There is a common saying, “You are what you eat.” In the yogic sciences, there is another saying. “Your habits define you.”
The problems in life come from our habits. The Divine dwells in the saint, as well as in the thief. The only difference is how people act. Our actions come from our habits.
“If you commit a theft, they will call you a thief. But that is not you. You are a human being. You are the light of God. You are made in the image of God. You have a life. You have a light. You have an identity. You have a personality. You are created by God, and God loves you. That’s why you live on the extension of the prana. Each minute you take fifteen prana (breaths.) So prana is the gift of life. It is being given to you in spite of the times that you have done a bad thing and committed a theft. The theft represents you as a thief, but that is not you. If you have done a good thing, if you have done a graceful thing, if you have done a saintly thing, that does not become you, but you are represented as a saintly person.”
–Yogi Bhajan, 1/21/88.
Kundalini Yoga recognizes every soul as perfect, pure and Divine at the start. There is nothing to redeem or purify at the soul-level. The soul is complete and beautiful as it is. But life is based on our habits. Our habits define us to ourselves and to other people. By our habits, we live in peace and happiness. By our habits, we create misery and pain. When we change our habits, everything around us can change.
“Things can change. There is no need to feel guilty. Valmiki, the greatest saint India ever had, was a thief himself. But a saintly man touched his life, changed him, and he became the greatest Rishi. Anywhere, you can turn towards bad or good. Just like you can have an accident on the road anywhere. You can slip anywhere. There is no guarantee.
“Therefore when we do sadhana, what do we do? We challenge the weakness, the laziness and our self-destruction. We challenge everything which is going to destroy us tomorrow.”
–Yogi Bhajan, 1/21/88
Yogi Bhajan gave us a very special technology relating to habits. Every single kriya or meditation in Kundalini Yoga changes us in very specific ways. If you practice a kriya a few times, you receive a wonderful benefit. But if you want to permanently change your habits, and realize the full effects of the kriya, practice a particular kriya or mantra every single day for the same amount of time. Based on the number of days you do this, here is how it will affect your habits:
40 Days: Practice every day for 40 days straight. This will break any negative habits that block you from the expansion possible through the kriya or mantra.
90 Days: Practice every day for 90 days straight. This will establish a new habit in your conscious and subconscious minds based on the effect of the kriya or mantra. It will change you in a very deep way.
120 Days: Practice every day for 120 days straight. This will confirm the new habit of consciousness created by the kriya or mantra. The positive benefits of the kriya get integrated permanently into your psyche.
1000 Days: Practice every day for 1000 days straight. This will allow you to master the new habit of consciousness that the kriya or mantra has promised. No matter what the challenge, you can call on this new habit to serve you.
Remember, a habit is a subconscious chain reaction between the mind, the glandular system and the nervous system. We develop habits at a very young age. Some of them serve our highest destiny. Some of them do not. By doing a 40, 90, 120 or 1000 day special sadhana, you can rewire that chain reaction. You can develop new, deeply ingrained habits that serve your highest good.
“One part of sadhana should stay constant long enough for you to master, or at least experience, the changes evoked by a single technique. Each kriya and mantra has its individual effects, although they all elevate you toward a cosmic consciousness. Learn to value the pricelessness of one kriya, and all others will be understood in a clearer light.”
–Yogi Bhajan, from The Aquarian Teacher, Level One Instructor. Page 150.