Deemed the modern face of Kundalini Yoga, Guru Jagat brings a fresh perspective to this ancient practice. She is the founder of RA MA Institute for Applied Yogic Science and Technology, a premier yoga school with locations in Venice CA, Boulder CO, and La Jolla CA offering classes, workshops and group cleanses.
She launched RA MA TV, a new virtual media platform that makes Kundalini Yoga and yogic lifestyle accessible to people all over the world, as well as the indie yoga music label RA MA Records with a mission to trailblaze a new genre of music for mass consumption-in and out of the yoga space, on the dance floor, radio and beyond. Guru Jagat was a featured presenter at the 2015 Emerging Women Live.
In today’s episode, Guru Jagat and I spoke about:
- The story behind her name and what exactly she means by Kundalini
- Why her spiritual technology is so great for women and why Kundalini is
- Why she has brought business into Kundalini Practice
- How women are hardwired to make a difference in the world
- Waking up every day with a conscious decision of how you are going to live that day
Here is my conversation “The Technology of Aliveness” with the powerful and energetic: Guru Jagat.
OK, hello, and welcome, Guru Jagat! How are you?
Guru Jagat: Doing really well, thank you for having me on the show today.
CP: I’m so excited to do a deep dive into the mysteries and the practicalities of Kundalini yoga with you, and your whole spiritual—I guess when I say “dharma,” that’s probably the wrong lineage, right?
GJ: No, dharma’s not specific to lineage.
CP: Right? The Buddhists don’t own dharma, right?
GJ: They don’t, they don’t. I use that word all the time. It means what you came here for and what you’re uncovering that you came here for.
CP: So I know that you have been on tour quite a bit, and you’re expanding centers and you’re traveling with your work. You were just in Europe? Am I right?
GJ: Yes, we were just touring Europe with RA MA TV and with some other Kundalini yoga—there’s a big Kundalini yoga festival that happens in France. We also took a huge group of people to all the mystical sites in a southern cave, which was a very powerful experience, like, life-changing.
CP: Wow. That sounds great. Kundalini yoga and the south of France—that’s something I would definitely sign up for.
GJ: Yes, not bad!
CP: Not bad, right? Why don’t we start with—because some people are listening and they’re like, “What is Kundalini yoga?” And I even want to go back a little bit—and maybe you can figure out the right way to talk about this, but your name is Guru Jagat. That is your name. And I would love to hear the story around that, and I think when we first talked, when I met you, you had such a strong energy. You definitely feel like you carry the weight of that name, to me, just meeting you. I didn’t know what to expect. But maybe you can talk a little bit about the background and how you came to be doing what you’re doing, and where your name comes from. And we can start there.
GJ: Sure. Kundalini yoga, at its essence, is a technology of sound. And I believe that we’re really at the very surface, scratching the surface, of what sound in this age of technology is going to open up for us—this age of space travel and the whole universe and our whole daily perspective, and also world perspective, expanding so rapidly.
So Kundalini yoga at its basis has this sound technology, which you could call “mantra,” but really it’s just these codes, these sound codes. So Yogi Bhajan gave names that were destiny sound codes, we’ll call it. So when he gave me my name, I was really young, and everybody else was getting—it was one of those moments where everybody else was getting Tej and Jot and Prem, these sweet, simple names, and then it came to me and it was like, [deep voice] “Guru Jagat.” [Laughs]
CP: Right? [Laughs] It’s like, you’ve got to fill those shoes with a name like that, right?
GJ: [Laughs] You do! He wrote me a letter and I closed it and put it back in the envelope. I was like, “Hmm, I don’t know about all this.” So basically, in its essence, it’s a reminder, it’s a code that can be activated, of destiny. I think sometimes people get confused, because we just come from an age of people seeking gurus to take away their karma or to save them from themselves, and we know that didn’t necessarily work.
So we’re in a new age, and in this age, the sound guru, when you make it, when it crosses your own neurology, your lips, it actually activates that heightened consciousness in you. That’s the code of that sound current, so it means nothing around the kind of guru trips that we’ve seen in the spiritual world and the kind that we’ve come from. It’s really more about a self-initiation.
