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|What's happening to our foundation?
|Friday, 6/11/1999 5:25 PM MDT
i have been thinking alot lately about where 3ho is headed. i am a 15 year old sikh from the U.S. I have been looking at the activities of our organization lately and i have been really diappointed. i was noticing that the certificates that are being sold to certify people as yoga instructors do nothing for people except exclude people with financial problems, and those who do not endorse the certificates. Do we only want the organization to include people who can make us tons of money? Even here on this website only people who have certificates are listed as teachers. There are people who have been involved in 3ho for decades and aren't recognized for their expereinces and rather for how much money they have contributed to IKYTA. We all study under the same teacher so why are those who have the money recognised as great and others who don't have it not recognised at all?
Thank you for taking the time and having the honesty to relate your concerns. Because I led a public class in Kundalini Yoga for the first time in January of 1970, I am one of those you speak of who has been <involved for decades>. By your letter I'm not sure if you object to the concept or purpose of teacher certification, but the money is not a real issue if anyone who teaches, who does not have much money, wants to become certified. And, for the past several years, there has been an opportunity for anyone who has been teaching for some time can become certified through a process called <grandfathering>, where an experienced teacher can document their experience, pay a reasonable fee and take an exam. Upon satisfactory completion of that exam, that person is certified. In my own case, I've taught publicly and privately for almost 30 years, but I'm not currently certified. At the time when I expressed interest to IKYTA in the grandfathering process, I was employed in a low income job doing elder care
and hospice work as a nursing assistant. At that time the fee for grandfathering was a barrier for me, I explained that and so I was generously offered a reduced rate in order to begin the process of grandfather certification. I intend to complete the process in the near future, and I regard it as an honor and a privilege to participate in a formal process to bring ancient teachings into the relative spiritual wasteland of western, technological society, a realm of heart disease, cancer, stress, widespread intolerance and violence. Anything which can enable people to become healthier, happier and feeling more whole within themselves is truly a blessing for all. And so, it's through my own personal experience that I don't agree with the accusations and judgments you're making.
I want to understand a little better just what personal experiences you're speaking from when you say the things you do. You have said that you're <disgusted>, that you're <disappointed> and that you have concerns about money. You've had certain experiences and observations (I don't know at this point what they are), and you're now prepared to generalize in order to characterize a rather broad and diverse reality, and an institution, in negative terms. And, you're 15 years old. What I get a sense of, behind your words, is pain, alienation, and a very ethically oriented person who doesn't want to see people discriminated against simply because they don't have money. And, you're in a place of judgment.
Since, I assume, we're having this <conversation> in order to get at some authentic sense of what is truth within this situation, it's important to point out in cognitive (or <truth>) terms, that there is a very close and tricky relationship between perception and projection. If we are ever so fortunate to experience something in a neutral and truly unbiased way, then that experience can allow us to clearly perceive the truth about that situation. However, if we are biased in either a positive way, or in a negative, prejudicial way, then what we experience will be strongly colored by our projections onto that situation, not the truth of the situation itself. Our emotional, human projections and our expectations will definitely distort what we see and experience. The negative mind will say a glass is half empty. The positive mind says it's half full. Neither are truly correct. In truth, the glass is full, half with water, half with air. But it takes a neutral mind, not fixated on water, to perceive the
simplicity of that. Do you get my drift? Do you think any of this might apply to you?
To become a good teacher, if that should ever become something you'd like to do, requires a sense of sincerity, humility, and a capacity to view with a neutral, meditative mind. Otherwise, your expectations as a teacher, who is also a limited human being, are going to clash with every other person and reality you encounter. You would not be able to discover the diverse richness of potential that lies within each person (according to their own destiny, not yours), and so you would be alienated from them and they would become alienated from you.
I'm grateful that you have honestly admitted that you are disappointed and disgusted. But, the question remains, what do you want to do about it? In fact, the whole world changes when we learn to develop, heal and transform ourselves. Pain, disappointment and disgust are maladies of the small self, also know as our egos. I have one, you have one, everyone has one. But the ego is not a lens of truth, it brings distortion to truth.
