WHAT I KNOW
I have experienced fundamentally that we are love energy in human form. Inside each of us is the pure essence of the light of the Universe. Yoga, breath, sound, theater, meditation, counseling, conversation, mother nature and silence are some of the tools that I have spent decades working with, for opening up breakthrough discoveries within our inner dimension, allowing the love of who we are to be genuine and real.
I believe that we are love energy with arms and legs, eyes and ears
I was born in Copenhagen, Denmark as Søren Andrew Segal. I grew up in the USA in Cambridge and Lexington, Massachusetts. My father was an MIT professor of mathematics, and my mother was a visionary artist and yoga instructor who taught me my first yoga and pranayama starting at around eight years old. I have fond memories of doing camel pose and sponge on the living room floor with her. Her father, my grandfather, André also taught a kind of yogic exercise along the banks of the canals Copenhagen.
I attended the University of Rochester, earning a degrees in Film Production and Psychology. That area in New York state carries deep spirituality in its cold air. At the U of R I attended my first kundalini yoga class, taught by Mahatma Singh, one of the early teachers of Kundalini Yoga. I began practicing kundalini yoga in earnest, and moved off campus to the Yoga Society of Rochester Ashram, where I taught hatha yoga.
I had the good fortune study with a number of profound spiritual teachers. Swami Janakanda of Denmark, Shri Brahmanada Sarasvati Ramamurti Mishra, sitarist Roop Verma and Baba Ram Dass were huge influences. I began reading books by Yogi Bhajan. In 1982 I graduated and moved to California to pursue my passion for film and a graduate degree in psychology. It was there I spoke with Yogi Bhajan for the first time and he requested right away that I serve as his sevadar in Los Angeles. I had nothing else in the pipeline, was deeply into yoga, and so I took this as an honor and eagerly agreed. How it ended up was that I gave up everything to be there, including my career, my ambitions, and my name. I stayed in that position for over a decade trying to be the best student. I could. These became years of deep yogic study, discipline and intense transformation. It was Los Angeles in the 1980's but it might as well have been the Himalayas.
The final time I saw Yogi Bhajan alive was in his dome bedroom where he was in his bed, quite ill with coronary heart disease and the effects of immunosuppressive medications for his transplanted kidney, but cheerfully talking with visitors who included the former governor of NM. The next time I saw him not long afterwards, was in the exact same spot, in the same bed, in the same dome, but this time his body with his body laying still and breathless and his spirit passed on to those unknown dimensions that we go to after we die. He looked beautiful in in death. His instructions had been to leave his body unmoved for two and a half hours. I sat with a number of others chanting for that time. Pure devotion.
Then, in 2019 and 2020, the massive degree of sexual abuse, harassment and manipulation that Yogi Bhajan carried forth emerged into plain sight. Although I say these later years I acknowledge that there were many signs and messages prior to that that I chose not give credibility to. Although it was suspected, I was such a devotee that I had never accepted these things were true. Had I done so I never would have served Yogi Bhajan. In any case, by 2020 the hidden awful truth had become dramatically unearthed and into the full light. I know many of the women who have now bravely come forward, and I support them wholeheartedly.
I recognize now that in addition to being pretty expertly hidden hidden, it was me, and many of us in the ashram community, who refused to believe, as a devotees, fairly obvious things I see now should have been quite apparent. I was told of an abortion. Plain and simple. I was told of touching, harassment, solicitation and porn. But at that time following Yogi Bhajan's directives was the mark of a good student. An entire culture that I was in was around being able to do that. The reports from Premka (Pamela Dyson, Kate Felt and Peraim Kaur all spoke of sexual abuse, but were discredited because they were part of law cases.) I wiped it out of my mind because of the position of holding the spiritual teacher that was taught., and which I had accepted. But I wholeheartedly vouch for the integrity of many of those who came forward and whom I know personally. And therefore all these years of study, profound memories and self identity as his student, have become quite complicated, and thrown me and many others into a new uncharted realm to navigate. The abuses he perpetrated negate so much of the good - perhaps all of it, just as it just took a small hole to sink the Titanic.
The transformation brought about by the pain, however, is profound and wonderful. This epic awfulness has opened up a pathless territory for inner investigation. I am separating what is clear from what is bullshit, and what is essential from what is baggage. I believe there is value in many practices, so long as they can be washed clear of the tainted lineage. At the end of the day I am grateful for these epic new lessons in my journey, the changes they bring, and to surrender to truth of being, even as that truth evolves. The universe always carries us with love.
I feel a distinct sense of having come full circle, back to uncluttered self, innocent and aware, without all the trappings. I am getting back into theater, which is profoundly fulfilling to me. I am doing new music. Aligning self, steps and words with my own sense of what spirit means. This is the endeavor for us all, I believe.
What I find is that all that is left, once the conditioning and unneeded aspects are removed, and we peer into the core of being, is love.
I have lived in the ashram community of Espanola, New Mexico, USA for over 30 years now. This once cohesive community, centered. around Yogi Bhajan, is now going through intense of changes and fracturing. I have removed myself from all local community activities. My wife and I own a bakery in Santa Fe, NM, called the Chocolate Maven, which has become an amazing and ongoing life project that we had never planned on doing. But as we know, God makes these things up. We have two brilliant daughters, both in their 30’s, both bringing their light to manifest on earth, as we all do. In our home we have two cats, two dogs and three pet chickens. I used to travel often to teach or participate in music events, but since Covid, and since these reports about Yogi Bhaan have emerged, I have remained here in New Mexico for a very peaceful, contemplative couple of years.
I am perpetually working on music. I am writing slowly. I absolutely love practicing and teaching yoga. Now in my sixth decade on this blue planet I teach from experience, not lineage.
Please remember, as I often remind myself, that the path to the holy grail leads inwards. There is a shining chalice of love in each of our hearts, which we can then offer to others via all sorts of opportunities that our day to day lives and circumstances provide. We reach it inside first.
Love to you, Dharm