CP: Right. Got it. And I so appreciate that. I do feel that our conscious as human beings, just physically we evolve, our consciousness is evolving, and that the old standards of how we approach spirituality are evolving. I think there was a time and a place where the guru did take karmas. Not to get too esoteric, but I think they really did serve a purpose. Not that they don’t serve a purpose anymore, but I just wonder, doing some kind of Kundalini practice and dharma practice and meditation, if we’re actually creating a new system out there for spiritual unfoldment.
GJ: I feel that that’s definitely part of what’s happening on the planet. Don’t get me wrong, I believe strongly in having a human teacher, a guide you can show you through some of the realms of your own subconscious and places of blindness. I believe strongly in that, personally, and I have one and I also have a lineage. I feel that’s different than putting—people tried to pay Yogi Bhajan millions of dollars to initiate them in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, before he died. He was in Hollywood, so he had many stories of celebrities and rich people trying to pay him a bunch of money to “initiate” them, and he would just say over and over again, “We are now in a time of self-initiation.”
So it’s not to not have a lineage or to not have a teacher or even a guru, but that this is a time of self-intiation. You have to activate the practice and the revelation in ourselves through our practices, through our daily choices, to be more conscious, compassionate human beings. And I think that’s the difference, at least to me.
CP: Yes. I mean, here you are in LA, and I think it was last month, after we first met, [I] found this article on the “hot, cool, Kundalini yoga teacher taking LA by storm!” And there just seems to be so much energy and interest and excitement around this new form of yoga. And I think there’s a lot of mystery in it. I’ve done some classes, and I know I feel good, and I know that there’s some practices, but could you help us understand exactly what you mean by “Kundalini yoga”?
GJ: Sure, yes. I think when we get that word, “Kundalini,” it does create this kind of esoterism that is not necessarily necessary to participate in the practice. Now, the thing that’s beautiful about Kundalini yoga and Yogi Bhajan, the way that we delivered this great canon of teaching over 40 years, is that there are many different ways to participate in the technology. Just like I have an iPhone, I’m using it in a certain way, it does different things for my daily life, it makes my daily life easier in certain ways. Now, my mom just got her first iPhone, and she is participating in using it in a whole different way, but it’s the same technology.
That, to me, is a very similar thing to the way that Kundalini yoga—why it’s so practical and the mass appeal is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s in fact the biggest growing yogic movement, and I would like to say, consciousness on the planet, especially after traveling around all summer. Just seeing what’s happening and how people [are] touched, I’m feeling it more than I ever have. We’re at a tipping point, and there’s a great revolution of evolution happening on the planet. I’m very inspired right now.
In terms of Kundalini [and] how wonderfully practical it is, you can literally do—and this is kind of the book that I’m writing for Harper Collins, the essence of it. There are huge amounts of people on this planet who don’t want to wear spandex, who can’t touch their toes, who don’t want to do yoga, and I understand. I was one of those people. I resisted yoga for so long because the culture around it—and this was 20 years ago—was so irritating to me, and everybody was like, “Yes, I was just in India, and, like, you know.” It felt like a lot of white privilege.
GJ: And a lot of snobbery and pretentiousness around it. And I was like, “I don’t want to do what these people are doing, if this is what yoga is.” Because I didn’t know what yoga was. I was like, “I don’t want to do it.” So one of things in one of my huge messages around Kundalini is, it’s so mass-appeal because somebody can just be sitting in a hospital bed, and can’t move any of their limbs or their body, [and] they can do a pranayama that’s going to give them energy to heal, energy to face whatever their having to face. That’s going to be something practical for them.
[Also,] I work with professional athletes. I was just in the studio in Boulder, and all the athletes there—it can be participated in by very athletic bodies who want athletic performance or want greater mind focus, or by business people. There’s a plethora of things you can engage in in the technology. I think that’s one of the great mass-appeal parts of it, and why it is taking the planet by storm. One of the reasons.
