Love, Change, Sikhi, Sangat @ Winter Solstice Camp

A friend who works with the 3HO events office forwarded me the following email from a “Punjabi” Sikh who participated in the recent “Winter Solstice Camp” which took place last week in Florida. It is always nice to see people go through their own personal growth and make positive changes in their lives. We can all learn from each other’s experiences. (Ps. The Summer Solstice Camp is in the middle of June here in Espanola, New Mexico. We are also going to be holding another camp on “Jaap Sahib” right before that camp. More info to come in the spring)

“As I sit here getting ready to write about my experience at winter solstice my mind is struggling to find the words. After all how do you put into words the emotions of love, peace, acceptance, universal oneness? I am almost afraid to write these words because I know they will not do these emotions justice. But I will try with my limited capacity as a writer to express what I experienced. I feel like it to be a duty to tell the world (especially the Punjabi youth) about my experience with the 3ho sangat. Before I start I would like to tell the people this is my own personal experience of just meeting the sangat. I did not do much yoga there because I am a beginner and it was difficult for me to participate in the main events. So I am writing about only my experience with interacting with the sangat.

I would like to tell the readers a little bit about my background. I have done personal development courses in my life which have opened me to new experiences. However it has been a long time since I did these courses and I found myself going back to my same old mundane life. The experience at 3ho has rejuvenated me; it has touched my heart in such a profound way. I have been into Sikhi pretty much my whole life in one form or another. I have taken guru ji’s amrit about 2 years ago. It was a wonderful time in my life. I had so much pyaar for Guru ji and this kept me on track and happy. However along the way I started to become more strict for whatever reasons. I somehow forgot about the love of Sikhi and focused on being strict in order to achieve my spiritual goals. Do not get me wrong, I believe it is fine to be strict IF your soul asks for it. For example if through simran you naturally do not want to watch t.v. because your soul (inner self) feels it is distracting and taking you away from meditation, then that is wonderful and beautiful. However if you stop watching T.V. because you are copying someone who is spiritual, then it can be dangerous. If you do not know why you are doing what you are doing then you can lose that pyaar for God. My point is always know why you are doing what you are doing. Do not let Sikhi become ritualistic. This is a lesson I have learned the hard way. I had lost the pure emotion of love for my guru and it had been replaced with love buried in rituals and superstitions. After attending this solstice camp my heart has become open to love again.

I have experienced so much love energy from the sangat at the solstice that my heart became opened once again. When I become strict for the wrong reasons I automatically started putting up walls. I started havingjudgmentss on people who weren’t as strict as me. I was like this because of my environment of fear based thinking. “God will punish you if you do this or that”. “You need to be perfect, or God will not love you”. I started thinking about people who trimmed their beards as wrong, people who were amritdhari yet wore make up as weak, people who went out to see a movie, as sinners. Why? Because I was so miserable with myself I had to make myself feel better by judging others. I made thesejudgmentss without even realizing it. My heart had been closed. So recently I gave up being strict and decided to just be. I’m not saying I went out doing kurheits (braking my amrit). I just stopped depriving myself of small pleasures. However my heart was still closed. After going to winter solstice and seeing their love for humanity and love for people in general my heart has become open once again.

What I have seen is that the 3HO sangat do not push their views on others. They do not put up walls, instead they build bridges. They show people nothing but love. And this love is like a tidal wave that bursts through the barriers of the heart which are preventing one from realizing God. There were many Sikhs and non-sikhs attending this solstice camp. The key that opened my heart was the way they just loved everyone and anyone regardless of how much simran they did, or what religion they were. The lesson that I have learned is that every one person is their own and they have the right to find their own way to practice sikhi. Why should I impose my beliefs on someone? A person is an individual child of god who has the right to practice however he or she wants. I also realized that it iridiculousas to interfere or pasjudgmentsts on another individual. Who am I to say what is right or wrong. There is only one way to god, and that is through love.

Only through love will you be able to touch another persons heart. Only through love will people listen to you. Not througjudgmentsts. This lesson has been implanted in my heart after being around some of these beautiful Sikhs at the solstice. Through love they have touched my heart and opened it once again. I have realized that walls melt away when you have love. But if you have rituals and you follow other people’s version of sikhi blindly then walls get put up and you end up cold and alone. Thank you 3ho for showing me how to be compassionate again. Thank you for showing me that sikhi is inclusive not exclusive. Thank you for showing me that Gurbani can only be understood fully through love. “Sach kahon sun leho sabai jin prem kio tin hee prabh paio.” (All should listen to this truth that only those who love God can realize Him.)” – Sehajvir Singh

12 Responses to “Love, Change, Sikhi, Sangat @ Winter Solstice Camp”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well written Sehajvir Singh!

    Your right everyone has their own journey towards Sikhi it is on an individual basis. I think most of the time we are taught that this is wrong and that is wrong, we end up thinking more about the wrong things than the good things we or people are doing. This then restricts us to be ourselves and to treat others for who they are.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with the sangat.

    Waheguru ji ka khalsa Waheguru ji ki fateh

    Avtar Singh

  2. SikhsRus says:

    Thank you for sharing Sehajvir Singh Ji. May be it will help me take down some of those walls you have talked about and experience Sikhi in a loving way and not in a judgemental way. I guess looking at your own inner self helps.

  3. Satnam,
    Thank you so much for sharing your articulation of your deep thoughts.
    You speak so beautifully.

    I just attended Winter Solstice and was so happy to see participation from our Sikh Family from Punjabi origin. One beautiful couple from Florida attended with their 2 babies. There were others from Vancouver, and as far as Singapore and Malaysia.

