Last night I was trying to go to sleep early so I could wake up refreshed in Amritvela to Meditate, and just kept sitting watching/reading the flood of twitter posts (particularly #Rajoana #IPledgeOrange ) finding it hard to put away my iPhone and go to sleep. There was (still is) a constant stream from Sikhs all over the world tweeting about the situation going on in relation to Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana . It is very inspiring to me to see so many Sikhs uniting together around a positive cause for human rights and justice. This can serve to lift people up and hopefully re-ignite Sikhi in their every day life. It seems that a crisis brings a rallying point for us and serves to unite the Panth.
I’ve been reading about the many protests that have been taking place all over the world. These have been very peaceful though they have involved tens of thousands of Sikhs. In general though when I hear about protests in India, there is often a very different energy to them than compared to ones in US/UK/Canada. From my outside India viewpoint it appears that there is much less restraint, particularly on the part of police and people trying to incite a reaction. So it often seems like gas and match waiting to ignite at the flick of a finger.
This morning I heard the sad news about two Sikhs being shot and killed apparently from the Punjab Police trying to disburse people as a result of clashes incited by “Shiv Sena” trying to incite violence against peaceful Sikh protesters in Gurdaspur. This morning the twitter messages had really changed tone from hope and unison, to high emotions, fear and frustration. Thinking of the brutal time of 1984 and fears that “It’s going to happen all over again”.
Here I am, Sitting thousands of miles away in a small town (Espanola, New Mexico), where there is only a small Sikh community (compared to other parts of the world), trying to feel and understand the pulse of the Panth right now. It’s hard to get a full picture and a real sense for what is going on and so be able to relate in the same way as other Sikhs who are living this movement more directly.
My prayer is that Sikhs as a whole, and particularly those people who are in leadership roles, move very consciously forward, and advise those in their community to do the same by not letting our emotions control our actions. We need to ACT, but act from consciousness, and using our intuition as apposed to unconscious emotional REactions to events (which generally leads to negative consequences).
While I write these words I’m listening to the beautiful kirtan live from Harmandir Sahib and thinking how in spite of the daily turmoil, the Gurbani is always there, constant, neutral and inspiring. Not wavering, but just continuing to spread the messages of humanity, Oneness and God. It makes me think of our Gurus, who were so solid that didn’t waver in the face of any challenge.
As we chant the mool mantra from Japji Sahib. It is a reminder for us to remember who we are as Sikhs of the Guru, and to remember that we are all part of the ONE. I am you, you are me; and have to see the Me/You/ONE in EVERYONE; even people we don’t like. It’s not an easy task.
Nirbhao (ਨਿਰਭਉ) Without Fear
Nirvair (ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ) Without Hate
So Khalsa Jis, please take this time to move any feelings of anger, frustration, emotion, etc to positive prayer (Ardas) and positive peaceful action. When we unite in prayer together we can move mountains without lifting a finger. Many underestimate the power of prayer.
You might feel that there is little you can do sitting far away from the many events going on, but know that with your meditation, with the bowing of your head to the Guru and your prayer, we can move forward together with the right state of mind to make more conscious choices that will have positive outcomes. Ultimately it is all in the hands of God so let us play our parts as consciously as possible as Sikhs of our Guru.
So, step away from the computer (and the constant flurry of Facebook and twitter updates) and close your eyes and take some time in prayer. Sit and meditate on the Waheguru Mantra. Recite Chaupai sahib, keep the Guru’s Chardikala flowing in your veins, so that we can all act from our alert, neutral, compassionate consciousness, just as our Guru’s would do.
Here are a few quotes and excerpts from talks by SSS Harbhajan Singh Khalsa that are inspiring for me. They talk about Acting and Reacting. Food for thought
“One thing will always make you lose, and that is reaction. There are certain other things in addition, but you must start with reaction: rudeness, subjective insecurity, objective paranoia and creative fear. Aren’t they wonderful? When you have them all in your behavior, you destroy yourself. You don’t need an enemy.” – 4/19/1989
“Never be right or wrong, always be neutral. Speak not through the positive mind or the negative mind, but from the neutral mind. And whenever you have to confront a calamity or a pleasure, take the altitude. Adjust the attitude. Do not react right away.” – 7/22/1996
“Life is one simple challenge. Act, don’t react. Calm yourself and claim yourself. When you reflect like a torch for a long distance, it takes away the darkness.” - 1/17/2000
“We do things but we don’t watch them. We don’t enjoy them. We don’t relate to the things as we should. We don’t watch our actions, we don’t plan our actions, we have no mastery over our actions. Because we don’t act, we react! As the forces force us, we react. That’s a human nature. Self-defense is a human nature. If somebody is coming towards your eyes or something is coming towards your eyes, without your acknowledging it, your eyes, though the eyelids are very thin and not very strong… they are not that of steel, but they will close. At least they will save you from dirt, dust and storm.
Human body has an automatic system to react through self-defense. But when we do automatic self-defense and react against the pressures, then we do not play our part. Then our individual intelligence plays no part.” – 07/06/1988