I was born and raised in 3HO Sikh Dharma Kundalini Yoga, a religion / organization that I now know to be a cult.
I was 18 when I left and I went on to live my life the way I wanted to live it.
Yet after many years of not being able to shake the early childhood and India memories I just decided to start writing. I came here to share my experiences and my current feelings about 3HO Kundalini Yoga and their now deceased leader, Yogi Bhajan.
When we were little, we were told that we were superior from everybody else. We were told that we had been given a special ‘set of tools’ and a ‘technology’ for living in the world. But the reality was that we were being treated carelessly and casually like communal property. In 1982 I was child-swapped to an inexperienced, negligent and abusive couple. In 1983 I was sent away, along with a group of other 3HO children, to boarding school in India. I was eight years old, and I was to live the rest of my childhood in a far away country under the “guidance” of appointed members in 3HO and boarding school staff. 3HO Sikh Dharma continues to send children away to boarding school in India.
In my past experience it has been common for myself and my second generation peers to be dismissive when dealing with this past. One of the reasons, I believe, is that in dealing with the issue head-on, it’s easy to become overwhemingly angry, anxious, stressed, depressed or saddened. And in order to simply cope we choose to brush some of the hard truths aside. We may rationalize by saying “everyone goes through traumatic experiences” or “it wasn’t ALL that bad, was it?”. Another possible reason that ex-3HO peers may have difficulty validating another’s experience, and this is due to our being deprived of the natural development of our individual selves, and the encouragement of ashram adults (vis-a-vis the leader, Yogi Bhajan) to gossip, tattle or punish one another for speaking out or being different. These mechanisms–in whatever form, big or small–can carry over into adulthood, and can diminish the ability to see one other’s individuality and individual gifts.
Still. I never gave up hope, or my sense of optimism for my future, and in the futures of my second generation peers. A majority of us have gone on to higher education and have developed the necessary critical thinking skills needed for independent thought and informed choices.
About this Blog
I want the curious world to know, from a first-hand account, what life was like for me growing up in this religion, removed from my my nuclear family for more than half of my childhood. Through counseling, therapy and education, I am now able to convey my opinion clearly and confidently, knowing that my feelings are valid, and that there is an audience that wants to know more about our story.
The motivation for this journal is not as a polemic, but is a personal platform where I express some of the feelings that emerge now and again as a result of being raised in the high-demand religious cult called 3HO Sikh Dharma and Kundalini Yoga.
Posts are written in no particular order, and are archived by the written date.
Who is this?
Who I am isn’t very important, so I’ve chosen to keep my identity separate from the blog. Also, I don’t want search engines to correlate this blog with my public, professional life. And, I am hoping to deflect from responses getting too personal. If we were to have a conversation face to face, I would not change a word.
Over the years I have received dozens of emails, laying out terrifying experiences of abuse, coercion and suffering. I try my best to be as supportive as possible, but as a trauma survivor myself, these stories leave me really triggered. I simply don’t possess the band-width or skillset to hold all of our pain in one space. This puts the other person in a really vulnerable place, possibly even crisis.
Because of this, I’ve made myself difficult to reach. I simply do not have the skills or qualifications to provide the necessary critical support. I wholly recommend working with a skilled, licensed mental health professional, one who is experienced in trauma-informed care. Or join a trauma-based support group in your town or community. Bearing witness is important. But we must put ourselves first, and take appropriate steps that will ensure our safety and wellbeing.