Saturday, January 21, 2017

Self-Criticism

The highlight of my week was getting to listen to hours of katha while I was driving. In one of the kathas I heard (akath kathas from mysimran.info), Simar Singh explains that if you forget to do your simran, instead of feeling guilty just say okay now I remember, and do it. This was a light-bulb moment for me because I’ve been struggling a lot with that lately and it’s been getting in the way of being able to do more simran. I find in the winter, the work days feel like they last forever. By the time I go to bed, I usually start to feel bad about how little I got done outside of work. I find myself wasting quite a bit of time thinking about what I should have been doing (for example thinking about how I should have woken up earlier to do prayers), instead of actually just spending the time I do have in the evening. After I absorbed what he said, I decided to implement it. So yesterday every time I was at work and I remembered to do my simran, instead of feeling bad about not having done more, I just remembered God in that moment. At lunch time, I told myself it’s okay if my thoughts don’t stop entirely but I’m going to try to reduce them at least. I sat alone and closed my eyes, and I started doing simran out loud. I found myself so relaxed that I almost fell asleep! Every time I lost focus, I didn’t feel bad about it or keep dwelling on it, I just simply refocused on remembering again. I found it really helped me in maximizing the time I have.

Often times we are too hard on ourselves and we expect too much from ourselves right away. I’ve often heard people being self-critical about their lust, anger, greed, attachment and pride, to the point that all they can think about is the past. They feel so bad about themselves that they aren’t able to use THIS moment. That’s why I think it’s important to remind ourselves just not to be so self-critical, and to remember that you are learning and it’s okay!!! If we constantly feel bad about simply having thoughts then we won’t be able to move into actually using the present moment to practice simran and learn from Gurbani. We’ll be miserable. Simar pointed out in another katha that it takes practice to sit for long periods, to keep your eyes closed, to keep your attention on your voice. It doesn’t come right away. So just keep practicing a little bit each day and be kind to yourself (and understanding of other people’s life journeys too of course).

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