by SS Hari Charn Kaur Khalsa, Espanola NM
Years ago I wrote an article for this newsletter entitled the Ministry of Cookies; in many ways, this is a follow-up to that article. My life’s intentions come down to this: to reach out with an open heart and meet each person where they are; to honor where they are and how they want to grow into their destiny.
I still bake hundreds of cookies and make gallons of yogi tea every month to give away…gifts from the heart to communicate that I care. The difference is that now I send cookies all over the world. I have the blessing to travel to our global sangats to build relationships. The key is that, even though I am a teacher, I go to serve each person as a teacher, a community builder, a healer, a minister. I usually teach ‘off the bench’.
Our global sangat is as diverse as it is unified—a marvelously rich tapestry of cultures, generations, languages, challenges, gifts, and talents.
In my work with teachers, trainers, students and ministers worldwide, I have found that cultivating leadership for the future takes an immense amount of flexibility, deep listening, ability to be the student of the person and the situation, and the ability to continue to deepen my neutrality. Every trip, every person, teaches me how to be more present.
Living by Inclusion
Today’s wise students and teachers around the globe, who have previously been labeled “next gen’” (or second or third generation), like to be called our “contemporaries.” They enter the unknown and work to be comfortable with change, to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
This is a horizontal rather than top-down process. Our contemporaries live by inclusion and change—not by directive and rigid adherence to rules. This inclusion fosters cooperation, whether it’s mission-driven or task-driven, as it empowers others and creates relationships.
To support our global leadership it is important to have the courage to let go of what we think the solution may be and to embark on a co-creative inclusive process of discovering answers and new questions together… whether this is in support of an individual or a community. Each person brings their unique wisdom and challenges to the process. This paradigm is circular rather than top-down and invites questioning what is.
You must talk straight and with neutrality, for there is such a high sensitivity to what is authentic and what is not. And when you cannot do this you must get out of the way. Your words must have the frequency to enter the heart of the other person – authentic words that you will stand behind. When our words come from the heart and enter the heart of the other person they will be understood and they will inspire growth and commitment.
Showing Up in Mutual Learning
In service to this community, each of us needs to show up one hundred percent. As an elder, I see my contemporaries as those who can teach me how to serve them. And this is another key – to show up in a mutual space of co-learning.
The tool that has helped me the most is the meditation “The Master’s Touch”, Aad Sach, Jugaad Sach, Hai Bhee Sach, Naanak Hosee Bhee Sach. Meditating on this mantra for 1200+ days changed my arc line and my presence. In this space of truth, I can sit and listen, be present, and hold a frequency of compassion for the other. To support the unfolding of Aquarian leadership, to move from top-down to transparent and inclusive leadership that moves fast …. one must be present.
We are living in challenging times, and our contemporaries are our future. They have taught me how important it is that I trust them to grow. That I show them that I can grow and learn from them; that we are growing together, each of us learning from the other.
I have learned to put aside the ego to come from the heart to uplift the other; to let go of my attachment to what I think is “right” by finding the common ground of understanding that we share and by building upon this. I am grateful to Yogi Bhajan for his trust in me to do this work and to Guru Ram Das who guides me and holds me.
Reaching out isn’t a one-time action. As the Master taught us, once you take the hand of someone you must never let it go. Continually reaching out may be the most important tool for success. Calling…writing emails…and yes, sending cookies.
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.