This post is for my fellow SGA’s. To the 1st generation: I see you, but I’m not here to talk to you right now.
SGA’s: if you are having conflicting emotions, it’s okay. It’s okay to want to take some aspects of your upbringing, leave others behind, and make the most of who you see yourself to be. You may be middle aged, and this stuff is far in the rearview mirror. You may be a millennial, and grew up in a time when Yogi Bhajan was older, sicker, made fewer public appearances, and rarely met with his “students” one-on-one (unless, of course, it was for *that*). You may have grown up in this group after he died, and you have had no personal experience with the person. Or maybe you had only good experiences with him, or what you interpreted to be good experiences at the time. We all have differing points-of-departure.
For me, it was dealbreaker enough to see the baseline manner in which Yogi Bhajan conducted himself publicly. And I really didn’t appreciate the way he spoke to me when I was just a teenager, just home from India, still completely unaware of my traumatized body and brain. He told me “Bitch, cunt, you will be nothing more than a drug addict prostitute lying in the gutter”. Huh. That’s not how I expected my “grandfather” to speak to me.
Fast forward to now, and to you. Wherever you are at, you may be bearing witness to some explosive online discourse all around a series of events that took place way back when you were a little kid (stuck in India), or you weren’t even born yet. True or not (all true, actually)… you might be feeling like, “this seems to be missing the point”. You might be frustrated at the ‘talking over’ nature of these ‘conversations’. And you might start to feel… I hate to say it but… invisible. Again. And, yes. It IS enraging.
Why? Because this explosive online discourse doesn’t have anything to do with us, the 2nd generation (yet at least… shudder). That being the case, you have full permission to unburden yourself from their (1st generation’s) never-ending cascading waterfall of drama. Remember: They caused this. We are the casualties of their poor decisions. We matter. And you know what? We matter more. And your children matter even more than you.
Sigh. This so-called reckoning. Will it prevent the next predator to enlist himself (or herself) as the next ‘guide’ at Miri Piri Academy? Will it prevent 3HO Sikh Dharma from sweeping it under the carpet and sheltering that predator or abuser from the law? Will it stop the true believers from engaging in herculean feats of mental gymnastics, all to convince themselves it’s all good, let’s keep things the way they are? Will it?
Because anything that stops short of that–meaning, the full scope of legal consequences for child abusers–is not a reckoning. It’s a hand-wringing. We don’t need more hand-wringing. We don’t need more shock and horror and new-agey woo woo karma aquarian age astral plane excuse-making.
Yes, I admit I feel angry and cynical. That’s why I keep this blog! But this cynicism–I do think it’s actually an okay feeling to have right now. It is in fact very healthy for us to NOT expect any real reckoning or action to change things for the better. The realness about 3HO Sikh Dharma Kundalini Yoga and the boarding schools has always been right in front of everyone’s noses, all this time.
With that being said, all SGA’s have a right to tell your story, any time, and in any way you want. Your life is yours to tell. Know though that it’s not going to be easy. It’s very emotionally triggering and really, it’s always only going to be just one aspect of your recovery. You really need to be actively talking to a professional, licensed therapist either way. If you’re not doing that, you will find yourself in too vulnerable a spot.
So please, before speaking ask yourself honestly:
- Is it safe for me to speak?
- Can I trust this person (these people) with my story?
- If it doesn’t feel safe for me to speak, then why?
- Am I in a safe space personally to speak up?
- Who can I lean on when I’m hurting?
- Who will catch me if I fall?
Because it’s super important to consider your own safety and wellbeing first. And it’s important to consider your children’s safety and wellbeing too.