The term “sustainability” is huge these days. Normally, it’s used in the context of environments and projects being able to last beyond this generation or the next; ie) - the ability of something to support or maintain itself for the future. The concept is rather awesome; creating a sustainable society entails prevention, preparation, and security for upcoming generations and populations. While discussing sustainability and pondering on the notion, a rather novel thought came to me - and that was the sustainability of Sikhi.
(( Forgive me, in advance, for this post is likely to be extremely stream-of-consciousness inspired… so if i lose you, stop and read again! ))
So, what do I mean by ‘Sikhi’s sustainability’? Well, let me guide you through my thought process as I came upon this idea and maybe you’ll get a feel for it. Now- you all have come to know me.. I try to maintain my Sikhi as much as possible; through my actions, saroop, thoughts, etc - but there is much to be improved on. I have not always been this way, but it is the way I am now and it is the way I intend to stay. I also know that without my Sikh Sangat, I would likely not have found the strength to become who I am today. I know that they played an essential role in guiding me, sharing Guru’s Hukam with me and guiding me along this treacherous path of love.
But……what happens when that Sangat starts to be my turn-off from Sikhi? What happens when I start, because of my inclination TOWARDS Gursikhi jeevan, to go to Gurdwara - and I see fights breaking out; greed and ego towering in; and people being torn apart? What happens when I begin to see hypocrisy, jealousy, anger in those who I most respected and considered to be MY panthic leaders? What happens when I see my “brothers” dishonoring my sisters? What happens when I see my role models talk shit, or bully, or straight up ignore those who have fallen off the path instead of helping them back up?
Well, what happens is… I get pissed off. And I want to leave.
This is not an unlikely story; and it is not entirely a hypothetical one. I am sure that a lot of us know of people who have gone through this very scenario, and end up disconnecting from the “Sikh scene” as it’s called. They may cut their hair; they may stop showing up to gurdwara and Sikh events; they may start drinking and smoking…. or they just seem to fall off the face of the earth and no one knows what happened.
So, say that this is the situation I’m in, but I really do harbor this love for Sikhi & Guru Maharaaj within me. I really, truly feel that Gurbani is the love of my life and though I cannot stand the Sikh community, I do not wish to lose my Sikhi. Can I sustain my own Sikhi? Can I, without Sikh sangat, maintain Sikhi saroop, Sikh rehat, Gursikhee Jeevan?
…. I really don’t know.
But, if the answer is no, then….how do I know what is even real? Is my love for Sikhi real if I cannot LIVE a Sikh life on my own? Am I just doing it for everyone around me? Am I doing the “whole Sikh thing” because that is what is expected of me by the Sikh panth? …And what if I am, is that necessarily a bad thing?
Disclaimer: These thoughts and questions are real and I don’t have the answers… though I wish I did. Please, please share yours with me so that we can maybe find an inkling of inspiration. I plan to reflect on this now and turn to Gurbani for some guidance… will post a follow-up after the weekend. Stay tuned :).
Awaiting your replies,