The lotus flower

It’s been long since I have shared something with you all. I started to write this post probably one month ago, but I never finished it. You know what? I am happy I didn’t post it yet because then I couldn’t have shared the process I have been through. It’s been a process and I wouldn’t say that I am finished with it yet. I shared this with dad some weeks ago and he said he too wanted to reach that destination and had thought a lot about this. That’s why I thought of sharing it with you, realizing that maybe this is something that you too could identify yourself with.

The last months I have started to become more conscious of how my feelings are changing every second. It’s like a rollercoaster, moving up and down, night and day. Some make me sad, some make me happy. Acting with reaction, I am changing every second. It’s troubling me that I am not able to keep myself balanced. My feelings are dependent of how my surroundings are – how people around me act, how their mood is or if something doesn’t happen according to my plan – everything is affecting my mood and then behavior. Frustrated from this, I am desperately trying to find the balance. Trying to reach the state where nothing affects you, where you are at peace. I have yearned for that state and will continue to strive for it.

All these thoughts has made me think a lot about the chardikala concept our gurus talked about. I haven’t understood that concept properly, but what I understand with my little knowledge, is that it’s a state of peace and balance. It’s a state where your inner world doesn’t get affected by what’s happening in our exterior environments. It’s a state when your feelings are stable and you remain in balance no matter what the people around you are saying or doing. It’s to be the lotus flower – growing up in mud, but not being affected by the mud. The line on ang 201 in Guru Granth Sahib ji encourages this state of mind – Thhir ghar baisahu har jan piaarae // Remain steady in the home of your own self, O beloved servant of the Lord. The next line tells us that everything will be fine, be relaxed, give it time, Guruji will solve everything – Sathigur thumare kaaj savaarae ||1|| Rehaao || // The True Guru shall resolve all your affairs. ||1|| Pause ||

Let me illustrate this state of mind, the power of it with an example from Guru Har Rai ji. The emperor at that time, Shah Jahan, had four sons. One of his sons, Dara Shikoh, became very ill and they couldn’t find the medicine to cure him. At last Shah Jahan contacted Guruji and asked him for help, because Guruji had established a hospital and research centre in Kiratpur Sahib, where he had some rare medicial Herbs he used to treat People with (and even animals!) Shah Jahan had previously discriminated people from other beliefs, including Sikhs. He had ordered to tear down many Gurdwaras and had a lot of wars with Guru Har Rai jis grandfather, Guru Hargobind ji. Guru Har Rai ji was aware of all these facts, yet he instantly agreed to give Shah Jahan the medicine. It’s said that he came with this statement: “Man breaks flowers with one hand and offers them with the other, but the flowers perfume both hands alike”. So no matter if someone does anything ill or good to the flower, the flower will still have the same lovely fragrance. This illustrates that Guru Har Rai ji was in chardikala – his state of mind was in peace and balance. Others actions didn’t disturb his peace of mind. The surroundings had nothing to do with his state of mind.

 

How to achieve the same state? How can we stop ourselves from being affected by our surroundings? How to remain stable even if a person around you is yelling at you, is angry or complaining about you? I think I have been too focused about others. My feelings have been dependent upon others or situational things. I have difficulty to accept that they have a bad day or that something doesn’t go the way I planned. After some contemplating, I have reached the conclusion that my happiness should not be defined by others, but by myself. If my happiness is dependent on others, my feelings will always move like a rollercoaster. However, if my happiness is dependent on myself, I feel it’s more under my control and a sense of responsibility to take care of it rises inside me.

Actually it’s not the people around me or the situations I find myself in that’s disturbing my peace of mind. My thoughts, my feelings and my actions are actually to be blamed. I am disturbing my own peace of mind by reacting to other people’s actions. I am disturbing my peace of mind by not accepting things. Not accepting that everything doesn’t need to happen the way you thought it would be. It’s my thoughts that cause how I react. If Guruji had thought that Shah Jahan has done so much ill to us, he had probably not helped him. However, if he thought that this is a father desperately trying to cure his son – this would likely result in a more helping behavior. So if someone has a bad day and yells at you, you have the choice to choose your thoughts, which again will affect your feelings. You can think that this person hates me or is attacking me, which can arise feelings of sadness or anger, and that again can either make you withdraw from the situation or respond when you are overwhelmed with your feelings and not able to think properly. If you think that he/she has some stress going into his/her mind, you will try to approach that person with sympathy and curiosity. That will maybe make you want to share his/her stress, help him/her through it. I am not saying that you should not react if something is unfair, then you defintely should react. However, if you are more aware of your thoughts and feelings, you are more able to judge if they are appropriate. If you truly are being treated unfairly, you should be honest with your thoughts and feelings.

The world we are living in and the environment we are surrounded by is chaotic. It’s so easy for us to identify ourselves with this outer, chaotic world, making our inner world chaotic too. Our feelings are defined by how the outer world is and what’s happening around us. When I act out of reaction, I am acting out of ego. If I learn to be stable inside, I will be able to serve others selflessly, see their perspective more clearly and be more happy.

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