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Declutter Your Mind

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Today every device, app, and social media platform is vying for our attention. This can make it challenging to keep our mind focused and in control. It is no wonder that our average attention span is getting shorter as technology advances.

Our desire to try new things or fear of missing out fills our lives with useless information, which leads to a cluttered mind. The mind jumps from one thing to the other without taking inventory of its actions. A cluttered mind is anxious, stressed, frustrated and impatient.

A cluttered mind quickly manifests itself in the form of a cluttered work space, a cluttered closet or a cluttered desktop! An organized mind will execute ideas with clarity and conviction whereas a chaotic mind will make hasty and ill-informed decisions leading to stress and anxiety. A focused or a clean mind is controlled mind and immensely powerful.

Let’s look at some simple decluttering techniques that we can incorporate into our daily lives.

Simran is a higher form of meditation, the purpose is to remember God with every breath. Through Simran one is able to control the many thoughts that enter the mind. Focus the mind on chanting “Waheguru”. Begin by inhaling. Say “Wahe”, then pause, then say “Guru”. This technique is called ‘Saas Giraas’ Simran which is prescribed directly in Gurbani. Repeat the process again. The goal is to eliminate thoughts and clean the mind. If thoughts do come, try to push them aside and re-focus on listening to your own voice.

Read or listen to Gurbani and Kirtan every day. You can download the mysimran.info app, which is a great resource for the Daily Hukamnama, Kirtan, Simran, and Sehaj Paath recordings.

Break-down complicated tasks into small, manageable tasks and do Simran before each block of time. For example, if a particular report might take an hour, divide your time into 20-minute blocks. Try doing 2-3 minutes of Simran before each 20-minute segment for mental clarity.

Reduce the amount of time spent watching TV or viral videos on YouTube, reading blogs, following friends on social media or chat groups. Information overload causes anxiety and stress. Be discerning about what you watch or read to avoid cluttering your mind.

Organize your surroundings (workspace or inbox) and focus on necessities. Purge paper copies of emails or documents that can be stored online. Set a reminder to archive old emails or files every month. And don’t forget to wipe down your computer monitor with a special screen cleaner!

Don’t let your hard work go to waste by falling back into the trap of clutter and chaos. A mind that does Simran, stays in Gurmat and follows Gurbani is an organized mind. An organized mind is a stress-free mind.

Ethical Practices for Sikh Professionals

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How about calling in sick because it’s a beautiful day, and going to the beach? Countless policies, procedures and training is available to teach workplace ethics. At the same time, numerous instances of workplace ethics violations still come to surface. These can range from using company’s office supplies for personal use, to improper use of sick days and serious offenses like expense account fraud, or insider stock trading.

Ethical practices in the workplace cannot be different from ethical practices in our daily lives. For Sikhs, truthful living is known as Jivan Jaach and when applied properly, it takes care of all aspects of ethics – personal or professional. A Sikh derives his or her Jivan Jaach and ethical practices from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. A Sikh’s conduct in different situations doesn’t deviate from the foundational teachings of his or her Guru.

The following examples illustrate how ethical behaviour can find its way into the workplace:

  1. A Sikh executive who follows Jivan Jaach will not lie under any circumstance. This means never claiming credit for the work of other employees or, if working in a group setting, remembering to recognize the entire group’s efforts.
  2. A Sikh restaurant server who believes in sharing and knows that Waheguru is the ultimate giver, will never withhold a portion of his tips from the common pot before the tips are divided with the fellow workers.
  3. A Sikh employee who believes in sewa (selfless service), will know not to use up the last paper in the communal printer and instead, will refill the paper tray for the next person who uses the printer.
  4. A Sikh employee who believes in earning an honest living will never spend several hours a day using his work computer to shop, check out sports scores, pay bills, do online banking, or surf the news headlines.

All these examples involve personal decision making. Only the person making the decision will ever know that there was a decision but each decision will have its impact as an individual, as an employee, as a Sikh, and as a human being.

An individual’s decisions that lead to ethical violations negatively impact the workplace culture and affect co-workers. An ethical or unethical response to even small things will result in the same behaviour and mindset for larger actions.

Let us live our lives, personal and professional, according to the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Let the three pillars – reading Gurbani, doing Simran and following Jivan Jaach – be the central part of our daily lives. The result? An enriched family, workplace and community for all!

The Power of Being Present and Steps to Achieve It

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We’ve all heard by now that multitasking at work leads to reduced productivity, so is it possible to stay present and mindful while I’m doing work?

First, let’s lightly touch on why meditation is important. It helps to improve concentration and focus, amongst many other benefits. When you begin meditating your brain matter actually changes. The benefits of meditation have been studied and reported by many, including the Harvard Gazette and Harvard Medical School. Meditation can help us become more mindful of our thoughts.

