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Sharing A Bit About My Journey Into Sikhi

Discussion in 'New to Sikhism' started by eileen, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. eileen

    eileen
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    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.

    Aristotle Ji suggested I post about my journey and I'm happy to share, I believe this is the right forum for it...

    This is the description I wrote recently on the website for my comic (Super Sikh), and I think it is a good starting point for discussion and I can answer questions if it is still reading by the time they reach the end. :)

    I never intended to become Sikh. Furthest thing from my mind. It just happened because of the research I did while writing this story, looking into Sikh ideas so that it would be accurate. But I found that even after I finished the story over a year ago, my interest didn’t fade. I couldn’t stop learning and doing research – questions followed by answers, followed by more questions. Never having been a very religious person, I thought maybe I had adopted some kind of religious hobby or something. I thought it would just pass.

    But then I realized that not only was it becoming something present in my mind all the time, I was finding myself looking at my own life through the lens of what I was learning from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh scripture). In fact, I remember distinctly the moment I came to the idea that I must be Sikh.

    I had just learned how to read the Gurmukhi script well enough to read bits of the scripture for myself without the English translations and I was stuck on the concept of ethical living that was presented in the text. So I sat there studying, surrounded by my dictionaries and notebooks, refusing to give up, just contemplating quietly and trying to figure out what the words meant. And then I got it. But I didn’t just get the literal translation, I mean, I REALLY GOT IT. Questions I had struggled with since I was a kid – got it. The reason I came close to failing out of college one year – got it. What I need to do with the rest of my life – got it. It was a pretty profound moment, especially for a skeptical, non-religous person like me. I was like, “OK! Well that does it. I’m in!” And the other amazing thing is that I keep having these moments as I continue and deepen my practice of reading and contemplation, it wasn’t just that one time.

    So that’s it. No yoga, no magical trip to India that transformed me, no pressure from a husband or family.

    Some people don’t believe me, somehow they think it can’t be done. Those people are usually Americans who don’t speak any other languages. To me, the language barrier is not that big a deal, and it’s kind of an American entitlement thing to presume you can’t learn using anything but English unless you are a foreigner or some kind of genius. Ok, maybe you can learn Spanish but that’s about it. But I just think it’s not that most Americans can’t learn, it’s simply that they don’t want to. I bet if I gave a $100 million reward for anyone who reads the Sikh holy book, it would be a NY Times best seller, even if it was written in Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics. The way I see it, the Sikh Gurus didn’t give out a cash prize with the book, the gave away the meaning of life. For me, that’s kind of worth learning the 35 Gurmukhi letters used to write it. Worth having a go at least. But that’s just my experience.

    So, all this to say, I’m Sikh because following the teaching the Gurus handed down is helping me to be a better person, it brings meaning to my life. Through studying it, I’ve become a believer, so credit where credit is due. Waheguru!
     
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  3. aristotle

    aristotle
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    Thanks for sharing your inspiring story eileen Ji.
    There are very few people who not only understand Gurbani but also GET the message. I believe you might be gifted in that regard. :happymunda:
    Hope to see you often on this forum.
     
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  4. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Eilleen ji,

    Guru Fateh and welcome to the forum.

    All I can say after reading your great journey towards the scenic route of Sikhi is WOWGURU!

    Just to say, I am glad you have found Sikhi would be an insult to your curiosity, desire, understanding, appreciation and then making Sikhi the foundation of your daily life in such a blissful manner. To be honest, no words would suffice how fortunate myself, and I am sure many of us feel about your coming to SPN.

    As you must have noticed how straight forward Sikhi teachings are through SGGS, our only Guru. I call SGGS as our Tool Box, GPS.

    By just having a tool box in one’s garage without even opening it is just a mere decoration piece among other clutters. We have to learn how to make the best use of the tools in order to repair, mend, change and create things within that can be shared with all irrespective of anyone’s hue,creed or faith.

    The same can be said about the GPS. Just punching in one’s destination in it would not do any good unless we make an effort and find the means to get there.

    Hence, SGGS is not an idol as I am sure you know,that we worship and bow to-Matha Tek. We perform this beautiful ritual on purpose as a pledge to our Gurus that we would do our utmost to learn and practice the teachings enshrined in our Only Guru which has the most beautiful poetry not only by the Sikhs Gurus but also by the low caste Hindus who were not even allowed to enter into Hindu temples and also Muslim sages. This is the beauty of Sikhi.

    We here at SPN would love you to share your other stories and how the changes came about in you with the help of SGGS. And also you may share your Sikh Comics here.

    Your participation and input in the threads would be highly appreciated.

    Thanks to your journey, you have made us all anthropologists and archaeologists of our own selves.

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  5. eileen

    eileen
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    Thank you Ji. My understanding is being built piece by piece, and I expect it may take a lifetime.

    For me, reading as slowly as needed, defining word by word, even if it takes multiple dictionaries and research, is the most helpful thing, and that's what created a deeply personal connection and made the reading process more contemplative.

    The discussions of meaning and grammar on http://www.khojgurbani.com have been incredibly helpful. I know I would still be just scratching the surface on a lot of topics if I didn't have their material and videos for reference.

    To me, studying Gurbani with Sangat or Gurbani Scholars for help on word-by-word meaning and grammar is like the difference between reading in the dark and reading with the lights on. So I feel very passionate about it.
     
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  6. eileen

    eileen
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    Thank you Tejwant Singh Ji. I hope to participate as much as I can here, and I would love to share and learn from you and others in this Sangat. :)
     
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    #5 eileen, Aug 30, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  7. Inderjeet Kaur

    Inderjeet Kaur
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    A few years ago, a friend of mine wanted to become a Sikh and wanted me to tell her what she needed to do. I read her the definition of a a Sikh from the SRM. She got a bit annoyed at me.

    " I know all that. I mean, what do I have to DO?"

    I was baffled how to answer her. "Well, you need to believe in one universal creator God and the Gurus and their teachings, including the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and the Amrit and not owe loyalty to any other religion."

    She did everything short of stomping her foot.

    "I KNOW ALL THAT. WHAT. DO. I. HAVE. TO.DO?!

    The light bulb went on in my head. "You mean some ceremony or registering at the gurdwara or something like that?"

    Her face got a look of great relief. "Exactly."

    "No, there's nothing like that. You just need to be a human being and believe those things."

    "You make it sound like you just wake up some morning and realise, 'Hey! I'm a Sikh.'"

    I had never thought of it, but I have to admit, that sounds pretty accurate. It's not some silly ceremony or some mumbled or repeated words that makes a person a Sikh; it's an honest, sincere belief in Sikhi. (That also explains why there can never be forced or mass conversions to Sikhi.)

    Of course, once you are a Sikh, you will naturally want to do some things, live according to Guru's teachings, probably grow your hair, possibly prepare to accept the blessing of Amrit.

    But the journey starts with the belief that defines you as a Sikh.
     
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    #6 Inderjeet Kaur, Sep 3, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  8. eileen

    eileen
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    Thank you Inderjeet Ji, I can certainly relate to that.

    I know I still have much to learn and contemplate, and I have periods of doubt like anyone, and also periods of strong longing for more connection with the Creator.

    But having no family or community pressure to be Sikh is an interesting position because I would not suffer any negative backlash if I simply stopped. For me it is certainly an active choice and a personal path as you describe.

    And I do feel that my journey is securely underway, if for no other reason than I feel very strongly that if someone were to ask me 'if' I am Sikh, it would be completely dishonest and deceitful to say 'no'. Even saying 'maybe' would feel like a lie.

    I am finding that even on my most frustrated our doubt-filled days, I don't feel the answer lies in turning away from Sikhi but I feel the answer lies in turning more towards it. So I feel very solid at this particular point in my journey. :)
     
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  9. Kulbirrose

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    Wahe Guru Ji Ki Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh!
    Wow Eileen! Thanks you very much for your post! Inspirational!
    thank you also for sharing your experience here, and look forward to more of your posts!:mundakhalsaflag:
     

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