A Publication of the Sikh Dharma Office of the Secretary of Religion, November 2005
"Hail Guru Ram Das and heal the world! And you shall never need me. That is my secret. That is the truth which I share with you and that shall live."
(Beads of Truth, winter 1988, No. 2l, p. 28.)
SS Dr. Sat Kaur Khalsa
It’s November and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. My apologies to our international Ministers in advance, since I realize that Thanksgiving is an American holiday. However, please bear with me using this example for there is a point to my story.
When I was growing up, my parents owned and operated a hotel. It was a charming, two hundred year old historical building that had, among other things, a dinning room that sat 150 people at full capacity. As a child, I would come from kindergarten and sit on a stool in a corner of the kitchen. Alice, the sandwich, appetizer, and dessert woman, would make beautiful club sandwiches. She would cut them into four triangles and place them on a plate with the points facing outward. I would fill the center hole with potato chips and put pickles on the edge of the plate. I thought I was helping and working. Little did I know that the kitchen staff was babysitting me!
Although we lived in a house that was several blocks away from the hotel, I was the last of three children and I spent a lot of time working at the hotel. Thanksgiving was a huge work day with multiple sittings and a ton of food. Turkey and all the trimmings was the emphasis. The holiday for us was all about food.
When I first moved into an ashram and Thanksgiving rolled around, I remember thinking how pathetic Thanksgiving was on a vegetarian diet. There were almost no traditional foods on the table and the dressing/stuffing didn’t taste anything like what I was used too. Little by little over the years, I helped to create something that tasted more like Thanks-giving to me.
About 15 years ago, my best friend invited me to her house to share Thanksgiving with her family. They knew I was a vegetarian and thought there would be plenty for me to eat. When I arrived, multiple tables were set up in gradation of size. They formed a long row with regular adult size tables starting the progression down to tiny tables for little children. The smells in the house were familiar Thanksgiving food to me. It was strange to see a turkey again, but everything else looked great.
Finally the food was done and we all sat down to eat. Before anyone picked up a fork to eat a single bite, they started around the table, each person saying what they were thankful for in their life. When it got to the children saying what they were thankful for, I had tears rolling down my checks. I suddenly realized a whole different meaning of Thanksgiving.
So as we near the winter holiday season, it might be a splendid time to ask yourself: "What am I grateful for?" and give thanks to the One who has given it. May God ever bless you and keep you in His light and love.
Question: Is there a Sikh tradition to commemorate the anniversary of someone's death?
Answer: The death anniversary is called Barsi or Varsi. It is traditionally celebrated with an Akhand Path, a kirtan program, or just a special Ardas. On the anniversary of his mother's death, the Siri Singh Sahib always had a simple langar of black grams served to the entire Sadh Sangat.
When commemorating the death of a great leader, sometimes large festivals are held to celebrate the Barsi. Competitions, samagams, and great feasts take place over a period of days. The life of the deceased is celebrated and remembered by all who attend, and the death too is celebrated, as the soul has been released to it's true home.
Siri Sardarni Dr. Bibiji Inderjit Kaur Khalsa is the Bhai Sahiba, or Chief Religious Minister of Sikh Dharma. Please feel free to submit your dharmic questions to: email@example.com. Sardarni Sahiba Sat Kirn Kaur Khalsa answers on behalf of Bibiji and the Office of the Bhai Sahiba.
Would you like to share your thoughts with other ministers? You can answer the reflection questions at the bottom of this newsletter and send them to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your answers will be posted on a new page called Reflection Question Responses, where your peers can read and respond to them.
by SS Hari Kaur Khalsa, NYC
Byline – My name is Hari Kaur Khalsa - I took my first Kundalini Yoga class in 1989, entered the Teacher Training after one class, began teaching within a few months, and met Yogi Bhajan in 1992. Author of “A Woman’s Book of Yoga – Embracing Our Natural Life Cycles” (penguin 2002). I live with my husband Dave Frank, a jazz musician and yogi in New York City.
