Recovery, Kundalini Yoga and the 3 Minds

All hail the committee, that not-so-unified, loud, annoying collection of opinions and voices in our heads.  You know, the committee.  It seems to wake up before you.  It goes to bed after you and if you didn’t know any better you might think the committee was actually you.  Well, it is not. The committee is in part the result of a society built upon too much caffeine, sugar and online social networks!  100 years ago our ancestors took in the same amount of information in their entire lifetime as we now do in about a month.  This means that practices such as meditation, which train us to find quiet and develop calmness and focus are now becoming mandatory practices for those who relish their very sanity.  We need these practices more than ever.

For some people the chatter is louder than for others, like for people who are challenged by addictions (me, for example).  There was a time in my life when that chatter was more powerful than me. It overwhelmed me.  It was my master.  Then about 7 years ago, I was turned on to a form of Yoga called Kundalini.  The promise of all spiritual paths is transformation.  With Kundalini Yoga, the transformation was quick, precise and thorough.  I was about to discover the neutral mind. My life was about to get really, really good!

Within the powerful teachings of Kundalini Yoga, there lies an illuminating description of the 3 minds – negative, positive and neutral, which has relevance for anyone who has ever wished there was a way to turn off the committee and get to the heart of you.  Say you have a decision to make like should you cross the street or not. The negative mind will show up saying things like, “are you sure you want to cross the street? There’s a lot of traffic and you might get hurt?  What’s so special across that street anyway?”  Meanwhile the positive mind kicks in.  “Look over there.  It’s amazing across that street.  Let’s go over there.  Doesn’t look dangerous to me.  It’s an adventure.  Let’s have at it.”  You see, the negative mind, despite its name, is neither bad nor good. Rather, it is the part of your mind that tells you the reasons not to do something.  It is the protective part of your mind. People who are too heavily in their negative mind are over-protected.  They are risk-adverse and will miss some opportunities that life presents, but they rarely get too burned.  The positive mind, on the other hand, is also neither good nor bad.  It simply tells you the reasons to do something.  It is the creative, adventurous part of your mind. People who are too heavily in their positive mind rarely miss opportunities because they see and are willing to take them on as they arise.  These folks have very adventurous lives, but they have a hard time committing to a long-term process and because they are willing to take risks, will take a whooping from time to time.  Then there’s the neutral mind, which we can only access by getting still and quiet.  The neutral mind listens to the testimony of both the negative and positive minds and then from a centered place makes the decision which is always the right decision because it honors and bends toward the will of your highest Self – that part of you that has your Absolute best interests in mind.  
When we are balanced in all three minds, we allow our inner calling to come through.

So ask yourself, do you have a decision to make today?  Do you tend more toward the positive or negative mind?  How about taking 3 minutes sitting still, closing your eyes, breathing deeply and allowing the input of both your positive and negative minds to come in without interference.  Do not try to make an answer come, rather allow it to come. Be patient.  Accessing your neutral mind is a new habit that requires you to build the skill of meditation and stillness.  Once you act from the clarity of the neutral mind, you are immediately able to live in the full expression of YOU and to let go of the results of your actions.  Enjoy your freedom.

2 responses to “Recovery, Kundalini Yoga and the 3 Minds”

  1. Hi Tommy,
    A friend turned me on to your video on step 4 and I’m intrigued to see we have a similar view of the Steps and Yoga. I teach in the San Gabriel Valley and have been in Al-Anon for 16 years. I am married to a recovering alcoholic who is very into Kundalini Yoga, while I prefer Hatha. I wonder whether some of the preference there has to do with our approach to life in general. Just a meandering thought, not really relevant but interesting to me, at least.

    I have been encouraged to do videos by people in my classes and I’ve resisted it for several reasons, most present, because of the anonymity issue. I see that you are up front about your addiction issues and that you use your full name and obviously, your photo. This is not a criticism. I am interested in your perception on this. I also believe that the connection between yoga and 12-Steps is vital and important, and that Yoga can be extremely helpful to anyone facing addiction issues from whatever perspective. Getting that message out there is so important. How do you keep balance with this?

    I’m a relatively new yoga teacher, having completed my training two years ago, and furthering my knowledge by attending a ten day seminar with Durga Leela on The Yoga of Recovery. Much of the information I got from that seminar finds its way into my lessons but the focus from Durga was primarily Ayurvedic as that is her specialty.

    Do you teach teachers who work with people in recovery? Are there training seminars? I believe this is the direction for me and I’m very interested in learning all I can.

    Hands together,

  2. Greetings;

    I am very interested in exploring this. I have been practicing a form of Buddhist meditation called shamatha-vipashyana that has helped transform my life immensely and I am interested in exploring other tools. I am very involved in a couple of different recovery communities and would like to expand this to help as many people who are trapped in the flypaper of addiction. There are many doors out. I am sure of that… we just need to see them.

    Very interested in exploring this and possibly helping others more some day. I can be contacted by email and through the Heart of Recovery Facebook page I administer (I included the link.

    Thank you
    Ken T.

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