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The Power of Negative Thinking

By Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa

It wasn’t a “dark and stormy night.” It was, however, a damp and cold (for Los Angeles) rainy ‘winter’ day. Sitting on the floor of my apartment on Preuss Road I was doing the bookkeeping for our newly formed 3HO Foundation. In the early 1970’s the financial department of 3HO consisted of some shoeboxes full of receipts I kept in my closet. Working fulltime at the Beverly Hilton, I wrote letters for Yogi Bhajan and handled the finances for 3HO in my spare time.

That memorable day, I decided I could use a cup of hot tea. In the kitchen, I turned up the heat on the ever-present pot of Yogi Tea and carried a steaming cup into the living room. I set it down carefully on the floor beside my books and papers. My bare feet felt cold so I went into the bedroom to put on a pair of wool socks. When I walked back into the living room, I had forgotten the cup was there and stepped right smack into the boiling hot tea. Talk about putting your foot into it! I let out a yell and ran to the bathroom to get some first aid. More accurately, I hopped on the other foot while pulling frantically at the sock, trying to tear it off as fast as I could (since, of course, the wet wool retained the heat of the liquid, and was furiously adding insult to injury). I grabbed some aloe vera from the medicine cabinet and spread it on the injured foot, which had already turned a bright angry red.

Yogi Bhajan had just returned to L.A. from one of his teaching tours and I knew he was just a half block away at Guru Ram Das Ashram. I picked up the phone and called him, assuming he would come running over immediately to comfort and heal me. Forget it! When I told him what had happened, he just said, “You’ll be all right. I‘m sending someone over to take care of you.”

And so he did. One of his students arrived in just a few minutes and she helped set up a place for me to lie down on the couch. I was in so much pain I knew I couldn’t possibly sleep in my bed. I didn’t expect to sleep much anyway.

I phoned the hotel and told the manager I had severely burned my foot and would not be able to come to work the next day. I lay down on the couch, closed my eyes and settled in for a restless night. I slept fitfully off and on, but lo and behold, when morning dawned, there was not the slightest trace of a burn. There was no discoloration of the skin and no pain.

Amazed and thrilled, I phoned my mother. “Guess what happened…” I told her the whole story, the hot tea, the burning sock, the amazing healing, and finished by saying, “I don’t believe it!” I called at least four other people and repeated the story, each time ending with the words, “I don’t believe it!” By four o’clock in the afternoon, my foot didn’t believe it either. It was burning and aching. The redness returned in Technicolor and I spent several uncomfortable weeks while the normal healing process of nature took its leisurely pace.

I learned that day to be careful what I say. The power of positive (or negative) thinking—and speaking—is not a fantasy, it’s real. I do create—or destroy—with every word I speak, and so do you. Ask my foot!

(Adapted from Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power)

Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa was Yogi Bhajan’s first student in the United States. He gave her the title of Divine Mother of 3HO.She has been teaching Kundalini Yoga since 1969. She is the author of Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power; Kundalini Postures and Poetry; and Marriage on the Spiritual Path: Mastering the Highest Yoga. She is a frequent movie-goer in the City of Angels.