And then, if you’re an esoteric like myself—I love the esoteric, it’s my favorite—if you are that way and your mind works that way, you can get all esoteric on it, but you don’t have to. And that’s what I love about it. The essence of how I describe it is, the technology, it’s just like the iPhone. I think about what the iPhone or what these smartphones have done for us in terms of the evolution of how we move through the world and how connected we are, and can be used in so many different ways. It’s very similar to that.
So in terms of what we’re used to with yoga, like Downward Facing Dog and Chaturanga, the things that we encounter in a gym or just a regular, standard Westernized yoga class, that is kind of a far cry from what the actual essence of yoga is in all lineages. We do physical practice so we can have enough energy to command our mind so that our mind works for us and we’re not a slave to it. That’s kind of the basis.
CP: So the way I think of Kundalini is—we’ve got the real physical yoga, and I kind of put the energy body in the physical, in between consciousness and the physical body. It’s kind of an in-between position. But Kundalini seems to work with consciousness, the energy of our human existence, as well as the body. Is it more energetic or working with energy and meridians and things like that? Or is there another way to approach that energy component of it?
GJ: It definitely—I don’t think it should be more energetic than other yogas. I just think the Westernization and the dilution of what the yogic teachings are have become that. But I don’t think it’s about—I actually was an Ashtangi and I had lots of experience in different lineages, and I think the pure essence of yogic practice, on whatever level, whether you’re doing a pranayama or you’re doing something super physical or you’re doing a meditation, the essence of it is all the same.
Now, Yogi Bhajan said—and this is also why I think the Kundalini practice is so modern—is that hatha or hatha lineages of yoga take about 22 years to master. And we’re in the nature of changing so rapidly that I got my phone stolen while I was in Europe, and when I got back—it was a new phone, mind you—to America, when it replaced, it had a whole new operating system. Literally everything was new, and that’s within a month. So that’s how quickly everything is changing. I think we’re so used to it, all the updates. We’re just going so fast, we don’t even realize that.
But the reason that Kundalini’s so modern is, within 30 seconds, within a minute, within three minutes, and then, if you want to get crazy, 11 minutes or something longer, you can make a dramatic shift in how you feel, your endocrine system secretions, your hormonal balance, your organs. You don’t need 22 years to master the system, and even though there’s something beautiful and classic about that, who has the time?
CP: Right. Oh my God.
GJ: I don’t.
CP: Plus the hour and a half Ashtanga classes. I mean, I remember those days.
GJ: I know. [Laughs]
CP: You know, 5:30 in the morning. Oh yes.
CP: OK, so I think we get an understanding. I’d love to see how this applies more as we get into the content and the applicability of it. You do a lot of work in application of these technologies, and not exclusively—I know that it’s not exclusive—but you have a lot for women. Can you talk a little bit about how and why this, as you say, spiritual technology is really right for women and really right for women at this time?
GJ: Yes. The men used to complain a lot back when Yogi Bhajan was teaching in the early days, because he would take the women for eight weeks every year to train them, to take them away from their mother duties, from their professional duties, and he would do this thing called “ladies’ camp.” It was basically a training ground for new type of woman on the planet. I now know more than every why he did that, and why he put so much, really, the big thrust of his effort and teaching, toward the women. Because him, the Dalai Lama, many other teachers have said it in different ways, but the change in consciousness on this planet is rooted in the change of consciousness in the Western woman. Not even in women, but the Western woman.
So I feel like, a lot of times, things like that end up getting fed into this subconscious man-hating stuff. I talk about this a lot because of whatever unprocessed stuff we have about our fathers or whatever as women. And so it’s really part of my gift with my own connection to these women’s teachings, to use them as a way to lift up all of humanity. And because women do hold certain keys of auric, energetic responsibility around their families and around their workplaces and around their relationships, if we upgrade, if we step up, if we stop being competitive, if we start to love ourselves, if we create security in women’s systems—I said this to a group of people in Montreal a couple months ago, and I said, “What would happen if every woman on this planet felt good about herself?” And someone went, “Armageddon!” [Laughs]
GJ: Which just tickled me, because think about that. To create secure women who are not playing into a huge amount of hypnotic programming that comes from the media and comes from our programming and conditioning as children and the whole educational system—to create a group of women who have that kind of security and kindness and compassion and true sisterhood, it’s a revolution. So that’s one of the reasons why I’m so committed.
