This lifestyle, this Sikh Dharma lifestyle, which I’m blessed to be a part of, is a lifestyle of grace; where love abounds; where harmony persists. As one sees Sikh Dharma, so it is. From corruption to elevation, and all steps in-between, Sikh Dharma allows for all views to exist. Still, it has another, another way of existing where grace is real. Please, allow me to share how we do this.
In Sikh Dharma, our Guru ji demands grace, grace in all situations. Only God is perfect, so self-doubt is no longer an issue. Former failures no longer count. It turns out that graceful living covers ALL.
Graceful living begins with compassion. Compassion is the source of virtues. This basket contains virtues like patience, tolerance, forgiveness, understanding, devotion and love. This is what our Guru ji commands of us. Are we perfect? Far from it, thank God. There’s still more to do. The beauty of it is that we will never be perfect, yet we constantly strive to be.
Graceful living typically requires a community of elevation seekers. The community may or may not live in a like-thinking physical location, but community support is the lifeblood of a keep-up spirit. When things get difficult, and believe me they will, the student becomes more conscious. That’s the way it is and I can’t change it. There’s no gain without pain. Graceful living requires overcoming difficulties, and Sikh Dharma provides a way to do this. For us, chanting God’s name is the remedy.
Graceful living requires standards. They are the principals which students apply when times are "down and darkest." Our music reflects this standard. Our standards remind us of who we are when we conveniently, forget. That’s why they must never change. Our way is knowing that God’s will, as brought down in the representation of our Guru’s and our teachings; ALL reflect the same standards. How it’s practiced is another story, but our standards must remain the same. No monkey business.
Graceful living requires tolerance, patience, forgiveness. understanding, devotion, and love. These virtues are the perpetual practice of a Sikh. Serving God means following His will. The exercise of virtues becomes the train back home, merger unto Totality. Living virtuously is a Sikh’s way. This standard must never change.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, our living Guru, God’s representative in Sikh form, our perpetual boss, our example, our Godly form, our blessed blessing. There is no God before Him, there is no God behind Him. He is God to ALL.
His representative, Guru ji, is a living example of God’s grace. Graceful living requires a depth of devotion to manifest. It’s not easy, but I can’t express the depth of gratitude living this lifestyle bestows. Devotion is the journey beyond the beyond, beyond time and space. Devotion to this lifestyle is devotion to our standards.
Graceful living requires faith, belief, and Identity. Graceful living means following the right path. How do we know which standard is right? Our standard is that compassion rules. Sikhs default to compassion. We’re so prepared for any battle that compassion is easy. It’s a Sikh’s way of knowing that he’s on the right path. Therefore, a Sikh standard is defined by the balance he possesses in strength and compassion. They don’t have to be opposites, they can also be complimentary.
The Sikh Dharma standards will always be directed by Guru ji’s will. Sikh understands that duty to God’s will through compassion is the answer to all. That is our standard. Compassion is the communication which bridges the gap between all worlds - between the heavens and the earth - and leading to merger into the One, Wahe Guru.
Exchange karma for dharma. This also is our standard. The elementary method for change begins with this mantra. Just keeping-up exemplifies the practice of serving in devotion to this dharma. This works. It shows Guru ji our sincerity. Guru ji loves sincerity. He loves it so much that He begins to help the student who lives by this mantra. Magically, the process of change becomes a blessing rather than just a discipline. Exchanging karma for dharma is our standard.
Have you noticed that I’ve used the word "required" instead of more gentler rhetoric? I did it on purpose. I want to emphasis that the word "required" is a command, not a suggestion. We may like it or not, but that’s the way we maintain the integrity of our standards. It’s not about you or me, it’s about what God wants, and, naturally, there’s going to be a lot of chaos, we all think differently than God. We hold to His standards, not ours. This IS the way back Home.
We Sikhs believe that compassion must be defended. We stand for compassion, so we need to protect ourselves just as we’re duty bound to protect the less fortunate. We are all in the "less fortunate" category when seen through God’s eyes. Compassion has many enemies. We’re prepared for any and all, and I do mean ALL. This too is our standard. If we must engage, we do it in defense of God’s gift of compassion. The true way back home. Stay tuned,
In Perfect Harmony,
Your Partner and Friend on this Journey,
Hari Jiwan Singh