by SS Har Darshan Kaur Khalsa, Chapel Hill NC
The Sixth Body or Arc Line, connected to our beloved Guru Hargobind Ji, helps us to “hold our space”—the space of prayer and of protection. To create the foundation of a prayerful mind, the gift of silence is key.
When the mind is churning with so many “mental intrigues”, how can one pray or meditate? Often, it seems, the noise and concerns of the world intrude on our longing to be in the silence of shuniya, zero, thoughtlessness. How can we bring ourselves back to the reality of the Infinite, while also holding the space of this physical body?
One of the best meditations to clear and strengthen the Arc Line is done as follows: Sit in easy pose, relaxing the elbows by your sides and bringing the forearms straight out a few inches above the knees, palms slightly cupped, facing up. The eyes are closed.
Using the music Wahe Guru, Wahe Guru, Wahe Guru, Wahe Jio by Gyani Ji, on each repetition of Wahe Guru and Wahe Jio, scoop the hands up and over the shoulders as far back as you can and return to the starting position. Imagine you are scooping water and throwing it over your Arc Line with a flick of the wrists.
Continue for 31 minutes, and end by inhaling and stretching your hands as far as possible behind your head, hold 10 seconds, and exhale. Repeat twice more and relax.
As a hospital chaplain and licensed professional counselor, this is a meditation that I have used to help me hold my own space of prayer for my patients and clients. It’s important to be able to release any pain that an empathic presence may have absorbed.
A few years ago, my full time position as a palliative care chaplain made this kind of practice a necessity. Palliative care, popularized through the Hospice movement, provides compassionate comfort care when medicine no longer has anything to offer a patient (except perhaps needless suffering!).
In this position, every patient I worked with was in the process of letting go of their physical body, their family, work, etc. Through working with dying and death, these are some key elements I would offer to those who are in the presence of this amazing transition:
Be in a place of meditative mind yourself. Those who are on the threshold of life and death become quite sensitive and any anxiety or fear you have will be picked up by them.
Allow silence. Sometimes the deep space of letting go of the physical body can be beyond the realm of conversation, yet a caring human presence can be precious. Allow your presence to work, not just your words. Meditation and prayer, silent or aloud, can be all that is needed.
When visiting a dying person at home or in hospital, don’t feel that you are there for entertainment or for idle chatter. At times, the heaviness of the process can benefit from something lighthearted like watching a funny movie or telling stories. However, allow the patient to request this.
Recently, a friend’s husband had surgery for colon cancer. While he is not dying, cancer is definitely a life-threatening illness, and he was confronted with his own mortality. My friend was concerned that after the surgery, her husband was depressed and was not interested in talking with his visitors and well wishers.
I suggested that he may be going through some internal processing that he needed to be allowed to do, and to not worry. She found that this was indeed the case, and was able to relax and give him the blessing of respecting that.
From your own sensitive space, help the dying person create a sacred environment. They are not able to do it themselves, but will appreciate it. Years ago, as I sat with a woman who was at home with hospice care, I realized that the room she was confined to in a hospital bed, was not very soothing.
We made a few adjustments such as placing a lace curtain over the window, a bird feeder in view, and an altar at the end of the bed with flowers, candles, and inspiring art. While simple to do, these changes brought a sense of sacredness to the space in which she made her transition.
When a dear friend was dying in a hospital room, continuous Gurbani music and photos of the Golden Temple and Guru Ram Das created a space that the medical staff commented on repeatedly as being peaceful and uplifting. They all wanted to be in her room!
Whether you are working with an ill or dying person, or any other life transition, always come back to your prayerful mind. The Siri Singh Sahib told us that the years 2013 and 2014 would be the cusp years on the other side of the Aquarian transition. You may already notice that there are many transitions happening. Whether it is grief, anger, fear, or even joy that comes up during the changes, using the technology we have been given will help us to maintain the blessing of silence.
About the Author
SS Har Darshan Kaur Khalsa is an ordained Sikh Dharma Minister. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (sacredlistener.com) and has taught yoga and meditation for over 30 years, helping people to reduce stress, connect with their spiritual source, and find inner peace and fulfillment. She also has experience as a hospital chaplain helping those dealing with chronic illness, grief, and loss.