And also, these teachings give you a choice. They give you a choice, as a woman, to not buy the aging anxiety, Botox train of numbing yourself out so you can look a certain way and forgetting who you really are and your true power, the whole thing. It gives you some choices so you can—if you do choose that, which is fine, I’m all about whatever choice is an educated choice and comes from an [educated] space, then you can choose it in that space of integrity rather than feeling like it’s our last choice to keep our husbands and try to scurry toward the finish line in some way. It’s desperate and it’s sad.
CP: Yes. Well, it’s reactionary, it’s not sourced from an original place from within us. Yes, I see that a lot. So what are you seeing as women come to you for your teachings? And I know you have a big following in LA and you’re opening a place here in Boulder, which there’s so much buzz about. And it’s not all women, but a lot of women. What is it that you’re seeing that they are getting the most—or what are they bringing that you feel like needs to be addressed the most? You talked about [being] reactionary and trying to get out of that being told how to be a woman in the world. What else are you seeing?
GJ: I feel like the first thing that happens when a group of women come together—and I’m curious to see your take on this—[is] there has to be a disarming process because of the amount of shielding and defense mechanisms we’ve created around being women and growing up in the ages that we grew up in, and the whole institutions of marriage and motherhood, then all of the institutions of how to be in the workplace and feminism and post-feminism. I mean, these are a lot of hangovers we’re dealing with.
So that’s a first thing that I see, that there’s a decompression process that happens in women’s nervous systems. Because we’re so subtle of beings as women, we are very subtle beings, that we have to have a little bit of time and space to allow this kind of decompression to happen. Which is why I like to bring the women into community, because that’s the first layer that has to come off. And then once that comes off, all hell breaks loose, which is the fun part, because then we’re able to start to see each other and learn from each other.
That’s one of the most profound things that I relish [about] having a group of women together. Without saying anything, it’s not a cognitive learning—although there’s that as well, of course—but without even saying anything, the nourishment and the saturation of intelligence and the being and the uniqueness of each woman’s nervous system and subtle body or energetic body start to marry into each other, and you just get this really beautiful quilt. It’s like a subtle body quilting circle. All of a sudden, we’re in this very unique mandala of gifts and talents, all of the things, the burdens that women are carrying with them and all the beautiful sacredness and complexities of being a woman in the modern world.
So that’s the first thing that happens. And from there, we really can get into some incredible healing. I think that’s one of the biggest things that happens, that [exhales], you see that exhale and you realize, “OK, I’m with women and that feels really good.” Because that’s one of the ways that I feel some of the powers that be have controlled things. You alienate the women from each other, you alienate men from each other, and we lose some aspect of this primordial power as a culture.
CP: I love that. I know that a lot of what you do, through the work that you do, is sort of retraining or reprogramming some of the—you alluded to this, years and millenniums of, I don’t want to say “atrocities,” but sort of system affronts toward women. We’ve got, in our bodies and in our brains, I don’t know if you want to call them “limiting beliefs,” but I know that you work with that. What is that about? Is it perspective that you give? How are you reprogramming that? And how are you helping women to out-create some of those long-term, thousands-of-years-old beliefs that I think are still holding us back no matter how much work we do? No matter how much therapy we get or how much self-help, it seems like we need to go a deeper layer, and it seems like with this technology, as you call it, it seems like it’s getting to something. I just don’t know how.
GJ: Well, I think on a very basic level, there are different realms of “how,” and I think the “how” is very important, because I think most of us are really sick of going to a spiritual modality or a satsang or something of the sort and being told, “Oh, it’s just about love.” But it’s like, “Well, how is it about love? Because you know what? I’m not feeling love right now. I’m feeling like I hate myself or I hate my husband or I hate my children or I hate my job,” or whatever the thing is. It’s like, “I want to know how it’s all about love. Because I’m fucked up right now,” you know?
