Chaar sahibzaade 2

I have grown up hearing the story about chaar sahibzaade and the sacrifices they made. I have heard the story from my grandmother, probably my parents, at the gurdwara and punjabi school too. Then why did this movie had such impact on me? When I knew their age, how they sacrificed their lives for their faith, that they said no to all the materialistic things the commandor of mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Wazir Khan, offered to give them if they converted to Islam, then why? Yes, here’s some more thoughts this movie and the conversation I had with someone who is like an elder sister, woke in me.

I knew that they were kids. I knew that they aged 6, 9, 14 and 18 year old. I knew they were younger than I am now. However, still, viewing the movie, I was stunned.

The way the movie portrayed the chaar sahibzaade, by showing us their innocence – playing and joking with each other like normal kids do, I realized how big their sacrifice actually was and that they were like the normal kids we see around us today.

I think the reason why it made that big impact on me is that we have a tendency to think that chaar sahibzaade were something special – they were not like us normal humanbeings. It’s like we idealize them – like they had some special powers. Don’t get me wrong – by saying this, I am not trying to deevalute their sacrifices. I think that by idealizing them and unconsciously giving them “supernatural powers”, we are indirectly saying to ourselves that they were something different. They were different and that’s why they could do those sacrifices – we, however, are normal humans, we cannot do this. We don’t have this strength. We are making the gap between us and the chaar sahibzaade too big. This gap causes the belief that they and their strength were something superior – that we cannot find this strength in our own kids and in ourselves.

However, let me ask you a question. When we don’t believe that we or our kids have this potential, how can we develop it? I believe that we cannot develop this strength and confidence in ourselves if we don’t believe that we have the potential of it. We don’t believe that everyone have one of the chaar sahibzaade in the heart – that we have the potential to grow the same strength the chaar sahibzaade had.

By distancing ourselves from them, saying that they were extraordinary, we cannot become as extraordinary ourselves. Guru Gobind Singh Ji said that all Sikhs are his children. He treated us equally. There were also a lot of other Sikhs than the chaar sahibzaade who sacrificed themselves. Doesn’t that mean that we too can develop this strength in us?

If chaar sahibzaade – innocent kids – playing and joking with each other, like the kids we are surrounded by, had this potential, this potential lies in us too – to be courageous, loving, stand against injustice and put our own values and humanity above all materialistic things. We just need to hear the voices of chaar sahibzaade in our hearts and train ourselves to become like them. The key is inside us – we just need to grab a hold on it and open the door to welcome new, extraordinary qualities in ourselves.

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The power of thoughts

Have you ever thought about your thoughts? Do you have a tendency to take your thoughts as reality? Lately I have thought a lot about my thoughts. I have actually experienced (something that sounds obvious) that thoughts are mere thoughts and don’t need to be the reality.

We make a lot of assumptions in our mind why people do what they do, what intention they have behind their actions, what they are thinking or how their internal state is right now. Lately I have experienced that many of the assumptions I tend to make, or assumptions that other people make of what I am thinking or why I am doing a particular thing, may be wrong or completely opposite.

Let me give you an example. I am leading a group of students – teaching them how to write good essays for their coming-up exams. Sometimes I criticize myself  and think that I am not leading the group well – the students are not going home with more insight or knowledge. However, whenever I have asked for feedback (anonymous feedback), most people in the group report that they are very satisified with the group. So in this example I had an assumption “The group doesn’t benefit the students. I am not doing a good job”, and the response I got was completely opposite of what I assumed they were feeling.

Why am I writing this? Well, my intention of writing this is to tell you that many assumptions we make, don’t need to be the reality. Sometimes I think it’s good for us to realize or say loud out to ourselves: “My thought is just a thought. It’s not reality”.

Let’s take an example the other way around. I am feeling that someone is not responding to me and thinking that the reason is that this person isn’t interested in responding. However, when I ask this person, I understand that he/she is going through an emotionally difficult phase. My assumption was “He/she is not interested”, but the reality was “He/she is in an emotionally difficult phase”.

Do you see the impact our thoughts have? Now if I assume that he/she is not interested, different feelings will arise in me than when I assume “he/she is in an emotionally difficult phase”. Again, those feelings will give rise to different actions. The first one can for example result in avoidance – that I decide to avoid him/her, while the second one can result in approach – that I decide to talk with this person and show concern.

One thing is to see what impacts our thoughts have, another lesson is to see how self-obsessed we can be with our thoughts – that we are unable to see the other person’s perspective. We assume that the other person is avoiding us, and that thought occupies our mind, so we interpret everything in favor of that assumption (confirmation bias in psychology). The result is not just a negative feeling and action, but also that we are unable to show the other person the emotional support he/she needs.

Okay, yes, I am good at talking. Our assumptions lead to misunderstandings. Right, okay. But how to avoid this? Like you saw in the examples above, we cannot read what’s in the other person mind. We cannot know what the other person is thinking. Yes, we can assume what they are thinking, but we don’t know if it’s the reality. I think the solution is communication. You should ask the other person – why did you do that? What was your intention of saying that? How are you right now? You should not ask by attacking the other person – but ask with an open, curious and not-knowing way.

Learn to test your negative assumptions of things happening around you. Don’t just accept your assumptions that lead to negative feelings to be the reality. Learn to be curious of what’s in the other person’s mind – not only in your thoughts, but in your communication.

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To breathe

Do you breathe? You know that deep, long breath, that moves your stomach and breast? I realized some time ago that I don’t breathe properly. Now that I am aware of it – the times I remember to breathe, I can see an effect on me and I want to share it with you. However before that I want to thank the person who liked my page yesterday (you know who you are), because you draw my attention to my blog again, and I probably wouldn’t have written this post if it wasn’t for you.

What is breathing properly doing to me?

  1. Today at those times I remembered to breathe properly, I noticed that it made me smile more. That smile didn’t come from any reason, I just felt good. Try it – trust me, it’s a beautiful feeling – to smile for no reason.
  2. Breathing also made me listen more to what my heart said and follow it. For example when I was boarding the boat today, I wanted to stand outside at the deck instead of sitting inside and reading a book. I wanted this even though it was a bit chilly weather and it just had stopped raining. I didn’t give it a second thought, I just took a long, deep breath and followed my heart. You know what? It was a fantastic experience. Taking long, deep breaths, smiling for no reason and watching the sea and islands we passed by.
  3. I have also noticed that taking deep, long breaths while for example walking, makes the muscles in my body relax and I don’t overload my muscles in any way.
  4. Today I felt more fresh when I came home compared to other days. I don’t know if this has something to do with my long, deep breaths, but I suspect it to be the reason as I don’t know of other factors that I have changed today compared to other days.
  5. Whenever I took a long, deep breath, I saw that I noticed more details in my environment. In fact, I didn’t just notice, but I appreciated them too. The autumn colours.  The father and son doing something with their car. Baby playing with her mother. Babies crying. You may be thinking – how can someone appreciate babies crying? Well, I don’t know the answer to that, maybe I appreciated it as it’s normal for babies to cry, nothing to make a big issue of.
  6. I felt more living in the present. It’s like your breath always takes you back to the present when your mind jumps around between thoughts. I have always looked for an asset that can help me be more in the present, and I think I have found it.

I challenge you. Try it. Just one day. Feel the difference. See the difference. Please feel free to post comments here about your experiences – even if you didn’t feel any change. I want to hear about your experiences, so I have more to reflect upon.

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Bye-bye instagram

I deleted my instagram-account today. First I thought of just deleting all my followers and everyone I was following, and creating a new secretive account where I could follow the few who inspired me by their posts in some way. I created that new account too, but now I am considering if I should keep this new account or let instagram leave my world.

It’s just that my mind is saying stop. I have a lot to do and a lot of thoughts racing through my mind. How can I get peace of mind when in the little free time I get, I spend that on getting updates on what other people are eating or doing. That only adds more thoughts in my mind, and I get no break. When I know I have a lot to do, and see other people posting pictures of time spent with friends – how can I avoid my mind to be distracted? How can I avoid that I will compare my situation with theirs and unhealthy thoughts like “I would love to be in their place” will raise? I will end up with negative feelings and the work I was going to do will be affected.

Now that I have deleted it (which felt very liberating), I have started to think of the use of it. Does it add something important in my life?

As my professor said today – research has shown that computer games are taking over children – children are spending less time playing in favor of the computer games. The same way I feel that the social media are taking over our lives – so we are spending less time doing what people valued more when social media didn’t exist – like talking face to face with our family and friends, playing with children, appreciating our environments. These are things we value today too – we just experience these moments less than people did before. Isn’t odd that one time ago looking at your mobile while being in a “conversation” with your friend was looked upon as disrespectful, and today it’s becoming more and more acceptable?


I can make an instagram account and say to myself – it’s because then I can read the wise things people share. But does it help me to read a post a few seconds, move on to the other post, without reflecting on it, understanding what meaning it has for my life and implementing it practically in my life? My mind just gets fed with a lot of wise words, but some seconds later I have completely forgotten it. Maybe it’s better to hear a friend talk about a lesson they have learned in life and discuss it together. I think the chances for remembering that conversation is much higher than remembering the posts on Instagram.

The comparison I do sometimes other people post a picture of their life, can make me complain about my situation and my life instead of solving the tasks I have in hand. Maybe not consciously, but I think seeing all those posts do have an affect of how grateful I can be to my life.

I have decided to delete the new account. Good-bye instagram.

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Apple and plum cake 

One of my passions is to make cake. I don’t know why I like it. Maybe I like the idea that you are making something that takes time to make for someone else? Here is pictures of the apple and plum cake I made lately. We got apples and plums from our neighbor’s garden. Nothing can beat the taste of fresh fruit added in a cake 😉

 

Behind the scene

 

 

 

 

 

Raksha bandan

OBS: My intention is not to hurt anyone’s feeling with this post. What I am trying to do, is to explain why I and my brother don’t celebrate raksha bandan. 

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Among many Indians, included Sikhs, “raksha bandan” has become a ritual. Is this something that our Gurus would stood for?

Guru Nanak Sahib Ji said “so kio manda aakhiye jit jame rajaan” – why call women bad? From her, kings are born. Throughout history the gurus teached us to stand for equality of  caste, colour, background or gender. We also know that Guru Nanak Sahib Ji stood against the use of janeu ( a sacred thread weared by high-caste Hindus) because Guruji was against caste-system, and he thought the most important thing is to be pure from inside, and just by wearing  janeu doesn’t make you pure.

What is raksha bandan? A sister ties rakhri on the brother’s wrist, and this symbolize that the brother will always protect his sister. In sikhi the Guruji have made the women equally strong and many have fought in wars along with men. Mai Bhago is a perfect example. My brother and I believe that every woman can protect herself, and that’s the main reason I don’t tie a rakhri on his wrist.

Another reason why I don’t believe in rakhri, is the materialistic aspect in it – sister ties a rakhri on the brother’s wrist, and the brother gives the sister a present. Often this is a materialistic gift. I think by doing these materialistic things, the chances are higher that you turn materialistic. You get more attached to materialistic things. Ofcourse, this need not to be true to all,  everything is dependent on that if you can control your monkey mind or not.

Yet another reason I am not a follower of the “raksha bandan”-tradition is that the bond of a brother and sister should be celebrated every single day, in every moment they share together. Why do we have mother’s day celebrating mothers, and raksha bandan celebrating siblings, when you should celebrate them every single day? I think we should be thankful every day that we have siblings, parents, partners and so on.

Again, my intention was not to hurt anyone’s feelings.  I don’t know what’s right or wrong – that’s God to decide. I just shared with you why I and my brother don’t celebrate raksha bandan 🙂

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The inner fight

Here in Norway we have a lot of traffic rules. One of the rules for pedestrians is that they should cross the road when the light is green and wait for the cars when it’s red. However, most people have the habit to cross the road while the light is red when they see no cars. Yesterday my brother told me to stop when the red light turned on. I pointed on all the other people who were crossing the road – we were the only one standing. Yet he wanted us to stand.

When the light turned green, I asked him why he stood there when the cars were far away and all the other people were crossing the road. He told me that we should be an example. When everyone else is breaking the rules, why should we follow them? We could be the only ones waiting for the light to turn green, but we will be an example. I asked him how we could be an example – no one will notice. He said that the probablity is bigger that the few who are waiting for the light to turn green will be noticed than the majority who are crossing the road. He added that for him it was even more important to do the right thing, because he was wearing the turban. People will notice that this person with the turban is a Sikh, and Sikhs follow the rules – they are disciplined. I started asking but what if I am going alone? No one will notice me, I am not wearing a turban. Then I
gave it a second thought – people will notice me too, because I belong to a miniority group. If I am doing the right thing, that will somehow affect the reputation of my community.

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But is it so important to be an example for everyone else? We continued our discussion, and at one point my brother mentioned that it’s an inner fight to be able to stand and wait. It’s an inner fight to be able to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. It’s an inner fight to follow the rules when everyone else is violating it. It’s an inner fight to stand out. Actually we are training our mind when we manage to do the right thing when everyone else is doing the wrong thing. We are using our brain – not just following everyone else. You need the same to be in a complete sikhi saroop – you are following something the majority is not following. Guru Nanak Sahib Ji is one beautiful example – he violated many of the established practices in India that everyone followed blindly. He had the strength to stand out.

These small actions were you are using your brain and not following the majority is a strength. You are winning your mind, and when you win your mind, you can win the world – people will notice you; maybe they will reflect upon the path you are following and be inspired to do the same. Man jeete jag jeet.

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