Sit down and be quiet: Khalsa teaches healing powers of meditation

Editors’ Note: Jake Zuckerman is the 2015 Interfaith Lecture coverage reporter for the Daily. Part of his beat, including attending and writing about each 2 p.m. lecture, is the Mystic Heart Community Meditation Program. Zuckerman will attend Mystic Heart meditation every Monday and share his experiences in the following day’s Daily.

Meditation offers different things to different people — be it a sense of calm, an unyielding love for all that is, or just a break from the day’s work. To Subagh Singh Khalsa, meditation is about healing.

“By healing, I mean that process of becoming whole, of reclaiming parts of ourselves that may have become submerged under layers of guilt, fear, desire, anger and other negative emotions,” Khalsa said.

Khalsa is leading Week Six’s Mystic Heart Community Meditation Program, as he did Weeks Two and Four. He teaches the classes focused on the Sikh Dharma discipline. He teaches meditation to help others find the silence inside of themselves, which is at the heart of all truth, purpose and, thus, healing.

A few minutes after the class started Monday, one latecomer peeked into the room, quietly looking for a seat. The quick-witted Khalsa told him not to mind that everyone was looking at him.

“Is this the snake-charming and levitation class?” the latecomer asked facetiously.

“Sit down and be quiet,” Khalsa replied with a smile. “That’s all I know.”

While their dialogue was nothing more than lighthearted banter, Khalsa said there is more to sitting down and being quiet.

“I was kidding before when I said ‘sit down and shut up,’ but there’s wisdom to it,” Khalsa said. “When there is silence in ourselves, everything true is rewarded in the silence.”

The class itself divided into two separate meditations. The first was something of a warm up, with each practitioner reciting the mantra, “ong namo, guru dev namo.” The second involved everyone singing along with a musical accompaniment to the mantra.

For me, meditation is becoming more and more accessible. It’s evolved in my cynical mind from what I might have once called lunacy all the way over to scientifically backed self-help.

While a more-seasoned veteran may be able to tune out his or her thoughts entirely, I’m on my way but still not there. I found myself on par with John Nash and his hallucinations in “A Beautiful Mind.” In the film, while Nash can’t tune out his schizophrenia-induced hallucinations entirely, he eventually comes to describe them as a always-present fantasy that he simply chooses not to indulge himself in.

Likewise, as I meditated, I noticed myself drifting here and there to this and that, but I have strengthened the muscles I use to pull myself back and not get caught up in errant trains of thought.

As it turns out, my personal observations are never far off from Khalsa’s words.

“Meditation can help us to notice our patterns, to feel exactly what their presence within us is like and what effects they are having in our lives and to effortlessly allow them to dissolve,” Khalsa said.

Four weeks ago, after Week Two’s session, I wrote about meditation as a practice in an athletic sense. The same way that runners run until they’re fast enough, football teams run plays until they’re executed with perfection, and gymnasts repeat their routines incessantly, is the way I’m working on handling meditation. Doing it over and over again until I get it right.

The Mystic Heart meditation sessions begin at 7:15 a.m. every weekday morning in the Main Gate Welcome Center conference room. Donations are encouraged. There are also two seminars led by Khalsa this week at 12:30 p.m. in the Hall of Missions titled “Meditation as Healing.”