I have always been the religious type, constantly seeking the “right way to live life.” Always contemplating existence, the discipline of life, rights and wrongs, morals and ethics, black and white, and inner peace. Throughout this whole time I read countless books, articles, quotes and lectures from men of many faiths. I tried to listen from my heart to the five daily Sikh prayers, immersed myself in kirtan, and soaked myself in Sant Giani Maskeen Ji’s katha of Sikhism. I realized the simple truths of life and living throughout all of this; However, I could not seem to implement these simple truths into my life. I would change for a slight second or two, but then like a rushing tide of water, my egotistic thoughts would come flooding back into my mind. This whole time I thought I had defeated my ego, but I was very wrong. 

          I began judging others immensely. The world seemed wrong to me. How could he or she live the way they did – it was so immoral. I became a judge of everyone except myself. I distanced myself from others who did not believe what I believed. I was the one who knew everything. I put up barriers. The positive energy of being a Sikh was turning into negative frustration as others became scapegoats. I could not perfect myself so I began to find imperfections in others. I was a cynical critic of all men and life in general. I used events like 1984 to create separation from Hindus stemming from hatred. Slowly I was encasing myself in my own shell of what I thought life should be. My life was becoming dark, hallow, and lonely. There was no bliss. The whole time I thought I was coming closer to my faith, but I was really moving farther away from it. 

         I became argumentative and my anger started to take the better of me. I could blame a lot of who I was becoming on stress, but that just was not the case. I never slowed down to realize why I stopped smiling or why I closed people off without even talking to them. Why did I feel like I was always right and the world around me so wrong? My blogs over the last few months were evidence to my darkening outlook on life and I never seemed to notice it. 

       Sitting alone with myself was becoming increasingly difficult as negativity invaded my mind. The whole day I was so trapped in myself egocentrically that I shut out the rest of the world. They did not matter, it was my own personal journey. I was preoccupied with tons of work and tests, so I shrugged off my new negative outlook as my new reality. Life would soon be better when I would go home and hang out with the people I liked. Would the environment really make me more happy? I was making my education in the Caribbean the worst possible experience. No one was letting this happen, but myself. Sitting alone in the stillness of the night negative thoughts would come rushing into my mind accumulated throughout the day. I sat in bed an insomniac and prisoner to my wandering mind. My mind was slowly strangling the good hearted person I once was. The new negative energy was beginning to host itself within my every action. To distract myself I would put on a movie, slip in my Ipod headphones, or talk to a friend. I was running away from myself, because I did not like who I was becoming. 

         My own insecurities about myself were beginning to take a toll. I was no longer comfortable in my own skin, so I looked outside more than I would dare inside myself. I saw the worst in everything. I was shutting the world down, and becoming a huge skeptic of life, society, and people in general. I was interpreting the religion I loved so much in the wrong light. I saw life as a sheer lie with maya projecting a fake facade. The only goal was to better myself regardless of those around me. I wanted to become a doctor, make money, and take care of my family. I was wrong. “I” did not even exist.

         I was lucky to have a roommate as good as the one I was destined to have. A great man who always goes into every situation with a smile. I asked him how he dealt with so many of the annoyances in life, and he said that he only knew one thing and that was to make the best of everything. I nodded in agreement but inside I knew it was much harder for me than that.  

         A day ago, I was talking to my older sister over skype on the computer when all of a sudden my whole perception of life collapsed to the ground. We had a conversation that changed my whole life and me forever. She was surprised to see what I had become in the midst of college and being away from home. I had grown up in my own little comfort shell my whole life. Now I was thousands of miles away in the Caribbean and my outlook was changing for the worst. Instead of growing as a person I was beginning to shrivel. I was shedding the happiness I had tried so hard to find all my life. Emptiness was eating my real soul and spirit with negativity. My ego manipulated my life and thoughts, and I became a prisoner in denial – the moment I stopped resisting its fatal lock. 

         She told me that life was not going to slow down and help me change. There was no transition of maturity or happiness as life progressed through the years. I had a plain and simple choice, do I want to be happy or sad my whole life? See the positive in everything or the negative in everything? I knew the path which I was going down was the negative, and I knew the consequences. A lot of my doors in life were going to change if my perception were to stay this way. I needed to change. I had to change everything I had become from the heart on up.

