by SS Sham Kaur Khalsa, La Paz, Bolivia
The capacity of human beings to feel compassion is nowadays a requirement to navigate the ocean of life on earth. Some may call it an emotion or a virtue. But I feel that compassion is an absolute requirement for happiness.
I believe that compassion requires a definite action which has to come from a neutral and peaceful place in our heart and mind, so that it can become a pattern in our brain. Compassion then becomes a way of life, a choice we make, a commitment that comes from our discipline, so that we can reach everyone. At the same time, in order to manifest effective compassion for others it is first of all necessary to be able to experience and fully appreciate one’s own suffering and to have, as a consequence, compassion for oneself.
“It is possible to travel the whole world in search of one who is more worthy of compassion than oneself. No such person can be found.”—Buddha.
For over nine years I have been working with children in the streets here in La Paz, Bolivia. In the beginning we would meet every Sunday to share breakfast. That might seem a very difficult commitment to keep, but it wasn’t. At the same time, I always felt that I must do more, that more must be done to stop their suffering.
A more institutionalized effort was needed. I tried many times and failed. It seemed that a joint effort, a community effort was needed. At that time our Kundalini Yoga community was very small and not mature enough to engage in such a big effort. It was not the right time, so I learned to come to peaceful terms with that, but not without a sense of frustration.
“Even while absorbed in your hopes and wishes do not be attached. Be carefree.” —The Siri Singh Sahib
Among his many accomplishments, Guru Har Rai established a state of the art Ayurvedic herbal medicine hospital and research centre at Kiratpur Sahib, providing quality services for free to poor people. This is the kind of compassion in action that I would like to see happen in my community and in all communities.
I believe that as a global sangat we must find the inspiration, determination, and compassion to follow the steps of our Gurus and reach people in every way possible, especially the ones who are most needy.
“Wake up before the sunrise, take your cold shower, meditate on the Naam and think about giving. Speak sweetly, act with humility. Feel happy to use your own hands, giving good to others.” —The Siri Singh Sahib
I can see action happening, with the Mujer de Luz Foundation in Chile, Spain, and soon in China reaching the neediest and most neglected women and creating a huge change through compassionate service.We need more of these efforts. We need to raise the level of ambition.
As Sikh Ministers we need to think big and act accordingly. I can only pray to the Guru to let us be a beacon of light, change and compassion in action for ourselves and for our communities. Wahe Guru!
About the Author
SS Sham Kaur Khalsa is an ordained Sikh Dharma Minister. She serves as a Regional Minister Coordinator for South America and is deeply committed to her work with the homeless and needy in her community. She has participated in the Lord of Miracles Tour and serves selflessly in her role as a Khalsa woman, Minister and Kundalini Yoga instructor.