Between the yearly anniversary of a family death, and a visit to the Golden temple I have learned a lot about sikhism and found that it rings much truer than traditional western views
Have you ever had a feeling about something but not known where it came from? Throughout my short time on this earth, I have always had issues with Hollywood's biggest themes, but I could never have verbalized that. I could verbalize why my Dad, my Mom, and a host of other people had issues with it. But when it came to my own discomfort with the themes, I couldn't find a why. For some reason the messages "Be yourself," and "Believe in yourself" just never rang true. Recently, however, as I began diving into Sikhism I was introduced to the phrase and habit "wahe guru" and it revealed to me why the "yourself" theory in the US has always rubbed me wrong.
"Wahe guru" doesn't have any translation, and from what I can gather, a Sikh couldn't even explain the phrase in Punjabi. Instead, it is a phrase that Sikhs employ throughout the day for anything from blessing their food to when they stub their toe and each time they say the phrase it is meant to remind them of their beliefs. Saying "wahe guru" is a way of centering them back in their belief and pulling them out of the world yet again.
One of the beliefs that this phrase reminds Sikhs of is that they are essentially selfish, egoistic, and greedy and only by maintaining a connection with God can they get away from those characteristics. As far as I can tell, they are unsatisfied with their natural characteristics, instead they would prefer to align themselves with their God who is so much better than they could ever be alone. They also know they need a constant reminder of their commitment and thus, the verbal habit "wahe guru" is born.
Almost immediately after getting this information, I realized that I believe in a similar concept if not the exact phrase. I don't want to be myself, and I also don't believe in myself to have the commitment to make the changes I want to see. This became apparent when I took the time to analyze my behaviors since arriving - wearing Punjabi suits, writing a blog, and actually waking up at 4 am - and the various people I employ to keep me accountable for completing those tasks.
Me is a cross-dressing recluse who has difficulty speaking her mind outside of her home. Me is the kind of person who sets an alarm at 4 am just to fall back asleep because whatever she had to do was not required, but merely highly recommended. If I trusted Me to let go of my pride, my fear, and my laziness, I wouldn't have asked people in the US and India alike to verbally or physically slap me if I don't wear a suit or post another blog. I wouldn't have scheduled calls at 4 in the morning every other day of the week to ensure I get up and take the time I need to write and think.
Sikhs use "wahe guru" to remind themselves that to get above this world like a lotus flower on scum water, I use other people to remind me to get above myself and challenge myself to change. If either of us believed in our ability to be the people we want to be (certainly not the people we are) we wouldn't obsess over reminding ourselves to change, and I don't think we would change at all.
So this is me finally verbalizing why I disagree with the first world idea that we should be ourselves and believe in ourselves. Ourselves are ugly. Ourselves want to remain in our comfortable clothes sipping hot chocolate and looking from a distance at other ideas, cultures, and people that could challenge us. Ourselves are certainly not the kind of people we should trust. Ourselves turn off our alarms, and ourselves push off writing until tomorrow.
Or I guess, maybe, this is just me?
Elianna DeSota is a young teacher who is obsessed with deep diving into new cultures and ideas. Right now she is on a journey to discover more about India and herself before jumping into the next chapter of her life.