Yogi Bhajan led the Master’s Touch international teacher training, located in Espanola and Abiqui at the Ghost Ranch from 1996 through 2003. During those years we were blessed to have him teach through his physical presence. Yogi Bhajan would grace this course with his presence several times a day, including the community classes every night. As with all times spent with our beloved teacher, these times were a miraculous combination of depth, humor, love, training, and extraordinary meditative experiences. One year, he did White Tantric with the course. One year, he assigned a 2 1/2 hour meditation to do daily in addition to Sadhana practice. At these courses, Yogi Bhajan trained teachers (and the staff!) in the depths of what it means to be a true Teacher. He gave selflessly every day, every moment to uplift each and every student. When he was healthy enough, he met with each student and helped them move to the next level of consciousness that would bring them one step close to a Teacher’s consciousness (Usually with a big meditation assignment such as 2-1/2 hours of Sodarshan Chakra Kriya daily).
I have been asked to write an article on how this course has changed since his passing. KRI has worked to standardize our Level One Training, and our 3HO Team has worked to adapt this model to work without Yogi Bhajan’s physical presence. 3HO is empowered to continue to present the intensive model of the Level One Training, even though Yogi Bhajan is not physically present. There are ongoing discussions about how to make this model of training more effective and continue to assure that it represent the powerful way that Yogi Bhajan trained Teachers. Last year was a transition year. This year, at Ghost Ranch, was a breakthrough year.
I have been blessed to be the Course Director of Master's Touch since 1996, and have always felt a strong connection to Yogi Bhajan at every moment during the course, whether he was physically present or not. As soon as June 1st arrived, his presence was so strong that I had no power of my own to concentrate on anything else except for the upcoming August Master's Touch. During the course, his presence was constant. No matter what any trainer was teaching, Yogi Bhajan was managing the conversation. Every time Yogi Bhajan would enter the room to teach, he would “magically” integrate his teachings into the conversation, confounding the students and bringing the conversation to a level of Mastery. In this way he trained his students and the staff.
It is required to show at least four Yogi Bhajan videos’ from the 1996 course in each Teacher Training, worldwide. This summer, at Ghost Ranch, 100% of the students had never met him. This was the first year we had a group like that at the intensive, although it often happens at the longer trainings worldwide. I felt I needed to make important choices in how to introduce the students to Yogi Bhajan. Of course, I feel his presence now more than ever, as many of the Trainers, teachers and devoted students deeply understand, and I felt I was in a constant conversation with him throughout the course this summer.
For days I was engaged in an internal conversation on which video to show, how to introduce him, how to show his many facets. The influence he was asserting was powerful and strong, and I just would not rest until I was satisfied with the choice. The Master’s Touch videos show one him as Trainer, but I felt a strong pull (I am sure it was him doing the pulling), to expand how we introduced him so that the students could have a direct experience of his many facets, projections, and mastery. The choice was made after I tuned in on the very evening of the first class.
First, I start the course with a survey of the history of Yoga and include the roots of Kundalini Yoga from Shamanistic times, to Guru Nanak, Guru Ram Das, and Yogi Bhajan. The first day of the training, the students learn about Guru Nanak, the Mul Mantra, and Guru Ram Das, and about his connection to Yogi Bhajan. Then they learn about Yogi Bhajan and his vision.
In a cozy evening class, after the presentation on history and Yogi Bhajan’s vision for Kundalini Yoga in the west, the students “meet” him for the first time as they are guided into a relaxed state. They are requested to understand that they are listening to the vibration of the Master of Kundalini Yoga, and sit in an elegant meditative posture. They listen to a fifteen minutes audio lecture on Kundalini Yoga. It is a beautiful lecture with soft bells in the background, in which he teaches about the chakras, and how a human being can master life and live like an angel, living within the vibration of God. He removes the mystery and talks about mastery. His voice is penetrating and steady. It is a voice of Mastery, a voice that is beyond space and time. The students can relate to him easily and many are in tears upon hearing his voice for the first time. I was in tears too, present again to the power of his training, knowing once again that his presence now is real.
The students’ next experience with Yogi Bhajan is by video. We showed several videos of him teaching yoga classes from “the early days”. The yoga sets he taught are all in manuals that can be purchased. The students loved doing yoga with him. This second experience brought two benefits. First, the students experienced Yogi Bhajan teaching the kriyas themselves, so they were able to see the history of how Kundalini was taught by the Master, and second, the students were able to relate to him through their yoga experience. After several rigorous classes with Yogi Bhajan, we began to show the Master’s Touch videos in which Yogi Bhajan focuses more on helping the students develop the consciousness of a Teacher. These lectures are clear examples of his “poke, provoke, confront, and elevate” methodology of teaching. We also shared the audio of Yogi Bhajan leading the students in the meditation called “Crossing the Hour” during the Humanology section. This audio class is a deep meditation on how to drop the fear of dying and learn how to die. For our Yogi Bhajan birthday celebration, the students viewed the Lighthouse video.
Every student was deeply touched by their experiences with Yogi Bhajan by audio, video, stories from the teachers, and readings. The students were so transformed by the video experiences that one student is now a volunteer transcriber for KRI, and others want to start a business that makes Yogi Bhajan videos more easily available and of better quality! This project is already underway with KRI, but the students are creating the demand and we all need to meet it.
In summary, introducing Yogi Bhajan through the various mediums, and in his various facets, gave the students a full experience of his Mastery. Throughout the course many students begin to experience a new depth of spiritual connection with God. Through daily sadhana, getting to know each other through compassion, and building a community of spirit, many students request a spiritual name to help guide them towards their destiny when they leave. When possible, the students receive their spiritual names during the course. This summer many students introduced themselves as teachers, using their spiritual names during the closing ceremony of the course.
Students frequently report seeing him as a vision, dreaming about him, getting important guidance from him during the course, and feeling the power of the Golden Link – Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo – when they teach and practice. In a way, nothing has changed, the power of his presence is stronger than every. It is up to us to tune into his guidance, to believe, to honor, to trust and to continue to feel the depth of our devotion to him, to the Golden Link, and to his teachings. Really, I don’t do anything different than that which I have always done: stay a student, keep listening, and follow instructions!
by MSS Hari Jiwan Singh Khalsa, NM
We are the living example of the SSSji’s teachings. As his students, we are the embodiment of that language of his mission. His teaching was always to do group Sadhana. We know that his teachings are alive when we walk into that beautiful Gurdwara, which he said was so much more than plaster and wood. He said that the walls were infused with the prayers and longings of all the devotees who prayed there. Every day we are inspired by the line up of saintly souls who recite Japji in Tantric style, go through the Kundalini Yoga set, chant the mantras with love and devotion, and then bow at the Guru’s Lotus Feet, sing His Praises, sing Anand Sahib in Tantric-style, hear His Hukam and share Guru’s Prashad.
I see the Espanola Gurdwara setting the example for Sangats around the world to follow, understand and experience the essence of the SSSji’s direction. His many years of setting the vibration, pounding out the discipline, and loving the environment has created a Gurdwara, Sangat and Pangat for today and the future that exemplifies who he was, what he stood for and where we are to go. I don’t mean to diminish, discredit or dilute any other Gurdwara or Ashram by my statement. I only mean to emphasize that Espanola is and shall remain his flagship Gurdwara. And what others may do or not do, this Gurdwara shall, as he directed it, maintain the highest standard of excellence for Sikhs, yogis and spiritual seekers.
The mission remains alive so long as we maintain our Sadhana, our relationship with the Sangat, our relationship with the world and our relationship with God and Guru, and not necessarily in that order! So long as we as a Sangat act without anger, without vengeance, without frustration, without fear, without jealousy, and without deceit, our path is set and our Guru’s Hand rests on our shoulder. We may fall a thousand times, but so long as we get up 1001 times, and match it with our virtues, our success is guaranteed. This Sangat and this Dharma is well focused. I have no doubt about it. The test for us is to maintain that focus through our children and our children’s children. The passage of this lineage with grace is continued through the uncompromising commitment to the structure that has been well established, without the ugly head of fanaticism creeping in.
There are no guarantees in this life or in the next generation to follow, but I believe that if our commitment remains firm, our legacy will be strong. Most of us have not only changed our religion but also changed our lifestyle accordingly. As such, that kind of commitment has been rewarded by our Guru and shall be continued through our heritage. So it has been prophesized by those who we revere that we have begun the spiritual revolution which will continue for millennia. So we believe this to be self-evident. There will be many that believe and many that don’t, and many who fall in between. But for those with faith, their faith has already been justified, experienced and elevated so that there is no question of who we are and where we are going. Doubt is the killer of all dreams; faith is the antidote that carries the day. We are not trapped in between and we are not trapped by duality. We live in faith. We experience faith and our Guru redeems our faith with the blessing of Infinity. In that consciousness we live. In that consciousness we teach. In that consciousness we pray. May Guru guide you, bless you and carry you along this path so to assure you the elevation into Ang Sang Waheguru! Eternity. Waheguru ji ka Khalsa! Waheguru ji ki Fateh!
Ideas from Ministers Around the World
This article is a collection of suggestions and ideas about keeping the Siri Singh Sahib’s memory alive. They were sent in from Sangat members all over the world. Many people had similar ideas, so some of the topics are condensed for clarity.
Students and Sangat
Audio and Video
“Let him do it himself - in video and audio tapes. Nothing gets lost in the translation that way. The Siri Singh Sahib always said that even our presence should "heal" people. His presence continues to heal us, and will do so as long as we keep it alive - in our Archives, our teaching and our events.”
Write and Share the Stories
“Stories give meaning to life, communicating the depth and impact of something far more powerfully than any dry discussion.”
“Teaching Kundalini Yoga is the most direct way I know to keep the Siri Singh Sahib’s memory alive. This was his mission, and in teaching, we can do our humble part to build it.”
And finally, Celebrate his life! Make sure the Sangat gathers together to share their joy and their memories, and to honor everything that the Siri Singh Sahib gave in his life.
by SS Sat Bachan Kaur Khalsa, NM
One year ago, on that October 6th evening when we knew for certain that we would never again be relating to our teacher in his physical body, there was such gratitude that he had always led us to the Guru's Feet. We were not alone. For 36 yearswe had been blessed to sit at the Master's feet as his students. he was the Guru's gift to us, and he gave us to the Guru, so now we are all students of the sound current, the Shabad Guru. As Siblings of Destiny, we have this special relationship of being a student of the Guru and a student of the SSSji, and so on Oct 6th, 2004, many of us went right to the Gurdwara after we had seen his fragile and holy body being carried away into the dark starry night. We spent the last few hours lying at our Guru's feet so we would be ready to practice our Sadhana on time.
