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Dear Yogiji—Questions and Answers about Mind and Meditation

When Yogi Bhajan taught classes, he would often leave time for questions and answers. Students were eager to have their questions answered by the Master. The timeless nature of his wisdom can be seen in the questions and answers we've gathered below.  

Q. How do you handle a negative thought in a yogic, meditative way?

A. For any thought you want to eliminate, there are two ways of doing it. Either you manifest it, or you put it in your meditation. If it stays in your subconscious mind, it will become a block there. It will recur; it will haunt you. When you block something, the more you block it, the more powerful it will become. So it is basically very dangerous. But the haunting past can be burned away forever through meditation. When you are chanting and meditating and negative thoughts start coming, let the thoughts come, but also let your mantra go on. You will be relieved of that negative thought forever. It is the most positive way of doing it.

Q. Yogiji, when you are meditating and you're getting these desires coming up, what happens?

A. Two things can happen: one is, you'll stop meditating and get into the whole desire thing. The other thing that can happen, and for the best results, is that you will stick to your breath and stick to your mantra.

Q. So you focus on and are really conscious of the mantra and the breath?

A. Yes. The idea is to separate yourself from the mind. Let the mind have that pattern in your head, but you stick to the mantra.

Q. What about when people are so stressed mentally or physically, that they can't focus and calm themselves sufficiently to meditate?

A. Normally at that time sit with them and do the meditation. Even those who just hear it get cleaned.

Q. Which finger is best to run a mala on?

A. When you have a mala, for knowledge use it on the first finger; for patience on the second; for energy on the third; and for communication on the fourth. It is up to you what you want to do.

Q. What is the quickest way to incorporate in yourself an admirable quality you see in someone else?

A. In every subjection you will get to the object. If you do not subject yourself to something, you can never have the object. It is a simple law. You have to direct your energy to get it. If you like something, you have to work for it in order to have it. Nothing happens without meditation.

Q. If sometimes your energy is too high, how can you get out of this high force?

A. If your energy is out of balance, begin to meditate on your breath, and bring your breath down to one breath a minute.[1] Your whole life is controlled by your breath. Between you and your Creator, between creature and Creator, the link is the breath. The power of the breath makes you what you are.

Q. I’ve always heard that to improve a bad habit, you must replace it with a good one. Is this true?

A. No. First you must neutralize yourself.

Q. So then how do you establish the good habit?

A. Through meditation. First burn your bad habit pattern through meditation, and then you have to substitute it. Then you have the choice.


[1] Inhale for 20 seconds, hold for 20 seconds, exhale for 20 seconds.

© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan