23 Dec Manners and Ego – December 24 2020
An ancient Hindu prayer begins with the words, “Lead me, O Lord, from darkness into light, from mortality to immortality.” From the darkness of our ignorance, we need to awaken to the existence of the Presence of the Divine in our soul. When the conscious phenomenal self or ego becomes aware of the soul, the journey back home has begun.
Dr. John F. Miller, III, from the Foreward to
Kundalini and Self-Realization:
The Journey Back to Our True Home
Through Spiritual Energy,
by Ravindra Kumar
At this time in 2015 I was in India for a month on The Walk of Hope (a walk from the bottom of India to the top–7500 kilometers and 16 months. It was a ‘padayatra’, a sacrifice done by walking, in the name of religious tolerance and gender equality by the teacher, Sri M.) and wrote several ‘thoughts’ from there. This is one…
Tonight is my last night in Varanasi, my last night with my newly adopted brothers and sisters, the padayatris. We walked with Sri M tonight onto the campus of Benares Hindu University for a welcoming ceremony and dinner to kick off the International Summit on Peace and Harmony. It was a great evening, filled with song and dance and celebration.
Over dinner after the entertainment, I asked a friend, ‘I’m interested in manners and how they shift from one culture to another. Tell me, if you can: from what I saw tonight and other nights, here in India it’s not considered rude to answer one’s phone in the middle of a concert or a talk, but it is considered rude to say anything to someone who does. Yes?’
‘Welcome to India,’ replied Shashank. ‘We don’t get upset or judge. We let things go.’
‘In the US, if someone does something that’s socially unacceptable, others turn on them with judgment, sometimes ferociously.’
‘How many times a day would we have to do that here? There are just too many of us. The thing about India is, it moves.’
‘Yes. Like on the streets. There are rickshaws, cars, bicycles, cows, people walking, motorcycles, buses. They all just move along together somehow. Though with a lot of honking.’
‘Yes. Next lifetime I might come back as that cow. And I will want the right to walk, too.’
It’s not that people here are without ego, but rather that as ego, they have become aware of the spirit within, the Atman. What we in the West would call the soul. So at any given moment there are more people letting things go than not, and as Shashank said, ‘it moves.’ All of it. All of us. Stepping forward, sometimes together, sometimes at cross-purposes. In general without judgment or rancor. Something I hope to remember as I move into my post-padayatra world.
Today I will remember that what I truly am is something other than this ego and its reactions. And I will try to remember this same thing about everyone else I meet. I will do my best to know that the world, and it’s people, are simply ‘doing,’ rather than ‘doing something to me.’