Tonight I went to a friends house (Dharma Kaur) for some kirtan/meditation/dinner/party in celebration of her 30th Birthday. She is one of my old friends and classmates from school in India. After eating I started to talk with some of my friends; catching up with what they are doing these days. I don’t see some of them that often so there are always the “catchup” conversations about work, family, life, etc.
Many of my friends have started business of their own and are becoming very successful. I am really happy for them, but it always seems to strike some nerve with me when we talk about the successes (especially financially). I have always been very entrepreneurial. I remember the things that I did even as far back as 7 years old to make money. I have always had some type of business idea or way to make some money.
I guess on one hand I have a been very successful at being a part of building a website/community (SikhNet.com), but on the other hand there is always that part of me which is the free ranger, self employed businessman. So, when I have conversations with some of my friends it sometimes leaves a feeling of “lacking” financially, and wanting to go into business to become “wealthy”. We all want to live a comfortable life and be able to provide what we need for our family. Who doesn’t want to be financially well off? I just can’t see stopping work at SikhNet to do something like that since this (SikhNet) is too important.
All of us who work at SikhNet live off a modest salary. No one is getting rich off of SikhNet. We are not here because of the money. We work here because we love it, and the reward is in the service. The normal tendency might be to get the best paying job and make a lot of money. I sometimes wonder what I would do if I was not working at SikhNet. I can’t really imagine it…unless there were more energetic/motivated young people who took on the reigns of SikhNet.
I guess I don’t really have a point/solution here…but am just thinking out loud since this feeling has come up a few times. It is actually good to live in a small town like Espanola away from the daily barrage of “Maya”. I drive 3 minutes to the office and stay pretty busy with work at SikhNet. There are not that many stores here and things to entice “wants”. When I go to places like Los Angeles or New York…or just to a big city in general…all the stores selling their things and advertisements in your face can sometimes make me feel lacking financially, because you want them (nice clothes, nice car, tech toys, etc). It makes you WANT things, though you may not need them.
This reminds me of something with Narayan (my son). When he does certain chores without fuss he earns a “sticker”, which he sticks on the fridge. After earning a certain number of stickers he can pick out a toy from the store as a reward. This motivates him to do the things because he WANTS a toy. The thing I have noticed though is that it is all about the anticipation and the want. When we go to the store, he picks out a toy, is really excited; then within a day or so the “thrill is gone”. I think as adults there is a certain aspect of this that we also experience. It is more about the want, than having. I know some people really do have a lot of financial hardship, but many of us have the basics and can live happily without more. I guess I am learning about dealing these feelings and balancing the needs and wants. I have to ask myself, do I really need this? Ultimately one can live a very simple life and be more happy than someone with billions…since it is not the money that brings happiness, it’s the state of mind.
Overall I know that everything I need is ALWAYS taken care of. I feel blessed to be able to serve the sangat through SikhNet. It is very rewarding.
If you have sometime to share, I would love to hear any stories or experiences relating to this topic. Thanks for listening, I guess I just needed to vent my thoughts. (I don’t have a pensive, like Dumbledore from Harry Potter)