I think “how” is my favorite part of the thing, because it really is important. We all need a “how.” We all need something that we can bite our teeth into and get going and practice. Because it takes some effort. It’s an inertia equation. Something’s been going one direction for whatever amount of time, it’s going to really—and I always say “the buck stops here”—it’s going to take some true inertic re-momentum, going into a different direction, to change things.
So one of the fundamental ways that we do that is through sound. Think about all the subtle sounds that we are constantly recapitulating about ourselves and about our lives and about our husbands. I always say to the women, “Just pay attention, for a week, of subtly what you’re thinking about your husband.” Because you will be very surprised. It’s usually not, “Oh, he’s the hero of my life and such a good father and an amazing creator.” It’s usually not that. It’s usually like, “He’s a motherfucker who didn’t take out the trash.”
GJ: It’s usually a lot of stuff. It’s not usually love and light. And so [it’s] the same thing with ourselves. I say to the women, “Pay attention to the first thought that crosses your screen once you’ve woken up in the morning.”
CP: Oh, that’s a good one!
GJ: It’s usually not, “I am the next Botticelli painting.” It’s not like, “I’m Venus on the half-shell and I represent the most incredible emanation of femininity.” It’s never that! It’s like, “I’m fat, I’m this, I’m that,” whatever the thing is. And so that’s one of the fundamentals: first of all, pay attention to the sounds that you are habitually creating, subconsciously creating, because sound isn’t just a verbal sound. Women mostly communicate nonverbally. And then, of course, we’re chit-chatters and we like to talk, but the actual communication is much more nonverbal.
So pay attention to that, and let’s replace that with a higher vibrational frequency. Yogi Bhajan said, “Victory is the mantra of the Aquarian age.” So replace it with victory. It doesn’t have to be another language, it can be in English. He gave us lots of English mantras, like, “I am bountiful, blissful, and beautiful.” Replace it with that, and just practice. Without having to do anything else, just practice all throughout just one day, replacing the negative thoughts about ourselves and others with, “I am bountiful, blissful, and beautiful,” or, “Victory,” something like that. You could do one of our other mantras that are in a secret language called Gurmukhi, but you don’t have to. It does not have to be fancy. English is just as powerful. So you start to do that, and you start to create a different vibrational flow in your system, and that will inevitably, and very quickly, change your perspective on your reality.
So that’s a basic thing. And then, of course, [there are] all of the meditations where we’re stimulating the frontal lobe. When you change the gray matter of the brain—this is now proven in science, there are many real, awesome, prolific scientific studies coming out on the meditator brains, people who meditate, and how the actual structure of their brain is different, how the reactivity of the amygdala and some of the stressor responses in the limbic system and the reptilian brain are totally different.
So that’s another way we start to reprogram, obviously, through the meditative practices. And then the breath is a major reprogrammer, because it actually goes into the genetic structure. It’s one of the only things. Your conscious breath can go into these genetic structures that were formed in utero and start to change those. And then there’s the physical practice, too. So there’s lots of layers of it, but fundamentally, I think it’s the vibrational codes.
CP: And by vibration and sound, you’re actually talking about saying these out loud or thinking them? Or both?
GJ: Thinking them, yes. I mean, you can say them out loud, but it’s not necessary. It’s not necessary at all. Just thinking them, instead of thinking the thing that you are habitually thinking, which is something around, “I suck, life sucks, and then I die,” something like that, or whatever it is. I know the one I always say is, “Same shit, different day.” That kind of stuff.
That’s so embedded in our culture. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to the massive broadcast of hypnotic imagery from the media. The people who are choosing those images are getting paid a lot of money to create unhappiness. And unhappiness is a way to control the masses. Unhappiness, dissatisfaction, self-hatred—why control the masses through military means when all you have to do is make them hate themselves? It’s easy.
CP: So you were saying that we’re in a time right now that’s super exciting for specifically this realm of work and Kundalini. And I agree with you, that’s why we, from the beginning, started Emerging Women. That was the yoga that I wanted to introduce, particularly because it’s juicy! There’s something so juicy about it!
I feel like, as a feminine being, I feel energetically more connected and more intimate when I do some of these practices. So I’m just wondering, why is it now, what’s lining up in the world that this practice is at the right point for really exploding? It’s already exploding, but what’s that about?
