e've all questioned ourselves at one time or another, asking "Why am I like this?" In our homes, we tend to have a box or a drawer where we accumulate miscellaneous items. When we lose something, we often expect to find it in that same cluttered space, only to be disappointed when it's not there. At this point, we wonder why it's missing, but the answer is quite straightforward. As Gurbani tells us,
ਜੋ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਭਾਂਡੇ ਵਿਚਿ ਵਸਤੁ ਸਾ ਨਿਕਲੈ ਕਿਆ ਕੋਈ ਕਰੇ ਵੇਚਾਰਾ ॥
Whatever is placed in a box can only be retrieved from it - a simple concept. This same principle applies to our minds, which function much like a box. The content we consume through various mediums, such as social media, music, television, and conversations, shapes our speech, actions, and thoughts, as it is reflected in what we express and how we behave.
ਜੋ ਜੀਇ ਹੋਇ ਸੁ ਉਗਵੈ ਮੁਹ ਕਾ ਕਹਿਆ ਵਾਉ ॥
Sowing & Harvesting
Let’s take another example. You can’t expect mangoes after planting a bitter gourd tree. In Gurbani, Guru Sahib talks about planting the seeds of poison.
ਬੀਜੇ ਬਿਖੁ ਮੰਗੈ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਵੇਖਹੁ ਏਹੁ ਨਿਆਉ ॥੨॥
What can be a poisonous seed? It could come from slandering someone by indulging in gossip or speaking bitterly to someone.
ਨਾਨਕ ਫਿਕੈ ਬੋਲਿਐ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਫਿਕਾ ਹੋਇ ॥
We might be sowing the seeds of bitterness towards others, yet we seek kindness and positivity for ourselves. Despite our desire for happiness and a carefree life, we cannot achieve it when we carry the burden of slander on our conscience. Even if we are unaware of the root cause, we end up experiencing feelings of anxiety and unease.
ਅਸੰਖ ਨਿੰਦਕ ਸਿਰਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਭਾਰੁ ॥
A ball that we throw at others is going to bounce back and hit us. It will eventually affect the way we feel, talk, and act.
Breaking out of the Rut
The types of things we read, the channels we follow on social media, and the things we speak when we are amongst our friends leave an impact on us. That is why Guru Sahib asks us to constantly do a Benti (Humble Request) to Vaheguru Ji.
ਮੇਰੇ ਮੋਹਨ ਸ੍ਰਵਨੀ ਇਹ ਨ ਸੁਨਾਏ ॥
ਸਾਕਤ ਗੀਤ ਨਾਦ ਧੁਨਿ ਗਾਵਤ ਬੋਲਤ ਬੋਲ ਅਜਾਏ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
The Guru has given us a trick of the trade. By constantly reciting this Shabad, we can change our habits. We can break away from things that lead us further away from the truth. You will also notice that once you begin practicing this, you stop feeling low and down all the time. You are less frustrated and become more patient with your loved ones. The Guru is urging us to not blame others and begin taking responsibility for the way we feel.
ਦਦੈ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੇਊ ਕਿਸੈ ਦੋਸੁ ਕਰੰਮਾ ਆਪਣਿਆ ॥
ਜੋ ਮੈ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਮੈ ਪਾਇਆ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੀਜੈ ਅਵਰ ਜਨਾ ॥੨੧॥
The Super Combo!
Two things, when combined give the best results. These are Effort and Ardaas. Let’s do Ardaas (humble plea) to the Guru, “O Vaheguru Ji, make us sweet like you, and let us do Sangat (congregation) of those who are filled with virtues so that we can learn from them and instill those virtues within ourselves too!” Along with Ardaas, let's take care of what goes into this mind, or this vessel. Allow yourself to listen to Katha (Discourse) and Kirtan (Devotional Music) as much as you can. Wake up in the morning and instead of checking your Instagram feed, Jap Naam (Chant God’s Name), and read the Guru’s Bani. Small efforts go a big way.
ਸੋ ਕਿਉ ਬਿਸਰੈ ਜਿ ਘਾਲ ਨ ਭਾਨੈ ॥
God doesn’t overlook even one effort made by us. If we keep trying, Vaheguru will make it pay off.
This article is a transcribed version of the video below.