In this series, I’m excerpting sections from The Aquarian Teacher, by Yogi Bhajan. This is the book we used from my Kundalini Yoga teacher training.
During Kundalini Yoga teacher training, we were introduced to the five stages on the path of wisdom. These stages are excerpted from page 218 of “The Aquarian Teacher” by Yoga Bhajan.
The Five Stages on the Path of Wisdom
The “honeymoon period” when we consciously enter a relationship with our spirit and our spiritual path. We are happy. We have left the pain of the past and feel the freshness of a new life on the spiritual path. We have found a spiritual teacher and a path, and we feel the blessings of these gifts.
In this stage, we being the personal work on ourselves. We have become aware of the work, issues, and growth needed to maintain a deeper relationship with our spirituality.
This is the most crucial, transitional, and challenging of all the stages. The choices made here, and the transformation that occurs determine whether the practioner will progress towards mastery, stay at apprentice levels, or quit the study altogether. It is easy to forget ourselves at this stage and become hypnotized by the satisfaction and power of the skills we have gained. If we surrender to the path and goal we began our study to fulfill, we will emerge with strength, empowered with an unshakeable direction.
A stage of ease, balance, and grace when everything fits together. We make decision, and it manifests. The creative force spontaneously serves our needs as we are aligned with our destiny. We sense what serves the moment, then hold the space, allow the tools and prosperity to awaken as each moment manifests, and enjoy the play of life as the Guru works to move the consciousness.
We are in harmony with the universe, living in great peace, grace, and happiness as a servant of the Divine Will. There is no separation between the duty of the world and the choice of our own will. There is a sense of equality and transcendence.
The Character of the Aquarian Age
In Kundalini Yoga teacher training we would talk a lot about the shift in consciousness from the “Piscean Age” to the “Age of Aquarius”. The idea is that each period in time relates to a type of consciousness. These periods are long (over 2,000 years), and we are in the midst of a transition.
The Piscean Age was about hierarchy, machines and power. Access to information gave you power, and hierarchies developed. The Aquarian Age is about awareness, transparency and character. Everyone will have equal access to information, and people will become more intuitive. The quality of your words matters more than ever as more. People can intuitively sense if they can trust you or not. You cannot hide.
Transitions are hard because they require change. The people who do well are the ones who are flexible and adaptable. The people who suffer the most cling to the old ways. Polarization increases as some people move towards the new way of operating, and some people dig in even harder into the old patterns, patterns that are dying. This polarization helps explain the turmoil we are seeing around the world.
The manual reads:
“The Aquarian Age is dawning. November of 1991 marked the cusp of the last step of the shift of the Age. The old Piscean Age was dominated by machines and hierarchies. The new Aquarian Age is ruled by awareness, information and energy. The greatest power will be your Word-your consciously projected words. This change is radical, not incremental. It is a simultaneous change in both the outer and inner worlds. The mind is changing its sensitivity, its basic frequency and functioning. Our lifestyle is changing its sense of time, space, relatedness and relevancy.
The Character of the Aquarian Age
Change and learning is continuous and lifelong. We must maintain mental, emotional and physical flexibility.
Intellect is not enough. We need a new relationship with intuition, emotion and instinct.
Information is not enough. Neither is knowledge. We need wisdom.
Learning is not enough. We must learn how to learn.
Complexity is increasing as it our need to deal with it.
Our sense of personal identity and its foundation is shifting.
This is an age of paradox-more global and more individual, with fewer boundaries and more demand for political separations. Everything is faster, and we have less time. We need far more love and unity, for we have more fear and tremendous insecurity.
Stamina and constant peak performance are the common benchmarks to evaluate all people and their work. The need is to go inward and regenerate.
We require a reconciliation and integration of the spiritual side of life with the technological and material sides-a spiritual fitness to sense values and meaning.
There is no isolation. Each action we take must be considered ecologically and globally because each person does affect, directly or indirectly, vast networks of people and other living beings and places.
(from page 4-5 The Aquarian Teacher by Yogi Bhajan, copyright 2003)
My teachers went on to say that people born during this period of transition have unique and important roles, often to help others wake up to the new way of thinking and operating. I remember one of my teachers saying “If you were ever an athlete and you had a coach, he probably at some point told you, “This is it-I need you to step up. This is your moment.” I’m saying that to you now. If you are here in this class, there’s a reason for it. You are needed.”
What you are here to do is a personal question and unique to you. No one else can tell you. It is something you will need to unfold yourself. But for all of us, one thing that will help you a lot is establishing a daily practice. As the world becomes more intense, you will need a way to ground, reset and renew.
