Being a Vessel: in Sikhi, and the West

By neglecting art, we’ve been neglecting our spirituality. And perhaps vice versa. Perhaps we could practice receiving a little more, instead of doing, as we normally do.

Most of us, especially in Asian communities that so highly value scientific endeavor, and want the next generation to all be doctors, grossly undervalue art. Sadly, this might be stunting our spirituality.

How often have your teachers, parents, and other adults in your life impressed upon you the importance of active effort, purposeful thought, and discipline? The scientific methods we rely upon to explain our environments and the universe all rely on these traits and oh-so-important- rationality. Through decades of education, we’re pounded into submission, learning to accept that rationality is good, and irrationality, bad.

But that’s not entirely true. And in the last week, I noticed that both Japji Sahib and a popular American site (especially amongst techies) bypassed rationality to focus on the importance of a different kind of knowledge – intuition. And it rang true. Intuitively. Irrationally.

From the 13th Pauri of Japji Sahib:

gurbani1.jpg
In a talk about nurturing creativity, the author of Eat, Pray, Love (this is not an endorsement of the book) mentions the poet, Ruth Stone’s, connection with her poetry. Ruth Stone, who is now in her 90s, explained that when she was younger, working in the fields, she would look over the horizon and suddenly see a poem coming barreling at her, through the fields. And she would have to run like hell to find paper and pen before it was gone. [You can listen to her pretty extraordinary process here. Apparently, sometimes she would catch a poem by its tail, just as it was passing over her head, pull it back, and the poem would come out on paper complete, but backwards, from the last word to the first. ]

I think the author and poet are referring to the same thing that is meant by “Budh” – intuition - in the above pauri of Japji Sahib (this is only my interpretation).

Intuition requires us to stop listening to our rational selves, and to listen for something deeper. It connects us with the part of ourselves that is already connected to the world outside. It requires us to be receivers of what comes our way. Vessels, if you will. It takes the ego out of our actions if we understand that we are not doing anything, but are simply the vessel through which things happen.

Perhaps if we practice listening to our intuition, instead of our rationality, we can nurture our artistic instincts as well as our spiritual awareness, at the same time.


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8 Responses to “Being a Vessel: in Sikhi, and the West”

  1. Harinder says:

    There exists a philosophical debate (which is sometimes seen as a conflict between movements called Platonism and Aristotelianism) concerning the role of reason in confirming truth.
    There are th schools of thought on waht to base the "First principle "
    a) "Empiricism" :– asserts that sensory impressions are the only available starting points for reasoning
    b)" Idealism," :- claims that there is a "higher" reality, from which certain people can directly arrive at truth this i feel is equivalent of intution
    Philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Alfarabi, Avicenna, Averroes, Maimonides, Aquinas and Hegel are sometimes said to have argued that reason must be fixed and discoverable—perhaps by dialectic, analysis, or study.
    In the vision of these thinkers, reason is divine or at least has divine attributes.
    Such an approach allowed religious philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas and Étienne Gilson to try to show that reason and revelation are compatible.
    Kant attempted to show that pure reason could form concepts (time and space) that are the conditions of experience.

  2. Harinder says:

    There exists a philosophical debate (which is sometimes seen as a conflict between movements called Platonism and Aristotelianism) concerning the role of reason in confirming truth.
    There are th schools of thought on waht to base the "First principle "
    a) "Empiricism" :– asserts that sensory impressions are the only available starting points for reasoning
    b)" Idealism," :- claims that there is a "higher" reality, from which certain people can directly arrive at truth this i feel is equivalent of intution
    Philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Alfarabi, Avicenna, Averroes, Maimonides, Aquinas and Hegel are sometimes said to have argued that reason must be fixed and discoverable—perhaps by dialectic, analysis, or study.
    In the vision of these thinkers, reason is divine or at least has divine attributes.
    Such an approach allowed religious philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas and Étienne Gilson to try to show that reason and revelation are compatible.
    Kant attempted to show that pure reason could form concepts (time and space) that are the conditions of experience.

  3. Harinder says:

    So the question is :-
    Why do we think that reason is not divine ?
    As per sikhs philosophy he alone is the Karta Purakh of every things so reasoning is also his gift ????

  4. Harinder says:

    So the question is :-
    Why do we think that reason is not divine ?
    As per sikhs philosophy he alone is the Karta Purakh of every things so reasoning is also his gift ????

  5. rocco says:

    there is nothing wrong with being a doctor. It is a caring profession. lawyers, maybe.

  6. rocco says:

    there is nothing wrong with being a doctor. It is a caring profession. lawyers, maybe.

  7. justasikh says:

    "Philosophers espouse freedom of thought. The wise espouse freedom from thought" – Can't remember

  8. justasikh says:

    "Philosophers espouse freedom of thought. The wise espouse freedom from thought" – Can't remember

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