n this article, we will dive into the secrets of how our internal state of being defines how we perceive the external state of existence.  

You are Beyond Your Experiences 

Whoever you think you are, whatever has happened to you - your trauma, your experiences, your limitations, your health, your wealth, whatever you think is holding you back - you can overcome it.

Beyond all of these things that keep coming and going as a part and parcel of life, the light within us, which belongs to Vaheguru, always resides in our soul. This Jot is who we are in the truest essence. It is something beyond the external and connects us back to our roots.

ਮਨ ਤੂੰ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਆਪਣਾ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣੁ ॥

O my mind, you are the embodiment of the Divine Light - recognize your own origin.

This Jot is a part of us that is never destroyed, neither by pain nor by betrayal. While our ego suffers, the Jot remains stable in its being, and we can return to this Jot when we need to seek stability and love within.

The Internal defines the External

Viktor Frankl, a survivor of a Jewish concentration camp and a doctor, wrote extensively about his experiences. His book emphasises that one's mindset, rather than the situation itself, defines one's experience. Even amidst the horrors of the concentration camps, he observed that some individuals could find beauty in small things like a distant flower, while others were overwhelmed by their circumstances. Thus, our experiences, while perhaps not as extreme, can be profoundly influenced by our mindset. By shifting our perspective, we can significantly impact our lives.

Gurbani tells us,

ਘਰਿ ਸੁਖਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥

I dwell in peace in my home, and I am at peace outside.

If we can experience peace within the home of our body, then we will experience peace in the external world as well. It's not the other way around. Despite being brought up to believe that happiness comes from achieving certain external milestones - like getting a job, finding a partner, or having children - the truth is that when our internal state is settled, the external aspects of life appear more fulfilling.

The Power of Surrendering

Gurbani speaks about the game of life and the battle against the Panj Chor (the five thieves: lust, anger, greed, attachment, and ego). Sometimes, when we struggle, we can feel a lot of shame and guilt for not being able to overcome these vices. For example, why am I not able to get past my anger issues, or why do I still get caught up in lust?

Moments like these are not moments of weakness but moments of change. It is through this place within our hearts that an Ardaas (humble request) emerges, and we say to Guru Sahib Ji -

ਪੰਚ ਬਿਖਾਦੀ ਏਕੁ ਗਰੀਬਾ ਰਾਖਹੁ ਰਾਖਨਹਾਰੇ ॥

The five vicious thieves are assaulting my poor being; save me, O Savior Lord!

ਖੇਦੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਅਰੁ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਸੰਤਾਵਹਿ ਆਇਓ ਸਰਨਿ ਤੁਹਾਰੇ ॥੧॥

They are tormenting and torturing me. I have come, seeking Your Sanctuary. ||1||

Tools for the Inner Work

From this place of surrender, we can embrace tools such as reading Gurbani, committing to our Nitnem (daily prayers done by a Sikh), waking up during Amritvela (the last quarter of the night, before sunrise) to do Naam Simran, and attending Sangat (the holy company). All these are practical tools that help us realise that our struggles don’t define us. While our experiences shape us to a certain extent, we have the ability to connect with Vaheguru and transform ourselves into stable, satisfied, and peaceful human beings. Therefore, effort accompanied by Ardaas strengthens our mindset.

As Guru Teg Bahadur Ji describes,

ਜੋ ਨਰੁ ਦੁਖ ਮੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਨਹੀ ਮਾਨੈ ॥

That man, who in the midst of pain, does not feel pain,

ਸੁਖ ਸਨੇਹੁ ਅਰੁ ਭੈ ਨਹੀ ਜਾ ਕੈ ਕੰਚਨ ਮਾਟੀ ਮਾਨੈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

who is not affected by pleasure, affection or fear, and who looks alike upon gold and dust;||1||Pause||

With this mindset, our struggles don’t shake us to the core, and we are able to grow through them, like a lotus blossoms in mud. We begin to understand that everything is within Vaheguru’s Hukam (command), and to blossom forth through Hukam, we must continually remember the doer, Vaheguru, with each and every breath.

This article is atranscribed version of the video Do You Know Who You Are? [Mindset Series CLIP] @BasicsofsikhiTV

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