Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 7.38.14 PMScreen shot from Google Images.

Life’s all about perspective.

I remember as a kid playing at the Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) on Pape St.  Just north of Dundas Street this white square building stood and was the first Gurdwara in the GTA.  For nearly 10 years it played a central role in our lives when we lived in Leslieville, even more so for my dad who came to Toronto a couple years before us and spent time living there and doing “Seva” (service).  He played a key role as a priest and taking part in sermons for the Sangat (congregation).  Most of my spiritual knowledge can be traced back to his sermons.  Be it at home, at the Gurdwara or at religious functions at peoples’ homes.  They’d ask him to lead the reading of the Guru Granth Sahib (our Bible) and impart it’s wisdom to the congregation present.

I remember as a kid going to this Gurdwara and thinking it was a huge place.  The congregation was held on the second floor.  Main Floor as you entered had the coats and shoes and two the back there was a Langar Hall (Community kitchen, where vegetarian meals are served to all),  the basement had the bathrooms.

Every Sunday we’d be there playing and running around behind peoples’ winter jackets, running upstairs for Prashad (a warm pudding made out of sugar, flour and butter).  I also remember playing cards “knock out” against the bathroom wall with hockey cards.  We’d line up a few cards against the wall and those who knocked them down would win them.  The other game was landing your cards on the others and whoever did it first won all the cards.  No we did not think of Hygiene, we’re kids after all! 🙂

I also learned to play the harmonium at the Gurdwara as a kid and sing Shabads (hymns).  My brother learned the Tabla.  I remember the first time we sang on stage and people gave us so much money… like $15 in 5 minutes.  I felt rich! 🙂

But getting back to Life is all about Perspective.

You see about a dozen years ago, I went back to the Gurdwara because of a funeral prayer service for our “Leslie-valee-Auntie'”  (My mom’s friend “Aunt-from-Leslie-St.)  When I went to the Gurdwara and stood outside of it and looked around and thought… am I missing some of it?  When I opened the blue doors, I’m thinking this can’t be the same Gurdwara I went to as a kid.  Where’s the rest of it?

The second floor prayer hall seemed no wider than my house.  The total area seemed no bigger than twice my house.  But it was the same Gurdwara I went to as a child which seemed humungous.

It just happened that I hadn’t gone back there for over a decade.  We attended a newer and larger, Gurdwara closer to our home in Scarborough.  To say the least I was taken aback.  I couldn’t believe how off I was about its size.  I was in disbelief and shocked.  In my head all I can do was remember running around in that space and thinking it was like a gym.

This experience taught me a lesson on perspective.  How a kids world is so different than ours as adults and how incredibly influential we are in their lives as coaches, parents, mentors and teachers.

It also highlights how as adults our perspectives can be so vastly different from each other, even while we are living in the same neighborhood.  I’ve experienced the lows of poverty and highs of good money and I can say the mindset is so different.  It’s miserable being poor and Yet, I also know, money doesn’t buy peace of mind and lasting happiness.

That is where you need to add another perspective to your life.  The mind-spirit harmony.  The one where you are part of this world, yet detached of all outcomes.  The one where you serve humanity, without desiring compensation or personal recognition (very hard to do).   The one that doesn’t cause you to be trapped in actions and then fear the consequences.

Since spending more time on reflections I’ve noticed this perspective of spiritual wisdom has brought my heart far more peace than money, friends, family ever did.  Why?  Simply because we are not the world outside of us, we are the mind within.  Our thoughts are our being.  Seeking something outside of us is like pouring water into the lake and trying to retrieve it again.  You can’t.

Try that for a new perspective.  I hope you take 10 minutes each day to reflect and meditate on spiritual truths and focus on inner wisdom.

Thanks for reading.  Be blessed.

Jas Jagpal.