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surrender

settled and settling in panjab. the beginning of my trip seems a lifetime away. i have gone through change. i am changed. a lot of reflection on sikhi has occurred. about me within it. i have taken the opportunity of being here to test certain limits. who am i? and what commitments are authentically discovered? i keep asking – what brings me closer to Self/God? what pulls me out of that place? and is the end result ‘sikhi’? or is it something else?

the argument that certain things should be done simply because we have been told to do them cannot ever sit well with me. especially not in regards to teachings which emerge out of something as contestable as historical processes. power concentration and the violence it wrecks has a way of weaving into history, justifying itself through stories and even ‘spiritual’ practices. and what does one do when two seemingly equally valid claims completely contradict one another?

my approach has been – to hear the arguments made regarding what should be done. to remain open. to chew over and taste the meanings. if possible, to practice the claim. and to come back to the questions – am i closer to Self/God? am i further away? do i feel neutral?

i think that this process is essential, because there are a wide range of claims regarding sikhi, regarding rehat, regarding what the Gurus truly said, and what was meant by their decisions and actions. as the Guru Granth Sahib is silent on many topics, and the sangat itself is so naturally diverse, it comes back to the individual to sort out what is ‘true.’

i don’t think that this approach grants license, especially for those coming outside of panjabi culture, to take on the identity of being sikh, regardless of the spiritual practices that one embraces. cultural appropriation is a callous way to gain spiritual well-being, and i think that consciousness of the ways that ‘sikhism’ is integrated into ones life as an outsider is key to honouring this path.

we are all students, all children of the greater Reality. but i think that to be sikh is a particular way of engaging with the divine relationship. sikhi respects all paths, but i don’t think this is the same as integrating all paths into one. such an approach is a unique characteristic of the ‘new age’/interfaith movement, which i would argue is in fact a particular path in itself, and distinct from sikhi.

what do you think?

i feel that in life, surrendering and questioning are equally important. in the end, i am only willing to do the first to God, and i resolve to always do the second with everything else.

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