I am currently reading a beautiful book. It has small chapters – max five-six pages per chapter. The author goes through different stories he has heard or been a part of in each chapter. I want to share the lesson from one of the stories (my way of telling it may be different from the original book, as I don’t remember the whole story and exact wordings).
In this story there is some negative gossip going on about a religious person at the temple. Person A tells person B about the new gossip when they are ready to go home from the temple. They try to tell this to person C, but he is not interested, so they are curious of why he is not interested. Person C: When you hear something that is bad or false, my opinion will be to just leave it there. I don’t want to tell that to anyone else as I don’t want to spread false and negative/bad things. If I hear something good, however, then I try to tell it to others with dedication and delight. My philosophy in life is to suppress the bad things and spread the good things. The sad thing is that instead of focusing what we can learn from this day at the temple, we focus our attention and listen more carefully to slanders of others, and without thinking we believe them to be true. If you want to have something in your mind, have what the religious texts tells us to do and try to be one with God.
I had written a note after a meeting at the gurdwara in year 2011 about what I learned that day. I used to think before I wrote that note that God is forgiving and our Friend, but when I do something wrong, God will punish me. However, that day my perspective changed. God will not punish me if I do something wrong, I will punish myself. My conscience will punish me. I will feel that I am doing something wrong, either when I am doing it or some time after.
But then we can ask ourselves why should we do good deeds if God will not be angry about our bad actions and happy about our good actions? Why should we not listen so carefully to slander and love spread negative gossip, when God will not punish us for doing that?
The answer I got that day is that God is fundamentally good. To be one with God, we have to be fundamentally good – that means we have to perform good actions. As Sikhs we are so fortunate that we can study the lives of our gurus and take their actions as a guideline. Our gurus wouldn’t use their time and energy judging other people and spreading negative gossip. They would use their time and energy spreading positivity and inspire others to do the same, without thinking about reward.
This is meant to be a reminder for me, you, us and them. Think about what you spend your energy on – spreading rumours and talking about the bad things other people are doing? Or spreading positivity – encouraging others by telling what good things others are doing, what good qualities others have?
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