by SS Siri Ved Kaur Khalsa, Bakersfield CA
Finding the quiet center can take many years. Guru Hargobind’s example as the master of the Sixth Body offers an inspiration of how to find that “stillness” in the midst of life’s daily challenges. Here is a story of Siri Ved’s journey to find her “quiet center.”
During the summer before my senior year in high school I read a book called The Master Game. It talked about different stages of spiritual awakening and how when one recognizes the need for a spiritual teacher she can consciously become a “magnetic center” for that teacher. A light went on in my head and I knew this was what I must do.
Going within I visualized myself being drawn toward a true master, my true teacher. This was my first conscious journey within and from that point onward I felt pulled along as if on a fishing line, drawn from one lesson to the next, toward what I did not know. Some steps have been life-changing leaps, where I’ve felt propelled not so much by faith but by a sense that to leap was true life and to remain was death or stagnation.
A year later at age 17, I ran away from home with $30, a sleeping bag, and a few clothes. I had to go. As I boarded a plane from Los Angeles to San Francisco I was scared and without a clue about what I would do there or what my future held. The same force that called on me to pack up and go also protected me throughout my journey. Within nine months I had moved to the Olive Branch Ashram in Los Angeles and met Yogi Bhajan for the first time.
Leap and Learn
Thirty two years and many leaps later, I similarly felt propelled to enroll in Santa Monica College, to “take a few classes that seem interesting and see where it goes.” Earlier I’d leafed through the pages of my daughter’s SMC course catalog and nothing had looked interesting at all.
I’d never been to college and didn’t want to go. But now, nudged by my consciousness and encouraged by a coworker, I enrolled in an English class for the 2003 summer session.
I never imagined I’d be going to school for almost 10 years. I continued at SMC for five years, taking far more classes than necessary to attain a two-year AA degree in Liberal Arts.
After moving to Bakersfield in 2008 I continued at California State University and earned a BA in Public Policy and Administration. A year later, just a few months short of my 60th birthday, I attained a Master’s degree in Health Care Management.
During these nine years of evening classes, I worked full-time as a medical practice manager, and for a few years simultaneously ran a small catering company on the side. Looking back now, I don’t know how I had the energy to care for my home and family and maintain a 4.0 GPA.
I’ve learned going within and finding my quiet center, allowing guidance to come, and processes to unfold is a key to rise to, resolve, and learn from life’s challenges in a meaningful way. This still holds true as I’ve moved on from practice management to project management for the county hospital in Bakersfield.
I’ve more opportunity for stress than ever before; implementing change within a government organization is no easy task. Daily morning sadhana, going to the very center of it, listening deeply, and carrying that space with me throughout the day, gives me the balance, fortitude, and tapped-in wisdom to achieve success in my work, my life, and all undertakings.
Abou the Author
SS Siri Ved Kaur Khalsa is an ordained Sikh Dharma Minister. Siri Ved Kaur is one of the earliest students of Yogi Bhajan, and was member of the Guru Ram Das Ashram community in Los Angeles for 35 years before moving to Central California in 2008. She remains active in leadership, women’s groups, and teaching courses and workshops on Yogic Diet and Cooking, Gurmukhi Alphabet and Pronunciation, Naad Yoga and Mantra Pronunciation, and Gurbani Kirtan. She is the author of the yogic cookbook From Vegetables with Love.