Now it is time for me share my personal inspiration for spiritual growth.
How was I inspired?
I went to India for a vacation with my family in 2007, to relax after a hectic business season. I was really exhausted and I was lacking sense of direction in life. I went to a Gurudwara (sikh temple) in a village near our town and I prayed with all of my heart, being in the moment, and asked for guidance. I left the Gurudwara in tears because I felt so lost. But deep inside I felt a hope that my prayer was heard.
After a weeks time things started to happen and I was drawn towards the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the history of the 10 Gurus. I started studying the key beliefs of Sikhism and became a Amrit Dhari Sikh (same as being baptized in Christianity) and started to implement the framework of Khalsa into my life.
I am not perfect and I am still learning.
We all have different approaches and we have to find out what works for us.
This is what I have learned from Sikhism and this is what resonates with how I think I should grow spiritually:
Sikhism believes in ONE God. Sikhs view life as an interconnected whole. God has no form, no gender, no color – God resides everywhere.
Equality for all
All human beings are equal and alike in front of God. Sikhism emphasizes social and sexual equality. Sikh men have last name of “Singh” and women of “Kaur”. Equality of all mankind regardless of race, religion, background, caste or creed. All are equal, all are loved and respected.
The three pillars
The three pillars are three duties that a Sikh must carry out can be summed up in three words: pray, work and give. The importance of doing good actions are stressed over merely carrying out rituals.
Nam japna: Keeping God in mind at all times and meditating on his Name.
Nam – the Divine Name
There is nothing in this world which equals the value of the Divine Name. The Lord and His Name are identical. They are one.
The whole creation including the elements of Nature are held together by the Power of the Nam. All the universes stand projected and are held together by the power of Nam.
Nam is the support for all beings, Nam is the support of the whole universe. Nam unites the devotee with the Lord. Nam cements the bond, the true relationship of the worshiper with the Worshiped.
Nam is the food of the lover of the Divine Name. Hunger does not trouble him. Nam is his eternal companion and he needs no other friends because he is never alone. Nam is his true shelter and he does not, therefore, seek any other shelter. Nam is his existence as he cannot live without Nam. Nam is his honor as he never cares for any worldly honor.
Kirat karni: Earning an honest living. Since God is truth, a Sikh seeks to live honestly. Live honestly and work hard.
Vand Chhakna: Share one’s earnings with others. Giving to charity and caring for others. Be generous to the less fortunate. Serve others. Central to the Sikh faith is humble and voluntary service for all in need – not just the poor.
Sikhism maintains that while “Truth is High, Higher still is Truthful living”.
Belief in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji – the Sikh holy scriptures or the “True Living Guru”.
Sikhs do not believe in idols ad idol worship or rituals.
Sikhs believe on freedom – Sikhism place great emphasis on the individual and freedom of choice for everyone.
Love for all – Sikhs pray daily for the well-being for all humanity.
God and the Cycle of Life
Sikhs believe that human beings spend their time in a cycle of birth, life, and rebirth-
The quality of each particular life depends on the law of Karma. Karma set the quality of a life according to how well or badly a person behaved in their previous life. Your reap what you sow.
The only way out of this cycle of life and death is to achieve a total knowledge of and union with God.
Human body vs. Spirituality
Sikhs suggest that we are here wearing a “human uniform”. Our bodies are not what makes us. The real you is your divinity.
We should serve divinity in every human beings. We should be watchers. Learn to see the divine in everyone and do good things that manifest the divine in us.
We are all spiritual beings having a human experience.
The mistake most of the people make is to mistake our body for the real us.
Our bodies are designed to maintain itself. The hunger is designed so that we will eat food to maintain our body. The food is given taste to provide an added incentive for us to take it as needed.
If we mistake eating for spiritual nourishment, we are on the wrong track. We start indulging in eating too much; our over indulgence in taste will prompt us to eat unhealthy foods. We start giving excuses and slowly lose our spirituality.
Sikh spirituality is centered around the need to understand and experience God, and eventually become one with God.
To do this a person must switch the focus of their attention from themselves to God. They get this state, which is called mukti (liberation), through the grace of God.
Sikhs believe that God can’t be understood properly by human beings, but He can be experienced through love, worship and contemplation.
Sikhs look for God both inside themselves and in the world around them. They do this to help themselves achieve liberation and union with God.
Sikhs believe that God is inside every person, no matter how wicked they appear, and so everyone is capable of change. Their aim is to see the divine order that God has given to everything, and through it to understand the nature of God.
Pain and death only happen to our bodies. The spiritual being is untouched by the suffering. We should live in a spiritual mode to escape from the worldly suffering.
Sikhism endeavors to uplift the human soul from the shackles of Maya (materialism). It aims at a virtuous life which lead to the ultimate realization of a state of eternal bliss. The objective of Guru Nanak’s Guruship was to give instructions in the True Name , to save humanity from immersing in the ocean of distress ad misery arising out of worldly life, and to blend the human souls with their Creator, thus, emancipating them from the cycle of transmigration breaking all barriers and bonds of suffering. This is the essential character of Sikh faith.
The law of karma or fatalism is repugnant to Sikh Religion as it does not reconcile with the merciful trait of the Almighty Lord. There is no such thing in Sikhism as eternal damnation or an everlasting pit of fire created by the revengeful God. Meditation on Nam burns countless sins. Singing the glory of the Lord through the Divine Word, can redeem a repentant sinner and, thus, doctrine of Karma ceases to operate. Sikh doctrine spells out God’s Grace and Compassion.
Karma comes from operating in “ego” mode – when “I” becomes bigger than anything else.
Most humans can’t see the true reality of God because they are blinded by their own self-centered pride (Sikhs call it “haumain”) and concern for physical things.
In order to get release from karma, we should discipline ourselves to see only the hand of divinity around us or through us.
A Sikh serves God by serving (seva) other people every day. By devoting their lives to service they get rid of their own ego and pride.
What I have learnt about faith and religion:
I believe that most people of other faiths or beliefs can relate to these concepts. We are not that different – we ourselves have created the divisions among ourselves. I have worked with building interfaith relation as community service and I have contributed with service at the local Gurdwara in Norway by spreading information about Sikhism, in the form of speeches and presentations. Sometimes visitors at the Gurdwara are people from other faiths who want to learn about Sikhism and they have given me feedback that the Sikh faith is not very different from their own faith.
So I believe that all faiths has grown from a common good source – only we humans have put our categories on faith as religion. Those who call themselves religious don’t necessarily have faith. And those who believe and have faith do not care about religious categorization.
Where do you get inspiration to grow spiritually?
How to you grow?
How do you want to grow?
I would like to hear your story so feel free to comment below.