A sunny Sunday afternoon in La Jolla on May 6, provided the perfect backdrop for the first free monthly Community Healing Clinic at La Jolla Community Center, at which practitioners presented the meditation-based healing practice known as Sat Nam Rasayan.
The clinic — which will return 3-5 p.m., first Sundays of the month at 6811 La Jolla Blvd. — was held in the community room, with the doors open, and sunlight and fresh air pouring in.
During an average clinic, mats are laid out in pairs — one for the “student healer” and one for the “client.” The client lies down on one of the mats, and the student healer sits next to them. Both are guided through a brief meditation by Sat Nam Rasayan teacher Mimi Trotter (aka Hari Das Kaur) before the student healer is guided into a mental “healing space.”
During a 20-30 minute session, the student healer puts a hand on the client’s arm, largely to comfort the client, but also for connection. The student healers are encouraged to ask what the ailment or issue is that brought the client there, and then “feel what they feel in relation to that other person’s condition,” Trotter said. They spend the remainder of the session in that healing space.
Students may show up any time in the clinic, but if a session has already begun, they must wait for the next one to start.
During the inaugural clinic, Trotter said during the Sat Nam Rasayan practice is comparable to prayer. She explained someone might pray to have God heal a loved one of a certain ailment. This practice is similar in that the student comes to understand the condition and puts their mental energy into helping it heal.
“This healing art is probably as old as yoga itself and is based on the principle that human beings have the capacity to heal each other by being present to someone. It’s based on presence,” Trotter told La Jolla Light.
The benefit is designed to be two-fold: The student healers get a chance to practice and the client gets the chance to be healed.
Mind over matter
“It is a meditative art that leads to healing,” she said. “The purpose of the clinic is to give the community an opportunity to understand this healing art that we’ve been doing and will give them an experience of it. It is similar to mindfulness-based stress reduction, where a person learns to identify the stress in themselves and then they can be aware of it, rather than react. When you feel a stressor, you can say ‘wow this is interesting,’ rather than needing to medicate.”
Acknowledging it can be “a leap” from the understanding of conventional medicine, La Jolla resident and student healer Sharon Wampler explained: “There is an increasing body of knowledge on mind-body medicine and increasing understanding of the benefits of meditation, balancing the nervous system and how stress leads to disease. This healing modality can address these challenges. … This practice is basically meditation that helps you develop a sense of awareness, and this uses the awareness to heal yourself and in turn heal others.”
Trotter has been teaching Sat Nam Rasayan for 25 years, and is one of only 13 teachers in the United States. The former surgical nurse raised her family in La Jolla and said she has experience in Western and mind-body medicine.
“I wanted to provide a place for people to go once a month where they don’t have to pay any money and learn the skills to keep them balanced and calm,” she said. “It’s hard to understand it until you experience it and this clinic is meant to give people that experience. But anyone can learn it. It’s not about a religion. All faiths do it. There are different iterations in Buddhism and Contemplative Christianity.”
Trotter said she hopes clients leave with “inspiration that through their own awareness they can go away relaxed and less stressed, and specific conditions can also be addressed. They have a reliable community they can come to, something to look forward to, and a place to learn tools to relax and manage their lives.”
— The next community healing clinic is 3 p.m. Sunday, June 3 at La Jolla Community Center, 6811 La Jolla Blvd. There is no charge to participate, but donations will be accepted.