Oct. 7th, 2004, was the first ambrosial Sadhana where we would consciously be relating to our teacher's subtle body. Years ago, in Los Angeles, he said that we do Sadhaan because that is the time we are blessed by celestial beings! And then that first Hukam from the Guru was a link straight to the heart. For the next 40 days we listened to each Hukam closely, attentively and greatefully. I felt that the SSSji was sitting with us, talking to us through the Hukam. The 40th day the Hukam was the following:
AASAA, FIFTH MEHL:
Be gone, O my laziness, that I may pray to the Lord. I enjoy my Husband Lord, and look beautiful with my God. I look beautiful in the Company of my Husband Lord; I enjoy my Lord Master day and night. I live by remembering God with each and every breath, beholding the Lord, and singing His Glorious Praises. The pain of separation has grown shy, for I have obtained the Blessed Vision of His Darshan; His Ambrosial Glance of Grace has filled me with bliss. Prays Nanak, my desires are fulfilled; I have met the One I was seeking. || 1 || Run away, O sins; the Creator has entered my home. The demons within me have been burnt; the Lord of the Universe has revealed Himself to me. The Beloved Lord of the Universe, the Lord of the World has revealed Himself; in the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, I chant His Name. I have seen the Wondrous Lord; He showers His Ambrosial Nectar upon me and by Guru’s Grace, I know Him. My mind is at peace, resounding with the music of bliss; the Lord’s limits cannot be found. Prays Nanak, God brings us to union with Himself, in the poise of celestial peace. || 2 || They do not have to see hell, if they remember the Lord in meditation. The Righteous Judge of Dharma applauds them, and the Messenger of Death runs away from them. Dharmic faith, patience, peace and poise are obtained by vibrating upon the Lord in the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy. Showering His Blessings, He saves those who renounce all attachments and egotism. The Lord embraces us; the Guru unites us with Him. Meditating on the Lord of the Universe, we are satisfied. Prays Nanak, remembering the Lord and Master in meditation, all hopes are fulfilled. || 3 || Grasping the Lord’s Feet, the treasure of the Siddhas, what suffering can I feel? Everything is in His Power. He is my God. Holding me the the arm, He blesses me with His Name; placing His Hand upon my forehead, He saves me. The world-ocean does not trouble me, for I have drunk the sublime elixir of the Lord. In the Saadh Sangat, imbued with the Naam, the Name of the Lord, I am victorious on the great battlefield of life. Prays Nanak, I have entered the Sanctuary of the Lord and Master; the Messenger of Death shall not destroy me again. || 4 || 3 || 12 || Page 460-1
This culminated in the 40 day Hukam project which Manjit Kaur Khalsa is championing. When it is published, it will have all the Hukams from the Siri Singhaasan e Khalsa Gurdwara in Espanola, including the morning Sadhanas, the 6th of the Month, and the Sunday Gurdwara Services. This 40 day Journey of the Teacher's Soul has been decorated by hand by the Sangat, and should be available to all. The same was also done with the Golden Temple Hukams for the same 40 days by the students of MPA, and presented to Bibiji and the Siri Sikhdar Sahiba ji.
Every week for 35 years, the SSSji taught us. Every Sunday he talked during Gurdwara, right up until the last Sunday before his passing. He shared every moment of his life with us. He never withdrew and became exclusive. He was the Master of inclusiveness. So the next Sunday, the one after his cremation ceremony, on Sunday October10th, 2004, we all knew and expected there would be a lecture from the Master. And so there was, and so there is. Every Sunday at our 10 am Gurdwara Service, in Siri Singhaasan e Khalsa Gurdwara, we hear the Master speak again from one of the thousands of lectures he has left us. They are chosen intuitively by a Sangat member from a selection of tapes that are supplied each week. If they can be matched for the time of year, and/or Gurupurb, they will be. But the truth is, there are never any wrong lectures! They are always perfect, timely and uncannily on target!! After each Sunday “Lecture” during the following week, we all notice how the power of these lectures is impacting the whole Sangat. People and friends and co-workers are discussing the lecture every week amongst themselves.
“I know that personally the Gurdwara lectures give me a lot of strength and hope and connection. I see how his teachings are beyond time and space, and I feel him right there with us”. SS Sarb Nam Kaur Khalsa
Manjit Kaur ties both these blessings together:
“Actually, so much of this last Sunday's lecture, especially at the beginning, was what I was thinking would be good to mention about the Hukam project. He spoke so much about how the Guru gives us comfort and inspiration when nothing else does, and Guru does it in the highest most infinite way. I wish I had taken notes. He spoke about going from "relating" to the Guru to "being a slave" to the Guru's word. I was thinking of this and other things he said in the light of how we came to do this collection of hukams.
It was as though there was nothing in the world that at that point had more meaning and comfort than the Guru's words. These words and Hukams seem to relate exactly and directly to everything that was happening; the transition of the SSSji's soul and a process where we would move from relating to our spiritual teacher in his physical body to relating to him in his subtle body, and finding new depth in relating to the Guru as our guide. These hukams are a portrait in divine sound current of both his soul's and our souls' travel through lifetimes, how he reached his ultimate destination with Akaal Moort, and how our destinies entwined with his. Guru's words will always speak to the joy and mission of Khalsa, to awaken the pure light of God in one another's hearts, to live in infinite Love, peace, and joy.”