GJ: Well, the processing from Yogi Bhajan was that after this portal of 2012—which, in many lineages, had prophecy around this time stream shift that happened in 2012. When I talk about this, mine was right around November 2011. Something massively woke up in me. I think a lot of people can point to certain things that happened around that shifting time, where this idea of the second coming of Christ or the ascension of the planet or some of these more new age or religious things that we hear, or even the Mayan prophecies.
My interpretation of that, and definitely coming from Yogi Bhajan’s interpretation, is that there’s basically a major shift in the polarities in the planet. Meaning that there are more and more people choosing to live in a reality of abundance and a reality of compassion and a reality of some sort of consciousness practice, even if it’s just looking another person in the eye and making contact that way. It doesn’t have to be so formal. But that kind of time stream is one reality, and then the war, fear-mongering, control, scarcity, terror time stream is a whole other reality. And the split of those realities is a huge chasm.
Now, we live on a polarity planet, so in one way, it’s necessary on this particular planet to have that polarity. However there is—you see it, it’s the reason you’re doing your work; I see it and many, many, many people are moving in this direction—almost a pressure and a necessity. It’s no longer a luxury to do something that’s going to make yourself feel better. It’s a necessity. And that’s moving people towards a different way of living and a different way of creating politics and society and their family and their businesses and everything that comes from that. And that’s what Yogi Bhajan and some of the other seniors called the Aquarian age.
Yogi Bhajan said that those who start to participate in this way of being—we’re in these huge cycles of time, and those who do that are going to rule this planet for 5,000 years, post-2012. That’s the prophecy. I know I have my feet on the ground, I’m on the streets and working with people daily in all sorts of realms of existence, and I can attest that that is what I see from the ground. In every little nook and cranny, people are wising up to something that’s bigger than themselves, bigger than their petty concerns and worries and anxieties, and feeling like, “OK, I need to do something with this really precious life,” in whatever beautiful and unique way that is for that person.
CP: Yes. I mean, I think regardless of the frame—meaning some people are going to a Kundalini yoga class—I think this is happening all over the world. I just [wonder]: A) is it happening fast enough, and B) how are people living in the fear mongering—how can it only be 5,000 years that the happiness and the pleasure and the community and the love is what people want, and then, what, they don’t want that after 5,000 years? What have they wanted beforehand? It’s just so obvious to me that this is the way we should be living. It’s the basis of our humanities. So I’m just sort of confused why this isn’t just a snap and we’re all changing.
GJ: Yes, well, I mean, from where we’ve come in this past age, the level of confusion that you’re talking about and violence that has been enacted between the sexes and through the control frames of religion and all of that, that’s a big cycle of a hangover. That’s the word that I use because I feel that’s what people are waking up out of, a dream. It’s a big thing that’s circulating out of our consciousness, out of our cellular memory, out of bodies, out of our lineages that we all came from. Because a lot of times, we’re still operating on some subconscious levels from genocide or potato famine or horrible violence that is a part of the lineage that we were born into.
So in terms of what’s going to happen after 5,000 years, I think that remains to be seen. I do feel things are going to change, I do. My intuition is we’re going to be getting into a whole other realm of time and space, and how we live through that time and space, however in the density of the third dimension as this world stands now, the questions now is, yes, “Is this happening fast enough?” And I believe every person that turns toward some thought of greater humanity, greater compassion, in some part of each day, that is going to be pushing us toward the tipping point of its [acceleration].
And I am seeing it, and will it happen fast enough? I mean, the good news is, if it doesn’t happen fast enough, this was a great experiment and things will be refurbished and regenerated [laughs] and something will come anew out of the life on this planet and in the universe. I’m rooting for us. I’m really rooting for us, that it happens, you know?
CP: Oh, God, yes. Yes. Now, the other focus I was surprised about, just looking through your materials and a talk on RA MA TV, was your focus on business. That’s not something—you go to a yoga class and there’s a dharma talk on business. I’m curious to see what that intersection comes from within you, and how you came to focus on that.
