Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.
Continuing posts prompted by the prasaadam grantha, "Gita in Daily life" by Sw. Tejomayananda. Please note that technical terms used here, which have been discussed previously, will not be elaborated or translated. The labels cloud on side bar can be used to access specifics if you are new or require refreshing as to meanings.
साधुष्वपि च पापेषु समबुद्धिर्विशिष्यते॥
saadhuSvapi ca paapeShu samabuddhirvishiShyate.
"Who is the same in mind towards the good-hearted, friends, enemies, the indifferent, the neutral, the hateful, relatives, the righteous or the unrighteous; that one excels." (BG 6:9)
Last week the principal of 'samataa' was focused on experience. This week, Equanimity About People. An essential part of living! Above is a verse in the Gita which shines with this instruction.
This is a large subject. It is perhaps the one for which most will seek to find answers. In study groups all over the globe, achaaryas are responding to the many and varied angsts which arise from "issues" of relationship, be they of family, partner, business or wider world. It is a peculiarity of the human beast that, no matter how often they are advised and instructed (and no matter by whom), they will constantly seek to find the answers outside of themselves. There is always the desire to make the other come round to our way of thinking, not allowing for their individuality and equal right to a point of view or behaviour.
We categorise people based on the relationship we have with them; they may simply be a well-wisher, or a very dear friend. Actual relatives my be close in blood but necessarily feeling. It is very important to note that each relationship is individual. Just because you get on really well with cousin George does not mean that your sister or brother will feel equally comfortable with that cousin. Equally, you have no involvement with how cousin George is with others in his various circles. … and yet there are plenty folk who are invested in such things. It is the stuff of soap operas. It is a fact of existing within society that those who are closest to us are often the greatest challenge to our inner balance. All we can do is take ourselves as the reference point from which all relationships are managed and accept that those relationships, to a large extent, will reflect what we project. It is also not without cause that Lord Jesus commanded "Love thy neighbour as thyself", for we need constant reminder that everyone with whom we come in contact has the potential to bring us joy - or pain. If we are the one standing in love we can overcome much. It matters not one jot what is being said about our character in a foreign land, but if our street is abuzz with rumour (whether or not there is basis), it greatly affects us; therefore if we are standing equipoised in our character, any damage is minimised and any frisson which perpetrators may have sought is also quashed.
The Bhagavad Gita, similarly, advises samataa with respect to people. There are people who have difficulties and for whom life always seems dark. There are people who do not have such difficulties and for whom life is light. Either way, we need to deal with them; we have to live with and learn to accept them without agonising over why they are the way they are. We don't want them to keep judging us. Why do it to them?
When we see an apple, we do not automatically judge it for not being an orange. A lemon is a lemon is a lemon. Despite its similarities, it will never be a lime and we never place that expectation or judgement upon it. We know fire to be fire. To expect it not to burn us, even knowing its nature, says more about our ignorance than about the fire's inherent danger. So it is with our interactions with people. First we must learn their nature and come to understand that we cannot necessarily 'get on' with the entire world. There are going to be folk with whom we can form bonds and there are going to be folk who are inimical, an aggravant, no matter what we do. Understanding the nature, we must avoid excessive judgement, just as we do with the fruit. We simply have to accept they are who they are and moderate our interaction, if it must occur, accordingly. For example, if you come to understand that someone is inconsistent with their dependability, you may offer them tasks to undertake which will not cause disruption if they fail; but you will not give tasks upon which your business depends. If that person wishes to gain a greater level of trust from you, they will, in turn, modify their habits to become more dependable.
Complaining about someone never helped ourselves - or them. First we must accept who and what they are. Next, if a relationship is necessary (particularly this applies in work situations), then modify your own interaction at a level which will minimise any effect from the other. This may, in some part, mean accepting the rules that other person has set - say they are your elder at home, or the boss at work. When you enter another's space, you are obliged, to some degree to obey the rules of that space; but this must be done with congruency of character. Do not 'play a part', for this will only lead to your own downfall.
Thus if we follow the injunction of scripture, to love all equally, to keep our mind balanced and focused on the task at hand, we can minimise the negativity which might prevail and damage our relationships.
Thus samataa - equanimity - within all things is a desirable life choice. Develop the habit! Choose to balance your body, mind and spirit to react only at nominal value; not to become numb, but to acknowledge the transient nature of the experience. Equanimity is the golden rule of the Gita. With material objects, understand the unique value of each and treat accordingly. With experiences, maintain your poise regardless of the event. With people, accept all as they are and relate appropriately.