Heart transplants – food for thought

In Western medicine the heart is viewed as a muscular pump that sometimes malfunctions but it is also the organ which reveals our spirit and lust for life.

In the first day after a bereavement people are 21 times more likely to get a heart attack, men are twice as likely to die of a sudden heart attack with a mistress than with their wife and they are now so many cases of personality changes after heart transplants that doctors are counselling for this. There are many stories of heart transplant recipients receiving new memories with their hearts; of falling in love with the old flame of their donor, taking up the hobbies of their donor, of developing new tastes that coincide, even of changing their sexual preferences from men to women.

Bhoj Kriya. A lecture by Yogi Bhajan

How to Bless and Eat Your Food: Bhoj Kriyai
Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan®
August 30, 1992

Copyright © The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan

I have to teach you how to eat. You do not know how to eat; so I have to start alphabetically [from the beginning], all right? Now please, sit calmly and fold your hands. Bring your hands into Prayer Pose and close your eyes and feel that you are going to be blessed. You are going to be blessed. Calm down and empty yourself to receive the gift of God. If there is no emptiness, nothing will come in.

You are receiving the best gift of God; it is for your nourishment, for your acceleration, for your healing, for your purity. It is something for today, at this moment, marvellously wonderful, ‘blessful,’ and blissful. Please concentrate. Now please bow down for a moment in prayer—just a little, not much. Okay, please open your eyes and touch your hands to your shoulders as a sign of strength. Touch your knees as a sign of strength, touch your heart as a sign of compassion, and touch your forehead and then please put the food before you as it is served and put your hand on it to bless it. Concentrate and bless your own food calmly and quietly. Create a relationship with your food and your spirit, your soul.

Be calm and quiet; a saint blesses her own Self. There is a God in you—feel it. Feel the food piece-by-piece; touch it and request that when you become part of it and it becomes part of you, that there is a union. You are experiencing a union; you are having an intercourse. This food will become part of you and you will become part of it.

Now this food is identity. Now it is between you and your identity. Once it goes in, it can give you gas, it can give you indigestion, it can mess you up, it can create poison in the man. You may not digest it all; it may mess up your colon, your descending colon. It may come through so heavy that you wish you would never have eaten it; therefore, create friendship, create love, create grace, create respectfulness. You and your food become one. Cut out the rudeness: “I am going to eat it, I am going to swallow it, I am going to have it.” You have time, you have space, you have grace, you have blessing, and you are blessing your own today, so it can serve you tomorrow.

Now, you have to touch it, look at it and feel it exactly. You have to mentally talk to your food. Ask it, “What are you going to do to me?” Talk to your food. It’s very difficult for you because you are Western: you want to drive a car, talk on the telephone and eat at the same time—and if the car had a commode, you would want to go to the bathroom at the same time. But this is not life. Animals don’t live that way. You are human: touch it, feel it, discuss with it and tell it, “I selected you, I cooked you, I brought you here to become part of me.” Create a very graceful relationship, a relationship of understanding, affection and love.

I have seen a man, 120 years old, absolutely healthy. His total meditation in life was the preparation of his Bhoj Kriya. Fantastic man! I saw him doing it. What I read in the scripture was nothing compared to what he did, which was so graceful. Actually, I thought to myself, if he gives his plate to me and I eat it all, he can do it again; it was so good. Now, do you feel ready?

Now please, with your hands, choose what you are going to eat. Each thing must be touched by all five fingers, at least a portion with all five fingers and send all your energy into it with your fingers. And whatever little portion you put in your mouth, like a kiss, then chew it. Your saliva must become part of it—25% of the food. Chew it totally, freely, openly. You don’t have to keep your lips closed. Some of you have a habit of eating—smack, smack, smack—do that; that’s not bad. But each muscle must have 25% saliva mixed with it. You have the capacity and that is the most nurturing, health-giving, young-making stuff; it’s right in your mouth! Chew it; don’t swallow it; I have not said so. All I said is to chew it, mix it, grind it, whatever you do, but keep going, you can’t swallow it yet. It has to be in your mouth—and now, with your tongue, feel if there is anything hard or still in one piece. It should be total jelly, feel with your tongue and use your tongue to get a little more juice into it.

Now bring it to the tip of your tongue and find out if it is sweet enough. If it’s not, keep chewing it. Now, very slowly, take it in. You have to take it through the throat many times and with your tongue, clean your mouth, around your teeth, inside, up, down, you know? Clean your mouth once and for all. Isn’t it a shame that I am teaching middle‐aged people how to eat? But no, it’s a kriya, which guarantees health forever, youth forever, strength forever. Now, just see that your mouth is all clean—that there is nothing in it. There should not be one trace of that thing you put in your mouth—check around. All right, then go to the food again. Look at it, look at this, look at it, talk to this guy and then take a small portion and very affectionately put it in your mouth. Just remember, all five fingers must touch it and in the same way, chew it. Looks ridiculous, I know, but in the end, we will discuss whether we were ridiculous before or we are ridiculous now.

