that for us. Also, in your task force you address personal responsibility. I would like to tell your from the point of view of a yogi, that if you master the nine gates of your body–eyes, ears, nose, mouth, sex organ and rectum–then all the secrets of nature will open up to you. This path will give you the mastery over self-esteem; otherwise it only takes one neurosis to rob you of your self-esteem and grace as a human being.