2017: A New Year Message from IFLC President Raman Singh

raman-singhEven though January 1 is “just a date” on the calendar, it can serve as an opportunity for reflection, and possibly renewal and redemption.  These are all things we create for ourselves.  Most situations, bad, good, or neutral are creations of our mind.  At the very least, we are responsible for our reactions to events and situations around us.

This past year, with the toxic political climate, was a particularly challenging and often disheartening one.  It has challenged many people’s notion of “normalcy.” But that is precisely why people of faith must have faith that we have a place in the world and a reason for being.

It is easy to have faith and find your highest and best values when events around you are peaceful and happy.  In these challenging times, when people are viewing each other with suspicion and fear, and our political leaders are not doing the work of bringing us together, we are called upon to do that ourselves, to reach out to those who think differently, who pray differently, who speak differently.

Most of our faith traditions ask us to love the humanity within each human.  It may be a challenge but we must do so or the dark forces of hate and anger will win.  We, of faith, must find love, hope and peace.

We have much to be thankful for and that can be our springboard.  This will not be easy; it will require hard work, and vigilance.

In Sikhism we are encouraged to do the “mushakat ghaal” – the very hard work – because that will lead to light.  Our tradition acknowledges that this is easier to do in “saadh sangath,” the company of good people.  To live up to our highest and best selves, we will be expected to do the brave and unexpected.  The company of good people will make our way easier.

As this year begins, I am feeling renewed, and optimistic that all of the people involved with the work of the InterFaith Leadership Council are exactly the kind of people who will stand up to the forces that would tear us asunder and work to bring us together, regardless of how far apart some may feel we have drifted.

I am hopeful, that others are feeling this way, and that we can make 2017 truly a year of Resliliance and perhaps righteousness.  May this year be a fulfilling, peaceful, prosperous, but yet challenging and full of growth and maturity.  Happy 2017.