By Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa
Back in the Stone Ages, or the early 1990’s to be exact, I was a recent college graduate suffering from insomnia. During that time in my life, I dressed all in black, was involved with grass roots activism and regularly attended CODA meetings. CODA, for those of you who might not know, is a 12-Step program for people who have loved ones suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. It stands for “Codependents Anonymous.”
A friend of mine told me about the 3HO community in Houston where these “yogis” got up at 4 a.m. to meditate. Since I was not sleeping anyway, I drove to the center one morning on a whim. A tall guy with a beard said, “Welcome,” in a booming voice when I walked in. The morning sadhana involved shoulder stand, plow pose and lots of breath of fire. It was my first time doing Kundalini Yoga.
In the weeks and months ahead, I kept coming back for sadhana and for regular Kundalini Yoga classes. But I remember the moment when I really got “hooked.”
One of the teachers, Guruatma Kaur, gave a class on Yogi Bhajan’s teachings about addiction. It was a subject that touched me in a very personal way, so I decided to go to her day-long workshop. Guruatma created this great drawing, illustrating the soul and its relationship to the pineal and the pituitary glands. She described how the pituitary gland was the master gland - how it regulated the glands of the entire body. But the pituitary needed to take its orders from somewhere. Through meditation, the pineal gland secretes and creates a golden chord with the pituitary. This, in turn, causes the pituitary to function in such a way that the entire body comes into harmony with the soul. Then a person can begin the process of self-control...in essence, gaining the ability to live to their True or authentic self.
However, if the pineal did not talk to the pituitary, then the pituitary would look for something else to give it “orders.” Every addictive substance – from sugar to alcohol to drugs to sex to video games – stimulates the pituitary. This, she explained, is where Yogi Bhajan said addiction originated from: the lack of communication between the pineal and the pituitary.
This particular teaching was so powerful for me that I become instantly and completely enamored with Kundalini Yoga and Yogi Bhajan’s teachings.
Yogi Bhajan taught a wide range of tools and techniques to understand and help people heal themselves of addictive tendencies. The program is called “SuperHealth.” I think many people struggle with addictive or at least compulsive behavior on a regular basis. Some addictions have very light social consequences. Where would Starbucks be if people did not crave their morning cup of coffee? Some addictions have incredibly severe social consequences, including losing one’s family, freedom and even one’s life. But the common thread among all addictive tendencies is very simple: does your pituitary talk to your pineal?
It is important to remember that Yogi Bhajan began his mission with the flower children of the 60’s, who were using drugs to expand their minds and find God. Yogi Bhajan’s message was so simple. Drugs are a drag. There is a more natural way to go. His first teachings on yoga, diet, meditation, and lifestyle were designed to help these “seekers of truth” break away from the false stimulation of drugs. He wanted them to re-establish the inner-dialogue between the pineal and the pituitary: between the soul and the personal identity. Everything that got built came from that foundation.
If you have a chance to learn about SuperHealth, It will deepen your perspective about how the body is the temple of the soul, and how to break free of the prison that addiction creates.
Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa has a great love for the mystical spiritual traditions of the East. Her other great love is writing. These two loves come together in her beautiful translations of the Teaching Songs of the Sikhs. She is an ordained minister of Sikh Dharma International, and a teacher of Kundalini Yoga. She currently serves as the Program Director for www.sikhnet.com. For more information, visit www.ekongkaark.com.