5 Magical Think Traps to Avoid

Back in the day in Kundalini land, we were told that a certain technique would take our energy from 'a frequency of 1.5 megawatts to 2.1' and that was where we needed to be. We were also told that if we practiced the Long Ek Ong Kar meditation, starting pre-dawn, for 2.5 hrs. a day for 40 days we would be "liberated." Were these claims based on centuries of observation, research, and development? Or, was there the conflation of grains of truth (gold dust nevertheless) with a sort of carrot on the stick approach?

Are chakras real? Are auras real? Can we really open our Third Eye and know the unknown and see the unseen? Are all the fancy mudras and breath patterns and ostensible spiritual bells and whistles in Kundalini Yoga necessary? What's the end game here? Is this a game we can win?

The answer to all of these things is yes and no. We need to verify through experience what we suspect to be true. Also, there's often a fine line between self-delusion and super-sensory fine-tuning. We approach the unseen by degrees. The end game is the homecoming of the soul.

These days a little escapism is looking pretty good. Cloud 9 anyone? It turns out that a little magical thinking can be a good thing. Research has shown that people who magically think have a higher happiness quotient. From a yogi's point of view, it is a magical Universe even if, on the local level, life plods on.

Our version of the world is based on sensory-driven data and even science confirms that we're not getting the whole story. Nevertheless, as yogis, we need to be scientists (and hopefully vice versa!) and honor the Occam's Razor principle. That means that before we blast off on flights of fancy, we assume the most prosaic interpretation first. So here are some decidedly escapist tendencies that we yogis need to anticipate and examine.

1.Confirmation Bias. This is the tendency to give more credence to input that confirms our presuppositions, even if our experience has reflected the contrary many times over. Sometimes we can go decades clinging to certain ideas. For instance, the assertion that SaTaNaMa Meditation works on emotional balance. People practice it and assume that it's working. Well, if we execute properly it does work (as research is now showing) to a great extent. It balances our brain areas, nervous system, and psyche and syncs us with the rhythm of the Universe. And there's definitely something to be said for doing our practice and then going about our lives. That really is a perfect balance. But for the greatest impact in the real world, we need to practice with conscious intentionality and use the awareness and insights these techniques foster to shine a spotlight on our lives and be open to change.

All of us had a honeymoon period when we first discovered Kundalini Yoga because it very often represented such a stark contrast to our previous ways of living and being, But, do we find ourselves doing our practice to simply check off boxes, or does our life truly reflect the fruits of our yogic endeavors? Are we going through the motions or rocking our practice (and life) with deep devotion.

2.Connecting Random Input. Consciousness is decidedly an organizing principle. After all, that's one definition of intuition, the ability to extract plausible assumptions from seemingly disparate data points. Nevertheless, it's possible to become fixated on an outcome before the income. The Universe is beautiful and mysterious but beware that this recognition doesn't make us solipsistic, which is the belief that we are the centerpiece of all that occurs.

We may assume that we're "spiritual" because we resonate with certain things but does the feedback from other people and life itself substantiate that? Of course, people tend to project their own qualities and realities onto others, but the preponderance of feedback we receive is telling. Just because we happened to glance at our phone at 11:11 doesn't mean that we're necessarily a chosen one.

3.Feeling Less Than is as much an ego investment as operating on the conceit that we're all that. One of the prime examples of this is the all-pervading thought trend that bedevils so many of us: I'm not good enough. I'm not doing enough. I'll never have enough. It's important to take a step back upon occasion and appreciate ourselves from a different perspective. If we start with the premise that the Universe loves us we have a good basis for a new self-image. Very often we feel as if we're simply a "regular" person, decidedly unremarkable, but it behooves us to cultivate a little splendor even if we have to fake it 'til we make it. In the final analysis, we are what we project. We receive what we put out beams for. It doesn't seem fair to those for whom introversion is a way of life, but there's a shining star in all of us waiting to take the stage.

4.What Does it Matter? This negative form of magical thinking bids us ignore the sublime side of life and being and opt for a purely materialistic mindset. Didn't we say that the most prosaic interpretation should be considered first? Yes, but yoga has prevailed because intrepid practitioners over the centuries have substantiated through experience that the unseen is ultimately more powerful, enduring, and consistent than the seen.

You may make a pact with yourself to get up and meditate at 4:30 am and when your alarm chimes in the golden hour our first impulse is often to rationalize with, 'What does it really matter if I get up to meditate or not?' If we persevere, we will see over time, that it indeed does matter. Every choice creates a domino effect of optimal outcomes. We are here to awaken, figuratively and symbolically.

5.Wearing Rose-Colored Glasses and dismissing the shadow side of life. Many Light Workers speak about an imminent paradigm shift fostered by (for example) the Pleidians' portal of ascension but on closer inspection, those New Agers' lives are awash in disarray. Emerson said,"If you've spent decades building castles in the air, all that work need not be wasted. Just put a foundation under them." We need to ensure that our lower chakra prerogatives are dealt with before we can take the escalator to the subtle realms. We have to be willing to walk in the mud before we walk in the light.

Yoga and "happy speak" seem to go hand in hand. No need to feel obligated to exude sweetness and light when you're dealing with some serious stuff. Sat Nam means that we give ourselves and each other permission to be authentic.

6.Bonus: It Was Meant to Be. Best not to use this phrase to rationalize karmic tendencies. If you are reading this then you have two choices: a life scripted by karma or a life aligned with dharma. When we allow our decisions to be influenced by the pull of our past, subconscious overload, emotional compensation, and fear, that is a formula for personal suffering. When we mold our character based on eternal truths and choreograph our life to a deeper sway, then we start to see a beautiful flow informing our outcomes. The Universe is the architect of Destiny but we get to pick the color scheme and layout. It's the ultimate collaboration.