Any person who doesn’t have time to nurture himself is sick to start with. Now, calmly and quietly, in this procedure, please eat. Each time you have to repeat it; you have to totally create a hypnotic relationship with this food today. It’s going to be part of you, you are going to be part of it, and there are certain things I will tell you in the end, if you do it right; there is no hurry. Each time your mouth should be totally clean and absolutely clear of its existence before you put a second one in and you chew it. You have to see and taste of everything. Food in the mouth cannot go to the throat and on into the stomach until it is sweet to your tongue.

I tested this one day with green chili. Really, my tongue is numb today because it was so bitter; somehow it happens you know. I numbed my tongue but I still made it sweet before I swallowed it. And it’s my request to you that you do this, just as an experiment, very perfectly. We are not going to hurry, there is nothing we have to go to, weather is clear and cool and we are already in the heaven of the Earth. It’s called Española; so enjoy your time, concentrate on the food, meditate on it.

What I am trying to make you experience is the food, which we usually just gulp in 15 minutes. But if you just proceed and eat in this way, methodically, it will become your best friend, your best strength and your best Self. Your entire nervous system moves when you move your mouth and your tongue together. I want you to feel it, I want you to understand it. I know, we should just gulp it and go to the movie, you know? You swallow things, but you don’t eat. When you swallow things, they swallow your strength, your life, then there is nothing left of you.

I didn’t do any hard exercises; they were just simple exercises, which I used to put my officers through in training and I could not believe it. How much pain everybody experienced—and they were not even three minutes each. When you put food in your mouth and muscle it, it should have touched all five fingers: thumb, Jupiter, Saturn, Sun and Mercury. You can understand your mental strength within another three minutes; you should start freaking out, even just eating. Slow eating is one of the biggest meditations on this Earth; that’s why Guru gave us langarii. Langar mean anchor. Ships have a langar; the word langar came from anchor.

All the sea‐going ships have an anchor. When they put out their anchor, they are stabilized, then the storm cannot take them away. That’s why the word langar means anchor of the ship. The other word we have is teg deg: deg is the sword of righteousness and teg is the food of righteousness. The deg is what you prepare spiritually, respectfully as an offering; teg you all know. Between the sword of righteousness and the food of righteousness, we live. Now, don’t look left and right; look at your food. You have two things going for you: your food and your energy. You are going to baptize each muscle, each part of your food, each little bit of it.

 

Thoughts on Eating

Ask yourself ‘why did I stop eating’; was it really because you had eaten enough?

In the book ‘Eating the Moment’ you are encouraged to keep a 2 week journal considering the following as a list of reasons for stopping eating:

  • Hunger relief: you relieved the sensation of hunger (the next 2 stages are pleasant fullness and unpleasant fullness)
  • Pleasant fullness: you reached a point of pleasant fullness
  • Unpleasant fullness: you reached a point of unpleasant fullness
  • Ran out of food: you stopped eating because the food ran out
  • Emotionally felt better: you stopped eating because you felt better inside
  • Binge witnessed/shame: you stopped because someone witnessed a binge, you were shamed
  • Diet-violation guilt: you stopped eating over guilt about violating a diet
  • Entertainment over: you stopped because you had nothing left to watch, read and so on
  • Company left: you stopped eating because you no longer had companionship for the meal
  • Ran out of fun food: you stopped eating because you ran out of snacks or fun foods
  • Distracted from eating: you stopped eating because the phone rang or you were otherwise distracted
  • Plate clean
  • Got money’s worth: at an all you can eat buffet, you didn’t stop eating until you felt you got a bargain
  • Got sleepy: you stopped eating because you became drowsy or lethargic

What is it that most nourishes you? What is the activity, the principle that you need to give birth to, that needs to see the light of day? This is what needs to be given so that what touches you most deeply is not hidden but shared with others.

Work consistently to find out what it is you have to share and the format that it will be delivered in (recommended books to help in this process; ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller, asks the question; ‘What is the One Thing I can do such that be doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary? ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olson reminds us that our consistency in small, daily commitments is the difference that makes the difference)

stop going for the temporary fix – another coffee, biscuit, tv programme, newspaper, gossip or any other distraction that stops your ability to be consistent

The Process of Creation

Most people have the process of creation reversed. They believe that if they have a thing, for example more time, money, a relationship, they can do something, which will allow them to be – happy, contented, etc. This is have-do-be.