    It is true that we have much in our hearts to offer and to share. We do long to see you come join us..

    GuruMustuk Singh ji, can you post some pictures from the Solstice Sadhana on your blog? We had Akhand Path, daily kirtan and Vak, Rensabai Kirtan and Amrit Sanchaar
    as well as 3 full days of chanting simran. Classes on so much, basketball and even tennis.
    Love, Mata-ji

  4. Mataji… I don’t have any pictures, otherwise I would post some :)

  5. Sehajvir Singh Ji, great letter, I admire how you can express your feelings in so much detail.
    Looking forward to playing ball with you again.(maybe at summer solstice)
    You are great, keep up!

    PS Gurumustuk Singh, Gurudarshan Kaur took a lot of pictures there, I don’t know if she is back yet though.

  6. Sehajvir Singh says:

    Waheguru ji ka khalsa Waheguru ji ki fateh.

    Hey everyone its me Sehajvir Singh. I’m glad my feelings have come across and touched some people, this is the reason i wrote this up. I cringed at the spelling mistakes when i looked over the piece, but aaah well what you gonna do. I wrote this up really quickly right when i got back because I was overpowered by these emotions. To all the open minded people who have not experienced a 3h0 soltice. Please Please Please check it out.

    We are leaning towards coming in the summer, we will see if we can make the time.

    And don’t worry himmat singh we will ball it up and our team will win.

    Oh and gurumustak bhaji i do have pictures of the camp if you want me to send em i will, you can see if there is any that you wanna put up. Take care and stay true.

    “If you cannot see god in all, you cannot see god at all”.

  7. Anonymous says:

    First of all what a beautiful name Sehajvir!!

    Thanks for sharing your experience

    Now I really want to attend summar one.

  8. Sifar says:

    Bhai Sehajvir Singh jee

    Good for you that 3HO clicked for you. But as you described, no walls were being built, instead bridges were built… I can invite you to a few of the place I go where they have the same logic… no pushing… only bridges, no walls… But it is not my job, It is by Wahegurujees blessing one can get love of sangat. And only when ever HE becomes kind on you, thats the only time one gets to go to the Sadh Sangat. “Bin Bhaagan Saat Sang Na Labhae, Mil Sangat Mail Bharejay Geeoo”.

    At the same time I knew about 3HO as well, but never felt the need of going to one of their solstice as I am happy with where I am. I have nothing against “3HO” as well. As you said “To all the open minded people who have not experienced a 3h0 soltice. Please Please Please check it out” and also you said “every one person is their own and they have the right to find their own way to practice sikhi”, therefore, (for open people who are already content) 3HO is not the only way to practice “Sikhi”, but if it works for you, great.

    And Sikhi was not made to be so difficult to follow, by our Gurus, it is us who made it difficult to practice by creating different factions/groups letting rituals imbibe into it. At the same time what I think is that one can practice Sikhi without giving up T.V. or going to dinner or movies.

    Chardi Kala…..

  9. Sifar says:

    Bhai Sehajvir Singh jee

    When you say Sach kahon sun leho sabai jin prem kio tin hee prabh paio means “All should listen to this truth that only those who love God can realize Him”, I would like to add to it that not just love God, but “love the Creation and the Creator”…..

    Guru Ang Sung

  10. Tejinder Saini says:

    Sehajvir Singh, that was so beautifully written.

    I belive that every person, at some point in their lives, stumbles upon a situation similar to yours. Certianly I have and haven’t been able to overcome all these judgements, walls, and the unnecessary strictness. Knowing that there are other brothers and sisters that have experienced the same helps to clear the fog so much. Being able to relate with another concerning the same issue rather than going about it alone. Again, proving that love overcomes all.

    I heard the 3HO Winter Solstice Camp was amazing. When I asked Gurinder how it was, the only way he could describe it was, “Everyone you talk to is soo loving and caring, it was amazing.” He didn’t describe the scenery, weather, activities, but mainly how he felt there, and just listening to that moved me.

    Thank you for your thoughts,

    Satnam Sri Waheguru

  11. Sehajvir Singh says:

    Waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh.

    Tejinder Saini, I just read your comment. I wanted to let you know that it gave me great pleasure knowing my experience has helped you in some way. I realized that others have this attitude of strictness for the wrong reasons and judgements (that is why i wrote my experience). But its not because they want to have this attitude. It just creeps up on you. Like one day i realized i was a better sikh before i got involved with some certain “sangat”. I was like man before i took amrit i never used to think about anyone in a bad way, I never used to judge or listen to gossip. I was like whats happened to me.

    Then i realized with gurus divine grace that amrit is only the first step in the journey towards akaal. And the only way to become a good amrit dhari sikh is to surround yourself with love filled sangat. People who practice sikhi through love. It has been quite a journey for me to figure this out. But Guru ji guides his diciples in mysterious ways.

    Anyways I was just going to say that if you want some sangat you can email me at [email protected]

    Waheguru Ang Sang

  12. Sifar says:

    “Bin Bhaagan Saat Sang Na Labhae, (Mil) Sangat Mail Bharejay Geeoo”.

    There was a Typo in my earlier comment. Please forgive me for not being careful while typing… In stead of Mil, it is Bin. So the whole quote goes like this – “Bin Bhaagan Saat Sang Na Labhae, Bin Sangat Mail Bharejay Geeoo”.