Thursday, October 8, 2015

Overcoming Challenges and Finding Yourself

I was reading this shabad Chit Na Bhayo Humro Aawan Keh, and here is the translation from Sikhnet:
“Now I relate my own story of how God sent me in the world while I was absorbed in meditation.
On the site of Hemkunt mountain, where the seven peaks shine in glory
That spot is known as Sapat Saring. It is where Pandav Kings practiced yoga
There with great spiritual effort, I prayed to God- the Lord of Death
Thus I continued my meditations and merged with the Divine Being
My father and mother also worshipped the Indescribable One. And carried out several spiritual practices.
They served God with great devotion and the Supreme Guru was very pleased with them
At the command of God, I was born into this dark age of Kalyug
My mind was not happy in coming to this world because it was attached to the feet of the Lord
Somehow, God explained to me His purpose. And sent me to this world with His directive.”

Guru Ji put it so beautifully that I do not even need to explain. Do you think it was easy to leave the feet of the Lord to come into this world?

There are moments we are down in our lives. There are challenges, there are times when you feel like disappearing, hiding, and avoiding the world because its too hard to face. And when it becomes challenge after challenge, you start to wonder how you can possibly handle it. It’s as if your mind has trained itself to handle only a certain amount- beyond that, its too overwhelming and you tell yourself you can’t do it. How possibly can you overcome this?

I remind myself the challenges I face today are not the challenges faced by our Gurus. The challenges today are emotional and mental for most of us, but since our minds have become weaker, our resolve is weak and we don’t know who we are- even these minor things become huge and unbearable. Because we have lost our sense of identity, we wander endlessly wondering where to go. For Guru Gobind Singh Ji to send his children to fight and know that they would die- that is sacrifice to a level that we cannot even comprehend today. At that time he wrote:
“Tell the Beloved Friend (God) the plight of us, the Disciples
Without You, rich blankets are a disease and the comfort of the house is like living with snakes.
Our water pitchers are like stakes of torture and our cups have edges like daggers.
Your neglect is like the suffering of animals at the hands of butchers.
Our Beloved Lord’s straw bed is more pleasing to us than living in costly furnace-like mansions. “ (translation from sikhiwiki.org)

You should be able to overcome any number of obstacles- it doesn’t have a limit. And although I haven’t achieved this yet in my life, that is the ultimate peace of playing the game that is life. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that without challenges and without sadness you cannot experience what it means to be happy. The sadness is your chance to meet God. It’s your chance to strengthen your resolve. If you were happy, would you even remember God?

I am privileged. My challenges are not the same as other people in the world. I don’t struggle with poverty, cycles of abuse, and addiction. I haven’t suffered trauma. But I have experienced pain like every other human being. There are many challenges faced by our Sikh youth. The biggest is the struggle to find yourself amongst the confusion of the world around you. To even choose and stick by your values is complicated. Which values do you embrace? The ones your friends have, society has, your parents have? Sticking by what you believe in is a daily choice. The opportunities to go astray from our Sikh values is enormous. I see many Sikh youth who have lost their language, belief in God and going to the gurdwara, belief in working hard to get where you need to be, belief in sharing what you earn, and in lifting up humanity. Sure, they may have aspects of Punjabi culture like dancing and cooking, but they take no interest in our religion. And it saddens me greatly to see this happening. I don’t want to see my brothers and sisters losing themselves to Maya. I want to see them further their souls to achieve the pure joy of understanding gurbani and living the Sikhi lifestyle. 

Do not get caught in the trap of what other people will think of you, or you will be emotionally blackmailed for the rest of your life. What society thinks, what your friends think, that shouldn’t matter. I see this is a big problem in the Punjabi community. We focus so much effort on preventing other people from finding out the truth. We focus so much effort on how it will look if I do this, and how it will look if I don’t do this. We design our whole lives around other people’s opinions. Showing other people becomes everything and you have lost the opportunity that you were sent on this earth for. Until you know who you are, you are at the mercy of the whole world to control what you do and how you feel. Remember that you are the daughter/son of God and that you deserve the best treatment in your life. That you deserve to be respected. Do not ever let anyone bring you down. Do not ever let anyone persuade you from the path that you know to be true because that person is not your friend. Once you start to cross the boundary between right and wrong, you forget where right even was. Don’t be persuaded by the false promises of the world. Remember to follow in the footsteps of the two young Sahibzaade who did not give up what they believed in, not for any material possessions, not even to save their lives.


We are so lucky to be born into Sikh families. Understand that this is just a body and this world is an illusion. Few people understand that concept. This is the journey of your soul, not your body. How can we not be so proud to be Sikhs and realize our values? How can we not fight for what is right? That starts with realizing your mission on this earth. My mission as a Sikh should be to uplift humanity. In every THOUGHT and action, I should be doing good, not getting caught up in kaam, krodh, lob, moh and hankaar. I cannot afford to waste my energy on endless pursuits of momentary pleasure. I cannot afford to waste the time on this earth arguing and being used by other people. I need to act like the princess/prince that I am. I am, after all, the son/daughter of God! The decisions I make everyday should remember all those sacrifices made for me to be here today. I choose to stand by my values and treat other people with love and kindness and respect. So fight for yourself. Other people can’t ruin anything of yours if you know who you are. They can’t embarrass you, they can’t use you, they can’t touch you because you are under the protection of God. Remember why you were sent into this world. 

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