The problem is the process of creation is the reverse; be – do – have. If you want to have a different outcome then you need to generate a different way of being. The middle step of what to do is a how question. This is the one that trips us up with the first approach – we look at others and ask questions like ‘how come that’s possible for them and not for me, what am I doing wrong?’ and many others that show that we cannot maintain a state of being that allows us to remain sensitive, non-judgemental and response to our environment. The second approach takes the second step out of the equation, for example if you are happy you do certain things because you are happy, as opposed to doing things because you hope they will make you happy and then wondering what you missed when you don’t get the result you hoped for. This gives weight to the new age anthem ‘whatever you are being you are creating’ A jump is then made from this to saying ‘you create your own reality’. This is the carrot of the new age culture that puts us back on the treadmill of have-do-be because the reality we are encouraged to envisage is related to something that we haven’t got now, and is limited by our focus on the carrot!

Now listen up, this is important.

We are asking the wrong question.

The real question to ask is why am I not in a state of gratitude, contentment, peace etc now?

There are many responses to this question and they are all called complaints!…

If only… which causes us to a greater or lesser extent to feel victimised, and it doesn’t matter much how much money or status you have (just in case you still thought that was the governing criteria for being happy!)

The teachings inherent in Kundalini Yoga and meditation, which bring Hatha and Raj yoga together, give us access to another way of being. This path requires loyalty and training but through it the state of contentment and peace alluded to here become a stable state;

Kundalini Yoga for Addiction

The process and effect of addictions

Many addictions start in the teens as an attempt to escape from uncomfortable feelings. Since drugs have a numbing effect some addicts show a lack of emotional maturity stemming from a ‘freezing’ of their emotional development from this time.

Yoga postures and deep breathing allow feelings to flow again. For those that are ready to rehabilitate (re-habit themselves) Kundalini yoga is a very effective tool. Ironically there is usually a lot of resistance to a regular yoga practice because as blocks are released so are the subconscious, irrational fears that put them there in the first place.

An addict may have to reach ‘rock bottom’ before they are open to change. This means they have to pass through their depression to rediscover the life impulse that was suppressed in childhood.

Since low self-esteem is often the trigger and maintainer of addiction this is where the particular package of yoga, mantra and meditation can be so helpful.

Society’s message is that we are somehow incomplete and need to add more things to our lives. The yogic message is that you are complete as you are. We have just lost touch with our deeper self. Healing is a process of remembering who you really are. This is initiated and maintained by what you stop doing (stopping drinking, smoking, drugs, eating unhealthy food, going to bed too late etc.)

The 5 Reasons for Any Disease

We are made up of 5 Tattwas or Elements; earth, water, fire, air and ether which correspond with wilfulness/lust, greed, anger, pride and attachment. The elements are responsible for projecting our passions and our attitudes. We cannot escape the primal drives evoked by the passions, they are a big part of what makes us human, but we can channel them for positive ends. This is called turning emotion into devotion. In David Shannoff Khalsa’s book Kundalini Yoga for complex psychiatric disorders (p326) he writes “When any of these five factors (passions) is excessive or inappropriately expressed, there is a consequence in the mind. This consequence is eventually expressed in the body in the form of what we call disease. Therefore, the diseases that we commonly acknowledge today are all actually symptomatic of an imbalance in a previous or current state of consciousness, which can include the karmas of a previous lifetime. On a spiritual plane, there is a purpose and a destiny, or fate for each individual soul. These symptomatic diseases are learning experiences for that host individual.”

The 5 Levels of Healing

The 5 Levels of Healing

There are 5 levels to healing and though healing on one level can trigger healing on another it helps to be aware of their differences. The most profound healing happens when all levels are addressed.

(1) Healing at the earth and mineral level. This includes remembering our soul nature and healing the split between mind and soul. Calling on the universal soul through the Guru or whatever other name you give to focusing your intention to let the soul speak to the mind is relevant here. This is where the most stubborn resistance to healing is usually found.

Ultimately the soul does not need to be healed, untouched as it is by all the changes we go through, calmly waiting for us to come back to our original unborn state of complete wholeness. However the separation we all feel from this state of wholeness and the longing we have to return to it is the method to get there! The other levels have limitations in this regard.

(2) Healing at the organic (water) level including diet, herbs and management of energy. Many of the ways we try to manage our energy through alternative medicine falls into this category.

