Searching For A Path ~ The Sikh Chaplain - Part 1

Let's just say I took the blue pill. I ventured down the rabbit-hole to understand the roots of suffering....

The Sikh Chaplain Part 1

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

I was an inquisitive kid growing up and like many 1st/2nd generation Punjabi born folks I was awkward in my upbringing with Western schooling and Indian household. While finding my way through identity crisis and longing to belong as an adolescent, there was a hidden part of me that craved for insights and conversations about our existence. For as long as I could remember, spirituality has always intrigued me. I was interested to know how people thought of life and what made up the beliefs they held. I could recall at Indian parties I went to with my family, zoning out for moments at a time trying to make sense of it all and wonder, 'What made people do what they do?'

My early years of introspection came to a unique fruition and I became a Licensed Acupuncturist. I was on a journey. I left Sikhi at a young age and cut my hair determined to fit in only to be spiraled into an existential crisis that troubled uch of my teenage years. In my exploration for personal identity and inner healing, I found Integrative Healers, Kundalini yoga and meditation that reconnected to me to Sikhi. Re-inspired after many dark years, I used my Undergraduate Degree to study spirituality and focused much of my training on Sikhi. It ignited in me a call to be of service and alleviate the suffering people feel.My early years of introspection came to a unique fruition and I became a Licensed Acupuncturist. I was on a journey. I left Sikhi at a young age and cut my hair determined to fit in only to be spiraled into an existential crisis that troubled uch of my teenage years. In my exploration for personal identity and inner healing, I found Integrative Healers, Kundalini yoga and meditation that reconnected to me to Sikhi. Re-inspired after many dark years, I used my Undergraduate Degree to study spirituality and focused much of my training on Sikhi. It ignited in me a call to be of service and alleviate the suffering people feel.

As stress has been a major factor of disease progression, I wanted to specialize in stress management and find ways to help promote relaxation. I understood that my main goal as an Integrative Healer was to invite the relaxation response allowing the bodies self healing mechanisms to activate, in line with the traditional Chinese approach to medicine, to promote overall healing and well being. As stress has been a major factor of disease progression, I wanted to specialize in stress management and find ways to help promote relaxation. I understood that my main goal as an Integrative Healer was to invite the relaxation response allowing the bodies self healing mechanisms to activate, in line with the traditional Chinese approach to medicine, to promote overall healing and well being.

After a few years out of my Clinical Graduate Degree in Chinese Medicine and running my own Acupuncture practice, I found, however, that my approach was lacking. It didn't make sense to me that an external stimulus rather than an internal one was used to provide relaxation. When I contemplated "relaxation" I understood the physiological components involved and the complex hormonal, neural, respiratory, and cardiac changes that cascade the stress response.After a few years out of my Clinical Graduate Degree in Chinese Medicine and running my own Acupuncture practice, I found, however, that my approach was lacking. It didn't make sense to me that an external stimulus rather than an internal one was used to provide relaxation. When I contemplated "relaxation" I understood the physiological components involved and the complex hormonal, neural, respiratory, and cardiac changes that cascade the stress response.

However, therapeutically, treatments were temporary. Many would come for healing sessions only to fall back into the biorhythm of stress days afterwards. I understood that societal pressures we face daily burden our ability to find calmness and centeredness. I understood that my doing something to them was helping but not taking root in their beings. Something more was needed and I had to contemplate further. However, therapeutically, treatments were temporary. Many would come for healing sessions only to fall back into the biorhythm of stress days afterwards. I understood that societal pressures we face daily burden our ability to find calmness and centeredness. I understood that my doing something to them was helping but not taking root in their beings. Something more was needed and I had to contemplate further.

Let's just say I took the blue pill. I ventured down the rabbit-hole to understand the roots of suffering. I had no idea the philosophical, religious, and spiritual terrain I was traveling. Naïve and innocent, I was hoping for simple answers that would provide some training or weekend certification that I could apply to my Acupuncture practice. Little did I know, and those who have followed the call of their heart can lament, the kind of journey I began to take. Alas, God had a plan, and in my discovery for simple answers I received questions and paradoxes instead. And to my surprise, the questions that came were spiritual questions about God, existence, and beliefs. Let's just say I took the blue pill. I ventured down the rabbit-hole to understand the roots of suffering. I had no idea the philosophical, religious, and spiritual terrain I was traveling. Naïve and innocent, I was hoping for simple answers that would provide some training or weekend certification that I could apply to my Acupuncture practice. Little did I know, and those who have followed the call of their heart can lament, the kind of journey I began to take. Alas, God had a plan, and in my discovery for simple answers I received questions and paradoxes instead. And to my surprise, the questions that came were spiritual questions about God, existence, and beliefs.

I found in my journey to understand suffering, to deter pathological stress from within, and cultivate a deeper sense of relaxation questions around spiritual security, a knowingness of our place in this grand play, and the deeper sense of purpose and meaning to our existence needed to be asked. This was deep. I reflected that the troubles we see culturally and societally stemmed from a deeper place in our beings, in the body, mind, and spirit continuum and that the spirit is the least of which nourisheI found in my journey to understand suffering, to deter pathological stress from within, and cultivate a deeper sense of relaxation questions around spiritual security, a knowingness of our place in this grand play, and the deeper sense of purpose and meaning to our existence needed to be asked. This was deep. I reflected that the troubles we see culturally and societally stemmed from a deeper place in our beings, in the body, mind, and spirit continuum and that the spirit is the least of which nourished.

Singh Sahib Amar Atma Singh Khalsa

SS Amar Atma Singh Khalsa is currently a Chaplain at Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona. This series of five articles describes his journey and experience to becoming a Hospital Chaplain. Amar Atma Singh has a Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is a minister through Sikh Dharma International. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

SS Amar Atma Singh - Copy (16K)

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