Sunday, May 2, 2010

Coming out

As I tied my turban today, I felt like I was going into battle.  I slicked my hair back neatly into my rishi knot, covered it up snugly with a spare chunni.  Curled my first turban layer, then the second snugly around my head...maybe a little too snug today.  Took my stretchy chunni, which I had soaked and washed in bleach last night, and wound my head its the final layer of whiteness, all while reciting "Gobinday, Mukanday, Udaaray, Apaaray, Hariung, Kariung, Nirnaamay, Akaamay". 

No, I wasn't about to go take up arms---I was going to sing a concert!  But this was my first professional concert where I was wearing my turban.  Having been wearing my turban most of the time for the last year, I had recently made the decision to wear it all the time---the only time I haven't been was when singing.  

I am constantly awestruck at how the universe puts things in your path to support you.  Driving to the church I started to get nervous again, and as I did, I passed a parked car with a humongous Adi Shakti decal in the rear window.  Then after the concert, I had a women come up to me and ask "Are you a 3HO Sikh?"  It turned out that this woman's daughter and grandchildren were in the dharma for a long time.  There were other interesting exchanges I had with some of the concert-goers, and felt very grateful to my turban.  Its interesting, because I think my turban actually helps me sing better-- emotionally, I feel protected and contained, and physically, it reminds me to keep my head up! 

Becoming a Sikh today is a different landscape than it was 40 years ago. It seems many of the 'first generation' of 3HO Sikhs experienced an "immersion conversion": living in an ashram, working in a yogi business, being with other sikh/yogis most of the time.  There just aren't those kind of opportunities now for people who are entering this path now.  Granted there are some, but for the most part,  this transformation happens in the context of our established lives.  Sometimes there's a sangat close by, sometimes the closest one is a 6 hr drive.  So what I've been thinking is...go out and make the sangat.   Interact with those that are in your life, do the things you have always been doing, and bring that light, confidence and spirit of the Guru to all situations.  Its not just Sikhs who have a monopoly on Khalsa--- I am frequently inspired and uplifted many Christians, Jews, Agnostics and Atheists on a daily basis.  My heart opens for the opportunity to connect and share with people from different backgrounds.  I have a hope for myself that living as a Sikh, singing and just being, I'll be able to bridge different worlds and live the truth that we are all one. 


  1. I liked this post! I think your so right when it comes "make the sangat". I feel my sangat is on the internet, been thinking to write a post on the topic for some days now. But your are so right, you can make your sangat with the people you already have in your life. Be inspired and inspire others.

    Have a beautiful day!

  2. It's interesting that you mention the idea of "immersion conversion" and the way in which that kind of immediate contact with sangat isn't as available now (dependent on location to a degree, of course.)

    I live in the UK where next to no one has heard of 3HO and the vast majority haven't a clue about Sikhism, so I can relate to your feelings. I don't wear a dastaar but I do cover my head, and I know that feeling of 'going out to battle'- whether you look a little or a lot different from the norm, the very fact you're setting yourself apart is what causes it. I'm also familiar with the positive things/ interactions with people that can come from it though, and I'm so glad the same is true for you!

    Chardi Kala!


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