(3) Healing at the animal level (fire), including replacing bad habits with good ones, what Yogi Bhajan called ‘demoting ’ and ‘promoting’ habits. Our dharma and discipline is what counts in training the mind. Sometimes, some of us may feel the need to call on friends, family or counselling/psychotherapy for help, which is natural, but this inevitably involves transference and it is worth remembering; ‘discipline is your best friend’(YB)

(4) Healing at the human level, healing through your touch and your presence. This includes the recognition that we all have a wound and that the wounds of love need love to heal them. Sangat (a spiritual community) is important in this regard and provides an uplifting and non-judgemental holding space.

(5) Healing through balance; for example, overcoming cycles of stress and exhaustion. The autonomic nervous system is central in this. As mentioned our stress levels are determined by what in our external environment we place importance on. Ultimately we are continually choosing ‘Who am I? and Who do I choose to be? in relationship to everyone and everything. The way we talk to ourselves and those around us and how we interpret incoming messages puts the word and listening at the centre. Mantra and shabd (the sound that cuts the ego) clean the mind to establish a new vibration so that we relate to ourselves and our environment in compassionate and effective ways. Sacred sound is the highest form of healing.

An interesting thing to note here is that there are many claims made for healing at the 2nd level through holistic health practitioners. Thankfully most people don’t expect to be completely healed by visiting a health practitioner and in general there are usually two outcomes; the most stubborn health issue/s (usually one or two) don’t ever completely resolve however long you have treatment for and however many practitioners you try. Despite this because the flow of energy improves so does your overall energy and some other symptoms. So, for example you feel less tired, your digestion and sleep improve and you feel better overall even though the original complaint, that bugs you the most, does not ever really resolve. These are often issues that run in a family, and so run deep in the genes (in other words at soul level). Some people therefore conclude that holistic medicine does not work. For others they are happy to enjoy the often unexpected benefits of other things improving.

Keep Up!

 

When we have a regular yoga and meditation practice we remain bright, receptive and self-sufficient, embrace the flow of life and tend to complain less. This implies that there is an inbuilt resistance to change and going with the flow when we don’t keep up with a regular practice.

 

This is true.

 

This is because our resistance to change are patterns of reaction that have solidified within us and continue to maintain unhealthy and unwanted patterns of behaviour. When we face these patterns and move through them we release the energy that is behind them and has been maintaining them – the fear, the anger, the grief etc. This is more or less uncomfortable.

 

What actually happens is we have an experience in which we discover that we are not who we thought we were. This happens because when we adopt a universal or dharmic form as proposed in yoga, and Kundalini yoga in particular, we align ourselves with the natural, unencumbered universal life force.

 

This is something we have a lot of subconscious resistance; our posture represents the sum total of our beliefs and attitudes crystallized in our physical form and this is what gets broken down as we work through the kriya.

 

In fact the more fully and accurately you maintain the posture, ‘the angles and triangles’, the deeper the experience you will have and the greater the meaning you get from your practice. So…

 

Keep Up!

If you don’t go within you go without

It has been said that It doesn’t matter what your external life is like if you don’t have access to the soul you are poor

The teachings encourage us to; turn our attention inward by closing down the nine holes (sensory orifices) so that our inner light can shine. Our self-illumination can then shine a light for others.

Meditation is very helpful for this.

Keeping the body as healthy as possible for as long as possible means that it’s aches and pains don’t become a burden that distract us from achieving our destiny. Yoga is very helpful for this.

It is essential that we direct the mind by tuning into the destiny of our soul. Chanting is very helpful for this.

Kundalini Yoga brings together yoga, meditation and chanting. Add to this healthy eating, herbal medicine, and interventions such as acupuncture and we have a formidable package for total health and healing.

Yogic Process part 2; 3 Levels of Health

3 levels of health

Let us consider the 3 levels of health and how the 3 processes of yoga give us the tools to recapture the deep and lasting health that vitality brings.

  1. Fitness. This is the correct use of the body. Each muscle, organ and thought has its own strength but at this level integration between them is limited. For example you may have good circulation and muscle tone but stress levels remain high and exercise only brings temporary relief, or it is done solely to look good and without much bodily awareness.

(2) Health. Each instrument is synchronized with one another. There is a link between thoughts and emotions, actions and intentions.

(3) Vitality. Something miraculous happens. Mind and soul work together. A strength is drawn on beyond the finite sense of body and mind. We open the circuit to link more consciously to the abundant and universal life force. Synchronicity is recognised as finding ourselves in the right place at the right time successfully engaged in the right activity. This is known as being in the zone in athletics. All the preparation and training pay off in the moment (not ultimately, as is mistakenly assumed, by our own effort alone, but because we are met by grace. We are 40% responsible for the outcome. 60% is grace, sometimes thought of as luck it is actually the mark of the infinite).