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.
We are reading "Tips for Happy Living - jIvnsUÇai[ /jiivanasuutraani", by Swami Tejomayananda (Guru-ji). Choose-days writings are here to prompt deeper thinking on the choices made on a daily basis and seek to provide prompts for raising the standard of one's thinking and living. This text composed in format of Sanskrit traditional teachings, speaks directly to this purpose. As ever, the full text may be obtained from CM Publications - or your local centre (see sidebar).
Chapter 5, now; Harmony in Relationships.
What ought to be our attitude while dealing with people?
Jana Aadr[Iya ivñsnIya n tu z<knIya>.1.
Janaa aadaraniiyaa vishvasaniiyaa na tu shangkaniiyaaH ||1||
People should be respected and trusted, not suspected.
This is echoed in Biblical scripture; 'do unto others as you would have others do unto you'. It is a simple formula, yet how complicated we make it! We should behave in the manner in which we ourselves would like to be treated. It applies in all situations and at all levels in all types of relationships.
Living in harmony with people is difficult. Some find it easier to deal with animals or machines, as they are somewhat predictable and, moreover, are not so likely to answer back. It can be said there are two kinds of folk; those who 'have' difficulties and those who 'are' difficult. There are those who work and those who take the credit. In families we live together, yet have difficulty 'living together'. Strange and awkward are the human relationships! However, retreating into a world of animals or machines or solitude does not help us. People have to be dealt with at some time or other. How then to do this? What should our attitude be?
All too often we are on the defensive and we start out relationships with an element of suspicion, always trying to second-guess what the other is thinking, being suspicious of some underlying motive. We hold back our trust until the other proves themselves to us. However, put yourself in the shoes of the one being mistrusted and suspected. If you have to continually prove your worth, does it not become wearisome, depressing even? Is there not then a tendency to just give up? Similarly, to be the one always doubting means that one is not in a happy space.
Surely there are those who do not have the most unselfish motives in life, but we simply cannot, for our own sakes, go around all the time suspecting and accusing. When we trust others, we invoke some level of goodness in them in turn. It may not be immediate, but very rarely can those who are 'difficult' resist the force of good will. This is not to say one ought to lack caution; particularly if a history is known. Nevertheless, trust in the values of goodness and warmth of spirit. Almost without fail it will anyway draw the people and relationships to you that you desire and will assist you also in your spiritual progress. Look for the things which connect you rather than separate you. There are quite likely to be some shared interests and even if these are slender ropes upon which to sling a new relationship, they at least serve as an anchorage from which to explore.
Respect and trust are the firm foundation of all lasting and worthwhile relationships. They are not automatic. They require building.