Sikh meditations blend spirituality with the person’s daily life. The two aspects of the meditation are Jap and Simran.
Jap means to repeat, to affirm and to act.
In a Sikh Meditation we repeat the Gurbani sentences, Gurbani words and the Guru Mantra. Another way the Jap forms a part of Sikhs life is when the Sikh Prayers are recited Daily, Gurbani Kirtan is listened to regularly.
Gurbani which are words of Shabad Guru has guidance to shape our basic beliefs aligned with spiritual life. In this life we live in raza – a positive contentment, we are loving towards others, we share, we forgive, we have positive uplifted outlook. A life being lived in Chardikala. The positives of this life can be appreciated by looking at what won’t be there in this life: anxiety, anger, greed, exploitation and above all a sense of fear. We too have happiness and sorrow; tears and joy; hope and despair. The anxiety and fear are our regular companions. A change is what we ever desire.
The Gurbani gives us wisdom and direction that changes us to become a Jyote swarope – a light that is an image of GOD. Our perception are changed, our self-concepts are changed.
The jap is a tool, a process that is an important aspect in this change process.
A novice often questions this aspect. Why repeat? Why again and again? Why remember GOD again and again? Why praise GOD again and again like a sycophant?
In fact we are repeating good to be good. We repeat an image to be that image.we are shifting our state of being to what we truly are – a Jyote swaroope from a temporary self identity that we adorn and live with in this world.
Our present way of thinking and living has also come about through experiences. Much has been reinforced by repetition. In fact the majority of our thoughts/actions are not through a logical conscious thinking but guided by a default way of thinking and choosing triggered by thoughts connected with experiences which are the domain of our subconscious.
Our subconscious mind has been built up by experiences. The input influences were many ranging from those of parents, teachers and peers. But one factor that greatly influenced was our environment that included TV, press and neighbourhood. The thinking and emotions of all around us has shaped our subconscious mind which is further part of a collective consciousness.
We have within us anxieties and fears. The anger is easy to trigger and greed ever lies hidden. The circumstances of our live don’t have much to cheer.
We now only have to accept the Guru’s words and move ahead for the change.
The other important main aspect of the Sikh meditation to understand well is Simran.
The Simran broadly means ‘to remember ‘.
In Simran we remember our true nature. Through Simran we bring about a perception of truth. Object of Simran is to change us into what we truly are.
As we decide to do Simran many questions come in mind. How to do Simran? When to do Simran? How is it different from meditations? Does it involve controlling the mind and so on?
Simran can be better understood if some aspects are compared with what is commonly known about meditation.
Meditation involves closing of eyes so as to shut the outward focus of senses and move within. In meditation either a mantra word is repeated to focus the mind and move towards stillness or thoughts are observed so as to go through the gaps between thoughts.
However the Simran can be done either with eyes closed or with open eyes. Simran also has a Guru mantra for focusing of the mind. This Guru mantra is a change or transformation agent. It enables us to have a state of mind with awareness having an inward point of origin.
Normally our focus of senses is directed outward from a point of origin near our eyes. This point is nearer to outside world. The first change that Simran of Guru mantra brings about in us is to have an inward focus as well. The outside world is looked at with inner eyes as well and also heard with inner ears. The inner eyes and inner ears are no physical organs but are organs of consciousness.
The second change that Simran brings is the way we look and feel the material world around us. What we see around is distinctiveness and variety. There are so many different objects. All individual persons are different. They look different, they think differently and they behave differently. There are so many different species. There is distinctness all around. The objects are distinct. We routinely change and modify these. We have a daily life starting from the point we wake up to the point we sleep again. We use so many objects. We interact with such variety of people. We think and have so many thoughts. The world is filled with variety with everything distinct and different.
And if someone tells us all things inherently are same, what would be our reaction. What would be your reaction if I tell you the PC screen, the table, the chair ,the walls and all other objects around you are a part of God’s creation , you would agree. But If I said these are aspects of GOD ,it is going a bit further but if I called these objects GOD you would think am I mad.
Well the path towards God is to know what the word GOD means. It also is a path where our perceptions change. We enter a state of knowingness. In this state we know the truth of things and we perceive differently. Our experiences also differ .Instead of viewing things as distinct we view them as interconnected as well. There is a shift from separateness towards perception of oneness. A ground for addressing, separate perception of self as well.
This change is brought about in Sikh’s life by the Guru. The Guru shows the path. The Guru imparts understanding. The Guru guides. The Guru watches and directs.
And what had been there in the Sikh’s mind initially? First of all doubt, next outward attractions that keep the mind involved. The working nature of the mind is such that there are thought and thoughts interconnected always in motion. This mind keeps us involved in the world. We are son, daughter, father, mother, worker, boss, neighbor, citizen and so many other roles. We have responsibilities and duties. We have desires and needs. All these and much more makes for a life we are living. Should not these be addressed along with our spiritual quest? The life that Guru guides us to live looks towards our prosperity as well. Our health improves visibly and there is greater strength to withstand diseases than normally even during initial stages of simran when the sikh begins to absorb Guru's directed way of living the life.
The Sikh looks around and feels the joy. When there is simran of the Guru mantra Waheguru , Waheguru , Waheguru ... with every utterance the sikh delights at the wondrous creation . It is Wah Guru , whether it is the world around or the own body , there is wonder of creation in every thing. accompanying this simran is the secret guru guided direction of feeling HIS presence as well. FEEL , FEEL and FEEL . Do Simran with a feeling.
When Gurbani is recited FEEL.
When Shabad is listened FEEL.
Accept the Guru's word as absolute truth.
As we enter and walk the path , the relationship with Guru is our first most important step. This relationship is first addressed by the Sikh meditative path of Simran which essentially has Jap as its component. We can know what Simran truly is by doing Simran.
It is through Simran that we have to know the Shabad Guru and form a relationship so that we are able to move to next step where the reality is not visible nor is it a part of our experience but has to be accepted as truth so that we vibrate at a level where we can perceive it and make it a part of experience.