The Birthday Tradition

October 2, 2017

October is my birthday month. In the tradition of my mother’s teaching of giving to others when it is your birthday, I would like to gift you with some knowledge.

When I was a little girl, I traveled to India with my mother. It was 1978, and I was just five years old. For my birthday, I decided to assist in a Sikh free kitchen in order to give back in whatever capacity I could. My mother contributed to the cause, too; she donated some money on behalf of me and my birthday, which helped cover the cost of food.

Together, my mother and I spent the whole day serving others. I still remember how the food was presented: bowls made out of flatbread called chapati portioned alongside the main dish, dahl (a lentil curry). I loved being able to give back to others, especially because I got to be with my mom… and also because of the awareness, I gained.

I was in awe of the people I encountered that day; many of them had leprosy and were missing parts of their body, yet they were still living their life. They persisted. When you are young, you naturally observe more than you judge because you have few experiences to use as comparison. I also had something more than that: a mom who taught me to see God in all.

Reflecting on this memory, I realize that I still try to see the “generated goodness” in everyone. Life is a constantly moving journey in which we often face confusion. Part of the progression through life, however, is to find understanding in all that is unfamiliar to us. When we do so, we can make sense of all that we witness. Meditation is a great aid in that regard.

A reason why I practice daily meditation is because it clarifies my perspective on life. As a result, it keeps me sane. It allows me to remain content. When life is challenging you in your behavior, your thinking, and your beliefs, how do you keep up? How do you stay on your feet? For me, I meditate!