GJ: Yogi Bhajan was really clear about this. We’re householders, which means that everything that is in an ordinary householder’s life is a yogic activity. And this is what Ra Ma is, this is what everything Ra Ma, my intention, is. This is a place where all integration of all part of our lives can become resonant and harmonized. Because I do feel, in the spiritual realm, we get a lot of people who are teaching or spiritual leaders of some sort, and there’s some sort of disharmony in their field around integration of the message and the way that they are living their lives and this, that, and the other thing.
So it has been a really important part of my teaching and my own personal practice that every single part of my householder’s life be held up into the light, be looked at and then worked into a way that is in harmony with my spiritual practice, like my more linear spiritual practice. Somebody asked me in an interview, “What do you do when you’re not teaching yoga?” I’m never not practicing yoga.
Yogi Bhajan taught [a lot] about, if our spiritual life is integrated, then our material life and what he called the “orbit,” our sphere of influence, is integrated. And those are biofeedback mechanisms. We’re not sadhus, we don’t meditate in a cave, we don’t give up all our material possessions, we’re not celibates. We’re householders, so everything apart of that is an important yogic activity.
So as an entrepreneur myself, and as a person who—I take it really seriously. Yogi Bhajan said, “You have become prosperous if you are employing 25 people, if you’re helping at least 25 other families.” I’m getting close, especially with the opening of the Boulder studio, I’m getting close to that. Consciousness business practices and conscious creation and conscious entrepreneurialism is putting my money where my mouth is, to me.
CP: Oh, this is so good! So, wait, just let me go back here. The biofeedback is that if there’s a section of your life, especially on the business side, where you are, at a bare minimum, prosperous—it sounds like, for him, [or] thriving—then there is somehow a breakdown in your whole field, your existence, like there’s something not optimal that’s working. Is that what you meant by the biofeedback, like that’s a sign?
GJ: Yes. That’s what I meant. I want to be clear about prosperity, though, because I do think it can be collapsed into our neurotic framework of success. When I say “prosperity,” I mean that there’s two streams of thought on the planet. There’s really no gray area here. You’re either in a poverty thought-form or you’re in a prosperity thought-form. And it doesn’t matter whether you have $2 million in the bank, $20 in the bank, $200,000—it’s all the same problem.
I love this as an equation, because it really tickles me. It’s so true as my businesses grow. It’s all the same—the problem I had when I was a teenager with $20 in New York City and I had to buy a MetroCard and I had $5 to buy my food for the week. That problem is the same problem I have when it’s $200,000 or $2 million. However I decide to relate with that challenge, that experience, is the same thing.
That’s what I mean by “prosperity,” because I know, you know, being an entrepreneur, especially in America, they make it really hard on you, being a small business owner. So I’m not saying that you have to have a certain amount of money in the bank to be prosperous, but your relationship with that whole mandala, that whole equation, is the prosperity.
CP: Yes! And I also love this idea of prosperity being how many families or how many other householders you [are] helping. I mean, that’s what I’m all about.
GJ: Me too. Yes. That’s why I think Amma is one of the most successful—well, I feel she is one of the most successful business people who ever lived. She uses all of her business for nonprofit, but that’s prosperity. That’s success.
CP: Yes. Well, I think women in general, and I know that a lot of men, [too], the whole impact space or impact businesses, men pioneered that, so I don’t want to exclude them. But I know that women, on a mass scale—it’s not like a separate type of business, to be impact-oriented. I think there was a Merrill Lynch study that was looking at women who made over $200,000, and they were trying to see where they would put their money, and 90 percent of them said that they wanted to have a positive impact in the world with their money. So I think that what you’re talking about, thinking of prosperity and success in terms of how many people we’re influencing to make the world a better place, is—I think women are going to lead that whole consciousness.
GJ: I feel that it’s a little bit more hardwired in us. And this is why I feel like it’s such a precious time, the way that—I mean, me and my partner talk about this all the time. Because part of what’s happening—and he loves this, he’s really enjoying it—is that he can hold, now, a little bit more of a meditative space. He doesn’t have to be the 1950s hustling breadwinner, the way that it has been, with this new shift in the way that women are going to be leading the free world, and also being mothers and also being hot lovers and all the things that we are, in teaching us to develop our relationship with the spectrum of femininity and what it means to be a woman.
