As we find ourselves in another lockdown, I can’t help but reflect on all this year has taught me about the strength and resilience of my own mind. So much has happened in the world around us since the first lockdown, where life as we always knew it changed and our physical freedom was taken away from us. We were forced to stay within the walls of our houses and at different times it may have felt like they were closing in on us. Back then, I was filled with anxiety, stress and worry of the uncertainty and scale of loss that these unprecedented times would inevitably bring. Now, although the situation hasn’t changed and the virus is still around, my mindset has, and that has changed everything for me.

Fear of death

This year has been filled with so much loss and that ultimate fear has been taken away for so many people through losing their loved ones but has now been replaced with the immeasurable pain of a lifetime of grief to deal with.

For those of us that have been fortunate to be relatively unaffected in terms of personal loss, I can imagine that most people’s worry is what if I get sick or someone I know does to the extent that we die? When you start following this thought your life will inevitably be rooted in fear and you will be living in survival mode which will weaken your immune system.

Wherever you are in your journey, start or continue to use this time to look for strength and guidance in Gurbani to re-evaluate your life. Maharaj has been telling us all along that none of us can be here forever, one day we all have to go and that the support of His name is the only thing that is going to get us through whenever it does happen.

Why are we suddenly becoming increasingly scared of death, when its reality has been hanging over us since the second, we came into this world? It’s because it’s making us realise who and what is truly important in life and we’re afraid to lose it all. You may also be realising you haven’t even touched the surface of what it means to truly connect to the core of who you are or your purpose. ⠀

God has shaken the whole world to remind us that whilst we still have breath in our body, nothing has been lost yet, there’s still time to wake up and remember Him!

This virus may seem like an imminent threat but our egos have been the biggest threat our whole lives and we’ve never even realised it. To keep it in perspective, it’s really not any more than the threat we faced before it came along, even now as you’re reading this, people all over the world are dying for reasons unrelated and we don’t even know about it. All of the frontline key workers, in whichever capacity it may be, have been at the biggest risk throughout and will continue to be, facing it head on for us. This has had most of us living the safest we ever have, in the comfort of our own homes. Take a minute to let that sink in.

Connecting to faith

Gurbani is the most magical resource we could ever have been gifted with, to get us through any difficulty we will ever face in life.

During the first lockdown, when the doors physically closed to the Gurdwara, which was in hukam, I had no choice but to retreat within and was amazed to find Guruji within the home of my own self. Nonetheless the process was difficult and I felt like I lost a part of who I am. To have to cry from the depths of your soul and beg Waheguru for physical darshan of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is a feeling that could never have arisen through any other circumstance. I will not be able to see it now or understand but as life goes on, I will get to experience and see the power of that ardaas slowly unfold and the phal of every single tear that I believe reached Guruji’s charan at that time. ⠀ ⠀

The difference in this lockdown is, that the sanctuary of Guruji will remain open to some capacity and it’s a reminder that it’s all we ever truly need access to in life. All of our blessings, lessons and the people we have in our life are gifted through the kirpa of the eternal light that shines from SGGSJi and that same light is pervading the whole universe. ⠀

Everything is within hukam, regardless of whether we perceive it to be good or bad or whether it brings happiness or pain. The quality of your life will depend on the quality of your thoughts and your personal connection with Waheguru.

Freedom is a state of mind

This comes from our own self. No one can give you that nor can anyone take it away from you. I’m aware and grateful of how much of a privilege it is to be able to reside within the freedom of my own mind regardless of the chaos in the external world. I’m fortunate to have been able to reach this place, through Maharaj’s kirpa, which has taken years of consistent inner work and contemplation that not everyone will have had the capacity to do or continue to do throughout the pandemic. Nonetheless just being aware of these perspectives can shine a light on personal storms you may be going through. For those of you who have been on a similar journey, I’m sure you will be able to resonate!

I have to be honest though, absorbing the lessons learned from others on their personal journey of struggle will always be a short-term fix, there is no substitute for having to do your own shadow work in order to see and experience the long-term rewards but I promise it’s worth it!

Change your mindset, change your life

See this lockdown as an invaluable opportunity to recharge, reset and redefine, it has the potential to completely transform your perspective and life moving forwards. Use this time to do whatever you need to do, it’s going to be different for everyone.

I acknowledge that so many people have been and will continue to be struggling financially, physically and practically and that will take a whole other toll that I don’t have the insight into. These are my own personal insights attained throughout the pandemic which I have used to break down the narratives I was being fed through fear and build a new one using faith, allowing me to thrive, not just survive. Don’t wait for this pandemic to be over to resume your life, it might feel like it has paused to some extent but the limited number of breaths that have been assigned to us when we came into this world have not.

I already know and accept that I will still experience anxiety, stress and worry during this time as unexpected things happen and past triggers will arise but I’ve got to a place where I can ride the waves of those emotions. I’ve learned that you have to sit with those feelings, acknowledge it and use it as a drive to elevate your state of consciousness, resistance only adds more struggle and pain. It can all be utilised for your highest good.

You all have the capability to be able to reside within the freedom of your own mind. You may be thinking, where do I start to be able to get there, when there is so much external chaos around me and restrictions in place? The first step that I ever took, that has got me here today, was a heartfelt ardaas, through streams of tears, saying to Guru Nanak Dev Ji, “I don’t know how to get out of this darkness that I am in, I only have you to rely on and guide me, please can you help me?” That first step has brought me to a place far beyond than I even had the capacity to pray for. The most beautiful thing is, I’ve only experienced just a small drop from the ocean of bliss that resides within the kajana of SGGSJi, so can’t even imagine what I will discover as I continue to dive deeper through a lifelong journey of tests and learning.

Everyone’s journey is different, it has taken me years to get here, but remember Guruji has the ability to change perspective in as quick as a second. We don’t know when that change will come for us, so never underestimate the power of ardaas and faith.

We pray that you and your families continue to stay safe, healthy and in chardikala and for those who are dealing with the pain of loss and grief these times have brought, may Waheguru provide comfort, strength and healing.