The irony is that it took a ‘deadly’ virus, an unexpected phenomena of such, to breathe new ‘life’ into many and liberate us from the chains of capitalism… even if just for a little while. Undoubtedly, it has been long enough for me to truly learn a better way to live than how I have lived previously and I will try my best to share the knowledge and hope that it may help others to the path of enlightenment. Pre-covid, I was really crashing bad already…. my business which I had built up over the past 3 years had gone flat and above that, all other areas of my personal life from my mental to physical health to relationships and social life were in a constant state of suffering. I was absolutely at my ends and at that time could not see any way that things could change. I think had that period of suffering continued then I would have regressed backwards and potentially gone into another episode of acute mental illness. I had to take a really hard look in the mirror and try and ask why I am suffering so much? and what is the core of my problems? I had no answers at all.
When Covid-19 happened, I initially spent a lot of time trying to work out what was going on and consumed a lot of news. As a consequence, my anxiety sky rocketed and I became even more full of fear… I think writing then became the only outlet as I tried to release some of the overflow of internal emotions. I remember feeling that there has got to be a better way and that some way I need to find it to end this suffering. The first step I took was to turn off the news and then I began to challenge my fears. The biggest fear was that my life is going to be a failure because I had not reached the potential I believe I have and the second biggest fear was of death itself. These were both clearly signs that I lacked faith so I decided to address that firstly.
I looked firstly at why people turn to faith and could clearly see that it is there to try and assist lost souls such as myself to find their way. Secondly, I looked at the faith which came inherited via my parents in Sikhism and then realised I nor they, have never actually utilised this in a practical sense in our lives. It made sense then, in terms of direction, that I should study Sikhism in this freed up time and drop all else which was failing anyway. The point was to see if I have been missing out on something while in my failing pursuits of success and happiness in the western world. I started reading and reflecting on verses of the Sikh holy book (SGGS) and then deepened my research by joining live groups in the practise of recitals and also found several informative blogs which helped me to understand Sikh philosophy. As a monotheistic faith, the fundamental line is that there is ‘One Creator God’ that is formless, exists in all and as such, an essence of everything, an indestructible, ever present and infinite source of truth, love, peace and happiness. Existent without fear or hatred.
During one particular live group, I started joining in with the songs of praise as I had now got a better understanding of the basics. The last time I had sang any kind of hymn was in my Roman Catholic primary school and although the motivation was the same… this felt entirely different. Sikhism states that singing praises of God through reciting and reflecting the holy scriptures is the highest form of speech and is actually the supreme form of meditation leading to ascension. I really did feel something which I had not felt this deeply ever before and it was like I had just realised my soul for the first time and woken up… I felt completely connected to the universe and for a moment felt unbound from time itself. It was beautiful, sublime and very very difficult to explain. I think this occurred so deeply because I actually now understood what I was doing and even though as a child I had attended Gudwaras (Sikh temples) and participated to some degree… It had never ever felt like this. I remember just after the session finished that I had lost all of my anxiety and that feeling of being connected to something higher had dispelled all of my fears…. I felt so at peace. The moment was alive like nothing else I had experienced before and trust me, I have tried many highs and experimented throughout my life but nothing compared to this ‘state of being’ it was more than just a feeling. It was like I had arrived exactly where I was mean’t to… I was in the perfect now!
Naturally, this has fuelled my passion to want to learn more and dive deeper into Sikhism and develop more of this connection. There was a theoretical practise which I conducted as part of my path to greater enlightenment and this is the basis of why I wrote this post as I think it has cleared so much of the material realm that I ‘worshipped’ in my mind. In a moment of clarity I told myself that if I am going to truly commit myself to One Creator God then I must be loyal and not worship any other. It was through the reflection of this thought that I came to the realisation of those things I was worshipping (see list below) and had the awakening that it was that worship that had been destroying my life. I have been worshipping objects which were temporary and hence this has created great instability in my mental health. Ultimately, I learned that worship is a continued effort of focus on something and whatever you worship becomes the over powering object of your thoughts.
Below, is what I was worshipping previously in my deeply unstable mind and I have also added a countering thought from my current mindset. These 7 below were like 7 Gods to me… they controlled my thoughts, words and deeds.
- My Money – Temporary, goes up and down
- My Children – They grow up
- My Relationships – They all end some time
- My Physical health – We all die a physical death
- My Material success – Doesn’t bring happiness
- My Fear of failure – Made me anxious, define success?
- God – Was only one of the seven I worshipped!
So since this awakening, I decided that I will only worship (1) God! That would mean that I would not spend time over thinking about the other 6 or anything else in the physical realm other than that which is necessary to go about my daily life. I would instead have faith that the eternal connection with God and the universe provides what I need, try to develop virtues that are aligned to truthful living and then try to practise righteousness as my primary vocation. It is honestly when I am God facing and thinking of the divine light that all of my fears and the illusions within this world all fall away and I get my most creative experiences. The challenge of the faithful Sikh (Gurmukh) is to put God first in all that you do and keep God constantly in your thoughts, like a shining light watching so that you do not fall into the old traps of falsehood. It really has not been too difficult at all and tends to you crushing the lower self serving mind and becoming more obedient. It is not too dissimilar to being good with mindfulness and observing your thoughts, words and deeds whilst staying in the now. I am amazed by the SGGS (Sikh holy book and our living Guru) in how relevant it is today having been formulated some centuries ago. Sikhism is growing and no doubt has helped me to find better path and to let go of so much bad energy I was carrying… I am eternally grateful and appreciative of these golden days indeed. It is not our way, as Sikh people, to try force others to follow our faith and on that basis I am sure there are millions of faithful Christians, Muslims, Jews etc who also are enlightened and find their way and likewise people that are not religious who are enlightened and find their way. I just found my way and if I can help anyone who is feeling like I did or lend you an ear for a while then please feel free to contact me.
Here are some of the resources that have helped me greatly
- Articles on www.gurbani.org
- Veer Manpreet Singh (Live Kirtan)
- Basics of Sikhi
- The video below – I just love 🙂