by SS Hari Charn Kaur Khalsa, Espanola NM
I am with you. I hear you. I am here for you.
These very simple words—I am with you. I hear you. I am here for you—are words from the heart for these times. As Ministers it is a critical time to open our hearts and, for many of us, to open our phones and our zoom rooms. Showing up for each other has never been more important and today, for the safety of all, we do this from our own homes.
Reaching out is a touchstone of seva and of seeing God in every person. The Siri Singh Sahib said it so well: “In the Age of Aquarius, the dharma of a person shall be to reach out. Reach out to help. Reach out to share smiles. Reach out to help, reach out to share smiles, reach out to hear each other, reach out for every reason without judgment.”—The Siri Singh Sahib (October 3, 1996)
How do we reach out and stand for all members of our community and see the God in all? How do we put our personal beliefs and possibly pain aside when we are in service? How do we care for ourselves as we care for others?
I reflected on this and turned to Victory and Virtue, where I found a wonderful article on page 8 that addresses these questions. It is a beautiful and supportive reminder of our roles as Ministers and sevadars of the Guru and humanity.
“What does it mean to be a Sikh Dharma Minister?
- It means to make yourself small so that others may feel large.
- It means to make yourself a servant so that others may feel their mastery.
- It means to give so that others who lack may receive.
- It means to love so that those who feel unloved may have someone who never rejects them, someone with whom they can always identify themselves.
- It means to give help to those who ask and don’t deserve help and also to those who do not ask or deserve it.
- It means always to be there when you are needed, yet never to press yourself on another when you are not wanted.
- It means to stay at peace so that those who are contentious will have someone to whom they can turn to stabilize themselves.
- It means to keep a cheerful outlook so that those who are easily cast down may have someone to lift them up.
- It means to keep faith and to keep on keeping faith even when you find little reason for believing so that those who have no faith can find the courage to live.
- It means not merely to live a life of prayer, but to turn your prayers into life— more life for you, more life for those to whom you minister.
- It means to be God-centered and human-hearted, to involve yourself in the humanity of men and women, and to keep your vision on their divinity, drawing forth this divinity in all around you.
- It means to share in the great moments of human life, in birth and sickness and marriage and death, and at all these times, whether of crisis or of celebration, to bring comfort and a blessing, and above all a sense of a Presence that sometimes we cannot see and of a meaning that often we overlook.
Nurturing Self and Others
To be able to serve in this way we need to also turn this love and care towards ourselves and our fellow Ministers. It is important that we use our love and devotion to the Guru to serve ourselves and that we do not bypass our own needs for healing.
Hopefully, each of us is connecting with fellow Ministers, sangat members, and others with whom we can find safety and support. This year has provided me with the opportunity to personally experience the truth of our Gurus’ words, “The Guru is my support and my only friend.”
The living words of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib can bring hope and neutrality to the inner being. We have been given so many practices that can serve us in these times, such as:
- Reading a Hukam each day and journaling
- Reading five pages a day and meditating on the words
- Reading 11 or more minutes a day in a personal Sahej Path
- Participating in the virtual Sahej Path offered by Sikh Dharma International
- Attending Gurdwara online or in-person where it may be safe
- Reading daily banis or listening to them
By nurturing ourselves we can show up for others. As Ministers, this is a fertile time to reach out to both our local and global community, but how we reach out is the most important factor. When we hold open our hearts and truly put our head in our hands we are able to:
- listen with an open heart and not impose our opinion
- stay in relationship with those in our community who may have beliefs and opinions different from ours
- reach out to those who are silent and possibly isolated at home, as the effects of both the pandemic and the allegations can create even more isolation
- listen and support our next generations as they share their anger and disillusionment with elders and leaders
“Reaching out is seva. It is beautiful. Reaching out means often taking the first step and making the call, saying the prayer, sending the text, writing an email without an expectation of response. It is offering a touch of love.”—The Siri Singh Sahib (December 20, 1997)
A beautiful article on reaching out as seva that I found online. https://therevealer.org/why-sikhs-serve/
About the Author
SS Hari Charn Kaur Khalsa has been a Minister of Sikh Dharma since 1980. She loves Kundalini Yoga and has been a student of Yogi Bhajan since 1975. Hari Charn Kaur serves as the KRI Global Director of Professional Development and Outreach and works internationally with Kundalini Yoga teachers and trainers to support and nurture relationships among ministers, trainers and teachers around the globe. She is dedicated to serving the contemporary teachers and trainers of today as well as the future generations of teachers and students.