Examine your Life

The Un-examined Life Is Not Worth Living

Do not condemn others but instead look within.
Without self-realization, we're no better than well-fed pigs.
"The unexamined life is not worth living."
Don't criticize others - instead look at own's shortcomings.
Lead a virtuous life.
Care for others. Meet the Divine-happiness.
Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.

Let's start by visiting Socrates' famous last words, “The un examined life is not worth living.” He delivered these words after his conviction for allegedly undermining religion and corrupting the youth and the Athenian Jury offered him an alternative to the death penalty - exile or silence.

Socrates chose Truth (sat=sach) over his own life. He would rather die than give up the pursuit of self-understanding.

Guru Nanak admonishes us in a similar vein. He goes a step further, calling us animal-like for our failure to inspect and introspect.

Without self-realization, we're no better than well-fed pigs. [GGS]

Importance of self-analysis for professional carrier is well known today and various expert advice available for physical, mental & spiritual development. More than15 years now I took self-analysis advise from American Professionals for my carrier, later I realized that similar advice already exists and in a simpler form in Guru Granth Sahib. The GGS teachings apply to all aspects of our everyday life and many of those Principals written are professionals using today. It is unfortunate that we separated life into professional, personal, social and religious factors and have totally ignored teachings for our total development. Many of us have presumed that religion is not useful in our daily life, without understanding the importance that it teaches to actually make our MIND strong; to deal with daily problems, eventually adding up to what we feel as Tension, Stress etc., causing serious ailments like hyper tension which may be one of the causes of heart attack. I personally have not read such a clear, simple, explanations by any up to date experts and in such easy method of integrity into our lives as in GGS.

Many experts suggest to reflect on the day events, briefly at end of the day and make a mental picture to avoid negatives happenings next time. Also one may reflect on what one has to achieve in next days’ planning. By reflection one could discover of your short comings, take steps to mend them and be on the road of progress.

Otherwise what mostly happens is one keeps acting without thinking and simply repeating.

A good expert/ motivator will first assist to self-analyze you, your own liking's, capabilities, goals, dreams and then lets you set you a real time table to achieve the package. Motivators will also give you a system to self-monitor your own progress all in writing. Written form is like a mirror, like one can see own reflection in the mirror, you can monitor progress against written statement.

One could apply the same process to improve personal short comings such as inferior complex, in confidence, negative habits and give up smoking, alcohol, procrastination, stubbornness or all of them.

Bhagat Kabir ji says:

ਬੰਦੇ ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ ਹਰ ਰੋਜ ਨਾ ਫਿਰੁ ਪਰੇਸਾਨੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥

"bande khoj dil har roz no fir pareshani mahe" 
Human being (bande) analyse (khoj) every day (har roj), then you (na phir) will not suffer (pareshani)
[Ang 272]

ਨਾ ਹਮ ਚੰਗੇ ਆਖੀਅਹ ਬੁਰਾ ਨ ਦਿਸੈ ਕੋਇ ॥

ਨਾਨਕ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੀਐ ਸਚੇ ਜੇਹੜਾ ਸੋਇ ॥੮॥੨॥੧੦॥

"na ham change aakheeh buraa n disai koi

nanak houmai maareei sache jehrhaa soi"
I do not claim to be good and none seems bad to me;
one who gives up ego becomes like the Almighty,
says Nanak.
||8||2||10|| [M:1, 1015]

Self-examination is the starting point for change.
Self-examination requires courage. Many of us avoid looking at ourselves because of fear - fear of what might be revealed. It is much more comfortable to live in the cocoon of an inherited belief system.

Yet, for growth of a person’s (Sikh’s) spiritual quest requires stepping out of the margins of acquired belief. We must move from becoming Sikhs by birth (belief) to Sikhs by choice (experience).

Avoid self praises and working down the old ego and move forward "Search within your hearts, and your troubles will disappear."

ਫਰੀਦਾ ਜੇ ਤੂ ਅਕਲਿ ਲਤੀਫੁ ਕਾਲੇ ਲਿਖੁ ਨ ਲੇਖ ॥

ਆਪਨੜੇ ਗਿਰੀਵਾਨ ਮਹਿ ਸਿਰੁ ਨੀਵਾਂ ਕਰਿ ਦੇਖੁ ॥੬॥

"fareedaa je too akal lateef kaale likh n lekh

aapnrhe gireevaan meh sir neevaa kar dekh"
O Farid, if you think you are wise, do not condemn
others but instead look within
||6|| [Farid GGS 1378]

Rising up with the help of good company (Sangat) - mature and experienced.
Our Guru’s devised a system of self-help through people who become your company. So a Sikh will have often good help and free. People who share (sing) virtuous/ SUPREME qualities to uplift you to the highest level, (however lowest level) to whatever the Supreme level is.

