Saturday, February 18, 2017

Circle of Support

It seems like lately I’ve had a lot of nights where I stayed up wondering how to “fix” tomorrow so that it would be a day to look forward to, an exciting day, and not just "another day." I was desperate for tomorrow to be different. I made a lot of changes, like going to the prayer room at the hospital first thing in the morning before I started work, and it certainly helped, but each night kind of just felt the same no matter what I did. I felt fully responsible for this emptiness and I didn't understand how to fix it. Then one night this week I was in the middle of a 31 hour shift and I was just ecstatic. It’s a feeling that I’ve missed so much. I started talking to one of my colleagues and it was clear that while he was barely keeping his eyes open, I had so much energy I was nearly bouncing off the walls. He asked me where this energy came from. A large part of it was certainly helping to deliver a baby for the first time- nothing can beat that excitement. The rest of it was the fact that I was happy that I was part of a team that treated me with respect and I felt like I belonged. I was able to function to maximum capacity instead of being in survival mode.

I think maybe because our society focuses so much on the need to be independent, and that a "strong" person does things on their own, that I started to tell myself that I shouldn’t need to rely on anyone. I thought that I could just keep praying and get some peace so my environment doesn’t bother me anymore, simple...Not that simple! You don't just do simran in one day and then suddenly the toxic work environment doesn't affect you. It takes patience and practice, and its a process that you need lots of support for. That’s the purpose of sangat, because as humans we all need connection, love, respect, and trust. Connecting is the process of having someone sit with you while you are processing what you are going through and just listening and offering to be there and pray with you and do simran with you. They are part of your healing. When I’m scared I like to hide in my turtle shell, but its when I need people the most and those who care will climb into the shell with you if you let them. It is scary to let yourself really be seen- for all the flaws, the emptiness, the hardship, and to reach out. Everyone likes to be in control, and when you step out for help you are trusting someone else with that. There have been times in my life when I simply said, I need you, but the words were so hard because I didn't want to need. I wanted to be able to do everything myself, and also because I was scared that the answer would be no. I learned that I can survive no matter what the answer is, and also that in order to get support and to trust someone you need to let go of the fear, the pride, and the control. Even when we go to Guru Ji, we need to give over our own mat and accept Gurmat.

I am still kind of making sense of all of this, but realizing that its increasingly important for me to just take in the opportunities and the times that I do get deep connections with people, even if those are one second of someone being able to just “see me” and appreciating it. In December I sang a poem about the Sahibzaade at the Gurdwara and a few days later an Uncle ji came up to me and he gave me this picture of the Sahibzaade. He told me that he felt I needed to have it. It touched my heart because it was an exchange of human understanding that he had “seen me” and understood. This moment is especially close to my heart now that Uncle Ji has passed. With all the deaths I have seen in the last two months it just continually reminds me that our time in this human form is limited. Whoever you have in your life that "sees you" and values you, no matter how long they are there, remember to love them fully and climb into that shell with them when they need it. Those moments are special and you'll never regret having reached out, having cared, having listened. Even one day of trust and respect and connection can mean the world of difference because it is universal to both want and need to be supported and feel understood. 

“God’s slaves are God’s saints and comrades, meeting with whom doubt is dispelled.” (Ang 1264)

P.S. Don’t forget about simran upstairs on Sundays at 1 pm!


  1. Many Physicians, Physicists, Scientists have helped me understand Gurbani. There are many. Here is one I recently found, Bruce Lipton Stem Cell Biologist. He says we are Programmed at an early age and that same programme plays through out our lives. It's hard to get to our Subconscious/programmed mind. So he recommends several ways, one being repetition of affirmations ..the way we repeat Gurbani or guru mantras or write down things. Important to do that before we go to bed and early morning..

    Bruce Lipton Stem Cell Biologist, Author

    Bruce H. Lipton, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in bridging science and spirit. Stem cell biologist, bestselling author of The Biology of Belief and recipient of the 2009 Goi Peace Award, he has been a guest speaker on hundreds of TV and radio shows, as well as keynote presenter for national and international conferences.

    Warning. We can discard if we don't agree

    1. Thanks for sharing this! Yes many scientists can help us understand Gurbani, and also, Gurbani can help us understand what is even beyond the understanding of science. I remember hearing many kathas about the mind, and how well Gurbani describes the mind. Even psychiatrists who are experts in their field do not have such an understanding of the mind. It really is amazing. I will try to check out that video sometime when I have some time to sit and watch it properly. I have never heard of Dr. Lipton. I have tried doing written affirmations myself, and it really helps a lot!

