Sikhs are to be mystics. Being a mystic does not involve dressing up in a dhoti or any other special outfit, it is perfectly possible to be a mystic in a pair of jeans, a kurta payama or a salwar kameez.
Being a mystic means to be in love with God and to feel God’s love for us. God is not just something or somebody the folks in the Gurdwara talk about, you can feel God, you can experience God in your life.
When I was in Amritsar I used to get up very early to join the jatha doing prakarma washing, then did my nitnem and helped carrying the palki to Harmandr Sahib. After the Vák and the Saviye I would be on a spiritual high, feeling very close to God and close to ‘sádh sangat’.
I think that this is essential Sikhí : feeling close to God should go together with, should be the same as feeling close to God’s creation. God’s creation includes all humanity, all the animate and inanimate world, and all the universe with the worlds upon worlds that Guru Nanak wrote about.
In the central area of Amritsar is Gurdwara Tahli Sahib with its own sizeable sarover called Santokhsar. Every Sunday the sevadars used to offer open air langar where most of those attending were not Sikhs, and many were not Panjabis either.
The sevadars did Vahiguru simran while serving, after explaining that this was not just for Sikhs but for all. They addressed this mixed bunch of sangat, some of whom were no doubt scoundrels, as sádh sangat.
These sevadars understood Sikhí and acted upon it. Everybody was not just welcome, everybody was made to feel part of what was going on there. Everybody was asked to join in the simran, everybody was included in the ‘True Congregation’, there was no ‘Us’ and ‘Them’.
Spirituality in my understanding is not about us Sikhs sitting cozily together and excluding others, spirituality is about having a loving relation with God, feeling Oneness with God and with God’s creation.
In my work I come across people of all faiths and none who work in Further Education Colleges. I feel at one with all of them, regardless of their background, with whom I can work for the welfare of all the students.
Obviously not everybody is good, too many people are not even trying. Guru speaks out clearly against those who are wasting the chance of joining with God that this human life offers us, but Guru has compassion for those that seriously and honestly try. If we are to judge others we should judge on behaviour, not on labels like Sikh/Non-Sikh or Panjabi/Non-Panjabi.