Every week I sit in awe, listening to the SSSji’s words, just as I have done for over 29 years. He told us that the sound current lives on forever. The power of his words affected us 35 years ago, and still does today. Below is a copy of the ad in our e-mail letter that goes out daily to our Espanola community of 300 plus, announcing the Video series that happens on Monday evening during the year!
4 Week Video Series
Learn Kundalini Yoga from the Master
These 4 classes were originally taught in the mid 1980s. They are powerful, beautiful and amazing classes. Yes, they are challenging, but not impossible. Yogiji is there every second of the way encouraging you to do your best, inspiring you to go beyond yourself and loving you with all his heart. Experience his presence. He is here.
Another powerful blessing that happens on a weekly basis in the Espanola Gurdwara, is Ishnaan Seva. Every Sunday at 3 am, we start with Japji and Prakash, and then proceed to completely empty the Gurdwara so that we can wash the marble floors. We gather the precious ”Santo dur,” the dust of the Saint’s Feet,” and give it out in little packets to the devoted Sevadars.
Let me tell you a story about the Santo dur. The day that we ripped out the carpet from the Gurdwara in February, 2002 to prepare for refinishing the Gurdwara with beautiful white marble from India, we found a gallon of “dust” under the carpet. I sent a small packet of this dust to the SSSji who was in quarantine at the hospital in Delhi. He was having dialysis, and as it turned out, hoping to be a candidate for a kidney transplant.
A month before he left his body, I was blessed to be in his presence in the Dome. I began to tell him how I was thinking of him when I was reading from my weekly slot in the Akhand Paath. I had read the phrase "Showering His Blessings" (coincidentally part of the 40th day hukam I mentioned earlier!), and I told him how I was remembering how he had once showered a group of us with the Golden Temple water that someone had just given him as a gift. Such was his generous and larger-than-life example!
After recounting this memory, the SSSji looked at me and said:”You love the Guru very much. Remember when you sent me that dust when I was in the hospital? Someone of my age and of my health would never have been allowed to have a kidney transplant.” And so every week we collect that precious dust, and I think of the SSSji and the miracles he brought into our lives every day, every moment. Ang Sang Wahe Guru!
The cornerstone of our lifestyle is our daily Sadhana. For 35 years the SSSji never stopped telling us why we should make that effort daily to rise above our past and our limitations and go for our royal destiny and excel. Now, at the end of our daily Sadhana Gurdwara each day, we always thank God and Guru “for the blessing of our Teacher, the Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji, who lives within all of us…may we honor his sacrifice, courage, love and example by striving to become ten times greater than he, as was his wish.”
On a practical note, we have also changed our Gurdwara time from 11 am to 10 am. In our weekly announcement, we publish a few days ahead, what time on Sunday, the SSSji’s lecture will begin and the date he originally gave it. The lectures are always placed to end at 12 noon so that the Gurdwara service ends always at 12:30 pm, in time for Langar. Each tape recording Is logged with the date of the tape and where it was from, the date it was played in Gurdwara, and the length of the tape. That way when people ask about purchasing a particular tape that was played, which they can do through AHW's, there is a record of it.
SS Panch Nishan Kaur Khalsa, NM
1. When and how did you become a Minister?
I became a Minister 3 or 4 years ago, after I became a member of Khalsa Council and began serving as Khalsa Council Secretary. I went through the old standard process, except I didn't have to get signatures because I was a KC member.
2. Briefly describe what the words 'Sikh Dharma Ministry' mean to you.
To me Sikh Dharma Ministry means serving something beyond yourself. Reaching and extending yourself beyond your comfort zone to serve who or what comes to you. It means listening deeply and allowing your kindness, compassion and grace of neutrality to heal and uplift all circumstances. It means leaving a person uplifted. It means service without an agenda.
