Setting the Context
ਸਿਧ ਸਭਾ ਕਰਿ ਆਸਣਿ ਬੈਠੇ, ਸੰਤ ਸਭਾ ਜੈਕਾਰੋ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਆਗੈ ਰਹਰਾਸਿ ਹਮਾਰੀ, ਸਾਚਾ ਅਪਰ ਅਪਾਰੋ ॥ ਮਸਤਕੁ ਕਾਟਿ ਧਰੀ ਤਿਸੁ ਆਗੈ, ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਆਗੈ ਦੇਉ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ, ਸੰਤੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਸਚੁ ਪਾਇਐ, ਸਹਜ ਭਾਇ ਜਸੁ ਲੇਉ ॥੧॥
Paurhi (step) 1
I am enthused to begin this inquiry with accomplished people who have so much to offer. In fact, it sustains me to be in an inquiry of the limitless possibilities of life. Let me identify and separate my views/biases and offer my mind and body to the unknown wisdom as possibility. O’ Nanak! To every interaction with realized beings I bring my commitment to growth, as I deal with my life-as-it-is.
The dialog on Being begins by setting a context that facilitates transformation. Often when you enter a discussion, you do it with an impulse to protect, secure and proselytize your existing points of view.
You are committed to the preservation of your existing view of the world. Although you say you are committed to change, in practice you resist change.
(Gur) Nanak begins this amazing dialog by showing a very different route. With these words, Nanak isn’t addressing the Yogis. Rather, these are directed at the self. This is an instruction to you (the reader, as much as to myself), as you head into any interaction in life – be it with person(s), a book, school, work or any relationship(s).
Instead of your usual habit of approaching an interaction with a view to protect, preserve and proselytize what you know, Nanak is asking you to create a space of operation wherefrom you approach interactions with an openness to learn and appreciate what you may find – without assumptions, preconceived notions and barriers of the known.
In an appreciative inquiry one looks for value, rather than to judge and compare to feel superior or to hide your own weaknesses.
By agreeing or disagreeing or indulging your opinions all you do is ensure the perpetuation of, and operation from, your existing points of view. An inquiry into the unknown, where you are committed to growth, would make a qualitative difference to your every interaction.
So, an alternative is for you to approach an “other” as you would someone with great wisdom and insight. That is because you don't really know who they are. All you may know about them is your past experiences with them and the expectations you have built of them – you know, the known.
That does not offer any freedom.
In fact, it restricts powerful and creative interactions.
The latter occur in inquiry – in the unknown, where there is possibility to be surprised and to be inspired.
Consider the difference in your known ways of interacting with people. What if you entered every interaction as though it were with highly competent people who may be your pathway to unknown wisdom and insight?
Wouldn’t you enter those interactions with respect, humility, and a great deal of excitement?
That is a state of being available to you in every interaction where you go to discover, rather than simply to confirm or impose your previously held beliefs.
(Gur) Nanak says that he is open to possibilities for growth in every communication. For that, he puts aside (cuts out) his preconceived notions/biases when he engages another.
When you approach another with your preconceived notions/biases, do you really engage them? In fact, you do not. You engage your notion of them.
Nanak encourages us to distinguish our preferences and interpretations of the world from the reality of it. And this possibility is available to us in every interaction if we approach every interaction to get in touch with the world the way-it-is.
This will happen if your commitment to transformation is stronger than your commitment to your distorted versions of reality – your interpretations of the world. By living such, you will have ready access to ways of being connected to the Source.