(“Sansar Samundey Taar Gobindey” – Please carry me across the world-ocean, O Lord of the Universe – Kirtan sung by Bhai Manpreet Singh.)

Man runs into many walls in the worldly nature of society. We are continuously stabbed and pinched by the jagged wrath of society judging, sneering, and gossiping our every move. The experiences of life and the way in which it substantially molds our perspectives strengthens the notion that life is not easy. There are many struggles and too many dead ends. When the road finally straightens and all seems serene, right then life surfaces and reminds man that nothing here is pure bliss. Beyond our control or liking, life continues to happen. Some may call this destiny, kismaat, or others may believe that our decisions lead us to our goals. Neither is known for certain, but one thing that remains unquestioned is that life is not a script written by us. We did not choose our birth nor our inevitable death; hence, we have control over very minimal attributes in life itself.

The life we have been given is a chance beyond that of impossible, so I call it a miracle. No two men are handed the same fate at birth. Some are born to families where loving parents honor parenthood, others are given a meager life of survival. Some are born to the riches of an empire of kings and queens, others are born in shanties of poverty and starvation. Some are born to the whims of prosperous times, others are born to die in the hands of tyranny, genocide, and evil. Some are always thinking of ways to help others, while others are always plotting the destruction of foes. Countless are given a healthy body that functions to do work, others are born vulnerable to handicaps and death. Countless are seeking God in caves, statues, books, and churches. Countless diminish the power of God and drown themselves in their own egos. However, throughout all of these infinite differences one component is universal and that is the pursuit of happiness. Every single soul on Earth seeks happiness, but the way to achieve it is perceived by each man separately. No two people on Earth share the same thinking, because each has unique experiences that have sculpted their minds. The perceptions begin setting in stone and begin crystallizing over the years. Whether the crystallization of ideals hardening into stone helps man or hinders him depends on the quality of life experienced and the thoughts materialized thereof.

“dukh daaru sukh roag paaya jaa sukh taam naa hoi” (Pain became the medicine, and happiness the illness).” In the Rehras Sahib, a Sikh prayer, the Guru warns that pain is a vital component in remembering God. Man begins to drown in his own fallacies if the pain and sorrow of living never existed. There would be no betterment of the spirit as the Earth would become the ultimate Heaven of bliss. Pain and suffering bring man to his knees, and he silently begins to surrender as he realizes that his place in the universal power of God is very small and minute. I never understood and I still have a hard time fully understanding how man can be so arrogant and egocentric when he is but an atom in the size of infinity. However, our existence has a purpose; no matter how small our effect on the universe. The life we lead day in and day out is lived for a reason, because our desire to keep on moving through even the worst proves that we are not ready for the final transition – the transition of death.

“Nanak dukhiya sabh sansaar (Guru Nanak, a man of such high spirituality and Godliness was not spared from pain and suffering and neither is the rest of the world).” Life keeps us on our toes. We somehow believe that our future is still in our own hands endowing ourselves with power and authority. However, what stops a car from ramming you on the highway on the way home? What stops a close member in your family from getting an illness that proves fatal? What stops the wildfire behind your home just a few feet away? It just happens faster than a blink of an eye – life. Some were lucky enough to question how they survived, others had no opportunity to ask as they were swiftly taken. Appreciate your transient senses in the present moment with all there is to be thankful for. Plan for the future and make proper precautions, but never forget that at the end of the day, life does not wait. No one is ever ready to battle the stringent winters and cold throws of despair. God becomes the hand, man so desperately seeks, for guidance across the massive ocean of mental and worldly gaps. We will never truly know everything or become perfect, so we merely surrender and pray for His mercy.

The Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book, continually warns man not to leave the world behind to find happiness. A man will not find happiness away from the world in which he lives. Running to remote caves, islands, and other areas will not help man find peace and content. He should live a balanced and disciplined life with God always on his lips and mind. I had at one point decided that I would lead my own life, and leave the people around me far away. I somehow believed that I was more righteous than them. The whole time I forgot that everyone has the God of light within, and every positive thing I do for someone else I am doing for God. Positive energy reciprocates into a positive lifestyle that sheds all the vices that make us so cruel and human. Actions speak louder than words, and positive actions are the real visible products of a pure soul. I decided that each man and woman on Earth was going to be a family member. I will respect every soul, because hatred will only cause me to hate myself. I will grow infinitely as a person accepting and loving all. Words hurt a lot less, because I smile a lot more. Backstabbing still pinches nerves, but no longer leaves me on the floor with blood squirting out of my heart. Like a bullet proof vest of love, I ward off the negative energy of the world and continue walking down the universal path of God.

In a recent movie called, Into the Wild, a young man leaves his seemingly perfect life in the pursuit of freedom and happiness away from the people he grew up with. He gets into Harvard and on the surface he has a perfect family life. However, he has grown up through rough times. He drives his new car for hours into the desert until he runs out of gas. He then burns his car and his wallet, leaving his identity and life behind. He was sick of the world, and how it so fatally butchered happiness. There was more to life than materialistic fulfillment, because the void within is so much deeper. He runs in countless circles on his voyage to the wilderness of Alaska. When he finally makes it, he starts going through depression and aimlessness. Life just becomes primitive and alone. There is no one else just him and nature. One day he accidentally eats a poisonous herb and begins to slowly die as his stomach and digestive system stop functioning. Too far from civilization, he stays in his shelter. In his notebook in his final days he wrote, “There is no happiness alone, it only exists in the company of others.” The movie was based on a true story. Life is meant to share, explore, and sail through in the company of fellow men dealing with the same journey in different ways.

Attachment begins to recede as one embraces God and his will. Surrender breeds selflessness in His submission. The limited time I have with those I love is minimal. All too soon it will be over. The moments I share with those whom I love dearly become precious treasures in a temporary life. We are all simply guests waiting in a room questioning what is on the other side of the wall. A barrier of dimensions shall sprout when death finally comes, but it will be nothing to mourn but rather to rejoice. A life well lived is a life emerged in the light of the Lord, Waheguru. Uniting with the supreme power and energy is the last hopeful stage in the soul’s progressive journey into the infinite unknown.

Be happy this very moment. Breathe and remember how grand the gift of living is. Be thankful. Look into the sky and reflect on the stars billions of light years away, and whisper to them that this life is beautiful. Just as they radiate from the depths of darkness in space, radiate your own life in the midst of worldly coldness. Warm the cold air in which you live every moment of the day. The choice is simple, “Be the candle to guide yourself and others or be the darkness of despair?

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