Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Setting Boundaries

Have you ever seen the signs "Dog contained by invisible fence." in the neighborhood and wondered about this incredible invention? I did and found out more about it.

The fence company dug a narrow four foot deep trench around the perimeter of dog owner’s yard and bury a small wire. This wire is attached to a control box mounted mostly on garage wall. A dog is then fitted with a collar sporting a special little box with two small prongs that rest against her skin. The dog trainer then places white flags all around the yard, marking where the underground fence was buried. As The Dog nears the flags, she hears a quiet warning sound clicking from the box. If she kept going and crossed over the boundary marked by the flag, she gets a shock and came back.

These white flags decorating the perimeter of of dog owner’s yard do not stay forever. So, you might wonder, how does The Dog know where the boundary is? It is simple. For the first week, white flags line the boundary of the yard. On the second week, every other flag is removed. On the third week, more flags are removed and the process continues, until eventually, they are all gone. We don't see the flags, but The Dog remembers where the boundaries are. She also learns that the warning clicking sound is her friend and keeps her from getting in a “shocking” situation.

I've realized that the flags are great picture of the boundaries we set for our children. When they're young, we mark out clear boundaries, and as the child matures into adolescence, we begin pulling up those flags, just a little at a time. As they graduate from high school and move into college, most of the flags marking the boundaries are gone, and we pray with all our might, that they remember where those boundaries are.

Just like when The Dog hears the warning sound when she move too close to danger, I believe that Waheguru taps on our children's hearts, and warns them not to cross the boundaries set by their parents. Sometimes they will proceed and cross the boundary anyway. That's when the shock comes in. It might be in the form of discipline and it might be in the form of living with some very unpleasant consequences. When they are young, we have to spell out the boundaries for our children and point them in the right direction. But as they head off to adulthood, we desire that the boundaries will be written on their hearts and they won't find themselves in shocking situations.
And what about for our own lives? Yes, God has set boundaries for us, just as we have set boundaries for our children. Guru Sahib called it Sanjam (self-discipline).

jath sath sa(n)jam sach kamaavai gur poorai naam dhhiaavaniaa ||3||

Celibacy, chastity, self-discipline and the practice of truthfulness are obtained from the Perfect Guru, by meditating on the Naam, the Name of the Lord.

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Page 129

sach sa(n)jam karanee so karae guramukh hoe paragaas ||1|| rehaao ||

Practicing truth, self-discipline and good deeds, the Gurmukh is enlightened. ||

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Page 26

The self-discipline in Sikhi can only be practiced with both inner and outer-rehat side by side. Inner-rehat helps us become Gurmukh that Guru Amar Das ji talks about, and outer-Rehat (Five K’s) helps us preserve our inner-rehat. They both go hand in hand; without outer rehat, inner rehat is like a ripen crop without a fence. Let us pray for His Bakhshish to bless Panth with outer-Rehat of a 'Khalsa' while strengthening our inner-rehat day by day.


Anonymous satvir said...

That's a good way to look at it. I always thought the "shock collar" was/is very inhumane. Maybe I still think so. But the analogy is good.

We have to learn self discipline at some point in time :)


10:01 AM  
Blogger Harkiran Kaur said...

Wonderful Post! Theres a reason to why rehat becomes our flags!

10:16 AM  
Blogger Angad Singh said...

very very inhumane..veechare dogs..but i like the way u relate it to kids..

11:43 AM  

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