Upon self-realization, one distances from unimportant activities of life including meaningless thoughts. Thoughts shape destination.

Self-realization is to get rid of the ignorance that makes you feel apart from the self. To know the self as the only reality (jot-saroop) and all else as temporary (jhootth or koorrh), self-realization is also the source of intuitive peace or bliss (anand). The goal of human existence is to become linked or re-established in one's true self, the soul-consciousness within. This is the ultimate aim of living:
realization of man's true nature, as made in the image of the divine light, ever existing, ever conscious.

Whatever has come upon this unconditioned consciousness is time bound, and therefore illusion.

Gurbani guides us as follows: self-realization is none other than knowing the within, that God is within me.

"They know the realm of the divine presence, and no one blocks their way. Whoever is a citizen of this city is a friend of mine" (marara mahal n ko atkaavai. kahi ravidaad khalaas chamaaraa. jo ham saharee su meet hamaaraa.3.2.) - 

[Bhagat Ravidas. GGS:345]

Baba Fareed, in this couplet, provides a path, by expressing it in such a way as if God is Himself talking to him. To his question on how can I find “sukh”= happiness? The Lord replies, "Reform yourself. ”

By doing so, you can find me and by finding me you'll attain spiritual bliss. If you remain "mine" (divine-centered), then you will have conquered the whole world as well."

How do we elevate ourselves and bring about this reform?

ਪੜਿਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਭੇਦੁ ਬੁਝਿਐ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥
"parhiai naahee bhed bujhiai paavnhaa"

Not by reading (religious books), but through Understanding,
is the Mystery Realized. [M:1 GGS 148]

Be a diligent student of our Gurus=Guru Granth Sahib.
One should visit this topic more often, and benefit from our God-given inner capacity to self examine. It helps us purge wasteful kinks, stay focused on purpose-driven acts, enrich our life and assist others in pulling themselves up by their boot straps.

Very few turn their minds inwards to realize the self within. And for this we need guidance and mindset! Most of us pursue blaming others and looking at external perplexities to resolve the joy and sorrow attached to worldly objects.

ਹਰਿ ਮੰਦਰ ਮਹਿ ਮਨੁ ਲੋਹਟੁ ਹੈ ਮੋਹਿਆ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ॥

"har mandar meh man lohat hai mohiaa doojai bhai"
In the temple of God (human body) is the mind hardened like an iron slag,
which is lured by the love of duality.
[M:3 GGS 1346]

Self-realization is dependent upon curing the stubborn, iron-like mind, by relinquishing the false and self-created reactionary self and love of duality that we have used so effectively to get our way in life.

It is often feared that the renunciation of our false self is the renunciation of life itself. But the reality is quite the opposite. By relinquishing our false selves, with all of the illusory and made-up rules as to how the world is, we re-inherit our true self and begin to live our lives fully in the divine reality. In the realm of the Divine, everything is real, and a reflection of that which is indeed eternal.

"One’s own self is well hidden from one’s own self; of all mines of treasure, one’s own is the last to be dug up." 

~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Let us commit ourselves to an authentic Sikh life by dedicating ourselves to a lifelong apprenticeship of the Guru - for us, the only Guru: Guru Granth Sahib.

Scriptures teach us to face life's realities with truth, not myths or easy ways-out. but to learn to live this life based on truth, goodness, kindness, humility, respect/love for others, self dignity, etc; values only emerging from pure+ true=religious thought. It boils down to making appropriate choices, hard (proper) work, taking chances that ultimately determines outcome.

Surviving on biases is not facing reality but a myth and a cop-out.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself— Leo Tolstoy, novelist and philosopher, 1828-1910.

Sikhi is a simplified-practical-perfect- universal way of life.

Guru Granth teaches delightful living. (Good+happy) Good for today better for tomorrow.

Follow it.

Certainly, Guru Sahib always offers nothing but the truth even in face of death.

Sikhism offers something for living and ultimate education that no other ideology can.

Jasbir Singh

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