3. What are the various ways in which you have been ministering to your sangat, your community, and the wider world in recent years?
I serve Sikh Dharma in the office of International Community Relations. The nature of my ministry in communities has been in relationship to people working together, transcending their personal limitations and finding ways to serve together. I hold a prayer that all people are valued and seen for their strengths and for the greatest expression of their souls. I hold a prayer that these strengths are given opportunities to be revealed and harmonized with the strengths of others.
Really, I hold an intention for our Communities to be functioning in a way that all voices are heard and valued for the virtues they bring. For a global community where we are not territorial, but where teachers, leaders, ministers, yoga centers and ashrams are working together to serve the same mission. When we activate our capacity to work together with each other around the world, it will only bring more success to individual efforts. Together we become ten times greater than the Siri Singh Sahib; insurmountable potentiality manifest through our collective destiny. My work is a humble offering to this effect.
Through traveling and visiting communities, opportunities arise to observe the function and importance of Ministers in the health and vitality of the community; taking the time, as the SSS did, to be with students, to help guide them on their spiritual path, to listen and uplift. To take calls from students at 10pm, to go out into the city and treat homeless people as your peers, to see the God in all. I feel like my job has been a humble attempt to observe all the inspiring and incredible acts of service happening through our communities, as well as to serve the communities by coming in as a neutral minister from the outside.
In visiting communities, people find it helpful to talk to someone outside their community, especially when any conflict is present. In these situations, I serve by listening, reflecting and holding a space of neutrality and compassion, which allows a transformation and healing to occur. I always strive to see the soul of another person, and in the midst of negativity that comes up, I gear the conversation toward what is possible, where we can go from here, and what they would like to see happen. Revealing what it is that brings life and vitality to our communities and exploring ways to do more of that. Giving an opportunity for people to feel heard and healed through the process of Sunia, deep listening.
Another prayer or intention held in my heart is for the re-vitalization of our ashrams. Ashram life is not for everyone. However, there are many souls longing for the growth, learning, relationships and immersion in the lifestyle of these teachings that happens in a profound way through ashram living. Ashrams are one of the ways Kundalini Yoga turns from a technology into a lifestyle, and Sikh Dharma turns from a religion into a universal path.
There seems to be a need in our Global Communities to have more clarity, consciousness and comfort in communicating about the technology, consciousness and lifestyle of Sikh Dharma, it is a ‘hidden treasure.’ As I was meeting with a yoga student in one community she mentioned that “it was like having to push the doors open” in order to relate to the community practicing the lifestyle of Sikh Dharma. How might we make this easier for people? How do we communicate the universal teachings of Sikh Dharma? How might there be more interwoven connection between the facets of our communities and the world at large?
My Prayer is for communities to grow to be great lights and abodes for those who need some shelter, some peace, to find themselves. My life is an offering to this mission, to the mission of creating an infrastructure to serve the Global Community at large, where we are networks of light and serve the many souls who are searching to find something beyond the Maya of life.
Recently I have been listening to old Siri Singh Sahib tapes while driving, and have been meditating on how he described his presence: “I give you part of myself.” This has been part of my meditation and life’s work; how to be that real, that genuine, that present, that compassionate, that your presence works and truly recognizes that the other person is you.
As I have lived for 25 cycles around the sun, each year, each moment I learn more and I grow in the blessing of the teachings and technology we have as a Dharma. Even writing these words gives me the opportunity to see what being a Minister is about. It is my blessing and challenge to serve as a Minister at this time of transition. There is a passing of the old way and an opening to a new age in our community development. My perspective values all the hardships and strength that was necessary to lay the foundation of this Dharma, and is inspired by the opportunity to transcend and transform into the next evolution of Service.
1. How are you keeping the Siri Singh Sahib's presence alive for yourself?
2. How do you think students and children who have never met him will relate to his presence in their lives?
Would you like to share your thoughts with other ministers? You can answer the reflection questions above and send them to the editor at email@example.com. Your answers will be posted on a new page called Reflection Question Responses, where your peers can read and respond to them.