  2. Dr Joan Borysenko(Harvard educated, later Professor)

    This is what a Dean of a medical school wrote about her

    "As a former Dean of Medical Education at Pritzker School of Medicine, (University of Chicago), I learned first-hand what our medical students sought in establishing a curriculum for Spirituality in Medicine. In a word, they wanted clinically real issues on this topic discussed by their practicing faculty, and we had no trouble initiating a 30hr course addressing 10 topics they chose. (see Ch.23 in the book cited above) We believe the graduates from this curriculum will be prepared to address these spiritual issues with their patients....Lawrence D.H.Wood, MD PhD says:

    Your first session of the Spirituality in Medicine 2012 Series was splendid!! I am writing to underline an essential feature of Joan Borysenko’s presentation. Her empathic demeanor and sensitive description of several clinical vignettes enhanced her scholarly message.

    Some things are better caught than taught. As a provider of Critical Care, I was most informed in responding to my patients spiritual needs by having experienced personal loss and grieving. (Science, Belief, Intuition – Balboa Press – 2012) Through this hole in my soul, empathy and compassion entered my practice and teaching. Then every opportunity to learn spiritual principles became part of my multi-faceted approach to my patients’ questions, and those of their significant others. Such on-the-job training as a wounded-healer enhances the contribution that Dr. Borysenko and practicing physicians provide as “Peace of Mind” Consultants

  3. Dr. Borysenko earned her doctorate in Medical Sciences from the Harvard Medical School, where she completed post-doctoral training in cancer cell biology. Her first faculty position was at the Tufts University College of Medicine in Boston. But after the death of her father from cancer, she became more interested in the person with the illness than in the disease itself, and returned to Harvard Medical School to complete a second postdoctoral fellowship, this time in the new field of behavioral medicine. Under the tutelage of Herbert Benson, M.D., who first identified the relaxation response and brought meditation into medicine, she was awarded a Medical Foundation Fellowship and completed her third post-doctoral fellowship in psychoneuroimmunology.

    In the early 1980’s Dr. Borysenko co-founded a Mind/Body clinic with Dr. Benson and Dr. Ilan Kutz, became licensed as a psychologist, and was appointed instructor in medicine at the Harvard Medical School. Her years of clinical experience and research culminated in the 1987 publication of the New York Times best seller, Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, which sold over 400,000 copies. The 20th anniversary edition, newly revised, was published in 2007. Author or co-author of 13 other books and numerous audio and video programs, including the Public Television special Inner Peace for Busy People,

  4. Just watched a programme on PBS(U.S. Public t.v) on mindeful meditation. Even Hospitals teach their staff. A first grade teacher teaching little kids to focus on the sound of a bowls. She had one of bowl in hand with a stick like object to hit at intervals. Kids were asked to focus on the sound for 10 minutes. What a change

    "Mindfulness in Schools: When Meditation Replaces Detention"

  5. Teaching patients mindeful meditation. PBS

  6. Did you notice Americans Scientists in California(universities), New York and Boston Mass are very open minded..

    Does Education makes one liberal and open to out of box ideas?

    There is another NASA scientist, Physicist, Dr Tom Campbell, who came with up a theory: Theory of Everything, very very similar to Gurbani's Shri Sukhmani Sahib

    just like Physicists in New York: Dr Brian Greene, Dr Michio Kaku, , M.I.T. professor Max Tegmark explores the possibility that math does not just describe the universe, but makes the universe(Scientific American).

    Dr John Filo with guest Tom Campbell: The Really Big Picture

  7. Work with NASA and the US Department of Defense

    Tom Campbell has had a long career as a scientist and physicist. He received a B.S. in Physics as well as an M.S. in Physics. His Ph.D. work specialized in Experimental Nuclear Physics with a thesis in low-energy nuclear collisions.[4] He worked as a systems analyst with Army technical intelligence for a decade before moving into the research and development of technology supporting defensive missile systems. Subsequently, he spent the better part of 30 years working within the US missile defense community as a contractor to the Department of Defense.[4] Campbell most recently worked for NASA within the Ares I program (follow-on to the Shuttle) assessing and solving problems of risk and vulnerability to insure mission and crew survivability and success.[4][5]

    Thomas Warren Campbell (December 9, 1944) is a physicist, lecturer, and author of the My Big T.O.E. (Theory of Everything) trilogy, a work that claims to unify general relativity, quantum mechanics, and metaphysics along with the origins of consciousness. The work is based on the simulation argument, which posits that reality is both virtual and subjective. Campbell agrees with other notable philosophers and scientists including Hans Moravec, Nick Bostrom, Brian Whitworth,[1] Marcus Arvan[2] and others who hypothesize that reality is a simulation generated by a computer (or peer-to-peer network according to Aravan),[3] while Campbell contends reality evolved from a "digital big bang". These ideas are heavily influenced by the concepts of digital physics.

  8. Sorry I am keeping this thread open

    But here is that link I was talking about Meditation on Public television. It was on yesterday again. It's called, "A Joyful Mind"

    Promo here

    1. No problem! Thanks for sharing these links. Sorry ive been too busy to reply!