You have said that you are a Sikh. Therefore, you must be aware of the lives and examples of our Gurus. In particular, have you ever read the story of the relationship between Guru Arjun Dev and his brother, Prithi Chand. Prithi Chand is a classic study in jealousy, greed, power envy, betrayal, and failure. He stole letters that young Arjun wrote to his father, Guru Ram Das. When Arjun became Guru (which Prithi Chand always wanted to be), Prithi Chand complained to the emperor that Guru Arjun deprived him of his inherited birthright, so Guru Arjun Dev moved away from Amritsar and allowed Prithi Chand to have all the collected royalties due to the House of Guru Ram Das. When Guru Arjun Dev's son, Hargobind, was born, Prithi Chand hired a nursemaid as a <gift>, whose nipples were painted with poison in the hope that Hargobind would die, so that Prithi Chand's own son could become Guru. And finally, Prithi Chand set up the slanderous manipulations and misrepresentations of truth which led to Guru Arjun De
v ji being martyred in the extremely cruel way in which he died. But the thing that is very, very, very important to note and remember through every single step of this nemesis, tortuous relationship between brother and brother, is that Guru Arjun Dev always treated his brother Prithi Chand with the deepest, kindest and most extremely tolerant attitude of respect and humility. Prithi Chand was a complete fraud and hypocrite, an original bad apple, yet Guru Arjun Dev ji always treated him with Love (with a capital L). He wasn't looking with rose colored (positive mind filtered) glasses, he had no illusions about what Prithi Chand was doing. But, Guru Arjun Dev wrote this story with his own blood, as an example for you and for me, as a way to approach life on the high, noble road of human dignity and integrity, so that (as he explained while being burnt alive on the hot plate) in the future His Sikhs would know the limitlessness of action required in order to live really truthfully.
We have teachers of Kundalini Yoga teaching to film stars for the going rate that multi-millionaires ought to pay for authentic, qualified, skillful teachings. And we have teachers who paid their own way to reach and teach unfortunate people living in homes for women and children from battered marriages, and to elderly people in wheelchairs who have no money at all to pay for a class. Dr. Hari Simran Singh, in Phoenix, teaches on a state chaplain's subsidy to hundreds of men and women who are incarcerated in prisons. Viriam Singh Khalsa, in Eugene, Oregon, is Director of Detention for the Lane County Youth Authority. Twenty-five years after he started as a counselor with incarcerated youth, he now leads a staff of more than 100, and counsels many youth in a way that is consistent with a yogic view of the preciousness of their lives, even as these young people are <blowing it> in altercations and scrapes with law enforcement agencies. The list of Kundalini Yoga teachers, through honest hard work and effor
ts devoted to the benevolent visions of Guru Ram Das, are spreading the Kundalini Yoga teachings of Yogi Bhajan because these teachings are a lifeline away from self-destruction and suffering for many thousands of people, and also a line of enlightening evolution for thousands more into a life in the world which is both serviceful and successful. I have never seen greed as the operating force here. In my limited human experiences of a much longer life than yours, I am certain that if you will be honest enough to look beyond the negative limits you're placing on your own experiences of 15 years, you can discover great benefits and blessings within the teachings and resources of 3HO. I'm unable to understand the objection you have to certification of yoga teachers. Certificates are issued to those who complete a specific course of training and who successfully complete a formal examination. Teachers are needed in life to teach to those who are poor and those who are rich. And, the 3HO organization itself
has become qualified as a United Nations Non-Governmental Organization. There are people around the world who are jammed into refugee camps after disasters, wars, etc., including young people and children with no meaningful activities. If we have sufficient funding, we could even be sending teachers to assist in such situations, teaching exercise, meditation, nutritional concepts, relaxation, all via the United Nations. However, such efforts require funding. So, I'm wondering, what is the problem with money? It's needed for good things to be able to happen, isn't it?
If you look at Tarot cards, the first card is The Fool. The Fool is generally pictured as a young man, about to step off of a cliff into his own self-made disaster. And, I suppose almost every one of us humans (except those who are born enlightened) replicate this classic pattern in some form, as a way of collecting enough initial bruising in order to then learn, by necessity, how to heal from our own folly. Every other card represents some form of wisdom that the Fool must gain in order to evolve to full maturity. These words are offered out of a willingness to communicate with you in a way that is respectful of you, and with a willingness to share experience and insights that you cannot have had the time in your own life to acquire for yourself. Are you willing to risk giving up your own strongly held judgments, in order to discover and/or experience something greater, something more real, something more able to make you happy?
Feel free to respond on this site, or by e-mail.
Krishna Singh Khalsa