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Being the Lighthouse

As I sit down to write this, it is 11PM MT on March 16th, 2020. It is a Monday and chaos has ensued with a virus that came to visit our respective villages. You probably have heard of this virus that became very big in the last several months. It is one scary virus for sure and it has been setting fire to our email inboxes, and has been engulfing our mental spaces rapidly. Strictly in my view, this virus has the right to cause a degree of panic and that is totally valid.

In my personal life as a university student in the US, my life has changed significantly since last Monday. Last week I was in classes, living in the dorms, and hanging out with my friends on a fairly regular basis. This week, I am hunkered down alongside the rest of the world inside of my familial apartment while watching how our world has changed so rapidly in response to controlling this virus as rapidly as possible. I consider myself incredibly fortunate since I am able to still continue living my life in a modified way and am still employed.

I have seen the suffering on the faces of my closest friends from university and the emotional toll that all of this has had on them. Many of my friends are either stuck in their apartments, dorm rooms, or are trying to leave rapidly before things get worse. Some of my friends are international students who have no way of getting home in the foreseeable future. 

I know many people, not just in the university community, who have lost their jobs overnight and are now trying to make ends meet. The people I know in my life who are first responders or workers in grocery stores and pharmacies have faced the brunt of this. I have a family member who works in a pharmacy and they have been telling me the horror stories of what has been happening at work. I have a family member and friends working in the medical system and it has been difficult hearing what they are facing at work. My friends who are teachers are sharing stories about how their lives have radically changed. 

This is all a lot to digest and frankly it is getting harder to even keep up with what is happening with this virus.  

In the face of all of this chaos, fear and uncertainty, I am reminded of something that the Siri Singh Sahib Ji taught his students many years ago, way before my time:

“When you have to say nothing, do nothing, be nothing, then what are you? You know what you are? You are a lighthouse, so nobody else can wreck near you. That is the one thing in life you have to do. Forklift. Spread the light. Be the lighthouse. So every journey, every destiny, every distance can be safe.”

-Yogi Bhajan

When I reread this teaching earlier today, the immediate thought that crossed my mind was “How do we become the lighthouse in the advent of ‘social distancing’ and #flattenthecurve?” 

Here are some ideas I have gathered from the Internet and from pure imagination. Some are Sikhi related and others are just things we can do for fun to create community during these challenging times:

  1. Organize a virtual Akhand Paath using Zoom

  2. Get a regular meditation Zoom meeting with friends

  3. Do yoga on the porch outside when the weather is good 

  4. Have a poetry night over Skype

  5. Musically inclined? Perform virtually for friends!

  6. Read that one book you have been putting off

  7. Board Games!

  8. Do a Bob Ross night with family :)

  9. Be a good neighbor, the helpers we need right now (think Mr. Rogers) 

  10. Learn a new skill

That’s all the ideas I can think of. I encourage you all to leave your fun ideas down below in the comments.


~Bhull Chuk Maaf Ji

Maigh Kaur Jammu 

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