Friday, October 31, 2008

Letting Go of Pettiness

I paraphrase what a teacher once said:

'if people focused their energies on being impeccable they wouldn't have time to engage themselves in pettiness. It already takes all our time and energies just to conquer the idiocy in us - and that is what matters. The rest is of no importance.'

The pettiness that exists in all of us; in our actions and our relationships in the world around us can be quite profound. It's mostly because we do not recognise it: it is disguised as 'ordinary life'. It's in the media, the news, the gossip, at work, in the streets. It's almost all that we encounter; after all, life distracts. That's what it does best - it distracts us from ourselves.

We didn't come here for this. We came here to 'be ourselves'; to be the best we are able to be, and to learn how to harness our consciousness to evolve ourselves. What's happening?

It's a maze. Yet perhaps one of the best tools we have for our navigation is our own integrity. We can strive to be impeccable with ourselves, with others, and with the world around us.

We are better than this. We are better than the pettiness that bombards us daily. Let it go...

Let me tell a story:

There were two dervishes traveling together. One of them was old and the other was the younger student. They had traveled together for many years; all the time the younger student believing he was learning to be rightous in the shadow of his teacher. His own belief in value of his actions gave him faith along his Path. One day both travelers came to a river crossing. Yet the water had recently risen and was waist high. At the side of the river was a young attractive lady, sensual yet distressed. She was afraid of water and sought help in crossing.

The younger student immediately shunned her as he felt it was not right for him to touch such a lady who was clearly disreputable. Suddenly, without hesitation, the older dervish picked up the young lady, slung her on his back, and carried the young woman across the river. When he got to the other side he put her down and carried on walking. Not a word was spoken.

The young dervish hurried after his teacher, surprised and bewildered. He could not believe that his teacher, whom he had trusted and followed all these years, could act in such an immodest way. The young man was fuming. He wanted to confront the older man yet knew it best to keep quiet until a suitable moment. All day though the younger student trailed behind the older man, shaking his head and cursing himself for wasting so many years. The whole day went on like this. The younger man's faith was in turmoil. Finally, they came to a place where the older dervish wanted to rest for the night. They sat in silence for a while.

Knowingly, the older dervish finally smiled and said to the younger one: 'Now you can tell me what is on your mind'.

The younger man spilled his day's frustrations and anger; his incredulity at the other's 'non-spiritual' behaviour. When he had finished ranting the older dervish quietly turned to the young man and said:

'I picked that woman up and carried her across the river. When I got to the other side I put her down. But you are still carrying her'

In a way, we all are like Sinbad carrying that old man on his back also. Okay, now on to other things...

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