What better song to listen to other than Aretha Franklin's Respect? Owh yeah! :D
Patanjali's Yoga Sutras focuses a whole lot on the Self. He isn't interested in changing others to fit our ideals or likings, he is interested in how we can change ourselves to adapt to our environment. Makes sense, because we can't always make external influences fit into our ideals.
But does that mean that we can do whatever the hell we want to, without paying any heed to the feelings & needs of those around us? Does that mean that we are completely free to do as we please, without having to be accountable to anybody?
Osho, in his talk The Qualities Of A Sannyasin (Seeker For Truth) puts it beautifully:
A sannyasin is one who cares about himself, and naturally cares about everybody else -because you cannot be happy alone. You can only be happy in a happy world, in a happy climate. If everybody is crying and weeping and is in misery, it is very, very difficult for you to be happy. So one who cares about happiness --about his own happiness --becomes careful about everybody else's happiness, because happiness happens only in a happy climate. But this care is not because of any dogma. It is there because you love, and the first love, naturally, is the love for yourself. Then other loves follow.
Other efforts have failed because they were mind-oriented. They were based in the thinking process, they were conclusions of the mind. Sannyas is not a conclusion of the mind. Sannyas is not thought-oriented; it has no roots in thinking. Sannyas is insightfulness; it is meditation, not mind. It is rooted in joy, not in thought. It is rooted in celebration, not in thinking. It is rooted in that awareness where thoughts are not found. It is not a choice: it is not a choice between two thoughts, it is the dropping of all thoughts. It is living out of nothingness.
So, to deny that we are disrespecting others by respecting ourselves - isn't that an oxymoron? If someone stood you up to do something else, & gave you the excuse of self-love & self-respect, would you accept those excuses? Nope, I didn't think so.
Here, the importance of understanding the concept of 'all is one' comes into play. If we were all one, that would mean I am another you, & you are another me. By not respecting my time, are you not also disrespecting yours? By disregarding another's feelings & opinions, are you not also disregarding your own? So how does the excuse of self-respect & self-love even begin to make any sense?
Balance between your search for happiness & the expectation of others from you. It is a little delicate but you should definitely make an effort.
- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar -
Balance. Where have I heard that word before? Bahahahahah..!
You can't always prioritize yourself at the expense of others. & as we discussed in last week's post, anyone who expects you to make them happy, at the expense of your own happiness, doesn't give a shit about you. But again, balance! Just because someone calls you out on something they are not happy about does not necessarily mean that they want you to kowtow to their whims & fancies. Can things not be discussed & balance found in the situation? Of course, there needs to be give & take between both parties. If you enter into a discussion without any intention of giving, without any intention of even budging an inch, then there is no point in even having a discussion.
That being said, whatever you have within you, you project out there. So, if you are not accepting of yourself, you will not be able to accept others either. If you have been slacking off & not making the best of your time, you probably will not treat others' time with due respect either.
As I have repeated numerous times, no one teaching is ultimate. (I think I should make that my catch phrase!)
So not even the excuse of being in the now is worth contemplating. This story portrays it accurately: The Truth About Living In The 'Now': An Allegory.
Being in the 'now' doesn't mean you must forget all past & future - no! Having a past & future are equally important because they shape who you are & where you are headed!
Similarly, in order to ensure lasting pleasantries with others, you need to be constantly aware of what is happening in the relationship. How does it make sense to say that you are allowed to treat someone badly now, with the intention of treating them good in the future? Yes, 'now' matters, yet 'future' also matters! Bahahahahah! Mind-fucked yet??? But it does make sense, doesn't it?
A few examples to show that 'now' is not necessarily always the most important thing:
If your car is low on gas, can you say, 'I'll fill up on gas after I've driven 200km to X'?
If you are hungry today, can you not eat until next week? (Now don't get all pedantic with me here, you know damn well what I'm trying to illustrate! Bahahahah!)
Lastly, this: Brian Miller - How To Magically Connect With Anyone.
'The people in my life didn't feel like I was invested in them. Now, it wasn't true, but it doesn't matter. It's not enough to care about somebody. It's not enough to understand them. They have to feel understood. They have to feel cared about.'
It is never enough for you to just care about someone. It is important that you show you care. It is imperative that the other truly feels that you do. Otherwise, it is just like pouring water into a bottomless cup. You go on pouring & pouring & pouring, not thinking to fix the bottom of the cup, yet still there, pouring, pouring, pouring, & all your effort is going to waste.
Many other philosophies come into play here, like Ahimsa (non-violence, kindness), Tapas (austerity, self-discipline), Svadhyaya (self-study) etc. But I think we've gone through more than enough here. I leave you to ponder the relevance of these other qualities at your leisure. :)
At the end of the day, I think what is most important is removing the ego. When the ego is at play, it finds all sorts of escape routes to avoid facing reality. The ego does not want to die. It wants to continue its illusory life. It does not want to admit mistakes & wrongdoings, & is not willing to 'meet you halfway'.
Truly, Love is God (& not the other way around, mind you!), & love can only exist if there is no ego. The only condition to love is that one must be willing to become a servant. AHA! Again, duality! Most people grimace at the mere mention of the word 'servant'. But see here, learn the secret!
If you love yourself, you treat yourself well. When you love yourself, you love others. You understand that again, all is one. So by serving others, are you not also serving yourself? But does that make you a 'lowly servant'? Not at all! In truth, the greatest opportunity is the opportunity to serve!
Would you become a pilgrim on the road of love? The first condition is that you make yourself humble as dust & ashes.
- Rumi -