Let’s look at this another way. By being present and mindful, you’ll be able to control the hundreds of thoughts that come into your mind. So, instead of being bombarded by thought after thought, you’ll have the ability to take only necessary thoughts. This is why the power of being present is so critical in the corporate world. It can help you be more focused, more productive and achieve greater results!

In the Sikh faith, one particular way to stay present is through Simran, which is the process of chanting a particular mantra – “Waheguru”. This mantra is chanted in two syllables, “Wah-Guru” (‘Wah-Groo’). This specific technique is called “Saas-Giraas Simran.”

So, can I actually do Simran while I work? Aren’t I supposed to be focused on my work? Can I do both at the same time? The answer to these questions – yes!

Here’s how you might be able to incorporate Simran into your work schedule.

  1. If your job requires walking, whether a lot or just a little, you can time the Simran to your footsteps. For example, if you’re a security guard, as your patrolling during your shift you can chant Wahe – Guru – Left – Right.
  2. If you’re in a quiet area, challenge yourself! When you’re saying Wahe – Guru, have an interval timer/stopwatch running, and see how long you can chant without taking a thought. If you only last a couple of minutes, that’s ok. Start over. The longer you can go without taking a thought, the more control you have over your mind and the more present you can be.
  3. When doing complicated tasks, try dividing that task into thirds and do Simran before each block of time. For example, if a particular report might take an hour, divide your time into 20 minute blocks. Try doing 2-3 minutes of Simran before each 20 minute segment for mental clarity.
  4. Book yourself a meeting. If your work area is always busy and you’re unable to clear your mind in that busyness book yourself a meeting room. In that meeting room, do Simran. You’ll find that afterwards, you’ll be much more focused.
  5. Always look for like-minded people, whether it be co-workers, friends, people in your community, or even family members. If they also enjoy Simran, or keeping a clear mind, you can buddy up and do Simran together.

Try incorporating some of these tips and see how smoother your days at work become.

Panthic Report | Ep 26 Week of Dec 6 2018

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WSO Afghan Refugees in Canada, Free Jaggi movement | Ep 26 Week of Dec 6 2018

Summary of podcast:

Interview with World Sikh Organizations Balpreet Singh on the approval of the resettlement of Afghan Sikh and Hindu refugees to Canada, who have fled Afghanistan due to religious persecution.

The free Jaggi Movement made strides this week.
In order to get a meeting with the Foreign Secretary UK MP’s spoke up in parliament To get justice for Jagtar Singh Johal.

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Panthic Report | Ep 27 Week of Dec 13 2018

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PM Trudeau’s security report of India trip, Columbia U’s Sikh adviser | Ep 27 Week of Dec 13 2018

Summary of podcast:

Early last week a special security report by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trip to India earlier this year was released. It raised many troubling questions about foreign interference, particularly with respect to the reputation of the Sikh community in Canada and unfounded allegations of Sikh extremism.

The report examined three issues: allegations of foreign interference related to the Prime Minister’s visit; security issues around Canadian events in India; and a briefing to journalists given by the government’s national security adviser.

Educator and activist Simran Jeet Singh, has been appointed as Columbia’s first-ever Sikh Religious Life Adviser.

Singh will join Columbia’s 15 other Religious Life Advisers, clergy and spiritual advisers that oversee Columbia’s various faith groups.

Simran will provide Sikh students with direct spiritual counseling and organized programming.

Last weekend the Khalsa Care Foundation in Pacoima gave away 10,000 pounds of food, $35,000 worth of clothes and many toys to more than 700 families in the area. In a community event which the gurdwara donated food toys, and clothes.

At an event taking place at the Sikh Gurdwara – in Pacoima.

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Panthic Report | Ep 25 Week of Nov 29th 2018

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Kelowna Sikh temple vandalized, GMG Gurdwaras Bandhi Choor event | Ep 25 Week of Nov 29 2018

Summary of podcast:

Kelowna Sikh gurdwara was vandalized last week – the community has kept a positive attitude.

Guru Maneyo Granth Gurdwaras discovers the bandhi chhor event was a huge success and Panthic Report looks into why.

Gurbir Singh Grewals podcast with We Are Sikhs where he spoke about Sikhs as public servants, and accountability for those who have positions of power.

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Panthic Report | Ep. 24 Week of Nov 22 2018

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Interview with Serene Singh, NKJ UK diwans, Tiger worldwide release | Ep. 24 Week of Nov 22 2018

Summary of podcast:

Interview with Sikh American Rhode Scholar Serene Singh – we spoke about Sikhi in day to day life, where she gets her strength from, and sewa.

Nirvair Khalsa Jatha’s (NKJ) Harinder Singh announced that all of its programs have been canceled across the UK until further notice – NKJ has been facing opposition in the UK.