I think that this is allowing men to actually be able to hold a more static and grounded space for us to do that. So in one way, there’s a little bit of tribal energy, where men held that space a little bit more in those times in civilization, and the women were the ones out doing the work to generate the culture and society that they wanted to live in. So I feel like there’s a bit of a shift in the roles, but the groundwork has been laid, and like you said, by men. And as women, we’re hardwired in the Ma, the mother, we want to take care of other beings, it’s just in our hormonal structures, the biochemistry. So of course we’re going to feel more connected to that, just even on a chemical level.
CP: It’s fascinating to see how this is all playing out.
GJ: It is!
CP: The cosmic feminine is rising!
GJ: [Laughs] I love it.
CP: This will be my final question for you. A lot of women that come into our network—and we have 50,000 right now, in our Emerging Women network, and it’s fabulous and we keep growing.
GJ: Wow. That’s so great!
CP: I know, I’m just like, “Oh my gosh!”
GJ: So amazing.
CP: Yes! I think that the common denominator for the people in our audience is that they’re feeling something opening up within them, and they’re emerging. And that has an energy of fire, it has an energy of new, it has an energy of fierceness, because we’ve committed to a life of alignment. To me, emerging happens after you go through a period of self-awareness, self-realization, and now you want to take that inner alignment and you want to bring it out into the world in some way, hence the emerging.
But that takes courage, there’s a lot of self-doubt. You’re going through it now with your business. I’m going through it. So many women in our network, they are emerging. And I would ask you, from your perspective, from your body of work, from your dharma, what kind of advice—and maybe it’s the one thing or it’s the two things that you have—for women at the beginning or at the middle of a big emergence?
GJ: I think, fundamentally, the most sound advice I can give is some sort of taking the day into your own mold, into your own hands, in terms of, this is why we do a sadhana practice, which basically translates from Gurmukhi into getting up way the fuck too early and [laughs] taking cold showers. But that’s not what it has to be.
What the essence of the practicality of it is that in the morning, when you wake up, you make a conscious decision about what kind of life you’re going to live that day. And then your time stream, the events, the occurrences, the ups, the downs that will surely come, that’s part of the experience that we came here for. That’s why we came. You will have the ups and the downs and the backs and the forths—all of it. We make a decision about the life that we want to live, what we want to give, and how we want to give it in this day, and then we fit the day into that momentum of a decision, of an intention.
And that can look a lot of different ways. Obviously, I take on a certain viewpoint, so there are certain practices in the Kundalini yoga technology that I could give you, but ultimately what it is is you take the day, in that first moment, you decide the kind of day you want to have, you create a real conscious breath in that decision, and then you put, with that victory—because that’s a victory. Every time you wake up in the morning and you take the day by its hand and you guide it, instead of you being drawn out of center—that term is used a lot, and I always tell women the era of moodiness is over. The whole propaganda of, “Oh, we’re hormonal, we’re moody, and we need this pill and that pill, and we’re cyclical and there’s something wrong with that so let’s get some feminine deodorant spray”—this is a part of the propaganda machine. So if we decide, as a woman, as a creator that creates life out of our own cellular structure, we’re going to have a certain type of day, and that day’s going to look this way, and we’re going to give these gifts, [and] we decide that first thing in the morning, you just took a bull by its horns. And now you are a commander of time and space. That’s what a yogi is. Everything else is just icing on the cake. A yogi is someone who commands the time and the space.
So that, I feel, just fundamentally, if you do that, try it for a week, and see what happens. Because there [are] massive shifts that come from that.
CP: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time, and I know you’re a busy lady moving mountains in the world, and this has just been a real gift to be able to spend this time with you. And we’re so looking forward to seeing you at Emerging Live in October! That’s fabulous.
GJ: I’m so, so excited, and thank you so much for everything you’re doing. Bless you for your hard work and your vision and your fortitude. I just really, really want to honor you.
CP: Thank you. OK, much love!
GJ: See you soon, OK, bye-bye.
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