Project Conversion

Project Conversion

Project Conversion: A Greedy Mistress?

posted by abowen

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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posted September 22, 2011 at 11:41 am


Wonderful verse. Thank you!

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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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