Sunday, April 16, 2017

Practice Sitting, Practice Listening, Practice Living

When I went to the Gurdwara on Friday, my mind was full of thoughts. I have to admit I can sit for quite a while to listen to kirtan, or katha, but I usually have a harder time sitting to listen to the Akhand paath because my mind wanders too much. Aunty Ji was reading very clearly and slowly, in a loving soothing voice and I found myself just settling in over time. At first my mind was bouncing around, and I kept opening my eyes. I kept thinking about how I was wearing my pants from work, and how uncomfortable it was, but each time I closed my eyes again and just listened. Over and over, the mind bounced around but eventually, it stopped and I let go of the world and I absorbed. Surprisingly it didn’t take long to settle but when we are anxious it feels like forever. I think this is what holds us back so often- we invest a couple of minutes and if we can’t get our mind to calm down, we stop doing our Simran, stop listening to the Bani and give up. All it would have taken was a few more minutes maybe and we would have let go of our anxiety.

It is such a gift to have the opportunity to be able to sit and listen to Gurbani. There is the step that brings us to the Gurdwara, then to sit in the main Darbar so we can hear the Gurbani, then to actually not just hear but to listen. To listen the mind needs to focus. Then from listening comes understanding and incorporating into our lives. Although I am not yet at the stage where I can understand Gurbani without reading the translations, I am able to recognize shabads I usually sing and remember a little bit about the meanings when they are being read and I think the more we read and listen, the easier it gets. For example we memorize 6 pauri Anand Sahib just by hearing it every time before the Ardas. One of the doctors I worked with this week said “if you try, you have a 1 to 100% chance of succeeding. If you don’t try, you have a 0% chance of succeeding.” I thought that was a very powerful message for life- it’s always worth trying. I managed to sit for an hour and by the end I felt like this had been probably the most meaningful thing I’ve done this week and I felt blessed to have spent this weekend sitting in Sangat and remembering Waheguru. May Waheguru continue to bless us with these opportunities, and may we continue to practice, continue to try, and continue to make efforts to meet Waheguru. In all of our actions may we continually practice living by the principles of Sikhi. Just look at your own life and see how much practicing has brought you- where you are now versus where you were a few months or years ago. Just from listening to Gurbani we get thousands of benefits. Don't underestimate that power. 

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