Project Conversion

Project Conversion


Project Conversion: A Greedy Mistress?

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Yesterday was amazing. I woke up at 4:30 and, for the first time since July, I didn’t open my laptop or check my email on my phone for the entire day. In fact, I did nothing related to Project Conversion.

And it was the best thing I’ve done for Project Conversion in a while.

I love what I do here. In case you didn’t catch that, I love what I do with Project Conversion. Sometimes though, I get completely burned out. This weekend–particularly Friday thru Saturday–was especially rough. We talked about some important, although tough issues, and sometimes things can get rocky. Fortunately everything seems cool now, but I was worried there for a while.

This journey is a long and sometimes bumpy road. Often it’s the readers and members of the Congregation who pull me through, but this weekend reminded me (once again) of the most important part of my support system: My family. As I constantly checked email and raced back and forth to the laptop responding to this and replying to that, I basically ignored my wife and two daughters for nearly 48 hours. I paid more attention to people I’ve never met, who live hundreds of miles away, than to the people who mean the most and are within reach. Not only that, I spent less time in study of scripture (Guru Granth Sahib and Jap ji Sahib) than normal.

We can never allow ourselves to become so busy with life that we forget what makes life worth living.

That’s a subjective statement so opinion may vary, but for me, it’s a hard, fast rule.

I was reminded of my post on the householder’s life within Sikhi and the importance of one’s duty to their family. From reading the history of the Guru’s, every one of them had a family (except for Guru Har Krishan, who died at eight) and worked in various capacities in addition to their duty as Guru. All of them spoke highly of the family’s importance. Back in July, my Latter-day Saint Mentors reminded me of the value in rest and reflection…something I first picked up in April with Judaism and the introduction of Shabbat.

So easy to forget these lessons in the midst of our struggles and day-to-day living, isn’t it? And it seems so odd that we would forsake something as profoundly simple and positive as rest and reflection. I think sometimes I just get so caught up in what I’m doing here that I forget there was a time before Project Conversion. There was a time when my family didn’t have to share me with the rest of the world. Sometimes I wonder, “What did I do with myself before January 1st, 2011?” But the reality is, January 1st, 2012 is right around the corner. What happens then when I’m not adopting a new religion every month and my wife reclaims me?

“As the lotus flower floats unaffected in the water, so does he remain detached in his own household.“–Guru Granth Sahib

We have to learn to let go, to disconnect. Project Conversion will come and go, but my family will always be there…as long as I take care of it.
 
With this in mind, I closed shop last Saturday night and devoted Sunday to my family, meditation, and study of scripture. I woke up, read Jap ji Sahib, and meditated. No rush so that I could write the next post, just soothing focus on “God’s Order.” Then, after my wife and kids woke up, I surprised them by going to church with them (yes I wore the turban). I’m good friends with the lead pastor out there and most folks in that church know what I’m doing so it wasn’t too strange seeing me walk in. After that, I spent the day taking it easy with the family and thinking about faith outside the context of Project Conversion.
 
Now that I’m back, I feel refreshed. The pressure is gone, the stress is gone. We get so worried about our work sometimes and it’s unhealthy, even when it has to do with faith. From now on, I’m taking Sunday’s off–from whatever I’m doing. Project Conversion, a job, it doesn’t matter. As a society we have to learn to slow down and absorb the beauty and wonder around us, the “play” of God’s workings Guru Nanak so passionately described.
 
What in your life should you take a break from? Is there something stealing your time or sapping your energy? Take a look at your family, friends, or your relationship with the divine. Who is more important: them, or that career? What could you do today, right now, to realign your life for a more positive outcome?


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abowen

posted September 22, 2011 at 11:41 am


Harman,

Wonderful verse. Thank you!



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harman

posted September 22, 2011 at 10:06 am


Hello Andrew ,

Guru Nanak advocated Household , When Guru met Yogi who were staying Away from household, Guru Nanak told them Yoga noway means that you should escape from your responsibilities .

ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਮੜੀ ਮਸਾਣੀ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਤਾੜੀ ਲਾਈਐ ॥
Yoga is not wandering to the tombs of the dead; Yoga is not sitting in trances.

ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਦੇਸਿ ਦਿਸੰਤਰਿ ਭਵਿਐ ਜੋਗੁ ਨ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਈਐ ॥
Yoga is not wandering through foreign lands; Yoga is not bathing at sacred shrines of pilgrimage.

ਅੰਜਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਰੰਜਨਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਜੋਗ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਇਵ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੨॥
Remaining unblemished in the midst of the filth of the world – this is the way to attain Yoga. ||2||

ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਭੇਟੈ ਤਾ ਸਹਸਾ ਤੂਟੈ ਧਾਵਤੁ ਵਰਜਿ ਰਹਾਈਐ ॥
Meeting with the True Guru, doubt is dispelled, and the wandering mind is restrained.

ਨਿਝਰੁ ਝਰੈ ਸਹਜ ਧੁਨਿ ਲਾਗੈ ਘਰ ਹੀ ਪਰਚਾ ਪਾਈਐ ॥
Nectar rains down, celestial music resounds, and deep within, wisdom is obtained.

ਅੰਜਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਰੰਜਨਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਜੋਗ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਇਵ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੩॥
Remaining unblemished in the midst of the filth of the world – this is the way to attain Yoga. ||3||

ਨਾਨਕ ਜੀਵਤਿਆ ਮਰਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਐਸਾ ਜੋਗੁ ਕਮਾਈਐ ॥
O Nanak, remain dead while yet alive – practice such a Yoga.

ਵਾਜੇ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਸਿੰਙੀ ਵਾਜੈ ਤਉ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥
When the horn is blown without being blown, then you shall attain the state of fearless dignity.

ਅੰਜਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਰੰਜਨਿ ਰਹੀਐ ਜੋਗ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਤਉ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੪॥੧॥੮॥
Remaining unblemished in the midst of the filth of the world – this is the way to attain Yoga. ||4||1||8||



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ann christianson

posted September 20, 2011 at 11:13 am


Mark 2:27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.
Those that keep the Sabbath day as a holy day, are blessed to accomplish the things they want to do the rest of the week. How can one pray for personal help, while disobeying this commandment?
Just in my short lifetime, I have seen sports replace God on His Holy Day. I marvel at the thought of how blessed as a nation we would be if we all returned to God and family on this Sacred day.



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abowen

posted September 20, 2011 at 9:09 am


B,

Material will come when it and you are ready for it. There are many times when I plan one post and something completely different comes about! Mike P is the lead pastor of my wife’s church and an all-around fantastic guy.



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Editor B

posted September 19, 2011 at 8:34 pm


I’m amazed at your productivity as a writer so far this year. You’ve been pushing yourself pretty hard. It’s very good to take some breaks. Funny you should post this just now. I’ve been striving for daily posting at my site for some years now, though in reality I have plenty of gaps, especially of late; I have just now given myself permission to change that frequency. And actually Project Conversion was part of the inspiration for that change, even though it actually came before this particular post. Synchronicity?

Mike P’s comment resonates with some other thoughts and issues I’m wrestling with as well, so thanks for that too.



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abowen

posted September 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm


Austin,

I understand that pressure. Being a full time student is an huge task, one that I’m sure you take very seriously. You are right, getting burned out on anything, whether that be study or otherwise, can and will hinder all other aspects of living. President McKay spoke great wisdom there and I’m sure you have the strength to carry it out.



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abowen

posted September 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm


Mike,

Thanks man. You are absolutely right on the money there.



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abowen

posted September 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm


Art,

Indeed. Also remember that Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man, not the other way around.



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Austin Faux

posted September 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm


I’m glad to hear you’re going to take Sundays off from now on. My biggest distraction from family is school, and I’m under a ton of pressure to succeed. The temptation to study all day Sunday is present, but I think for my own sanity I need to put away school, rest, and spend time with my family.

LDS President David O. McKay said, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” This reminds me of the saying, when we die we won’t be looking back on life and say I didn’t spend enough time working on TPS reports (Office Space reference ;D), but we’ll say we didn’t spend enough time with those we love.

I’m glad to hear you’re going to spend more time with your family. When Project Conversion is all done, I’ll miss you for sure, but we only miss that which was well done.

Austin-



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mike p

posted September 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm


I can’t speak of all faiths, only the Christian one which I espouse, but when our faith could be mistaken as a mistress to our spouse we are not living out the greatest tenants of that faith.

I’m glad you had a great day. Great post, Andrew.



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Art Sherwood

posted September 19, 2011 at 1:55 pm


So, it looks like God kinda knew what he was talking about when he said Keep the Sabbath Day Holy.

How different would the world be if more people payed attention to this?



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Dan Jensen

posted September 19, 2011 at 1:07 pm


What have we here, companions? Has Brother Andrew been unfaithful? ;-)



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