Dutiful is Beautiful

Finding Beauty in Duty: How Our Sikh Values Can Create A Happy, Flourishing Retirement

A fascinating recent study has found that happiness may be the key to longevity; the more content and fulfilled the surveyed seniors felt, the longer they tended to live.  As a member of the Sikh community, it is of course important to embrace the faith’s core duties at all stages of life, but as you approach retirement in particular, living by these duties or values can help you to feel happier and healthier, as well as benefiting your family, friends and wider community. From getting your finances in order to using meditation to clear your mind, making small changes now can set you up for a flourishing, faithful retirement.

Make prayer a priority

It can take a huge amount of effort to keep God in mind at all times (nam japna) during your younger years, as your life is bursting with work commitments, family life and personal goals and ambitions.  As you grow older, it becomes easier to make this important time for meditation and prayer, and studies have shown that this in turn protects the brain from cognitive aging, relieves stress and makes you feel more positive and happy.  Whether you use a trendy app or simply practise yoga and breathing techniques handed down through generations, make this time of mindfulness a priority as you reach retirement.

Financial faithfulness

Sikhs are called to earn an honest living (kirt karna), and managing the fruits of your labours prudently and honestly is also important.  One recent report suggests that nearly half of Americans are at risk of retiring broke, which leaves you vulnerable not only financially, but also to the temptation of making quick and easy money, or envying those who have been more careful.  Looking at your monthly budget, just as you put some aside for dhan, put something into your savings fund too. The sooner you can calculate and start building your nest egg, the sooner you can feel content; confident that you have provided for your future.

Sharing your time and energy

At its heart, vand chhakna requires a commitment to sharing with others.  This can be not only financially, but also through giving your time and energy to community causes.  In retirement, this can be a happy two-way blessing; someone in need gains your time and care, and in return you can feel appreciated and valued.  Research has shown that volunteering makes people feel happier, boosting self-esteem and acting as a defence against loneliness.  It may also put you in touch with a new group of friends who share your interests and with whom you can enjoy your newfound freedom and time.

By placing Sikh duties at the heart of your retirement plans, you can create a healthier, happier chapter for yourself.  By putting yourself in a financially stable position, you are using your earnings honestly, leaving you free to devote your time and energy as you choose.  If that can be for the good of others, that’s a truly wonderful gift to give both your community and yourself. Perhaps most importantly, commit time each day to mindfulness and prayer. This closer connection to God will clear your mind, reduce stress and help you face the challenges of growing older with grace and positivity.  You will soon see that being dutiful can in fact make old age rather beautiful.

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