I will be the first to admit that when push comes to shove (literally) I may not react in the best way. Normally, I get a little defensive and, at times, even aggressive. Now, I know that this is not the best way to go through life but I have not really gotten the chance to work on it. However, at the Harmandir Sahib, I have found that I am less aggressive when the crowds get chaotic and the old women start to shove.
This change in behavior is most likely a direct result of one of two things (or some combination of the two): 1. the fact that this is a holy place and I feel that shoving is disrespectful or 2. the fact that all of the people I have come across maintain a positive outlook despite the chaos of the temple. My favorite from of ‘seva’ is definitely the broom making…and that is partly due to the fact that the men at that station are so kind and willing to help us foreigners learn how to make the brooms. While I am no connoisseur of broom making, I do not seem to be disappointed when I fail and I attribute that to the positive atmosphere at the station. The way the men smile at us and try to initiate communication despite the language barrier paired with the way they drink their chai and eat prashad really makes for a warm experience.
This is just a micro example of the positivity and warmth that I have felt from every person that I have come in contact with at the temple. To be honest…I think it has rubbed off a bit and I don’t even mind.