         I was shaken and taken aback by the conversation and like a butterfly in metamorphosis I changed. “I” died in that moment. I could not retain the emotions within me anymore. The person I thought I was broke down in the shower. Tears flooded down my face as I completely surrendered and welcomed the self realization that I had been waiting for my whole spiritual life. I fell to my knees for all the sins I committed daily. For judging others and perceiving the world in such a negative and wasteful way. I was disgusted at who I had become. I was on the track of becoming a cynical, closed-minded, and greedy man. The emotions were much too complex to even comprehend but there is no doubt that I, my ego, finally died that night. The ego which kept afloat my anger, perception, greed, and narrow-mindedness all vanished as I said no more. “I” realized that I was never that negative person within. I had been robbed and pillaged of my true identity. 

            I am not my skin, my flesh, my house, my career, my shoes, my clothes, my car, or my ego. I am really the selfless and positive light within – an infinite vibration. I am going to make it a discipline to smile and enjoy every moment gifted to me on this Earth. I am going to make it a habit not to judge others or myself. I am going to make it a habit of loving everyone and everything as one. I am going to make it a habit to disconnect myself with my ego infested hatred, division, and anger. I finally woke up that day as I fell to the ground asking God for His forgiveness. I felt as if this was what I had been waiting for, as the negative energy literally was expelled out of me. In the Guru Granth Sahib, the Guru ji states that if you take one step towards God, God takes a million steps toward you. That day He finally came and proved to me His power to change a lost man in a moment. 

           I was always worried about what others would think about me, but now I frankly do not care. I have the right to be happy my whole life. Every line I hear in the Guru Granth Sahib rings so true now as I have moved away from my ego and closer to God. I have always been so afraid to let go, but that fateful day I finally did. I no longer have conflicts with anyone for nothing is an insult. If someone calls me a name or disrespects what I stand for, I no longer let it bother me because within I am stronger. My exterior is not who I am, and if someone wants to judge me they can be my guest. At one point, I too was guilty of this sin of judging others. When the Guru Arjan Dev Ji sat on the burning hot plate he smiled to the heavens above for he was soon going to meet his creator. He harnessed no hate toward the Muslims or the men who were carrying out his death. Bhai Mati Das Ji smiled the whole time as he was being cut in half, and Guru Gobhind Singh Ji sacrificed his whole family and himself for the spreading of truth, love, and justice. Who the hell am I to be carrying around a massive ego of hate when God is always within every man and the those around him. All are God’s children, and with Waheguru’s kirpa they too will one day be awakened when the time has come. 

          Whenever my mind introduces any element of hate, anger, or judgement, I stop it. I halt the thought and tell it to leave my mind. There is no room for your presence here in my mind. I do not care to hear what you have to say. I smile, love, and accept everything now and drench myself in the beauty of the present moment. I have let go of my ego. If someone tells me that I am skinny, ugly, or dumb I will smile and tell them that I am sorry but I have no complaints, but I am sorry you do, by the way you look great this afternoon – I will continue. I will not insult or slander back this person, for I will not defend something “I” truly am not. I have no control over how my body looks or how others judge it. I can simply be myself and accept who I am with the unwavering love of God who has given me such a beautiful transient gift. Nothing can hold me back for yesterday I destroyed my greatest enemy – myself. 

          The world is much more vibrant now and every person much more beautiful. Every religion a lot more significant. The cliche that one’s reality is his/her perception is perphaps one of the most significant truths of all. Since I changed my perception, the world has changed and the word of God has become so much more beautiful. Now when I hear the words, “Nah Koi Baire Nahi Begana” (There is no enemy or stranger), I cannot help but get goosebumps. “Ab Tuhi, Ma Nahe” (When You (God) are, I am not). From the bottom of my heart, I have zero hatred for anyone or anything in this world in which I live. All seems to be the gorgeous vibration of Waheguru in every direction I look. “Tuhe, Tuhe…”

         Everyday is still a battle and every second the parasite of an ego tries to beckon forth once again, but now I resist with full force. I have stopped feeding into the negativity of my mind, and I know that I am a lot happier because of it. I am seriously one step closer to God, and knowing who I really am. I have finally shed a lot of falsehood in my life. I smile now for the life that has been given to me is too deep a miracle. I breathe with passion, and walk with assurance in the power of God and my true inner-self. I have nothing and no one to fear. I am now living. 

      The Guru Granth Sahib really comes alive now that I am no longer blind. The sweet nectar comes with self-realization. Keep trying and trying for every step you take towards Waheguru a million are taken towards you. One day the moment will come in all types of forms to elevate you one step nearer to the infinite truths of God. Do not give up no matter how high the tides or how shallow the water may appear. Things will come and when they do you will be glad that you kept your prayers and thoughts with the Almighty. It may feel superficial at first, but very soon it becomes a miraculous healing power for happiness. I have found a direction with structure, and a heart with a true purposeful soul. I have been liberated, but still have a long way to go. Lord I am one step closer to you. In His grace and mercy I trust.