We’ll start a community-wide 40-day meditation on September 15th. This is a free event. You can sign up here. And if you don’t already have a daily practice, this is a great way to start. 🙂
A student asked Yogi Bhajan about harmonious communication. He said “Here are the rules of communication to memorize.”
Rule One: You are communicating for a better tomorrow, not to spoil today.
Rule Two: Whatever you are going to say is going to live forever. And you have to live through it. Therefore, take care you don’t have to live through the mud of your own communication.
Rule Three: One wrong word can do much more wrong than you can even imagine or even estimate.
Rule Four: Words spoken are a chance for communication. Don’t turn them into a war.
Rule Five: When you communicate, you have to communicate again. Don’t make the road rough.
(from page 242 of The Aquarian Teacher by Yogi Bhajan)
The Three Functional Aspects to the Mind:
Negative Mind, Positive Mind and Neutral Mind
“Success, happiness and a flow of prosperity are the result of mastering the mind. The mind exists as a servant to the soul. But the mind is also a vast mechanism with its own characteristics and its own momentum.
When the mind is aligned with the soul, each thought that is stimulated from the intellect is perceived and acted on with clarity and reality.
When the mind is full of unconscious identifications, emotions, projections, intentions, and attachments, the thought is perceived for other than what it is. This masked thought becomes the basis of many false judgments and fruitless commitments.” (1)
In The Aquarian Teacher, Yogi Bhajan then went on to outline the three “functional” aspects to the mind.
Negative (or Protective) Mind is given for survival. It is reactive, protective and searches for potential danger. It is sensitive to pain, and it seeks to shield you from the forces that may disrupt or destroy.
Positive (or Expansive) Mind searches for pleasure, fulfillment and possibility in how you can utilize things in your experience. It is constructive, risk-taking and active.
Neutral (or Meditative) Mind is the mind that judges and assesses without attachment in relation to your own purpose and reality. The Neutral Mind observes the actions of both the Negative and Positive Mind and judges both in relation to your higher self. Each thought is filtered through the Negative, Positive and the Neutral Minds.
These aspects of the mind are developed differently in each individual. Some people have a stronger Negative Mind, a stronger Positive Mind or a stronger Neutral Mind. Occasionally, all three are strong, existing in balance. This is an enlightened mind. It is flexible and creative and able to reflect the uniqueness of the soul.” (2)
How do you know which mind is stronger or if you are in balance?
In trying to assess the balance your own mind objectively, the Enneagram can be a particularly powerful tool. For me, knowing my Enneagram type has helped me identify my own functional mind bias. As an Enthusiast, Type 7, I understand I have an overly developed Positive Mind and an underdeveloped Negative Mind. It is extremely easy for me to imagine what could go right and very difficult for me to imagine what could go wrong. And while this might seem like a blessing, any imbalance causes problems and not being able to clearly see risks and threats creates challenges. Someone who is an Enneagram Loyalist, Type 6 may have the opposite imbalance with a stronger Negative Mind and a weaker Positive Mind. The Enneagram provides a roadmap to illustrate how your mind swings out of balance due to your habit of attention.
What do you do after you know where you are out of balance?
With the combination of tools from the Enneagram and Kundalini Yoga, I’ve been able to move closer to balance by cultivating my Negative Mind (which I inherently shy away from) and recognizing information coming from my Neutral Mind. Yogically, the best decision making is done from a Neutral Mind.
There are Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditations to help you address these specific issues. I write about the effectiveness of Kundalini Yoga to balance your mind here.
The Enneagram offers “next steps” to start to relax your habit of attention. I write about these next steps in my book “Headstart for Happiness.“
How do you know when you are making decisions from your Neutral Mind?
For me, I notice that when I’m balanced and information comes from my Neutral Mind, my thinking becomes calm and clear. I don’t feel confused, and my thoughts are more stable, direct and measured. When I’m decision-making from my Positive Mind, I want to do everything all at once, and there is a frantic element to my thoughts. And when I’m decision-making from my Negative Mind, I’m paralyzed and don’t want to move forward with anything. But from my Neutral Mind, my thinking feels balanced. And with clearer thinking, it is much easier for me to move forward. This was how it was for me when I decided to move from San Francisco to Athens, Greece. There wasn’t any doubt, my mind wasn’t jumping around, and my thinking was very calm and direct. And I think with the right tools, anyone is capable of reaching clear, flexible thinking and good decision-making.
In this week’s yoga classes, we’ll focus on kriyas and meditations to develop Positive Mind, Negative Mind and Neutral Mind. The schedule is here. And for those outside of Athens, check out my YouTube channel for Kundalini Yoga kriyas and meditations you can do at home.
If you want to read more from The Aquarian Teacher, check out this post about the Four Basic Characteristics of the Mind.