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, meditation, sound, breath, 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 and grace of who we are to be genuine and real.
I believe that all relationships to one's self and with others are sacred. We are love energy with arms and legs, eyes and ears
I was born in Copenhagen, Denmark as Søren Andrew Segal in 1959. I grew up in the USA in Cambridge and Lexington, Massachusetts. My father was a leading MIT professor of mathematics, and my mother was a visionary artist and yoga instructor. My mother taught me to hatha yoga and pranayama starting at around eight years old, and 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 yogic kind of exercise in Copenhagen.
I attended the University of Rochester, earning a degree in Psychology and a minor in film. That area in New York state, where the Mohawk Indians lived, carries deep spirituality in its cold air. At the age of 19 a spontaneous kundalini experience that changed my life from fairly normal to entirely cosmic. 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 the hatha yoga that I had learned from my mother.
As a resident at the ashram I had the good fortune to meet and 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 met Yogi Bhajan and began following him. In 1982 I graduated, moved to California to pursue film work, and spoke with Yogi Bhajan for the first time. He requested right away that I to move to Los Angeles to serve as his sevadar. I took this as an honor and eagerly agreed. I gave up everything to be there, including my career, my ambitions, and my name. I stayed in that position for over a decade. 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.
In 2019 and 2020, the degree of sexual abuse, harassment and manipulation that Yogi Bhajan carried forth emerged. I know many of the women who have now bravely come forward. I never knew these things were going on, and had I known I never would have served Yogi Bhajan. They were very well hidden, but I recognize now that in addition to being hidden I also refused to believe, as a devotee, fairly obvious things I see now should have been quite apparent. I was even told of an abortion and the watching of porn. Following Yogi Bhajan's directives was the cutlture, and the mark of a good student. 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 accepted. But I 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 into a new uncharted realm to navigate. The abuses he perpetrated negate so much of the good - perhaps all of it.
It has opened up a profound and pathless territory for inner investigation. I am attempting to separate what is clear of what is bullshit. 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 endeavor to be grateful for these 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, into and through a journey of intense structure and discipline, the profound lessons of that, now back to uncluttered self, innocent and aware, without all the trappings. 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