Someone forwarded me a link to the video (shown at the bottom of this post) and after watching it I started thinking about video….emotions…Sikhi…..and media. I have produced many short videos so understand the value of a good message, music and emotion. However, for some reason I started thinking, “What is the value of just evoking emotions in a video?”. I think it is important to understand the history and sacrifice that the sikhs before us made and to value being a Sikh. However, I am a person of action so like to try to encourage more than emotion. Ultimately if you don’t act and do something to develop that spiritual connection and practice the teachings of the Gurus, then it is just entertainment. We say “Proud to be Sikh”, but what does that mean? I don’t think it should just be a feeling of proudness that you are “in the Sikh club”. Wearing a turban or being in a Sikh family doesn’t make one a Sikh (in my opinion). Someone is a Sikh by their actions, not their family or outward appearance. These examples from our past should be there to inspire us all to strive to become betters Seekers (Sikhs). We all need to take action and work on ourselves.
Yesterday during Gurdwara we listened to a lecture by Siri Singh Sahib and one of the points he was talking about was having a daily Sadhana (daily discipline); getting up early in the morning. This is one thing that he taught over and over and over, and is one of those core things in Sikhi (Getting up in the Amrit Vela – early morning before the sun rises and meditate on God). For most people (including myself) this in itself can be challenging at times. However I think it is one of the most fruitful things a Sikh can do. Of course it is easier to just sleep in and do nothing. It takes discipline and persistence to be on a spiritual path. The rewards are sweet though!
Everyone has their own experiences with having a daily Sadhana. Some are able to be very steady and others not. In the course of my life it has been an up and down practice. Lately it has been difficult for me to wake up early for my Sadhana. My 7 month old daughter Charanjeet Kaur has been teething and waking up all through the night, so, none of us get that much sleep. It’s hard to get up early if you are going to sleep really late (or not getting much sleep). In spite of this I still do my best to make time to meditate and do banis. It is one of those things which makes me feel whole and “connected”. It should not be something that you do out of guilt because you feel you “have to”. It should be something you do because it makes you feel good…and whole.
A while back my daily practice lapsed because I got so busy at work and was up really late every night. I was too tired to wake up early….and when I did wake up I had to jump right to it and help with all the family stuff (Getting Narayan ready for school, helping with Charanjeet, go back to work, etc). After a while like this I started to feel pretty bad. I caught myself thinking negative things about people and getting stressed out. This was most unlike me. The trash of the mind was starting to build up and overflowing into my conscious mind. This is what happens when I do not meditate and keep that spiritual practice. The difference is like night and day for me. When I meditate….things flow naturally and I feel in the flow with Guru’s will. I also notice how my intuition becomes very tuned in and I start to know things before they happen or what needs to happen. Going through life without a daily spiritual practice is like throwing all your garbage in a guest room in your house. It piles up and starts to stink. Your mind and actions start to stink without cleaning your mind.
I am not perfect and have not always been able to get up every morning early, however what I think counts is that I keep going. When I get off “the track”…I pull myself back on. It’s a priority for me. This happens again and again… but as long as I keep pulling myself back then I am ok. One has to just “Keep Up” and make an effort to work on themself. I am sharing this because I am sure that many of you might also have trouble waking up early in the morning or having a regular spiritual practice. Obviously if you cannot wake up early then you can still make time every day to do something. Morning time before the sun rises however is ideal. You can watch this video about getting up in the morning which might give some ideas and inspiration to get started.
One can listen to people preaching about Sikhi and Gurbani (including all my blog ramblings!), but if you do not ultimately do something and act on it then it is a waste. Being a Sikh isn’t an intellectual thing. It is about doing and experiencing.
40 Day Sadhana Commitment
So…to end this blog post I would like to offer you all a chance to have an experience of doing a 40 day Sadhana, and making a commitment with me. The commitment is to get up early before the sun rises. Decide and commit to doing a certain spiritual practice (Doing a specific Meditation, Banis, etc.). – Make your pledge!
Here is what I will be doing every morning (you can do this or something of your own choosing):
This is just to give you some ideas. Pick some things that will work for you and is realistic (so that you can actually accomplish it!) but try to break out of your comfort zone and do a bit more than you might normally do.
Are you ready? I have setup a pledge on the PledgeBank which you and any of your friends/family can join. The deadline for this pledge is Feb. 2nd which is not far off, so take a chance and make a commitment and see what happens. You will not be alone since myself and others who pledge will be doing it too. It’s like a Virtual Worldwide Sadhana :)
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The above video is a dedication to Sri Guru Tegh Bahadhur Sahib Ji Maharaj and his three beloved Sikhs, Bhai Mati Das Ji, Bhai Sati Das Ji and Bhai Dyaala Ji.