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Summary of Question:Trying To Be Religious In Western Environment
Category:General Q's from Non-Sikhs
Date Posted:Wednesday, 4/30/2003 11:36 PM MDT

hi,


i am 20 years old and live in california. i have been struggling to find a meaningful purpose in my life. recently, i have been very attached to gurbani and kirtan. i try to do japji sahib in the morning, and try to follow the basic teachings of sikhism. the only thing is, i dont know how to be religious and keep the same faith in front of my friends and cousins who are very western. i dont know if they will accept me and my newly found love for gurbani and sikhism. i know that i cannot give up any of these two things because they are both important to me.

help me. what should i do?

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REPLY
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Sat Nam. First of all, don't stop. Second, try to explain to them that these practices are important to you. If you feel you cannot, then don't, but don't be surprised if you find yourself distancing from them. This is not entirely a bad thing, and doesn't mean you have stopped loving these people as friends and relatives. It is acknowledgement that you are moving in a different direction and sometimes close bonds cannot be maintained when this happens. Thirdly, elsewhere on the Sikhnet site is a way to search for gurdwaras in your area. If you haven't already found one, do so. Because SANGAT (means congregation) is a very important element in Sikhi. You need to find people/friends who understand your love of gurbani and encourage it. A Sikh community is how to do this. My own experience of this is that the sangat will embrace you when you explain why you are there. What you are experiencing is normal, I might add. Finally, practice chanting the naam. Elsewhere on this site (search meditation) you will find advice about that. This will give you the neutral meditative mind you need to go through this shift.
Guru ang sang,
-DKK



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