by SS Gurumeet Kaur Khalsa, Espanola, New Mexico
2023 (Fourth Quarter)
Mere Pyare Sadh Sangat Ji, Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh!
Our Sikh Ministry is sharing a powerful concept in this newsletter for our world sangat to contemplate—collective efficacy. We have all experienced fragmentation and discord in our sangat and among our dear friends and family. In this challenging environment, the concept of collective efficacy takes on profound significance.
Living a dharmic lifestyle is often defined as a righteous and ethical path. But it is not merely a set of rules. Dharma is a technology to align our actions with universal order and our universal mind. Yet we perceive that those who think differently from us are therefore wrong and separate from ourselves. The truth is, anyone who thinks differently from me is part of me. If I perceive someone who sees events differently, I must listen to that person with understanding and compassion. And if they are willing to listen to me, I will share my understanding and point of view. The other person is me.
Eventually, when we practice sincere listening with each other, mutual understanding rises, and conflict dissipates. Conflict and misunderstanding can only exist when there is a lack of communication.
Our dharmic lifestyle provides perfect guideposts to peace: selflessness, compassion, and service to others. These values are the foundation for building a resilient, harmonious community. When we commit to sharing and living with these values, collective efficacy—truly cherishing each other in all of our diversity—naturally emerges.
In our dharmic community, conflicts are not destructive forces, but rather opportunities for growth and transformation. As long as we live in this world, conflicts are inevitable, but they can be resolved through open communication and a commitment to the well-being and highest good of all.
The Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji encourages us to embrace humility and forgiveness—essential qualities for resolving conflicts peacefully. In community, the well-being of each individual is intertwined with the well-being of the whole. When one is harmed, all are harmed. When one is healed, all are healed. We cannot separate ourselves from ourselves! We are one in the spirit.
Our precious practice of langar with sangat and pangat affords us the perfect opportunity to all sit together, regardless of our status, or how we think or how we believe. Langar, with sangat and pangat, promotes equality and unity. Conflict is an opportunity for growth and resolution through open dialogue and forgiveness.
When we experience division, the Guru’s teachings, introduced to us by the Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan, offer a path toward rebuilding strength and cohesion. Creating that path forward through conflict within our community requires a deep commitment—individually and collectively— to dialogue and understanding with those with whom we disagree. Guru Nanak Dev Ji encourages seekers to engage in meaningful dialogue, with the belief that through discussion and reflection, solutions will emerge that honor our collective well-being.
I am a sacrifice to my pure friends, the immaculate Saints.
This body is attached to them, and we have shared our minds.
We have shared our minds – how could I forget those friends?
Seeing them brings joy to my heart; I keep them clasped to my soul.
They have all virtues and merits, forever and ever; they have no demerits or faults at all.
I am a sacrifice to my pure friends, the immaculate Saints.||2||
~ Guru Nanak Dev Ji, SGGS, Ang 76
Photo Credit: Photo from “Experience Interfaith,” an event jointly hosted by Guru Nanak Dwara Gurdwara in Phoenix, AZ and Arizona Interfaith.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SS Gurumeet Kaur Khalsa, ERYT 500, is the Director of Create Inner Peace, a Minister of Divinity of Sikh Dharma, and a Professional Teacher Trainer of Kundalini Yoga. She has worked closely with Bhai Sahiba Bibiji Inderjit Kaur Khalsa, PhD, the founder of Create Inner Peace, to honor and serve First Responders who daily put themselves in harm’s way to serve and protect us. Gurumeet sits on the board of the Rise in Love Foundation to support the healing, recovery and restoration of self-autonomy of survivors of human trafficking and other severe trauma.