At 75 -Joy, Challange & Sadness
My Dear Friends,
There has been so much joy in being of service to all of you over so many years. For some of you I have served as teacher. For others, as healer or counselor. Perhaps for many of you as a signpost that assures you this is a kind Universe, with a kind Creator helping all of us.
So in the month of June when I turned 75 I expected to write you a simple message of joy and commitment to the ongoing work given me as teacher, healer, counselor and minister. And so it should have been that simple. Many of you who came to my little birthday celebration and meditation on June 13th brought me such smiles, as did the continuing stream of cards and sweet little presents from others in faraway places.
More smiles came as I taught a workshop at Yogi Bhajan's Summer Solstice Yoga Festival in northern New Mexico and watched some 400 faces light up with excitement at what they were learning.
Yet joy is never without challenge and sometimes that challenge is sadness.
So I write to you with sadness of the passing of a great man of healing last Monday, June 23rd - Dr. Abram Ber, less than a month from turning 74 (obituary here). To thousands of patients he was the source of wisdom, their health beacon, a pioneering physician and homeopathic doctor whose work is referenced in many books and journals. He was a beacon of light and hope for thousands.
To me he was, is and remains my spiritual brother and dearest friend.
To spend an evening with Abe and his wife Beth on a Saturday night after the Sabbath was a joyful, fascinating time rich with discussions on the newest healing remedy he had uncovered or some new spiritual insight that had come to him in which we had lively interest. Calls would come in from Canada, Europe and Israel from friends and patients seeking his unique and so precious help.
Over the years we worked together with several patients I sent him or he sent to me. I called him "the best internal chemist I have ever known." He could ferret out underlying viruses, imbalances, so much that other practitioners could not. Always we shared the excitement of new learnings, old wisdoms, caring and laughter.
In the late 90s, Abe and I traveled to New Mexico to meet with Yogi Bhajan so that Abe could consult on his current health condition. He discovered an important element out of balance and recommended it to his medical staff. A few months later, when Yogi ji visited Phoenix to speak in the Gurdwara service, he put an appreciative arm around Abe and asked him to sit on the couch beside him while many there asked questions (see photo). Abe told me later he loved the special energy he received from sitting so close to the Master.
We had so many great experiences together. So the deep sadness at his passing touches my heart, provoking tears as I feel the absence of his presence with us. Yet I feel he is at peace now. I know he is now experiencing the benevolence of this Universe, this Creator of All that I always assured him was ever-present.
As our friend and brother, Shalom Siegel, a spiritual psychotherapist and teacher now living in Israel who worked with Abe here in Scottsdale for several years, wrote to me on hearing of his passing... "Abe was a man ever searching to make the world and all he touched better. A man whose heart was filled with the pain of the holocaust into which he was born. Yet the pain which he suffered never ever dampened his love. He gave unstingingly of his heart, his healing, his money, and his soul. Despite bouts of depression and anger that plagued him, they never overcame him. He remained larger, his love remained larger, his healing remained larger. Always searching for ways to help, always looking for the next remedy to heal with. He lived the command to lift the burden of the fallen before they fell. He embodied this form of righteousness in its highest form." And Shalom ended his letter with the prayer - "May the memory of the Righteous live forever."
When you remember someone who has touched your life and passed on, speak of their goodness, celebrate their best and brightest gifts so that others will know goodness abides and they will strive to live such a life themselves. And always speak well of yourself and of your goodness and good deeds. Not for yourself, but to inspire others. Never let yourself down and never let anyone else down. Uphold yourself at your best and help others to do the same. That is what my teacher, Yogi Bhajan, often asked us to do.
So that is my simple request of you now that I am 75. Uphold yourselves in your own goodness and remember and extol the virtues of others. So that the memory of the righteous WILL live forever, will live on in you, in your children and in their children's children.
Bless you, all of you, always!
Dr. Ber's obituary was in the Sunday June 29, 2014 The Arizona Republic newspaper (Phoenix, Arizona, USA). CLICK HERE for the obituary.
Photos (click above photos for a bigger size)
Glimpses over the years (top to bottom): Abe Ber speaking at his birthday party at home in 2005; Abe and his beloved wife Beth with Sangeet in 1995; Abe with Yogi Bhajan at the Sikh Gurdwara (temple) in Phoenix, Arizona in the late 1990s; and a fond moment between Abe and Sangeet at his 2005 birthday party. (Photos by Hari Nam Singh)