Keep up; and you will be kept up

Keep up; and you will be kept up

“Keep up; and you will be kept up.” This is probably Yogi Bhajan’s most well-known and widely circulated quote.  You find it wherever you find Kundalini Yoga.  But what does it even mean to “keep up”?  “Keep up” what? Why is it important?  And why do we find it so difficult to do?

For me, “keeping up” means reaching further and deeper without attachment to touch the Infinite and to live fully from the call of my soul.  It means not giving up and not caving in to my patterns of discouragement or small-mindedness.  “Keeping up” means staying deeply curious about the challenges that show up for me in order to learn.  It means enthusiastically expressing my gratitude for my human form and the opportunity to live this life I have been given through my service, my presence, and my genuine happiness.

“Keeping up” is extremely important; maybe the most important.  Trungpa Rinpoche, the Tibetan Buddhist teacher, who came to the U.S. very shortly after Yogi Bhajan, and founded Naropa Insitute and many other Buddhist centers, taught that it was better not to begin the spiritual journey at all, than to start—and give up.  He likened it to being on the operating table, cut wide open with your organs hanging out, then deciding you wanted to escape. It’s like the saying “Be careful what you ask for”.  Once you have asked for spiritual guidance to engage your wisdom, forgiveness, and love,  the energy to stifle that intention and that open-hearted desire, can become destructive and disastrous. It produces anxiety, depression, and illness. In her book, A Reason For Hope, Jane Goodall writes that the most frequently-asked question she receives wherever she goes in the world is, “Do you really think that what you’re doing is going to save the chimpanzees?”  She always responds that she doesn’t know for sure if what she is doing will save the chimps; but she knows that doing nothing won’t help at all.  So yes, what’s the alternative to “keeping up”?  We can know that giving up and doing nothing won’t help at all; why not just “keep up”?

When I was in Catholic grade school, the nuns repeatedly told us that some of us would be called by God to serve.  “To serve” meant, of course, that we would be called to become nuns.  This totally freaked me out, and I prayed NON-STOP not to “be called”.  The thought of wearing a habit, and generally looking weird, of going to church 24-7, and of living with other nuns saying spooky things like “the Lord be with you” was truly terrifying.  At some level, I think we all freak out in this way when we think about “Enlightenment” or “Waking Up”.  We think we will have to shave our heads or wear a turban; become vegan or go on the Caveman Diet.  We are afraid we’ll have to sell all of our earthly possessions and live communally; or wear tons of jewelry and sleep alone for the rest of our lives.  But we don’t really know what will happen.  That’s the part that freaks us out and often causes us to give up on ourselves.  We maintain our practice, we “keep up” so that we can let go of the reigns and  participate in what is suppose to happen for each of us in this lifetime.

Yogi Bhajan knew that we had short attention spans.  He gave us countless tools to tap into the Truth of who we are.  Personally, I find the tools inspiring, hugely helpful, and generally fun.  My teacher, Guru Ravi, always said that doing Kundalini Yoga felt like “cheating my way to enlightenment”.  I totally relate to that sentiment.  If I just show up, and keep up, I live closer to the Truth and touch the Infinite more frequently.  If I just show up, and keep up, I will be kept up. …on my next post, I’ll write about what it means to “be kept up”. ~Sant Saroop Kaur

Sant Saroop regularly subs classes and organizes special events at Yoga4All Tucson including Saturdays 9:00-10:00 am (December 21st- January 4th) this Winter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *