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I Need Some Ideas On How To Work With These Challanges

Oct 7, 2010
14
23
Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa!
Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh!

I'm just starting a morning routine and I'd like some feedback on special issues I have. I know that these have all been dealt with before by devout Sikhi so I have no doubt that I can deal with these issues with your help.

I have a health problem that has sapped my strength and has made me all but an invalid. It causes very poor circulation that keeps me from sitting crosslegged on the floor. I'm also not able to stand for any real length of time in one place.

#1. Is it all right to do morning prayers and Naam Jaap sitting in a chair?
#2. Is it all right to go back to bed after prayers? My health would really suffer on less than nine hours sleep. I realize that most spiritual teachers will tell you that we sleep too much but with my heart the way it is, I do need more sleep to heal and manage.
#3. I live in Alaska and currently the sun isn't coming up until 9:00 / 9:30 in the morning. Come the Solstice it won't rise until 10:00 a.m. Then in the summer it's the opposite and the sun won't set until 12:00 a.m. and right now the sun is setting around 4:00 in the afternoon. What time should I do the prayer for when the sun comes up? At what time should I do the prayer for when the sun sets? Should I be literal or is there a common time that kicks in when you live at the more extreme ends of the earth?

I'd really appreciate your help with this. Starting a new practice, on my own, at this stage of my life is kinda overwhelming. I don't want to get hung up on "The Rules" but I also realize that The Guru wouldn't stress doing prayers at certain times of the day if it wasn't important to my spiritual growth.

Thank you!
Signey
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
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Signey ji

On the Internet Sikhi is made to look like a life dictated by codes more convoluted than the codebook for the Internal Revenue Service. Despite that, give yourself permission to be a bhagat, a devotee, and practice from your heart.

Regulations are not the way of sadhana. The Sikh Rehat Maryada lays out a prescribed sequence of prayers and times to pray. However, keep in mind that the SRM was written to streamline the practice of Sikhi, to keep Sikhi from becoming as rule-bound as so many other paths found in India when it was written. Unfortunately imho many people see the SRM as an inconvenience. They forget that the SRM was not written to make devotion difficult. It was written to make devotion easily assimilated into the life of a householder. Therefore, if challenges stand in your way, choose devotion.

My reactions are in red.

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa!
Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh!

I have a health problem that has sapped my strength and has made me all but an invalid. It causes very poor circulation that keeps me from sitting crosslegged on the floor. I'm also not able to stand for any real length of time in one place.

#1. Is it all right to do morning prayers and Naam Jaap sitting in a chair?

Yes you can do prayers sitting in a chair.

#2. Is it all right to go back to bed after prayers?

Yes.

My health would really suffer on less than nine hours sleep. I realize that most spiritual teachers will tell you that we sleep too much but with my heart the way it is, I do need more sleep to heal and manage.

If you have congestive heart syndrome, you need to heal your body so that it can be the vessel of devotion. There are no scientific findings that say that x hours of sleep are mandated, no more and no less.


#3. I live in Alaska and currently the sun isn't coming up until 9:00 / 9:30 in the morning. Come the Solstice it won't rise until 10:00 a.m. Then in the summer it's the opposite and the sun won't set until 12:00 a.m. and right now the sun is setting around 4:00 in the afternoon. What time should I do the prayer for when the sun comes up? At what time should I do the prayer for when the sun sets? Should I be literal or is there a common time that kicks in when you live at the more extreme ends of the earth?

If you lived on the moon your amrit vela would occur once a year. Certainly you would do Nit Nem more than that. So the question really is about how to embed this in your life so that it comes naturally. If you wish to complete all the Nit Nem, create a schedule that accommodates geography as well as your health conditions. The longitude and latitude of Alaska govern sunrise and sunset in Alaska, and not the longitude and latitude of northern India at the time when our Gurus were alive.

I don't want to get hung up on "The Rules" but I also realize that The Guru wouldn't stress doing prayers at certain times of the day if it wasn't important to my spiritual growth.

Our Gurus were speaking to people who lived at 22o00' N and longitude of 77o00' W. And I do not think they were petty-minded individuals. They were also speaking to people who lived in a simpler time, before there was electrical lighting, and oil lamps were costly. Nearly everyone went to bed after sunset - except perhaps astronomers. Nearly everyone rose before dawn, in the breaking light of amrit vela. Simply because it is really hard to see in the dark.

Thank you!
Signey
Sikhi is a practical religion. At the risk of repeating myself, Guru Nanak many times in his life and in his journeys tried to help the world understand that filling your day with routines/rituals was not true devotion. To think that it was, well, that would be nothing more than magical thinking, to suppose that adherence to a regimen equals sincere spiritual desire. Regimentation can also cause stress if the regimen cannot be followed and you end up feeling frustrated. How can that be good for your health?

Good luck on your journey. Never lose hope! You do not need permission, as everything is as it is intended.
 
Oct 7, 2010
14
23
Dear spnadmin Ji,

Thank you for kindness! These are excellent answers that are not only learned but humorous and compassionate! Everywhere I turn in Sikhi I encounter this kind of practical love for God, Guru, and Gurmat, that is so embracing. I've never felt so at home before spiritually. Thank you for taking the time to help me with all of this. I can start my practice now without fear of offending.
Thank you,
Signey
 

Ambarsaria

ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
Writer
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Dec 21, 2010
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Signey great questions. My mother is older and she tries to adhere to Nitnem as she cannot sit on the floor very well either. She will usually sit in a chair or even rest her back against the bed headboard.

I believe one has to be at peace in prayers and nitnem however and wherever you do with a pious heart.

May God bless you with health, happiness and peace and a Happy 2011.

Sat Sri Akal
 
Oct 7, 2010
14
23
Dear Ambarsaria Ji,
Thank you so much for your kind answer. I am just coming to understand that perhaps I am too hard on myself. I always want to follow so perfectly and really only God is perfect. I can only stumble along and do the best that I can.
I'm glad that your mother has found peace in the Naam and that she is able to do her practice in a setting that is comfortable for her. I have to give myself that same permission and not get hung up on the details of the "best form". Sitting cross legged at 4:00 AM just isn't going to happen for me. :)
Thanks a lot,
Signey
 

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