I was inspired to share from this post about seminars, to share some notes from our time at Nanak Naam’s The Guru within two day course. We had a great time! It was a two day stay in a hotel room an hour and half from home -the Holiday Inn has improved it’s standards! Little did I know their was a swimming pool onsite.
I wasn’t completely my full enthusiastic self as four months pregnant and sitting on chairs for an hour and half at a time did not fit well. There were breaks and refreshments that usually I would have loved but I felt lazy and my baby’s movements were too. I couldn’t join in as well in the meditations at they end of the day (I love group meditation, the sound and energy, there’s nothing like it) but in good news babies hear sounds by 20 weeks so maybe she enjoyed it!
It’s good to know how sitting for long times make me feel now though rather than say yes to more daily workshops. Another thing to point out is that it’s made space to really go over the notes I have made and soak in what I’ve learnt, using it in life and discussing it with others. Attending one seminar can be more beneficial than several. I said no to a personal development course and herbal remedies day and instead have done some creativity courses from the comfort of my home.
Onto the course, why come to a Sikhi style course? Do you have to be a practicing Sikh? From a Sikh family? Know what Hukum is? Not not really, just come with an open mind and heart.
Is it full of Sikhi terminology and telling you you must live a certain way? Is there lots of Gurbani mentioned that’s going to hurt my brain? No! It was such a lovely blend of spirituality, real life and self development.
I will share 3 main takeways that mattered to me, though I don’t want to go into everything he said as he may go onto to repeat it on another course, I want you to go to it! I will put a few links at the bottom of the page to similar material he was going over if you can’t wait that long and believe the best time to start is right now. It is.
3 Main takeaways that mattered (to me anyway):
* The first point was on oneness, now we’ve all heard of this term but what does it really mean? A good analogy was instead of placing Self (you) in one circle and the in the Universe (place) in another circle and God outside in say a green circle, you put self and universe in one circle and colour code it green. The God here doesn’t mean ‘man in the sky’ it means a oneness an essence, non duality. Oneness as a choice, how you look at everything, with clarity, compassion, calmness.
‘Oneness, like water to a fish, is all around but we can’t always see it, identify it’
* There were discussion points on Hukum & happiness, a good way to describe Hukum is command and order. This isn’t supposed to sound like military talk it means understanding and accepting reality, to learn to live with the unpredictable in life. There is no good or bad only what is. It is with the Guru’s grace I have these emotions, feelings and circumstance.
‘My response is my responsibility’
A stand out point for me was on expectation and wants, in Sikhi talks it’s often mentioned to lose your wants and desires. I’ve always wanted to know – What about going for personal goals? Goals that are set with intention and purpose, they may bring better balance, happiness and success? As even speakers and camp facilitators will have started with a want of some kind.
When you set an expectation, you’ve set yourself up to fail, imagine a fish in water, it can push itself through the water or it can swim in the flow of life. Life is not against you. We set small expectations of an item being in a shop to buy to find out it’s not there (like holiday shopping) or bigger ones like a new business venture we expect will go well.
We can be optimistic and proactive, to have the notion life does what it does and to go with the flow. We can also come from a place of service. I write and create for myself that also serves as a tool of inspiration to others. I spend time lesson planning to provide service as a yoga teacher and I see people go beyond what there minds thought they could do, they awaken to their infinity and relax hard at then end of it.
Practice action with no attachment to expectation or result.
‘Where you are in life is a direct result of where/what you have been serving. What I serve I become, what I sow I receive’.
* The last point is on Hukum and habit making, habits are in reality something you enjoy doing, after all you keep repeating them! Whatever it is, the new goal has to be more rewarding than the habit. I know that I can easily sleep in (baby requires me to sleep more it seems) and while I respect that change I know that a small set of yoga and simran is more rewarding overall in my day. So is starting my morning swimming or walking. I’m happier, I focus more, I tune into interests, learnings and take action on goals rather than worldly nonsense.
‘Be fluid not ridged, the point is not in the doing but in the connecting’
An example of this is doing Ardas from the heart daily, it’s easy to say near the end ‘Thank you for so so and so, I would like some guidance on this or for this to work out well today’. When you really do it from the heart, and not just times where you really want a desired outcome, like I did when I got in such a state bout my babies health before a scan (everything was fine). Align yourself with a new set of priorities after all when you speak from the heart, you live from the heart and more love comes your way, in many ways!
Your circle of influence is important too, who is in it and what goals are in it?
Satpal Singh mentioned that only polar bears stay alone and you are not a polar bear. Use Sangat as your therapy to expose yourself to wisdom, stop questions, doubts, worries, the Guru is available to everyone.
‘Doing a daily practice is most important, mixing it up keeps it interesting. Feel what you do next, let it be led by love’
Satpal Singh is the founder of educational charity Nanak Naam transforming lives through mantra mindfulness and bringing light to the wisdom of Sikh spirituality, empowering people to apply practices in their lifestyle.
Nanak Naam originally ran courses in Gudwaras, you can listen to a great series of the Japj Sahib English translation on Soundcloud, on Youtube with short Q n A’s and longer talks, start with this one on Oneness. Nanak Naam also do in person workshops as they grow and expand, bookmark their website for more information.
Thankyou Nanak Naam team (as well as Hari and Har Singh) for a wonderful two days that I feel blessed to have been to and learnt so much from to use in life!