Finding Stillness in a Storm Around You
Yesterday evening I had the kids with me while my wife worked late, and for some reason my daughter Charanjeet was having "one of those days" and was crying incessantly about everything. It was like a marathon (with a few pit stops). It can be SOO intense when your children cry and "freak out." Lots of the times it is them trying to assert themselves, or get what they want. It’s as if they are experimenting with their ego and learning how to use it. As a parent this can be really challenging sometimes! The crying and screaming has a very strong effect on parents. Those of you who have kids will understand what I mean by this. It takes quite a bit of discipline and calmness to deal with your children in a neutral way without bending to their will, or having a meltdown during one of these "storms". They can be like tornadoes trying to suck you up to make you do what they want.
This morning as I was thinking about this it made me also think about the many Sikhs that I deal with online who are very critical, judgmental and REACTIVE. Whenever something happens some people just lash out at others. Some perceived disrespect is done… and there seem to always be people who are ready with the pitchforks… ready to burn someone at the stake. It feels like such an old primal reactive nature (like the violence in Delhi in 1984), fueled by hate, and inner anger.
It’s as if these things are done to make the person feel better and give them "power" when they feel empty inside. Why is it some people’s habitual reaction to divide and attack? There are lots of things that I don’t agree with that other people believe, but I don’t go out of my way to tell them "what I think" and how "my way" is the correct way.
I think that actually, people see a mirror of what is already inside of them projected out onto others. When we hate, we see hate.
I still don’t get why so many Sikh are so close-minded. Our Gurus taught that there is only One God and many paths, yet when someone does something "wrong" people react and kick them out. It’s no wonder so many of the youth don’t want to be Sikhs! There seems to be so little compassion and understanding. It’s "my way or the highway". "You either follow what I believe or you are wrong!".
Being a parent with kids, and just dealing with negativity and the reactive natures of some people has really allowed me to grow. Every time someone posts a negative comment judging or criticizing me, it challenges me. Initially when this happens I feel that gut wrenching feeling in my stomach/naval as I emotionally want to protect myself. The next thing is the feeling of wanting to react to them; as if they are trying to suck my energy and draw me into theirs. This is the challenging part of being non-reactive and not letting these things effect me.
When I was thinking about all of this I tried to imagine what the Gurus were like and how they would act. I can’t imagine one of the Gurus reacting in anger or pretty much any strong emotion that is reactive in nature. I imagine them still like a pond, not affected by whatever storm may blow by and by whatever people say. With anger coming at them they might smile back and share some inspirational words about God.
I personally strive to reach this type of stillness in my life, where no matter what people say or do, I am not affected by it. This takes a certain meditative mind and awareness to achieve. As Sikhs we are are learners and are, by definition, always be open to learning. It is when we become rigid in our thinking and actions that our "window" becomes smaller, and we limit our own opportunities for learning and personal growth.
My prayer today is that we all can keep our hearts open and see the God in each other, no matter what the perceived differences are. To love each other and treat one another with KINDNESS and compassion and not jump on people and criticize them because of something we feel is wrong or different than what we believe.
We as a planet of beings will never unite together until we learn to look beyond our differences and see that we are all one and that we are each a piece of the larger "Body". I am you and you are me. I look at you and see me. Love, compassion, acceptance, understanding, unity and forgiveness; these are all things that support the greater good, while the other negative things only bring us all down. Daya is the first quality of Khalsa. How do you recognize Khalsa? By kindness. That is the hallmark of the Gurus own.