3 killed in terrorist attack on sikh congregation in Amritsar.

Tiger the hollywood movie based on Pardeep Singh Nagra’s story as an amateur boxer Releases November 30th, we have a clip of our full length interview where he speaks about the importance of the movie. The full interview to come out early next week

British Sikh activists confronted police at a gurdwara telling them they are not welcome as they were “spying on the sikh community”, eventually causing the police to pack up their belongings and leave.

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Don’t gossip at work … or anywhere!

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“Hey, did you hear about Jack in Sales? They’re saying he might get fired for stealing office
supplies”! If you’ve ever worked in a setting with colleagues you’re quite familiar with
provocations like these. Office gossip seems to invade your space at every turn. Whether in
email, chat, a private Slack channel or in hushed tones in a conference room, there seems to be no escape from the wildfire spreading down the grapevine. For Sikhs in the workplace, it may pose a difficult predicament. How do you stay engaged with your workmates, but stay true to your spiritual duty to not slander and gossip?

Three helpful tips to keep you from gossip

1. Identify if you are the gossiper​

The next time you’re speaking about a colleague that’s not present, ask yourself, “would I say this to their face?”. If the answer is no, it’s probably gossip! And in the worst case, maybe slander too. A Sikh should always have the courage to express their viewpoint directly to that person in a professional manner.

2. Stop the gossip in its tracks

If you’re on the receiving end of gossip, try this simple trick. Ask the person doing the gossip or slander to say those things directly to their target’s face. Watch how quickly they recoil from the challenge and try to backtrack their comments. You’ll find that people will no longer seek you out to spread rumors.

3. Remove yourself from the conversation

If you simply can’t avoid the office gossip, just excuse yourself when it starts. There’s no shortage of emails sitting in your inbox, so say you’re busy and go focus on something productive and worthy of your time.

As Sikhs in the workplace, it’s imperative to remember why we don’t gossip or slander. We
believe that God resides in each and every person regardless of race, religion, status or
gender. When you gossip or slander others, you really do so about God. Each breath wasted in gossip is one you could’ve spent humbly serving others.

And as Sikhs, we should always take our guidance – personal and professional – from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Here’s what Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji has to say about gossip and slander:

ਨਿੰਦਉ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਾਹੂ ਬਾਤੈ ਏਹੁ ਖਸਮ ਕਾ ਕੀਆ ॥
Don’t indulge in slander​ for any reason, for everything is the creation of the Lord and Master. Ang 611

ਪਰ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਮੁਖ ਤੇ ਨਹੀ ਛੂਟੀ ਨਿਫਲ ਭਈ ਸਭ ਸੇਵਾ ॥੧॥
Your mouth has not stopped slandering and gossiping about others. Your seva (selfless service) is useless and fruitless. ||1|| Ang 1253

While there may never be a foolproof way to avoid every tidbit shared at the Keurig machine, as a Sikh you should make the effort to control your own words and set the standard for professionalism in the workplace.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Panthic Report | Ep. 23 Week of Nov 15 2018

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Meditation benefits with Concept 1 Learning | Tiger movie interview | Ep. 23 Week of Nov 15 2018

Summary of podcast:

Interview with founder of Concept 1 Learning, Rosey Kaur, on the benefits of meditation in the classroom and work environment.

Pardeep Singh Nagra’s interview with City News about the upcoming hollywood film Tiger Based on his life story.

Smethwick’s Sikh soldier statue vandalized just 5 days after it was unveiled.

President Trumps uneducated tweet about Diwali.

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Panthic Report – November 8th 2018

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Jewish synagogue shooting | Smethwick WW1 Sikh soldier statue

On Oct. 27, a gunman entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 people and injuring six more. This week – On Monday November 5th Muskegon, Michigan Community College’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies held a healing and solidarity gathering that brought people from all different religions together to honour all victims of incidents of hate. Rishi Singh was one of the many individuals at this solidarity event and we have him on the podcast.

A 10ft (3m) statue of a Sikh soldier has been unveiled in the Smethwick town centre to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War One (WW1). The statue honours service personnel of all faiths from the Indian subcontinent who fought for Britain during WW1 and other conflicts.

When Pardeep Singh Nagra was a kid in Mississauga, he didn’t see Sikh soldiers in his history textbooks.
Now, the 45-year-old is standing in a room as the director of the Sikh Heritage Museum where you can read about the first Sikh soldier to win a Victoria Cross (Captain Ishar Singh, 1921)
The Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada has their Remembrance Day Exhibit – 100 Years Victory and Valour: The Sikhs in WWI

Sunday November 11 @ Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada from 11am-6pm.
All are welcome to attend the free exhibit

ABC’s World busiest cities series features a story on ‘Langar’, in the city of New Delhi.

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