April 29, 2021 – May 13, 2021 Project Update

May 14, 2021

Dear Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma Communities,

We are happy to provide this biweekly update on the Compassionate Reconciliation Project.
Over the past two weeks, over 70 Sangat members from around the world gathered for a series of online facilitated workshops called the Compassionate Reconciliation Commission Summit. Participants included people from many different backgrounds, beliefs, cultures, identities, ages, and relationships to the Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma communities, who have agreed to co-create and serve a process of healing and repair within the community. The purpose of the Summit was to create a foundation of understanding, relationships, and skills from which to launch the Compassionate Reconciliation Commission.  

Over a total of 18 hours (and for some, into the middle of the night), these courageous members of the CRC Advisory Teams shared with honesty and vulnerability about their experiences and perspectives on the current moment in the community. They learned together, sat in circles together, and sometimes cried together. Second Generation members, women who experienced harm in relation to Yogi Bhajan/SSS, and community members who have expressed concern and dismay at organizational responses to the reports of harm, shared a space of compassionate listening along with numerous representatives from within the organizations and wider Sangat. The Summit was a place of connection, struggle, hope, uncertainty, pain, honesty, and many more experiences, held within a container of attentive listening. The image below, created by Summit participants at the conclusion of the event, captures some of this experience.

In our training modules and discussions, we explored issues of social equity and the many ways in which power and hierarchy are experienced within relationships. We looked together at the current expressions of harm and conflict, with an eye to context and possible root causes. We explored personal and collective experiences of harm and crisis, especially their impacts on our relationships with ourselves and others. We developed and practiced new skills, explored concepts of conflict and justice, and began to imagine together a path forward that can address harmful experiences while honoring the identities, goals, and perspectives of a vast diversity of Sangat members.

This work is just beginning, and much lies ahead.  As the Commission begins to plan and envision a compassionate response to the individual and collective needs of the Sangat, its members will be working hard to elicit voices and engage as many Sangat members as possible. We will also be working with the Commission to continue sharing updates on what is happening as the process moves forward.

Yours in kindness, compassion, and gratitude,
Catherine Bargen, Matthew Hartman, Cara Walsh, Aaron Lyons, and our extended Just Outcomes team

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